Monaco Coach Corporation Goes Miniature
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111, and Playing Mantis, a leading die-cast manufacturer, have teamed up to give anyone with an extra $10 the chance to purchase their very own highline motorhome — albeit quite a bit smaller.
Beginning last September, miniature replicas of Holiday Rambler Navigator, Monaco Executive, Beaver Marquis, and Safari Zanzibar motorhomes have been available under the Johnny Lightning logo, a popular brand of collectibles.
The idea to make miniatures of these motorhome models came from Holiday Rambler engineers Ed Mahin and Ron Nunemaker, both avid die-cast collectors. From there, Monaco Coach Corporation engineers worked with designers at Johnny Lightning, providing technical specifications, photographs, and other information, to make sure the die-casts were as accurate as possible. The finished replicas include full body paint, eight rubber tires, air-conditioning units, solar panels, tiny plastic side mirrors, and a rear ladder.
Jim Mac, director of marketing with Monaco Coach Corporation, said early sales of the miniature motorhomes have been very good. And it’s quite possible that new models will be featured in 2004. Those interested in purchasing one of more of these replicas can call (800) 249-5440 or visit www.monaco-online.com/store.
KOA Survey Indicates Fuel Price Hikes Won’t Stop Most Campers
Rising prices at fuel pumps around the United States won’t stop most campers from enjoying their favorite leisure activity, according to a survey by Kampgrounds of America (KOA), C456.
The survey, conducted in late February through the company’s KOA Kompass electronic newsletter, asked campers: “Will the threat of higher fuel prices influence your camping plans for this year?”
The survey found that more than 60 percent of the 2,670 respondents said higher fuel prices would not alter their camping plans. Approximately 27 percent said higher fuel costs would affect their plans, while 12 percent said they were uncertain.
In an effort to bring some perspective to higher fuel prices, Kampgrounds of America is providing a free Fuel Cost Estimator at its Web site, www.koa.com. This calculating tool computes the increase in fuel costs for a particular trip, or in a given month or year.
To use the calculator, enter the current price of fuel per gallon; the anticipated cost of fuel per gallon; your vehicle’s average mileage; and the expected length (in miles) of your trip. Click the “Calculate” button and the estimator provides the total cost of fuel at the current price; the total cost of fuel at the anticipated price; the difference in total fuel cost caused by the increase; and the difference in total fuel cost per mile.
“When you look at what an increase of a few cents actually adds to the cost of an entire trip, it puts fuel price increases in perspective,” said KOA’s president and CEO Jim Rogers. “No one likes to pay more for fuel, but when weighed against the benefits of time with family and friends in a peaceful campground setting, it’s worth the slight extra cost. We were glad to see that most campers agree with us.”
RVers can sign up to receive the free KOA Kompass electronic newsletter and try out the free Fuel Cost Estimator at www.koa.com.
RV Shows Draw Crowds Throughout The Country
Through the first part of 2003, recreation vehicle retail consumer shows have packed in crowds of eager shoppers and have broken several attendance records, according to show promoters across the United States.
Record attendance figures were reported at numerous retail shows nationwide. Three shows recorded the best crowds they’ve seen since the late 1990s: DeLand, Florida (up 87 percent); Peoria, Illinois (up 80 percent); and Ocala, Florida (up 16 percent). Other RV shows that set attendance records included those in Fort Worth, Texas (up 30 percent from last year); Chantilly, Virginia/metro Washington, D.C. (up 20 percent); Hartford, Connecticut (up 17 percent); Denver, Colorado (up 11 percent); Fort Myers, Florida (up 8 percent); Quincy, Illinois (up 12 percent); New Windsor, New York (up 10 percent) and Rosemont, Illinois/metro Chicago (up 7 percent).
Shows in Indianapolis, Indiana; Fort Washington, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri; Pontiac, Michigan; Edison, New Jersey; Battle Creek, Michigan; Salem, Oregon; Sioux City, Iowa; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Dallas, Texas, also drew larger crowds than last year.
Officials believe a significant number of consumers attending RV shows — including many first-time buyers — see RV vacations as a more convenient, flexible, and economical way to travel. Falling loan interest rates, the desire to travel closer to home, and the booming popularity of RV travel are viewed as other factors that have attracted more consumers onto show floors this season.
“It’s not surprising that more and more families are checking out local RV shows, especially in today’s travel climate,” said David Humphreys, president of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “These hometown events give consumers a firsthand opportunity to see how RVing offers freedom, flexibility, and control over their own vacations, with all the amenities and comforts of home right on board.”
Show officials across the country say the larger turnouts have translated into booming sales. Based on final figures from the 36th New Jersey Trailer and Camping Show, held January 15 through 17, 2003, at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, event organizer Jim McLaughlin agreed. “Exhibitors did very well,” he said. “Traffic was brisk. Sales were up and through the roof. Our 18 dealers sold over 220 units at the show.”
Dozens of RV shows are scheduled to take place this summer and fall. For a listing of remaining 2003 RV shows, visit www.rvia.org/rvshows.
RVIA is the national association representing nearly 500 manufacturers and component suppliers that produce approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.
The Milepost Celebrates 55 Years With Original Edition Reprint, Favorite Stories
Editors of The Milepost, which has helped guide travelers from the United States border through Canada and Alaska for the past 55 years, are giving readers several special bonuses this year to help celebrate the guidebook’s anniversary.
Those who purchase the 2003 edition of the 768-page reference book will receive a souvenir reprint of the original 1949 edition of The Milepost. Although only 72 pages, this diminutive souvenir booklet contains highway logs, maps, and detailed information about the route, starting from Milepost 0 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and going all the way through Milepost 1523 in Fairbanks, Alaska, the northern terminus of the Alaska Highway. It offers a fun way to compare the past with the present. The booklet (with a cover price of $1 when first published) tried to dispel many myths about traveling to Alaska, gave advice on the best time of year to travel north, and told what items to bring.
Also this year, The Milepost collected a list of 55 favorite travel experiences from the guide’s staff of field editors, the people who drive all the miles described in the reference book. The company will share this list on its Web site, www.themilepost.com. Topics will range from finding the best views to discovering the ultimate hamburger along the Dalton Highway.
The 2003 edition of The Milepost ($25.95, Morris Communications Company) provides maps and up-to-date route information for the major highways throughout northwestern Canada and Alaska. Readers also will find special sections on major attractions and features about interesting places to visit or things to do. This year’s guide also includes a pull-out Plan-A-Trip Map for those who will be traveling in this part of North America. The guide is available at major bookstores; through online booksellers; by calling (800) 726-4707; or by visiting www.themilepost.com.