Tuesday, May 08, 2007

RV culture includes minivacations in maximized ‘camping’ vehicles

When Stephen C. Tonken hits the road, he doesn’t rough it.

On weekends, the Webster, MA, resident and his wife, Patricia, drive usually no more than 60 miles from home, park their fancy RV — with carpeting, air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV (with cable) — near a beach, lake or casino. And they relax.

“This isn’t camping,” said Mr. Tonken, 57, president of the Massachusetts chapter of the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers owners club.

For RVers, a devoted community of more than 8 million U.S. households who own what used to be called “motor homes” and are now commonly known as recreational vehicles (and to their owners, “rigs”), their lifestyle combines the comforts of home with the freedom of the road.

RV people refer to traditional campers, with some disdain, as “tenters.”

Instead of coping with mosquitoes, air mattresses and sleeping bags, the modern RV generation enjoys king-size beds, gas fireplaces, full bathrooms, Euro-style fixtures complete with full-size refrigerators and stoves, and even saunas.
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