Despite rising gas prices and a tight economy, dealers said it was a good weekend at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock island, Ill., for the RV, Camping and Travel Show.
Bryan Head, a partner at US Adventure RVs in Davenport, Iowa, said he wasn’t surprised by the turnout or the number of people who bought RVs over the three-day event, the Quad-Cities Times reported.
“We had a great show here last year, too,” Head said. “I think it’s already a better year than it was last year. There are new and exciting products out every year, so there’s always an interest, and there’s lots of people here. If they don’t have one, they want one.”
Head said customers were having an easier time getting loans this year than they had last year, and that, combined with more fuel-efficient vehicles, was contributing to the demand.
“The gas prices make everybody feel kind of negative and depressed to see, but I think we’ve kind of accepted it,” Head said. “I don’t think it’ll be as bad as it was a couple of years ago when it went to $4 overnight.”
Tom Enyeart, owner of Shabonna RV of Atkinson, Ill., attributed the interest in recreational vehicles and campers to another cause.
“I think we’ve had a horrible winter, and that has gotten people wanting to go outdoors,” Enyeart said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and that’s always been our marker for a great show.”
Spectators ranged from those who were just looking for something to do over the weekend to meticulous researchers comparing prices and amenities.
Zachary Hatfield, 8, and Carly Driskell, both of Davenport, fell into the former category, Driskell said, as Hatfield climbed in and out of the captain’s chair of a large RV.
“We were just looking for something to do today,” Driskell said.
She and her family have been looking for a popup camper as well.
“We do a lot of boating and stuff like that,” she said. “It’d be something to do in the summer, a family activity.”
She said gas prices weren’t a deterrent for her. “We just budget for it.”
The Johnston family has been searching for the perfect camper for more than a year, and Helen Johnston said they’re close to finding one.
Each member of the Geneseo, Ill., family wants something a little bit different. Mark Johnston, who stands 6 feet tall, wants something that doesn’t require him to duck to get into, and Helen Johnston wants a shower big enough to “put a T-shirt on in.”
But they all agreed on one thing: They are done with traditional camping.
“We’ve done tents, and it’s not comfortable when you get a little older,” Mark Johnston said. “You get more creature comforts, and it’s easier to set up at the end of the day.”