This summer travel season will go down as one for the record books because RV sales soared to new heights this year.
Dealers across the metro are reporting double-digit gains, but they say it's really part of a national trend because a lot of people don't want to shell out thousands for a luxurious vacation they'll only have once. Instead, they're turning to an RV they can keep for years.
By mid-October, the RV season is usually winding down, but the Dahl family is gearing up for one more trip.
"For me, it's about comfort. It's about convenience, it's about all the things that make us American, right?" said Dave Dahl, a proud RV owner.
It's people like the Dahls who are helping the RV business rev up, and it's clear that parents with children are turning to the recreational vehicles for their vacations.
"We're seeing a lot of younger families," Mike Pearo, of Hilltop Trailer Sales. "It's not just retirees coming and buying a dream RV and taking long trips. It's lots of shorter, smaller weekend trips."
Despite high gas prices, sales continue to soar. At Niemeyer's RV Sales in Maple Grove, the owner saw sales jump 25 percent this year.
"Bottom line, RVing is still the most economical way to travel," said owner Tim Niemeyer.
Dealers say there's a model for every budget, and monthly payments start at around $100 bucks. With a kitchen and a bed on board, customers say there's no need for costly hotels and restaurants.
"It just gives me freedom to go where I want to go, and it's a cost-effective way to do it," Dahl said.