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January 24, 2006

This year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Good Sam Club, we will be sending you a feature each month reflecting on how things were when the Good Sam Club began in 1966 and how they've changed throughout the years. This month we are looking at how RVs have changed.

To view this press release via the Internet, simply click on the link below or copy and paste to your browser:

To download a copy of the Good Sam Club 40 Years of RVing logo, please go to the end of the text copy of the release for a link to that logo.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Julie Calzone
Calzone & Associates
337.235.2924 ext. 3
337.237.0556 (fax)
The Good Sam Club, is the world's largest recreational vehicle (RV) owners' organization with nearly 1 million member families. Founded in 1966, the Club offers its members a wide variety of services, including RV insurance, extended warranty on RVs (the Continued Service Plan), Emergency Road Service, RV financing, a Good Sam Credit Card and Life & Health Insurance, as well as discounts at parks, campgrounds and RV events. Good Sam members also receive a subscription to Highways, the Club's popular RV travel magazine. The Club also represents more than 2,000 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Extremely committed to its RV members as well as to the environment, the Club is the founder of the annual National Cleanup Day program and an advocate of public land access, Adopt-A-Highway programs and Adopt-A-Park programs, to name a few. The Good Sam Club is headquartered in Ventura, California, and is a subsidiary of the Affinity Group, Inc.

January 24, 2006

THEN & NOW - Celebrating 40 Years of RVing

This year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Good Sam Club, we will be sending you a feature each month reflecting on how things were when the Good Sam Club began in 1966 and how they've changed throughout the years. This month we are looking at how RVs have changed.

(Ventura, Calif.) - In 1966 the RV market was revolutionized and interest swelled in the RV lifestyle, bringing it to the forefront of American culture. Similar to the way Henry Ford's mass-produced automobiles altered the American landscape; Winnebago Industries Inc. changed the way America's working families vacationed.

It was the same year the Good Sam Club was formed, and Winnebago produced the first assembly-line-built motorhome. The 19-foot assembly-line-produced Winnebago cost around $6,000 - about half the price of customized motorhomes of the era - and, for the first time, motorhome ownership became affordable to the average family.

This new advancement in RV manufacturing certainly brought an increase in enthusiasm for the RV lifestyle, but the idea of traveling the open road had long been familiar to Americans as travel trailers, like the Airstream, had been popular for decades.

Although both travel trailer and motorhome manufacturers of the mid and late '60s worked to make travel more comfortable and convenient and continued to seek better ways to create a homelike environment, the early models were modest when compared to today's RVs.

Forty years ago, RVers had few choices when it came to purchasing and outfitting an RV. Not only has the selection of RV types increased to include Class A, B and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth-wheels, truck campers, toy haulers and pop-ups, but the myriad of RV options and accessories now available can be dizzying.

As consumers have become more sophisticated and demanding throughout the decades, RV manufacturers have responded with a range of amenities that continue to raise the standard of RV travel.

Manufacturers continue to focus on improving aerodynamic design and performance, but the most dramatic changes in RV living are just that - the RV living space. Today's RVs offer such creature comforts as king-size beds, central heat and air conditioning, full baths with showers, gourmet kitchen appliances, washers and dryers, basements and garages and state-of-the-art media centers.

RVs have kept up with the breakneck pace of technology by including navigational systems, satellite video and audio systems, computer stations and closed-circuit cameras to aid in backing up units up to 40-feet long - more than double the length of the 1966 Winnebago.

And when limits on RV length were placed on manufacturers, they looked at other ways to increase living space: they made RVs wider. Arguably the most important innovation in RVs has been the slideout-room feature. While some scoffed at the first electronic slideout-room expansions in the 1990s and dismissed it as a passing fad, the slideout's staying power has proven otherwise.

Single slides, dual slides, triple slides and even quadra slides significantly expand the living space with the simple touch of a button. With the added space and comfort, people have become more willing to spend longer periods of time in their motorhomes; and the number of full-time RVers has continued to climb.

Although RV innovations have changed dramatically during the past 40 years, the attractions to the RV lifestyle have stayed the same: a taste for adventure, experiencing new places, spending time with friends and family and enjoying nature. Today RVers continue to savor those simple pleasures - but do so in unmatched luxury, style and space.

Coming in February: RV parks - THEN & NOW.

Sue Bray, Executive Director/Good Sam Club
800.765.1912, ext. 440;

Julie Calzone, CEO/Calzone & Associates
337.235.2924, ext. 3;

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