RVers Head Out…to the Next Town
The Ceseeley and Hannaman families had planned to spend Memorial Day weekend at Pocahontas State Park outside of Richmond, Va. Instead, they drove to Outdoor World Campground in Croaker, Va., just up Interstate 64 from Yorktown, where they live, according to The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg.
“It’s more hot dogs and hamburgers now instead of hamburgers and steaks,” said Don Ceseeley.
With gas nearing $4 a gallon, people who vacation in recreational vehicles are staying closer to home. Food costs are also putting a pinch on them.
For both families, it takes more than $100 to fill up the trucks that tow the trailers. At best, they get 12 miles a gallon.
“That’s just cruising, not even doing the speed limit,” Brian Hannaman cautioned.
It was the same story two rows over, where three families from nearby New Kent County were camped.
“Well, we can go and check on the animals (back home) if we want to,” Jennifer Gossett said dryly. Her family had recently skipped Bike Week down in Nags Head, an annual pilgrimage gone bust.
The families have been camping together for years, visiting Luray, the Outer Banks, Natural Bridge and Virginia Beach. Last summer they were talking about scaling back the mileage. By Easter weekend, they had decided to reduce the road map.
What’s to come is on the mind of all campground owners as well: they are anxious to know how high gas prices will ripple into the RV realm.
The shift in RV behavior could be a metaphor for tourism in general. People will still go for the vacation but will pull closer to home. Campgrounds could actually see an increase in business, and so could Colonial Williamsburg and the other attractions.
The great unknown is how gas prices will affect traffic from New York and Florida as snowbirds trade places.
For Jack and Mary Hartlaub, high fuel prices are annoying, but not enough to change their plans. Each year they stop in Virginia on their way from Florida to see family in Pennsylvania.
So far, the trip has cost them an extra $200 in their Class A motorhome. It costs almost $300 to fill up the 75-gallon tank. By trailering their car behind them, they get only 8 mpg.
They’ve been making the trip for 10 years and still prefer it. “You are moving your house and your car,” Jack pointed out.
With both of them retired, it’s simply a matter of pulling a little more money out of savings. “You can’t take the money with you when you go,” he said.
“We’re still young,” Mary added. “It’s your life. If you don’t get to see your family, what’s the money worth?”