Chapter Pre-Rallies Usher in FMCA Convention
Paul Ferrenti's $200,000 home gets about eight miles per gallon.
Ferrenti and his wife, Barbara Lang, are two of more than 100 RVers from all over the country camped out at Mower County, Minn., fairgrounds this week, taking part in the American Coach Chapter of Family Motor Coaches Summer 2008 Pre-Rally.
On Saturday (July 12), the RVers will head north to the state fairgrounds in St. Paul for the Family Motor Coach Association's 80th International Convention, according to the Post-Bulletin, Austin, Minn.
An FMCA spokesman told RVBusiness that 2,370 coaches had registered for the event as of June 30.
For some RVers, FMCA conventions are vacations. For Ferrenti and Lang, it's life.
Originally from California, the two live in their motorhome year round and continuously travel to different parts of the country. They have lived that way for 15 years, and say they can't imagine anything better.
"To me, this is the best living I've had and I won't change until I can't drive anymore," said Ferrenti.
Making friends – usually other RVers – along the way, the two say there is nothing they miss about owning a traditional home.
"When the grass gets high, you just move," Lang said. "Our home is where we park it. Right now, we live here."
While staying in a location, the two will explore the city and meet new people. When they get bored, they move on.
"Usually in about two weeks, you're able to see everything," said Ferrenti. "We haven't decided yet where we'll go after St. Paul. We'll wing it – maybe head up toward Maine and work our way down the coast."
The Post-Bulletin reported that although rally representatives said soaring gas prices cut event participation in half this year, it hasn't stopped some RVers who call the annual trip "a part of life."
One man from Denver, Colo. said the rising prices have had a significant impact on the RV industry, but most who can afford a $200,000 motorhome usually can afford the gas to run it.
He said filling the tank of a typical 40-foot long motorhome can cost more than $550, and most only get up to nine miles per gallon.
"You do it because its fun," he said.
Randy Hendricks, a traveling service technician for Fleetwood Industry Inc.'s American Coach, said it will take more than high gas prices to stop some RVers.
"As long as fuel is available, these people are going to continue to drive," said Hendricks. "It's what they do."
The trick is to pinch pennies, learn to live off what you have, and space out trips as long as possible, said Ferrenti, who lives on retirement funds.
Lang said those planning to live on the road should realize it's not a vacation.
"We have to remember that we're living. We don't eat at restaurants all the time. We don't buy things wherever we go. This is our way of life," Lang said.