So Cleveland has a gigantic indoor center for conventions – so large it has a Ferris Wheel, which you can actually miss seeing within the IX center’s vast expanse.
Which means when they park five hundred RVs in there, you’ve got room to wander.
And the RV show is our favorite attraction of the year, because it’s this wonderful tension: people want to have their home with them, but they’ve also got to drive this fershlugginer thing, and also afford it. And the designers have to make each one unique enough that someone else will buy this RV over the 200 others with the exact same dimensions.
So there’s a lot of people trying to do a lot with a 20″x8″ room. Bumpouts have become standard, where you have a portion of the room on extensible hydraulics that slides out to one side. You’ve got attempts to make RVs into two-floor monstrosities that can still fit under a bridge, usually by giving you a claustrophobically flattened upper floor. And you’ve got chandeliers, and fireplaces, and mantelpieces….
But anyway! I documented this extravaganza so that you could see it! First, we have the ridiculously stupid blurry video I took to intro this (trust me, the rest of the videos are better-quality):
And then, just to sample what the lower-end RVs look like that can be videoed, here’s the $17,000 RV. (There are $10,000 RVs, but you can’t really get good footage inside of them because there’s only about five feet to move around in.)
But even small RVs often come with big amenities – as you can see, this RV has a second floor, a ceiling fan, a walk-in shower, and fine woodworking:
And fireplaces and wall-mounted TVs are basically de rigeur now:
Along with some other unique extras:
Aaaand, of course, THE STAIRCASE (which is slightly unusual, as most of these have ladders and not staircases):
But if you wanna see a $50,000 RV, which is not quite top-of-the-line but definitely upscale, then you get this.
Realize, however, that both the $17k and the $50k are towed RVs, so you have to pay not just for the RV itself, but for the truck to drive it around, which is usually another $50k or so. Also, RVs have pretty much zero resale value, deteriorating by 60% the second you drive it off the lot, and you’re lucky if you get an RV that lasts for ten years without repairs so big you might as well buy another RV – so you really have to view this as an expense if you’re planning on driving around.
(Although every bank plan assumes you’ll be taking out a 20-year loan. I wouldn’t.)
Now, every year at the RV show brings a couple of weird extras that eventually become commonplace. When we started going, fireplaces were something rare enough to “ooh” and “aah” over; now they’re just part of even the lowest-scale models. (They’re technically space heaters with a fireplace cover, but still.) Then big-screen TVs. There’s an RV arms race, and it gets better every year.
Gini and I couldn’t decide which of this year’s two major additions were more ludicrous: the drop-down front porch:
Or the walk-in closet (which, yes, in an RV is still big enough to walk into):
And if you think the walk-in closet isn’t that big, you’re not used to RV crunches, where everything is tiny. This won our personal “smallest sink” award, but it’s not that much smaller than a lot of sinks in the RVs:
Though if you want the quote-unquote “big” models, you gotta go to the “Class A” models, which are the ones you don’t hook up to a car. Those get pricey quick, because the chassis to carry these things get ridiculous – and they also subtly encourage drunk driving:
But if you wanna see the $120,000 version, well, here it is:
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.