RV show opens at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center

Jesse Tinsley photo

Ginny Tibbetts, left, of Spokane, admires the expansive interior of a Tiffin Phaeton motor home at the Inland Northwest RV Show at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center on Thursday. The luxury motor home features slide-outs on both sides, leather upholstery, a washer and dryer, 380-horsepower diesel engine and multiple flat-screen TVs.

January 25, 2013

The motor home is bigger than a lot of motel rooms and certainly better equipped.

It comes with a home theater system, a three-burner cooktop, convection oven and fireplace. The furniture, including recliners, is covered in leather.

At a cool $276,000, the Phaeton 42 LH is clearly one of the finest RVs on the road.

And at 42 feet, 6 inches in length, it’s so big that you might need driving lessons.

“That’s a significant vehicle,” said Peter Ice.

Ice was among hundreds of RV enthusiasts who turned out Thursday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center for the 25th annual Inland Northwest RV Show, which runs through Sunday.

John and Barbara Hoffman, of Dalton Gardens, stepped into the Phaeton for a look.

“This is just a dream,” John Hoffman said. He pointed out the twin rear axles, each with four tires. They are attached to a Freightliner chassis.

“When you see that you know you are looking at one of the more expensive ones,” he said.

The Hoffmans have been RV camping for five years, and like many others at the RV show they are becoming knowledgeable of the many varieties and features available. They said they are thinking of stepping up to a nicer RV, so the show is a good place to get ideas.

Ike Bailey, of Spokane, said he bought a 1997 Beaver motor home in the same class as the Phaeton.

He paid $18,000 and is spending another $22,000 to have it restored professionally. The engine is fairly new, with just 60,000 miles on it. His purchase won’t depreciate like a new motor home will, he said.

Choosing the right RV requires a lot of thought, he said. Cost and comfort are just two factors.

His Beaver, like the Phaeton, is powered with a diesel engine – “a diesel pusher” in the lingo of the RV world.

Diesel power gives the large motor home the torque it needs for climbing hills.

Bailey said that with a diesel, he can reliably get 12 miles per gallon.

“That motor will last you a million miles,” he said, but if you spend $60,000 or $80,000 on an RV, “you better use it.”

The Phaeton on display at the RV Show arrived at the RVs Northwest lot in Spokane Valley last November. The $330,000 suggested price is marked down for the show, said salesman Nik Datig.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in that unit,” he said.

One of the best features is the half-bath outside of the master bedroom, something that keeps other campers from traipsing through the bedroom, Datig said.

Attendance Thursday appeared to be strong, and Datig said Spokane may be following a national trend of increasing RV interest and sales.

Even though he is a salesman, he said he likes to listen to the folks who wander through. “They teach me stuff,” he said.

Steve Cody, one of the owners of the show, said he expected up to 1,600 people through the gate on Thursday and even more over the weekend. Total attendance could reach 12,000. He also said that 10 RVs were sold on Thursday.

“It was a good first day,” Cody said.

If you go

The RV Show at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center runs today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $7, cash only, and free for children 12 and younger accompanied by an adult.

On the Web: For more details, visit www.spokanervshow.com .

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