Apr 29

RV Vacation: Explore Montana with the Comforts of Home

by Dillon Kato

With spring already here and summer coming up quickly, Montanans are getting ready to hit the highway in their RVs.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, Gardner’s RV in Kalispell is seeing a lot of people bringing in their vehicles to get them road ready.

“A lot of people are bringing their unit in to make sure there are no frozen lines, check out the appliances and systems, pack the wheel bearings,” said sales manager Shawn Bergeson.

Gardner’s also does RV rentals, and Bergeson said one of the most popular destinations is heading up to Glacier Park for a few days.

“There’s plenty of RV campgrounds in the surrounding area, some of them even let you book online,” he said.

Bergeson said one of the biggest changes in RVs in recent years is the introduction of small, front wheel drive models, which make it easier to use an RV longer into the season, even when roads are snowy or icy.

In addition to the normal mechanical checks at the start of the season, there are also concerns specific to having stored an RV outdoors in Montana. Dustin Bretz, co-owner and manager of Bretz RV and Marine in Billings, said chief among these are inspecting the roof for damage or stress from the weight of snow and ice if the vehicle was uncovered. Bretz said one common way some of the company’s older customers use an RV is buying one after retirement.

“We’ve had people who made a list of places they’ve always wanted to see, then put their house into property management for a few years to travel,” he said. Many of them travel shortly after retirement in order to enjoy the trip while they are still very healthy, he said. They also use the trip to visit grandchildren that might be spread across the country or even scope out places they might eventually decide to move to later on.

“There are very affordable options. You can buy new for as low as $10,000, or spend as much as $500,000 and get features like heated floors and marble countertops,” Bretz said.

Kelsie Frederickson of Bozeman’s Big Sky RV said they see a lot of interest in RVs in Montana during the summer months from older people she refers to as “snowbirds,” who head south during the winter.

“Obviously, in Montana, our nicest warm weather can be a pretty small window. We get a lot of people in the summer, who stay in the state until the weather starts to turn,” Frederickson said.

Big Sky RV posts reminders in the shop and also online via social media in the spring and the fall, reminding people of routine tasks to accomplish both at the start and end of the RVing season. The company also offers winterizing packages on some of their models to help a potential RV vacationer extend the season without sacrificing comfort or reliability.

Frederickson said RVing appeals to people who like to travel, but don’t want to leave the comforts of home behind.

“You get your own stuff, your own pillows and blankets. You’re more comfortable,” she said.

RVing can also be a less expensive vacation option in the long run. “If you stay in a hotel, that could be $200 a night, not including the cost of getting there. With an RV, it’s a reusable vacation, you don’t have to worry about making reservations and booking rooms,” Frederickson said.

One couple recently came into Big Sky RV after flying to the United States from their home in Europe. “They bought a trailer from us and went on a trip around the country to see America. When they were finished, they came back, we bought it back and they flew home,” Frederickson said.

No comments yet.

Add a comment