Life on the Road Lures RV Fans
An RV is a home away from home for Sandra M. Hayward.
The Suffield, Mass., resident and her husband park their recreational vehicle in a Vermont campground and nearly every weekend they head north for relaxation and fun.
Now her friend Linda M. Shaw, a former Suffield resident who now lives in Nashua, N.H., wants to do the same thing.
Shaw, Hayward and several family members were among thousands who spent part of the weekend checking out recreational vehicles and camping equipment at the annual Springfield RV, Camping and Outdoor Show at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield, Mass., according to The Republican, Springfield.
"It would be nice to get away, we work like crazy during the week," Shaw said as she toured a variety of RVs.
Despite the high cost of fuel and low miles-per-gallon performance, the show pulled in record numbers of people on its first two days. Its Friday evening show attracted 2,914 people and Saturday brought in 19,025.
Sunday brought similar crowds, said Paul N. Trudell, of Holyoke, a member of the Pioneer Valley Chapter 8 of the North American Campers Association who was volunteering with other members to put on the show.
The four-day show concludes today (Feb. 18).
"The numbers were down in shows in Hartford and Boston, but it doesn't seem to be affecting us," Trudell said.
RVs ranged from a basic one-room without a bathroom to elaborate 41-foot trailers that expanded out with the push of a button. Some of the most elaborate were popular, he said.
"The gas hasn't affected us directly. A lot of people said they may not go three times a month, they have changed their habits, but they are still going to go," said Brian T. Beaver, an owner of Beaver Camper in Agawam.
Halfway through the show his company had sold four of the nine models on display and so many people drove down the street to the Beaver lot, half the used RVs there have buyers.
The high cost of fuel may not have hurt the show much because many buy a RV and park it at a campground, using it as a summer home, he said.
Among the models his company was showing was a $37,000 unit that sleeps nine and is designed for a family. The deluxe $81,000, 41-foot model only sleeps four but comes with a king-sized bed, two electric fireplaces, two televisions, two recliners and air-conditioning.
Mary Johnson of Westfield and her husband were looking at RVs for the first time to give them some place to stay when they go to compete in antique tractor-trailer pulls.
"We are thinking about the possibility of something," she said. "We are looking at ideas."
Audra M. Bessette of Holyoke was looking for ideas too, but more to remodel the RV her family owns.
"Our RV is for four and now we are a family of five so we are at a critical stage," she said while pushing a baby carriage.
Often her family camps close by and at state campgrounds which are less expensive so they don't have to about gas prices. They usually take one longer trip a year to Cape Cod.
"It is worth it go," she said. "Camping is a blast."