Preview of the Fall Camper & RV Show in Metro Detroit

Note: I wrote this article for the newspaper where I work. Also, this is my first attempt at an Internet video. Please be gentle. I hope to fix the narration audio in future video attempts, and maybe not make them as long as this one.

The 21st Annual Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show, which is Oct. 6-10 at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, is expected to draw thousands of people all looking for the same thing: to continue their love affair with RVing — or, if they're newbies, then they simply want to take a closer look at what this family- and budget-friendly activity is all about.

It's estimated that 10 percent of all pleasure travelers in Michigan are doing so with an RV and there are 30 million RVers in the United States. Ask them what they enjoy about RVing, and they'll tell you how RVs offer a fun and affordable way to vacation with the entire family. They experience comfortable and hassle-free vacations every time they travel—taking all the comforts and amenities of home with them. The RV lifestyle provides the freedom to go where you want, whenever you want.

Veteran RVers come to the Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show because they're either in the market to upgrade or to simply enjoy exploring so many RVs all in one place. And those newbies attending the show who are testing the RV waters are exactly where they need to be. The show will feature over 200 new recreation vehicles on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers, park models and fifth wheel travel trailers. Prices range from folding campers (pop-ups) starting at $4,999; trailers from $8,999; and motorhomes from $49,999. Plus, manufacturer rebates will be available on select RVs and many dealers will feature bargain deals on 2010 year-end models.

Also at the show, which is sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC), will be dozens of booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, on-site RV financing and RV rentals make this the complete RV show experience. In addition, at the show you can enter to win the Ultimate MIS Race Experience package from Michigan International Speedway. Includes tickets, camping and VIP access (valued at nearly $3,000).

Two local RV dealerships, A&S RV Center in Auburn Hills and General RV in Wixom — which also has several other locations in Michigan, Indiana, Utah and now Illinois — approach the fall RV show somewhat differently than the RV show in late winter/early spring.

"For the fall show we usually bring in bigger coaches, so we'll have bigger motor homes, bigger 5th wheels, bigger travel trailers, and we do that because a lot of the people buying at the fall show are buying for a full season's use down in Florida or in Texas or wherever they might want to go for a longer season," said Larry Andree of A&S RV Center.

Although the spring show, which is Feb. 16-20, 2011, is more geared toward families and RVs more suited for weekend trips, Andree quickly pointed out that the fall RV show will have a number of those types of campers as well.

"There will be a lot of smaller units here, a lot of family units and a lot of bunkhouse trailers," he said.

Dennis Anderson of General RV said his dealership also focuses on "couples coaches" for the fall show, but they, too, will be bring a wide selection of a variety of RVs.

"We'll be bringing really the whole gamut, across the board, from trailer trailers to 5th wheels to diesel pusher motor homes," Anderson said. "There's quite a few new floor plans an new products that have come out over the summer. In fact, the RV industry has really evolved quite a bit in the last year to two years."

Anderson said perhaps the biggest development to hit the RV industry in the last several years has been the advent of the ultra-lightweight travel trailers. This allows more SUVs, half-ton trucks and even some minivans to act as tow vehicles, plus it allows more features to be included on the camper, making them more functional. Flat screen televisions are the resulting space-saving cabinetry are another innovation, as are outdoor kitchens. Although not as recent, slideouts — in which sections of a wall "slide out" to create more interior living space — has been a huge evolution for the industry.

One of the RVs A&S RV Center will be bringing to the show is a 43-foot Ventana diesel pusher by Newmar, which features four slideouts. The yacht on wheels is fully equipped with full body paint, washer and dryer, satellite dish, tile floors, air conditioning and a whole host of other  high-end amenities. "It's about as deluxe a motor home as you can find," Andree said.

Both Andree and Anderson said their businesses have seen a dramatic improvement as people are starting to buy RVs again. It's a refreshing sign, especially since the RV industry's decline preceded the national recession, so it's rebound is seen as an indicator the downturn may soon be over. Nationwide, dealers are reporting a 48-percent overall increase over 2009 sales. This is pretty significant as it follows years of 9.5-percent, 33-percent and 30-percent decreases in the previous three years. And, through the first six months of 2010, the industry has shipped 136,000 units, which represents an increase of 87.1 percent from 2009.

"There's been a real swing in the industry," Anderson said. "Certainly two years ago we went through a very difficult time in the recreational vehicle industry as well as in the automotive industry here locally. But we've seen a tremendous upswing. Many of the manufacturers have opened all of their plants back up. They've hired all of their workers back. It's been a tremendous upswing in the recreational vehicle industry this year.

"Basically, what we feel is many people are looking at RVing as being a family friendly thing to do. And affordable thing to do, as opposed to hopping on an airplane and traveling across the country to stay in a condo somewhere or staying in a hotel. Frankly, with an RV, you have your hotel right in your driveway. And you know in an RV, you don't put your clothes in a suitcase, you put them in the closet in the RV, and a lot of people really like that idea."

The 21st Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show will be held at the Rock Financial Showplace and is open weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost for adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $8; senior admission is $7; children ages 12 and under are admitted free! Your RV show ticket will also get into the Fall Remodeling & Design Expo in adjacent area, Thursday through Sunday.

Call 517-349-8881 or visit for more information.

Fall Remodeling & Design Expo
Running simultaneously with the RV show at the Rock Financial Showplace is the Fall Remodeling & Design Expo, Oct. 7-10. One admission ticket will get you into both shows.

Anything and everything you need to remodel and design your home can be found under one roof. Browse exhibits in kitchen and bath interiors, windows and doors, flooring products, furniture, cabinetry and more. Talk to local home improvement specialists and designers to see the latest trends in indoor and outdoor design and get inspired.

A special “Green Lifestyles Area” will showcase the latest trends in incorporating the green lifestyle into your home. Special appearances will be made by “America’s Favorite Handyman” Glenn Haege, The Inside/Outside Guys and Murray Gula. Walk through a whimsical fall-themed home and garden scene, made entirely of balloons by the crew of Pabloon Balloon Company. Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan will be accepting nonperishable food and monetary donations at the show.

At the show, enter to win valuable giveaways, including:

· A Free Complete Roof  PLUS “Solar” Panel Package, which includes up to 2,000 square feet of shingles, lifetime workmanship warranty and a 1kw photovoltaic (solar) system connected to the energy grid, courtesy of Rapid Roofing. Two second place prizes of 2,000 square feet of shingles and 10 third place prizes of free insulation, gutter or shingle upgrades will be awarded. Total value for all prizes is $35,000.

· A deluxe 15-piece set of stainless steel cookware valued at $2,895 from Kitchen Craft by Americraft Cookware.

·  A full kitchen, stainless steel appliance giveaway, including an Energy Star refrigerator, dishwasher, stove and microwave by Whirlpool. Prize is awarded by Wholesale Builders Supply.

The Fall Remodeling & Design Expo, sponsored by the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan, is open weekdays 2-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The cost for adult admission (ages 13 and up) is $8; children ages 12 and under are admitted free! Seniors (ages 55 and over) are admitted for just $7. A coupon and more information is available at available on
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My family (wife and three kids, sometimes the dog) and I have been RV campers since 2007. We own a 2000 Trail-Lite B22 Bantam hybrid, our tow vehicle is a 2006 Trailblazer LT EXT (5.3 V8 with 3.73 Rear Axle Ratio), and our setup includes the Equalizer sway controller. Looking to upgrade the camper in the near future, but until then we get out 2-3 times a month in season.