As one might expect, some massive, well-appointed recreational vehicles glistened at the 60th annual Kansas Sports, Boat and Travel Show on Saturday.
What really caught Helen Lenagar’s eye in the Sam Fulco Pavilion off 85th Street North were some of the smaller, shapelier RV trailers.
They are aerodynamic, teardrop-shaped trailers, big enough to sleep two and maybe the dog, but small enough to be towed by more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“We just came here to look, and these things are really sharp,” Lenagar said. “They’re catching everybody’s eyes.”
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According to a sales brochure, the diminutive trailers are inspired by the “classic teardrop camper trailer of the 1940s.”
Lenagar, 69, and her husband, Gregg, 66, used to have a large RV. “We didn’t use it that much,” Gregg Lenagar said.
Eighty percent of Wichitans don’t have or want a vehicle big enough to pull some of the larger RV trailers, said Bill Ledgerwood, president of Flint Hills RV.
So the smaller teardrop trailers, which have many of the features that bigger trailers do, are attracting buyers, Ledgerwood said.
He has been in the RV business for about 40 years, and right now “it’s booming,” he said.
And the boom comes in large part from baby boomers.
“Traveling seems to be pretty high on their list,” he said.
The Lenagars have friends who sold their home to hit the road in an RV.
One of the little teardrop trailers that drew Lenagar was priced at about $13,000. Inside, it sleeps two. It has an air conditioner, exhaust fan, flat-screen TV and stereo radio. At the back, you open a hatch that provides a curved roof over the kitchen space, which includes a two-burner stove, refrigerator and sink. There are power and water outlets.
The trailer will fit in a garage.
It’s more secure than a tent, with doors that can be locked, Ledgerwood said.
A star-gazing window can be installed.
For several thousand dollars more, you can get a trailer that puts everything inside, including the kitchen, flanked by a table and booth. A small shower/toilet stall sits to the side, behind a door.
For tens of thousands more, you can get a spacious RV, with cabinetry and features that mimic what you might have in your new house.
If you want a luxurious ride in a vehicle designed to seat seven in the back and two up front, Mike Stevens of Sprinter of Wichita was offering a shiny black Mercedes. The model is called the Sprinter. He calls it a limousine or executive coach. The price: $145,000.
It comes with a massive sliding side door, leather recliners, two flat-screen TVs and a satellite dish.
It would be the ideal tailgate vehicle, Stevens said, with an area in the back that could be equipped for a bar.
The show continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.