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Escapees RV Club Readies for 53rd Escapade

February 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Escapees RV Club, headquartered in Livingston, Texas, will host the 53rd Escapade at the Cam-Plex Multi-event Center, in Gillette Wyo., June 30–July 5.

According to a press release, Escapade is a five-day event delivering an extensive lineup of educational workshops centered around the RV lifestyle. This year marks the 35th birthday of the club, founded by Joe and Kay Peterson in 1978. The milestone will be honored with a birthday banquet on July 4 sponsored by Paul Evert’s RV Country, followed by a fireworks extravaganza.

The first Escapade was held in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1979, with 24 families attending. The event now attracts as many as 1,500 attendees from across the nation and internationally.

According to Escapees, the Escapade is the premier opportunity to learn or refine the nuances of a lifestyle that continues to attract devotees while also meeting likeminded people enjoying the RV adventure. With almost 50,000 active family members, Escapees RV Club members “share a special bond and a passion for RV travel,” according to the release.

On July 3, Escapees RV Club will host a complimentary community appreciation day at the Cam-Plex as a special thankyou to the surrounding communities. Area residents are invited to visit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn more about the club, its members and RVing. Guests may participate in the seminars and peruse the wide selection of RV-related products available in the exhibitor and market areas.

In keeping with the Escapees mind-set of giving something back, the club will support Gillette and the surrounding community with a food drive for the Campbell County Council of Community Services during the event. In addition, Escapade delivers as much as a million dollars into the local economy while attendees shop, dine and enjoy the charm of the local areas.

Learn more about the 53rd Escapade at http://www.escapees.com/escapade.

 

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Go RVing Vignettes Expand Advertising Reach

February 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Country music star Chuck Wicks

RV travel and camping vignettes custom-produced by Go RVing’s media partners will once again be a key element of the industry’s national “AWAY” advertising campaign when it kicks off its second year in February.

According to a press release, these vignettes will air on popular networks throughout the year, including Great American Country (GAC), SPEED and the Outdoor Channel.

Filming was just completed in Nashville on the two 60-second “On the Road with GAC” vignettes featuring country music recording artist Chuck Wicks. The spots showcase how Wicks uses his RV to escape the bright lights and pressure of Music City by camping, hunting and fishing with his father, John, and his dogs.

A Forest River Inc. XLR Hyperlite sport utility RV, selected through a lottery, is featured in both vignettes, which will air on GAC between Feb. 18 and June 30, and on GACtv.com.

Go RVing is once again teaming up with SPEED personality Rutledge Wood for a 60-second vignette that features Wood interviewing RVers at Texas Motor Speedway about why RVs are great for family travel and how their units are ideal for tailgating at NASCAR races. It will air 546 times throughout racing season on SPEED, beginning Feb. 18.

The Outdoor Channel will air four vignettes with network talent Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones, hosts of the hunting show Driven, and angler Mark Zona, host of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, talking about the appeal of RVs with outdoor enthusiasts. These will air throughout April as part of the network’s “Spring Fever” sweepstakes.

The Outdoor Channel will also be promoting the benefits of RV travel and the sweepstakes through outdoorchannel.com, targeted e-mails and the network’s social media outlets, including a Go RVing co-branded trip itinerary widget. The network will award four National Park RV vacations and the grand prize for the sweepstakes is a Forest River Flagstaff Classic folding camping trailer, also selected in a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) lottery.

“These vignettes add tremendous value to the campaign by reinforcing the messages in our television commercials as popular network personalities enjoy and endorse RV travel and camping in an entertaining and informative way,” said RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst.

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Rambling Retirees Trade Home for Open Road

October 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

At 68, Barbara Miller Elegbede is living proof that flower children need not grow up, according to a Reuters report.

A self-described hippie, she attended a San Francisco college at psychedelia’s height and remembers friends constantly crashing on the couch of her apartment, just a block away from Janis Joplin’s pad in the hip Castro neighborhood.

Now retired from teaching and secretarial work, Elegbede, has become a full-time “couchsurfer” herself, living in other people’s guest quarters all over the world. (She has a temporary apartment in Tempe, Ariz.)

“I’ve lived in Africa. I know how to take a bath from a bucket … I’ve lived in caves in Greece and hitchhiked all over the world. Next year, I’m off to India for two or three months.”

Call Elegbede one of the “rambling retirees”: folks who give up the senior community or a comfy house for a life of constant travel. And they’re not all hippies.

“The RV (recreational vehicle) has replaced the rocking chair, and the whole notion of retirement has changed in the last 10 years,” says Ken Budd, executive editor of AARP magazine and author of “The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem.”

To read the entire article click here.

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VIDEO 2: Today’s RVs Feature Comfort, Luxury

August 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s video comes from KPTV FOX 12, Portland, Ore., featuring an overview of RVing and a tour of a Denali travel trailer by Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.

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RVs Becoming ‘Ubiquitous’ at Minnesota Parks

February 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

When Rick Allanson and his wife, Brenda, gather with friends or relatives, it’s often at their 30-foot travel trailer, not at their Edina, Minn., home, according to a report in the Star Tribune, Minneapolis. Except in winter, an RV park on the Mississippi River north of the Twin Cities is their home away from home.

“Everyone loves to come to the campground to barbecue, have a campfire and make s’mores,” Rick Allanson said. “We’re there almost every weekend. It’s a getaway.”

Longtime campers, the Allansons are passionate recreational vehicle enthusiasts. And they are not alone.

Nationwide, about 8.9 million households own RVs — the highest ever — according to a 2011 University of Michigan survey. That’s up from 5 million 30 years ago. In Minnesota, about 150,000 trailers and motorized recreational vehicles were registered in 2011. And that doesn’t include truck campers, which aren’t tracked because they don’t need special license plates.

RVs are ubiquitous at Minnesota campgrounds: Half the campers at Minnesota state parks “rough it” in some type of recreational vehicle or trailer. And the number of RVers here and nationwide is expected to remain steady or grow as the nation recovers from the Great Recession.

Manufacturers cranked out 252,000 RVs last year — the highest total in four years but still well below the 390,000 shipped in 2006. And Minnesota’s RV sellers are optimistic they will find buyers at the 45th Annual RV, Vacation and Camping Show, which opens this week in Minneapolis.

“Last year, we had the best year we’ve ever had,” said Jeffrey Pearo, business manager at Hilltop Trailer Sales in Fridley. “We’re expecting this year to be as good, if not better, than 2011.”

Breaking a stereotype

If you think RVers are all gray-haired retired Baby Boomers, think again.

“There are plenty of retirees who are RVing, but many are families with children,” said Kevin Broom of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

Said Pearo, “I would say the biggest portion of our business is younger families.”

The average age of an RVer is 48, and 39% had children under 18 living at home, according to that University of Michigan survey. The largest gain in RV ownership over the past five years was among those aged 35 to 54, and they make up nearly half of all RV households. Still, 3.6 million Baby Boomer households have an RV.

The Star Tribune reported that the Allansons are in their mid-50s, and their four kids are grown. They bought their first travel trailer eight years ago, and now park their trailer from April to October at a seasonal campground near Otsego on the Mississippi River.

“Even in traffic on Friday nights I can get there in an hour,” Rick Allanson said. “We go up Friday after work and come back Sunday. We fish the Mississippi for smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish and giant carp. We also do a lot of kayaking. And the campground has swimming pool and shuffleboard.”

Their RV has all the comforts of home: a sofa and two chairs, table, refrigerator, oven, microwave, air conditioning and heat. “Last year we got a TV,” he said.

And unlike a cabin, the Allansons’ camper can be towed from their retreat to other campgrounds, including the Black Hills, their favorite destination.

“Minnesota has an unbelievable number of great campgrounds, including some right here in the metro area,” he said.

Easier to tow

Pearo said the latest trend in RVs is lighter-weight trailers that can be towed more efficiently and with smaller, cheaper vehicles.

“We have a 23-foot Koala trailer that weighs 3,200 pounds,” he said. “A conventional 23-foot trailer weighs about 4,400 pounds. Manufacturers are using more composite materials and are cutting weight from frames. It makes them easier to tow, with better gas mileage, but the biggest factor is they are towable by more vehicles.”

The hottest sellers are in the $20,000-to-$30,000 range.

Meanwhile, the Allansons have bigger plans.

“I think next year we’re going with a fifth-wheel,” Rick Allanson said. “It’s bigger, the ceilings are taller. People’s mouths just drop when they see one. Camping has come a long way.”

 

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N.M. Rally Attendees Deal With Tight Budgets

October 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Southwest’s RV culture continues to ramble on, even as high gas prices and tough economic times leave some enthusiasts parked at home, according to a report by the Daily Times, Farmington, N.M. The Rocky Mountain Ramble RV Rally, which began Tuesday (Oct. 11) and continues through Saturday brought 400 RVs to New Mexico’s San Juan County.

For many full-time motorhome residents, the Ramble is a welcome stop on the RV circuit in a warm, dry climate. It’s a chance to reunite with old friends and see another part of the country. Yet the scene seems to be dwindling as some RV owners look to save money by keeping their favorite hobby in park.

Attendees at the Ramble said they’re dealing with tighter budgets by staying in each destination longer and planning their trips better.

“When we first started, we’d move on every week or two weeks, and now we sit around awhile,” said Barbara McCann, who travels with her husband, Gordon.

The McCanns joined the RV lifestyle in 2004 after selling their retirement cabin and winemaking property in North Carolina during a laborious grape harvest.

“It got to be work,” Gordon McCann said.

They soon bought an RV in Texas and hit the road. Since then, they’ve visited every state except Hawaii, and also ventured into Canada. The McCanns most recently came from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, where they spent 11 days.

Gordon McCann said he and other RVers sometimes trade work for services. In 2009, the McCanns served as camp hosts at the Grand Canyon’s north rim for the summer in exchange for a place to park. Such arrangements keep costs down.

“Everything I own,” McCann said, gesturing to his motor home, “is right there.”

Gordon McCann said RVers often use gas price websites to plan their fuel purchases far in advance. Innovations such as widespread Internet access, cell phone service and online banking have made it easier to prolong life on the road.

Although hundreds are attending the Ramble, the RV industry has been hurt by tightened lending that often calls for downpayments of 30%. Even those loans now require sterling credit ratings.

“The RV industry has been hit real hard by the economy,” said Allen Rein, national senior vice president of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). “It’s just a sign of the times.”

The Rocky Mountain Ramble, put on by the Rocky Mountain Motor Home Association, is one of 10 regional rallies. The Ramble brings hundreds of people to San Juan County, and many of them spend money in restaurants and shopping centers. It’s among the major RV events the area attracts each year, said Tonya Stinson, marketing manager at the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“It’s one of the larger ones and the most consistent,” she said.

However, the event is getting less response from the community this year, Rein said. Businesses have been reluctant to advertise in the Ramble’s program.

The Ramble first came to McGee Park in 2004. It skipped a year; this week’s event marks the Ramble’s sixth appearance in Farmington. Events are scheduled throughout the week, including daily breakfasts, and a car show Saturday.

 

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