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Want a flat-screen TV with that RV?: Models on display at a four-day show go from simple pop-up campers costing $5,000 to an opulent $300,000 coach with leather seats and much, much more.

Source: Reading Eagle, Pennsylvania
Publish Date: Monday, February 25, 2008
Summary: Trailers, campers, motor homes and more were the main attractions in Pennsylvania.

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By Michelle Park

Feb. 25, 2008 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) --

Hitch this $99,995 trailer to your vehicle, and you hitch with it a double refrigerator, flat-screen television, granite countertops and a dishwasher.

Stepping inside the trailer with her family Sunday at the 2008 Reading RV Show, Kelly J. Current summed up her reaction in four words: "Wow, this is nice."

The Reinholds resident already owns a tent camper, but, like many others at the show, she saw no harm in browsing potential upgrades.

Gas prices above $3 a gallon didn't deter an estimated 5,000 people from attending the four-day event at the Greater Reading Expo Center in Muhlenberg Township, where gasguzzling trailers, campers, motor homes and more were the main attractions.

About 25 vendors showed a range of travel accommodations on wheels, from simple $5,000 pop-up campers to opulent $300,000 Class A motor homes boasting leather seats and much, much more.

Both sellers and prospective buyers agreed: If you're a camper when gas costs less, you're a camper when it costs more.

"For the people that enjoy RVing, it's a lifestyle for them," said David R. Watkins, a sales associate for Susquehanna RV of Selinsgrove, Snyder County. "They love it, and they're not willing to give it up. They may not go as far, but they're still going to go."

Current, who said Easter is her family's camping-season opener, agreed.

"You don't mind putting the extra cost into it," said the mother of two. "We definitely feel we've experienced and saw more with our camper than if we'd stayed in hotels."

Plus, hotel rates and airfare likely would cost more than the gas it takes to drive, said husband and wife Brent R. and Jamey L. Martin of Centre Township.

"It's like a vacation home, really, except you vacation where you want," Brent Martin said.

The Martins recently bought a Class C motor home and attended the show Sunday, searching for a bike rack and other accessories.

Stopping to tour a discounted $72,898 trailer, Brent Martin marveled at how well space is used in the newest models.

"There's not a wasted inch of space in any of them," he said.

That use of space is one way the RV industry is changing to fit higher gas prices and smaller towing vehicles, said RV show Manager Andrew Talento.

Companies are using less space better and building with more lightweight materials, he explained.

Elegant amenities aside, many at the RV show said what they are seeking most is the quality family time they say driving the road together affords.

"The advantage is family time and memories for the kids," Current said.

Newstex ID: KRTB-0172-23260214

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