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Envisioning life on the open road

September 23, 2018

If Kent Slater had his wish, he’d have taken home the big “red” RV right in the middle of the expo floor.

At 41 feet long, the Entegra Aspire model, built for a rock star, featured a 40-inch television in the living room area, granite floors, pull-out countertops and plenty of visitors Saturday at the RV Super Sale at Allen County Memorial Coliseum.

The three-day event, expected to draw about 2,000 people, ends today. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tickets cost 5 for veterans. Kids 12 and younger are free.

Slater of Sidney said he was happy with his pop-up camper, another RV type on sale at the expo, but in his dreams he’d own the $350,000 Aspire painted a gleaming burgundy and black.

Slater found out about the sale on Facebook. He came with his son, Nathan Slater, who lives in South Whitley and works for Forest River in Wakarusa, one of several Forest River RV manufacturing sites in northern Indiana.

“We just came up to look at everything they had to offer,” Nathan Slater said.

RV manufacturers, once the poster child for the 2008 U.S. financial collapse, can barely meet demand, said David Marquart, show manager with Advanced Expo in Indianapolis.

“Now they can’t keep up,” he said. “The difficulty is finding people, hiring people.”

This weekend’s expo sale precedes next week’s Open House held at RV manufacturers in Goshen and Elkhart. Next week, dealers from all over the nation will go to Goshen and Elkhart to order their 2019 units, Marquart said.

Marquart walked the floor over to the Aspire, describing it as “great for tailgating and pulling up to the game.”

People have taken to liquidating all their assets, purchasing something like the Aspire and living the RV life full time, Marquart said.

“They cruise around the country and see the world in these,” Marquart said.

Rick and Kim Sarchet of Lima, Ohio, are making plans as Rick gets ready to retire after Kim’s recent retirement.

“Do you buy a condo and have one place to go or do you buy an RV and have the whole country at your disposal?” Kim Sarchet asked. “We have friends (who’ve been) retired for several years who travel in a motor home and kind of planted a bug in us.”

The Sarchets plan to keep their home in Lima and when they’re back there for several months, the question is, “Where do we keep it?” Rick Sarchet said. Some people have purchased RV condos, another name for RV storage.

The Sarchets were looking at a smaller model, only because they plan to be on the road for three to four months during the winter.

There’s plenty of time to look and another Fort Wayne RV show coming up in a few months, just before Rick Sarchet’s retirement.

“The big RV show is every February,” Marquart said. “This is more like an end of the season, blowout sale.”

jduffy@jg.net

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