Once seemingly the domain of retirees, motor homes and travel trailers have become family fun.
As baby boomers enter middle age and retirement, they are discovering the joys and financial savings of recreational vehicles, several said yesterday.
At the Lucas County Recreational Center RV Show, area dealers showed their wares, mostly travel trailers that can be towed, to a roving crowd of couples with kids running in and out of the various models.
Terry Haas, 46, tows a 2004 Dutchman to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Fremont, Ind., so he, his wife, and two boys can vacation. The family loads up the boys' bicycles and are off on the weekends of each month he doesn't have to work at Jeep on Saturday shifts.
"It is so much fun," Amy, his wife, said. "When we get there, we take off their bikes, and the boys are off. We can unload at our leisure. The kids outweigh the adults at campgrounds at least 3-1."
There's more money in America now, and many are choosing to take to the road, said Jerry Bronderslev, a salesman for Pedata RV Center in Tucson, the first company to sell RVs over the Internet.
"We just sold an RV to one of the first guys that helped start Dell," he said. "You'll see a 10 to 12 percent increase in RV sales over the next couple of years."
Motor home prices range from the entry-level homes at about $60,000 to $215,000 to the most expensive Prevost brand that can cost several million dollars, he said.
By contrast, 5,782 houses were sold last year in Lucas County at a median price of $110,000, according to the county auditor's office. In Toledo, the median price was $89,000.
Baby boomers are choosing to home-school their children and hit the road in their RVs to see the country, Mr. Bronderslev said.
"All the manufacturers are gearing up for more sales. It's because there are more baby boomers, fear of flying, [and other reasons]. They'll complain at $2 a gallon for gas, but no one's going to stop until it gets to $2.50 or $3 a gallon," he said.
Rob and Liz Moulton, 42, walked around the RV show to see the latest in kitchen and bedroom designs. They, like other owners, refer to their RV in sailboat terms: They own a 31-foot Allegro Bay, while the Haases own a 26-footer.
"We do it more for the kids," Mr. Moulton said.
"It's an economical way to have a vacation," his wife added.
Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at: email@example.com or 419-724-6077.