Today we spent the day climbing in and out of RV's, helping our friends decide what sort of rig they should purchase. This is a much harder decision for them than it was for us, because they have never RV'ed and it is difficult to determine what features will matter to you. Their instinct is that they will be more comfortable managing something small, but ironically smaller rigs are much more expensive per square foot. There are 1100 rigs for sale here, but after eliminating a few categories - trailers, van conversions, high end or very large motor homes, it brought the number left down to an almost feasible number of units to visit. According to his pedometer, we took 13,000 steps today.
Along the way we got a definite impression of the current RV market. Manufacturers were hit very hard by the recession and have reorganized financially and are trying to reinvent themselves. While traditional motor homes like ours are still being made, they are working to develop a new market with less expensive vehicles that get better gas mileage. We saw a great many RV's whose primary purpose was not camping. Rather they would be used for tailgating or as toy haulers - rigs that house ATV's and motor bikes that will be used recreationally once the vehicle is parked. We also saw rigs that devoted most of their space to sleeping quarters - a triple bunk bed as part of a two bedroom unit that could sleep 7 or 8 people who really like each other. It's rare to see a rig without a slide out these days. Once the vehicle parks, the wall (or part of it) slides out extending the living space. Today we saw a slide out that came out of a slide out. Another clever innovation was an RV that had a Murphy bed that came off the slide and over the easy chairs.
There are also two buildings full of accessories and products that RV'ers sometimes don't know that they need until they see them. Some things like heavy duty sewer hoses are pretty mundane. Many folks RV because it's a great lifestyle for pet owners. Little baby buggies that people put dogs in was a hot seller. And it was pretty clear that the vendors think we consume mass quantities of dip.
Most importantly one side of our windshield was replaced today. We noticed the crack caused by a wayward stone shortly after we arrived here and flagged down the window repair truck on its way to another job. They advised us to call the insurance company, ordered the glass and installed it on site in about 24 hours. They have been working 24/7 here and it was very convenient for us.