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After years of popping up a tent for camping trips, Tom Carlson of West Covina, Calif., is ready for an RV.

But as it turns out, the years of “tenting-it” may have been worth the wait for Carlson, who with his son Alexander walked among mobile giants on Tuesday (Aug. 18) next to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

McMahon’s RV — a large RV dealer based in Irvine — is currently holding its second RV show and blow-out sale, an event that runs through Sunday, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 

That attracted Carlson and his son.

“Everybody’s looking for a good deal,” said Carlson, as his son browsed the inside of a trailer. “And nowadays, with the way the economy is …”

The way the economy is has created a market for buyers, who by 11 a.m. at the lot adjacent to the Rose Bowl began trickling in for the 10-day sale, which started Aug. 13.

Families looking to take a year off of work and roam the country meandered among 40-plus-foot motorhomes. Others looked for more modest trailers. The dealer was even offering “clunker” deals.

It helped that prices were completely slashed. Many of the 200 or so motorhomes and trailers on the lot were repossessions or liquidated inventory that McMahon’s bought up and put back on the market at greatly reduced prices.

In the midst of recession, well known companies such as Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. and Monaco Coach Corp. filed for bankruptcy had to liquidate, and McMahon’s swooped in to pickup the inventory. All told, RVs from about 17 manufacturers were on the lot.

And salesmen were looking to make some deals.

One RV – a Providence Class A – would have sold for $280,000 last year. But this year it’s going for $130,000, one of the salesmen said. While foot traffic to the event is slow during the week, the weekends have been busy, owner Brent McMahon said.

And he and others say they are seeing signs of life in the RV market, which has been hit hard during what is now a year-and-half-long recession. By December, sales of RVs had decreased more than 50% compared to the year before.

But salesman Dennis Hickman said the market is beginning to reset itself, and customers are beginning to come back, as the market begins to make its way up from the bottom.

One sign is that customers are beginning to buy more expensive motorhomes instead of trailers, salesmen said.

“It’s been tough, just like any industry,” McMahon said. “People are going to put off their dreams for only so long.”

The event continues until Aug. 23.