Pages From the Past

MotorHome magazine at 50 years

Retracing MotorHome’s July issues over the years

Fireworks. Like brilliant, multihued supernovas, they dominate the skyline this time of year. They are a symbol of our freedom, our independence and a way to celebrate our great country. But fireworks can also symbolize change, a departure from the norm that sends ripples throughout the community. So, it is only fitting that we celebrate MotorHome’s 50th anniversary as the No. 1 purveyor of such delightful explosions within the RV industry by examining the “fireworks” it has launched each July for the last half century.

Naturally, the first colorful salvos were sent flying with the inaugural issue; that such a publication could even be produced during a time when recreational trailering was king is a bit of a firework in itself.

The magazine flourished, and in the July 1974 issue, it announced the first ever Good Samboree, an unheralded gathering of Good Sam Club members in the Los Angeles, California, area.

Just two years later, the July ’76 issue trumpeted the creation of the GOOD SAMparks program, which would standardize the evaluations of campgrounds across the country, enabling apples-to-apples comparisons during pre-departure planning for RVers. That same issue called into question the state of run-down federal parks and campgrounds, pointing the finger at government in-fighting resulting in a disservice to the public.

The July ’77 issue, in response to a federal cry to decrease fuel consumption by 10 percent, featured “10 Ways to Save 10%,” detailing a handful of easy ways to reduce dependency on fuel.

In July 1980, Motorhome Life featured a special section on “Women in RVing,” adorning the cover with an illustration of the same. It should come as little surprise that the national attention the magazine was garnering would lead to it becoming a monthly publication just a couple years later.

Few things can illicit such discomfort as the words “Nuclear Radiation,” but we went there in the July 1990 issue, not for fearmongering but to educate, referring to the titular subject as “a natural phenomenon that’s part of our everyday lives both at home and on the road.” The conclusion that “Nuclear radiation is not nearly as mysterious, or as frightening, as it was only a few decades ago” is an anti-firework, so to speak, but MotorHome has never shied away from educating the readers in order to nurture a better understanding of hot-button issues.

The turn of the 21st century would continue the fireworks. The July 2002 issue included a feature on July Fourth displays by motorhome owners, and also tackled the controversial FeeDemo program that charges visitors entry fees to select public lands sites.

The July 2016 issue included a roundup of family-friendly Class C motorhomes, many featuring bunkhouses. Check out “A Lot of Bunk” on page 62 in this issue to see what two years of manufacturing progress will get you. July ’17 would offer “Motorhome Nomenclature,” detailing the true definitions of motorhome classes and taking aim at some confusing designations (Class B-plus and Super C’s) that are little more than manufacturer-invented extensions of existing classifications. Cue the dramatic music. …


 

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