RVs offer freedom to go when & where you want


Whether it’s a small RV for $50,000, or a luxury model for $500,000, all of the reasons that people buy
motor coaches can be summed up in one word: Freedom.
Among Family Motor Coach Association convention members walking through the outdoor RV exhibit Tuesday in
Bowling Green were Bill and Harriet Wild of Lake Wales, Florida. While pleased with their 2001 National
Tradewinds 40-foot RV – because it’s paid for – they enjoyed looking at the new ones. They recalled
their original RV, a renovated school bus which slept 10, themselves and their eight children.
"We started RVing in 1971," explained Harriet Wild. "We traveled all over the United
States with it, every summer, at least two weeks." The family visited all four corners of the U.S.
Members of FMCA since 1990, the couple are now in their third RV since their school-bus days.
"It’s a freedom. It’s a lifestyle that you either love or hate," stated Bill Wild. "The
freedom to go where you want to go, when you want to go." The couple tow a car, then go exploring
in a 100-mile radius from where they park their RV.
"We have our own toilet and our own bed no one slept in," his wife stated, as opposed to using
a hotel, motel or time-share condo.
"The lifestyle is so free, and you meet so many outgoing people," he added.
"They are a different breed from everyone else," agreed Harriet Wild. "You never meet a
The brand new Phaeton they were checking out had a base price of $221,312. The Wilds mentioned they’d
looked at an RV on display which cost $1.5 million. "When we hit the lottery, then we’ll be
buyers," she commented.
FMCA first-time attendees Tina and John Willman of Matthews, N.C. compared using their 2007 29-foot Jayco
to a cruise vacation. Three years ago, while they were on a ship, "It dawned on me, on land it’d be
having a motor coach. You travel but you’re not packing, unpacking, checking in, checking out,"
said Tina Willman. "You’re taking your stuff with you, which is essentially what a cruise
was." An RV eliminates her worries, too, about meeting plane schedules and other stresses.
In addition, John Willman likes being able to take their canine family member, an 85-lbs. lab mix named
Black Jack. "Of all the RV campers, 80 to 90 percent have pets traveling with them, cats, parrots,
birds, dogs. That appealed to us as well, as opposed to putting our animal in a kennel. A time share, a
condo, a lot of them don’t allow pets. This way we can take our pet with us for every trip."
"I don’t think there’d be a RV industry if it weren’t for pets," he added. "Pets have
helped this industry a lot." The Willmans have met an FMCA couple who take their seven cats with
them on trips. "You’d think it’d be grandchildren," Willman stated. "I think it’s more
animals than grandchildren."
Whether or not it’s pets helping the RV industry, something is "working." Guest Sherman
Goldenberg, vice president of Affinity Group Inc., which publishes trade issues for RV manufacturers and
suppliers, is delighted to see three RV companies recently emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He pointed
out Fleetwood, Monaco and Country Coach are the three "that are on the mend. Fleetwood’s new
president is here. … It’s painting a signal the economy is bottoming out. The RV industry is the first
one ‘in’ a recession, and the first one ‘out.’ It’s beginning to look like that old adage is holding
Tony Smith, an exhibitor with Kibbi, gave a tour of its Ikon model for $428,000. While Kibbi previously
catered to racers and musicians with custom Renegades, now it’s making RVs for the general public. The
Ikon’s diesel engine goes about eight miles per gallon. It has a queen-sized bed, washer and dryer,
porcelain floors, three flat-screen TVs and solid maple wood throughout the coach.
"People buy (RVs) because they’re in control. They have their own bed. Their own coffee cup. Their
own favorite slippers. … How do you top that? This is like home. … This is their home on
Bird?s-eye view / RVs surround
BGSU?s stadium

Mary Lou Riday of Bowling Green took this photo of many of the Family Motor Coach Association convention
vehicles parked around the Bowling Green State University football stadium on Sunday. Her husband, Rob,
was piloting the plane at the time she took the photo at about 6 p.m. on Sunday. The university golf
course can be seen at the top of the photo. Photo by Mary Lou Riday

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