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High Gas Prices Can't Keep RV Owners Off the Road

Category: RV
Source: The Brunswick News, GA
Publish Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Summary: Even with soaring gasoline prices, RVers have no plans to put an end to RV travel entirely.

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High gas prices can't keep RV owners off the road

Tue, Aug 5, 2008

By LINDSEY ADKISON The Brunswick News

Buddy Whitten loves to travel, especially in his bus-like motorized recreational vehicle. But summer gas prices have put a damper on the distances he travels. A resident of Marathon, Fla., Whitten said he and his wife enjoy taking trips for deep sea diving, but recently, he's been re-thinking his destinations. "The gas prices have affected us deeply," Whitten said during a stop in Glynn County. "We used to travel from Jacksonville to Key West to go diving. But we can't do that now. Gas prices are just ridiculous."

Whitten said that it costs a pretty penny to fill up the RV. And because of that he tries to mitigate fuel costs with better planning. "We certainly plan a little better than we did when gas was cheaper," he said. "We used to go and explore different areas for diving. Now we pinpoint exactly where to go and go. There's none of this 'let's go try this spot 50 miles out of way.' It changed a lot of things."Whitten said that if costs continue to rise he and his family will keep revising their plans by traveling a shorter amount of time. He said that instead of hitting the road for 12 to 15 days, they would cut the time to three to four days a month.

But even with soaring gasoline prices, Whitten said that he has no plans to put an end to his RV travel entirely. He says that, overall, the pros outweigh the cons."RV-ing is still cheaper than getting a motel room every night," he said. "You've got your home with you. You're comfortable and most RV parks are real nice like this one, Golden Isles RV Park," he said. "All around RVers help one another. You change information after being on the road, meet other people and throw something on the grill." Max Price, whose home is the Florida Panhandle, also considers himself a serious camper and has been at Golden Isles RV Park for about eight months. He loves to drive too much to stop traveling in his RV just because of high gas prices.It's this kind of enthusiasm that Wanda Woodward, manager of Golden Isles RV Park on Blythe Island, has seen all summer. She says even with high prices, most RV-ers are still on the road. "I think (business) has been about the same," she said. "It's been average. I haven't noticed a difference from last year and I was kind of surprised with the price of gas. "One of the things about this area is that people come and stay for a few months. Many are working in the area, so the numbers are not really down."Those who work in the area and regular customers have really helped to sustain the park, she said."Sometimes guests stay a week while they are working or they stay for six months," she said. "We do have people who come and stay the entire winter with us. Right now we have mostly long-term campers. That means they stay longer than two weeks."The maximum capacity of the park is about 145 campers, so for now, things are coasting right along. "We have a good restaurant that serves country cooking so that has really helped us," she said. "Many people stop to eat at the restaurant and then they come back when they're driving through." Ronnie Douglas, manager of the Jekyll Island Campground, says his campground is also doing well, despite the national gas woes. "Revenue-wise, we're running the same as last year, so we're doing fine," he said.But, he added, "We have seen a decrease in business, in occupancy, when compared to the same time last year. And we do think it's because of gas."June was off a bit, but that may have been due to the way the Fourth of July holiday fell. We were sold out for July Fourth. That was great," he said. Douglas, like Woodward, said he thinks that visitors are staying for shorter periods of time. He said it could be a blessing in disguise. "I think that many people are also staying closer to home. Instead of traveling eight hours, they go out for four or five hours away," he said. "Someone from Savannah or Jacksonville comes here to Jekyll Island instead of traveling farther. We're seeing more local visitors, most staying within a 300-mile radius of home. And we're seeing staying shorter versus weeks. That also gives them more spending money so they can still buy souvenirs."

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