Leisure Industry: Not Your Dad's RV

Seeking togetherness and wary of flying, active families find that today's slick recreational vehicles are just the ticket. Their sales are surging

Clarence Thomas--yes, that Clarence Thomas--loves to hit the road in what he calls his "condo on wheels." Shaquille O'Neal bought his own mobile McMansion last summer, a 37-ft. Fleetwood Discovery, and he didn't even need to supersize it. And in January, after finishing his second term as Governor of Maine, Angus King set out with his family on a five-month cross-country odyssey in his big Newmar Dutch Star, which in place of a rearview mirror has a dashboard video screen hooked up to an aft-mounted camera.

Recreational-vehicle sales are booming, and the appeal of RVs is much broader than in their...

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