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A home on the road: Annual RV show displays the latest and greatest in travel

Source: Daily Press - Newport News, Virginia
Publish Date: Thursday, March 6, 2008
Summary: The luxury of traveling with a pop-up travel trailer, truck camper or motor home isn't new to the camping scene, but this summer season is bringing out the high-tech in travel.

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By Nicole Paitsel

Mar. 6, 2008 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) --

Has the two-man tent and sleeping bag camping approach lost its appeal? The luxury of traveling with a pop-up travel trailer, truck camper or motor home isn't new to the camping scene, but this summer season is bringing out the high-tech in travel.

The annual Virginia RV Show in Hampton begins on Friday and displays what's new and trendy in the traveling world -- including everything from iPod holders to working fireplaces. Traveling with comfort comes with a price, of course, but recreational vehicles and their accessories come in all budget ranges.

Greg Smith of Dodd RV in Newport News walked us through some of the top improvements in motor coaches -- that is, if you're willing to pay $100,000 to $250,000.

Haul the toys

As the saying goes, even big boys have their toys, and now your traveling house can come with its own garage. Called toy-haulers, these 8-foot-by-10-foot garages are tacked onto the end of a motor home and can carry motorcycles, golf carts, bikes and ATVs. Some models include a bed that pops out of the ceiling and an LCD flat-screen TV. Smith says the design also includes insulation to keep gas and other fumes from coming into the living area.

The sweet sound of entertainment

In the span of 40 feet, most Class A motor coaches come with at least three high-definition, flat-screen TVs. That averages a TV for every two people, with most motor homes sleeping six. And the truly hip and trendy of the traveling bunch can also opt for an iPod holder in the cockpit (driver's area) and surround sound.

A home away from home

Smith says most of his top motor coach customers buy with the intent of long-term travel, and they want to feel at home. Intricate wood detailing, etching on sliding glass doors, authentic marble flooring, granite countertops, spacious corner showers and glass-pane fireplaces all add to the homey feeling. And with all of that, there's still room to move around. When parked, most of the RVs have sides that slide out and extend the living area to measure 12 to 14 feet wide.

Know where you're going

Motor homes have come equipped with cameras in the rear for some time, but now side-view cameras give you a clear view to change lanes. The cameras are located under the side-view mirrors and come on when you turn on one of your blinkers. The screen inside the cockpit usually includes a GPS system, too.

When you get to your destination, leveling your motor home on uneven ground can be a real problem. Now, you can push a button and automatic leveling jacks take care of the issue for you.

Forget the campfire

There's nothing like a gooey, fire-fresh s'more. But what about lasagna, chocolate cake and all those other foods that remind you of home? Kitchens now come equipped with stainless steel appliances and island options to mimic your grounded version.

News to Use

What: The annual Virginia RV Show. National and local exhibitors will have recreational vehicles and accessories on display.

When: Noon Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday

Where: Hampton Roads Convention Center, 1610 Coliseum Drive, Hampton

Cost: $7 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 16 and free for children under 2. Free return passes are also available for visits on multiple days.

Information: Visit agievents.com or call 804-425-6556.

INSIDE: MORE Motorcoach improvements, B2

Newstex ID: KRTB-0140-23576276

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