Guaranty RV sales, Junction City, Oregon
One doesn’t notice it at first, not until you start frequenting environments dominated by parks and resorts. Until then it’s subtle, in the background. But driving through the Targhee National Forest it’s inescapable: the number of RV-related camps and services expands exponentially. In Yellowstone, general elevation +7500′, there are so many RVs it can be pretty slow going. In the RV parking area at Old Faithful there are RVs of all sizes, motors running to keep the AC up.
RV-O-Philes carry all their life needs— portable bar-b-cues, bikes, sport vehicles in tow— as a means of providing for the gadabout lifestyle. This home away from home, in some cases, is a permanent lifestyle change. A good number of people tow boats up into Yellowstone, where two-thirds of the lake is reserved for powered craft. What might they get for mileage when even a full Prius gets seriously reduced efficiency at such elevations? Should one even dare ask? Is this proof Americans aren’t at all serious about global warming, or at least not where vacations are concerned?
Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon sells about 60 units per month from May to September. The RVs we inspected varied in price from $60,000 for a starter, to about $360,000 for a custom job. Most of the vehicles are diesel, and the smaller ones reportedly get almost 20 mpg. They are also designed to haul up to 5000 pounds uphill.
Many of the models were composites of varying components— a Winnebago body on a Dodge chassis powered by a Mercedes engine. Most boast all the comforts of home: full kitchen and bath, fold down beds or bunks, tables and benches or couches, entertainment center, pull-out rooms, AC, king-size beds, etc., etc.
Dustin at Guaranty told us that Guaranty holds monthly barbecues for customers as a means for meeting and mixing with their clientele. Many trade up.
Rented RV at Lake Powell, Arizona
Lest you get the false impression that the RV lifestyle is the domain of retirees, like those portrayed in About Schmidt, think again. We passed parks with RV campers packed close together as far as the eye could see in Colorado. In Kanab, Utah the RV Corral promises all the comforts that a plugged-in environment has to offer. As a person accustomed to preferring wilderness camping, where one carries in everything one will need and leaves no trace of one’s passing, RV culture was a revelation to me. The sheer numbers of Americans committing resources to the lifestyle, however, proves that I’ve been living in a bubble. Then again, haven’t we all?
David Stairs is editor of Design-Altruism-Project.