Saturday, April 23, 2011

Snowbirding in AZ 2011

We spent our first winter at a "55+ senior rv park" in Mesa Arizona.  In December while we were in Tucson we drove up to Phoenix to check out a few of these parks.  They are EVERYWHERE and all look pretty much the same.  The first one we looked at kind of freaked us out...it had about 65% "park models" which look like a double-wide trailer, activity rooms for everything imaginable, pools, jacuzzis, concerts, you name it - sounds good, right? Well, not to me - it just looked SCARY! I said to Bill, I'm just not sure I can do this! I'm not a "joiner", and am just a bit eccentric. And not only that, the majority of the people here were not even close to 55 - they were more like 70+. I turned 53 this February, but Bill's senior status of 60 could get us both in.  So off we went to see 5 more of these parks all within several miles of each other.  At our last park we were going to meet a couple I had connected with on the NuRVer's site. I had been following Karla and Eric's blog for a few months and they sounded like a fun couple who shared a lot of our interests.  They were retired and in their late 50's.  We ended up there late in the afternoon and were  greeted with cocktails and appies to our delight and much excitement from their adorable dog, Cora.  By this time we had gotten a little used to the senior parks and hanging out at Karla and Eric's rig, they actually started to seem palatable.  Eric took us on a little tour and told us that they had applied to workamp at the first park we had looked at. They were hoping to get a job bartending at the pool tiki bar two days a week.  I was just a bit bummed because I really didn't like that park & I was kind of hoping we could hang out with these folks this winter.  But then I started wondering if I didn't like that first park because it was just the first one I had seen and hadn't quite "bought into" the whole idea or if it really wasn't as good as some of the others we saw.  Anyway, neither of us us were ready to commit to a long-term stay at this point, so off we went to play in Quartzsite with our other NuRVer friends (see previous blog).


Because I am an accountant and work quite a bit during tax season I did want to find a place to stay for February and March and not be moving around. As we got closer and closer to February I was in a bit of a panic because there was no rv park that was calling my name.  We had put down a deposit on a place in Yuma for 2 months as a back-up but we really wanted to be in the Phoenix area.  Bill had lived there for 7 years and had a lot of friends he hadn't seen in about 10 years and they also have a hash there, so we would have lots of social opportunities.  One day we took a drive down to Yuma to check out the park there and it was nice but under a lot of construction with loud power tools, so not conducive to either of us working. During this time I had been chatting back and forth with Eric & Karla. They had gotten the tiki bar job at Valle del Oro (that first park) & another full-timing couple they knew was going to join them there.  I called the park and all they could give me was 2 weeks, they were that popular! Eric had assured me that once we were there it wasn't going to be a problem extending our stay as their friends had done just that. So with great trepidation we left Quartzsite and headed into the seniorville abiss........


AND.....we had a great time! Parked in a primo spot steps from the mailboxes, laundry room & great bathrooms. Daily floats in the 95 degree pool & hanging in the jacuzzi.


Bill's usual position at the end of a long hard day of work!


We didn't take advantage of most of the amenities, except for the gym, the driving range and the tiki bar, of course.
Bill hitting some balls


But it was fun hanging out with Eric & Karla & our new friends Sherry and Sharon from Maui. We hashed, introduced our friends Maria & Brian (from Quartzsite) to hashing and hit the golf course with them too - we had both been carrying around our golf clubs for 7 months - that's a lot of valuable space!




In Bill's spare time he made us a great bike rack, he later painted it navy to match Bebe












And we met up with quite a few of Bill's old friends - had so much fun we booked 3 months for next winter, officially becoming snowbirds.  Although secretly I am hoping to be in Mexico for the winter ;) - just not sure that is going to happen, as it depends on what is going on with our work and if we can find a caravan down there to travel with.    





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