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Take your home on the road

RVs offer style and comfort and many amenities

Posted: July 27, 2012 6:36 p.m.
Updated: July 27, 2012 6:36 p.m.

Beau Brixey demonstrates a sectional sofa, extendable as a bed, in a 2012 Itasca Ellipse motor home.

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Do you just want to get away from your home now and then? But do you also want to carry some of its creature comforts along with you? In all these situations, and many others, a recreational vehicle (RV) could be the solution.

“A lot of people travel after they retire,” said Beau Brixey, the general manager of RV sales at Camping World in Valencia. “Once the kids are out of the house, they don’t need a 3,500 square foot home anymore. They sell the home, buy an RV, pick up and go. They go where it’s colder or warmer. They follow the sun.”

He added that many people who have to work away from home for long periods find that living in an RV while at their job destination is much more convenient and much cheaper than renting an apartment.

For the family
Brixey emphasized RVs aren’t just for retired people or those working away from home. They are great for family vacations, weekend getaways, people with “toys,” such as dirt bikes, quad runners and personal watercraft, and they are an excellent way for families with children involved in youth sports to travel to tournaments.

He said RV vacations are a great way for families to bond and for children to learn to participate in activities such as cooking and housekeeping. And, compared to other types of travel, such as flying to a destination, he said an RV vacation begins as soon as you start moving.

“Your vacation starts when you walk out your front door and get in your RV,” he said. And he added that, “You have your own bed, food and the comforts of home. And you can tow your car.”

Anything you want
A visit to the RV sales area at Camping World is a real eye opener, and you quickly realize the label “RV” covers a wide range of vehicles. At the low end, a recreational vehicle might be a basic trailer or a toy hauler, and at the high end, it might be a massive, luxury-featured motor home.

“A small trailer, for a family of four, might start at $10,000,” Brixey said. A Class C motor home (like the cab-over type) might start at $59,000, and the Class A motor homes (the bus-looking type) might start in the mid-$70,000s, for a 30-footer. “You can go on up to 45-footers at $400,000,” Brixey said.
He said that the newest trend in motor homes is the Mercedes models, with diesel engines that can get 20 miles per gallon of gasoline.

With these Class Bs, “You can pretty much park them in your driveway,” he said.

Whatever your RV budget, Brixey noted that you can often get 10- to 20-year financing on RVs, and even a tax write-off on the loan as a second home. “It’s an added benefit,” he said.

RV features
On the Camping World lot there are trailers that can be towed by half-ton vehicles, and those needing a payload capacity of 3/4 ton or 1 ton.

There are fifth-wheel trailers of modest to massive size, and there are Class C, B and A motor homes. With so many models available, we had to limit our list of models. Here are just a few examples:

- Pioneer 27-foot trailer: This basic travel trailer sells for less than $20,000, and can be towed by a half-ton vehicle such as an SUV, with a V-8 engine. One of the interesting features is the bunk beds inside.
“It’s a basic model that gets people out there camping,” Brixey said.
- Vantage by Keystone: Brixey described this trailer as the latest version of an “Airstream,” and it did, indeed, have that look. Selling in the mid-$30,000s, it is half-ton towable and yet full-featured, with slide outs to offer more room when parked (walls that expand outward).
- Infinity 38-foot: This trailer sells in the mid-$70,000s and has a beautifully appointed living room, complete with widescreen TV and electric fireplace. It needs a 3/4-ton or 1-ton vehicle to tow it.
- Impulse Silver: This Itasca 31-footer is a Class C-style motor home, decked out with luxury features and powered by a Ford V-10 gasoline engine, It sells in the mid-$80,000s.
- Sunstar 30-foot motor home: A Winnebago/Itasca motor home, which Brixey says Camping World favors because of dependability and quick turn-around for replacement parts, this model is already moving toward luxury. It sells for around $110,000 and is powered by a Ford V-10 gasoline engine.
- Itasca Meridian 42E: With an MSRP of $312,000, this beauty has, among other great features, two slide outs and a 20,000 BTU electric fireplace.
- Ellipse 42-foot motor home: Also by Winnebago/Itasca, this baby is top of the line, powered by a 450 Cummins diesel engine. It has multiple slide outs and an adjustable Ideal Rest bed. With a massive, all-electric refrigerator, elegant kitchen and 45,000 BTU roof air conditioner, this one even has crown molding. It will cost you, though, in the upper $300,000s.
“It’s the No. 1 selling diesel motor home,” Brixey said.

When you get to the top of the line, Brixey explained, you get features such as: a 450 horsepower motor, washer and dryer, dishwasher, three roof air conditioning units, a fireplace, a polished porcelain tile floor, 22-cubic foot, all electric residential-style refrigerator and a 2800 sine wave inverter to convert 12 volt power to 110 volt.

The latest
“Inventive floor plans are the latest thing, for sleeping two people to eight,” Brixey said. They might offer sofas that turn into air mattresses.

“Newer satellite systems can pick up television signals while you are moving. That’s a big plus,” he said. “And power awnings are a big thing.”

There are also LCD TVs, outside televisions, automatic leveling systems and backup cameras and side cameras so the driver has full visibility around the coach, Brixey said.

RV lifestyle
“Since 9/11, a lot of people wanted to travel only in the United States,” Brixey said. And for that and other reasons, RVs are becoming hugely popular. There are RV parks all over the nation and our national parks are adapting to accommodate the larger RVs. However, the space is tight at some locations, such as the beaches at Rincon and Pismo, Brixey said, so owning a smaller RV can be an advantage sometimes. You can park right at the beach.

He noted that an RV vacation to the Mammoth area is a great thing, summer or winter, and there are nice RV parks right in Mammoth.

“The RV lifestyle is everywhere,” Brixey said. “It’s your home away from home — whatever you can afford.”
Camping World is located at 25410 The Old Road, Valencia, CA 91381. The phone number for the RV sales department is 888-654-5177. Visit www.campingworldofvalencia.com.

jwalker@the-signal.com
661-287-5524

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