Week 170 - RV Ownership RV Parks Photo Collection - 11-15-2009

Howdy from Home,

This week we present our Ownership RV Parks Collection.  We have lived in the Mothership for 3 1/2 years.  We have met hundreds of full time RV travelers.  Most started off as we did traveling often and visiting many or all of the United States.  Some have been doing this for 20 years without returning to a house. Most, however, after a few years, stop traveling to multiple destinations every month. Instead, they develop a routine of living at two or maybe three places enjoying the travel between those locations.

So where do they live?  Maybe they still own a house, usually in the Northern USA or Canada. Then their routine is to spend half a year at home and half a year in the warmer southern states.  These are the RV Snowbirds.  Many just rent their same RV spaces every year.  We join one such group each year in Hemet, CA at Golden Village Palms.  They play sand volleyball every morning for a couple of hours and it is just delightful. After the winter months, they travel back home. We stay a few weeks waiting for other states to warm up.

Other RVer's purchase a lot in an ownership park.  They own the lot year round and will stay for part of the year.  When we stop traveling so frequently, we might buy a lot somewhere, but where? When we visited Las Vegas in May of 2006 we stayed at the Outdoor Resorts Las Vegas, now Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort (LVMR).  After staying at dozens of parks prior to LVMR, we were blown away by the luxury in Vegas.  A typical, decent RV park costs around $30-35 per day.  We have averaged under $20 per day.  LVMR in May 2006 was $65 per day.  But it was worth it, take a look.

The park is landscaped to the max. It has 5 swim pools and 9 spas, and a huge clubhouse. 

People come here to do what?  Visit Vegas.  Since we don't really care for Vegas, it was fun, but we wouldn't want to live here. However, as we had no knowledge of ownership parks, we asked to meet with a salesman.  Pete said to Ellen, "Suppose the lot cost, let's say $10,000.00.  You would have a place to stay when you wanted.  When not there, they will rent it out for you and you get 50% or $32 a day.  If rented often enough, it would pay your lot mortgage.  Then came the sticker shock.  In 2006 these lots were selling for $180,000.00.  And you must pay the property taxes and the HOA monthly fees of $350.00. Cha-ching, no sale!  These lots are purchased and are yours to sell or pass on to your descendants.   Like any real estate, these lots were increasing in value until 2006/2007.  Hey, maybe you can get on now for less than $180.000.00! [July average high temperature is 104].

Okay, what about Havasu RV Resort in Lake Havasu City.  A much smaller park with a small single pool and spa and far less common ground landscaping.  But the sites are very nice.  Note that a typical ownership park sells you a 40 x 70 foot lot with a 20 x 50 foot concrete pad with utilities installed.  The rest is up to you.  Leave it as is or add any of the allowed amenities, such as a pergola (covering) or a casita (shed).  You will have to get them approved and they will have to match in decor with the rest of the owners.  In many cases you must hire an approved contractor to build them for you.  Okay, Lake Havasu could be nice with Colorado River nearby, but way too hot in the summer. [July average high is 108].

Check out Vacation Station RV Park in Ludington, Michigan.  We received a five day free stay to visit their park.  Funny thing is, they never gave us a tour, so we know nothing of them except that we enjoyed the freebie.  The facilities at this park were minimal, but you do have Lake Michigan within a few miles.  The lake has boating, fishing and sandy beaches. If you live in Michigan, this is a nice park, but it is too cold in the winter.  In fact, you are not allowed to leave your motorhome here in the winter.  Also note that ownership parks have restrictions on the RVs that may be parked there.  The rules are in place to keep the property values up.  They do not want the park to become a "trailer park" with all of its associated connotations. [January average high is 29].

The Escapees RV Club has some variations on the ownership theme.  Below is the Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama.  You must be an Escapees member to stay at their parks.  Annual membership is $60.00. Many parks associated, but not owned by the Escapees, offer a 15% (or more) percent discount.  We stayed at Rainbow Plantation in 2007 for $14 per night with 50 amps, water and sewer. They have a large clubhouse, swim pool and laundry.  This property was originally purchased and divided into the RV park and purchased lots.  The funds from the purchase of the lots was used to build the RV park. There are also lease lots available for full time living.

1) The clubhouse.  2,3,4) These are houses built on the purchased lots.

The buildings can be a simple pad, RV port or RV ports built into the homes. [Average highs vary from 61 to 91, but then there's that humidity].

The Escapees also have Co-op parks.  Jojoba Hills in Aguanga, CA (17 miles east of Temecula) is the top rated co-op park for the Escapees.  2) The second photo taken from the southern mountains shows two parks.  In the valley in the foreground is the Outdoor Resorts Rancho California, also an ownership park.  We have stayed at the Rancho California but have no photos (they have a fabulous church within their resort).  Jojoba Hills in the in the background up on the foothills. 

The facilities at Jojoba Hills are top notch.  Pickleball played daily, a large pool, two spas, tennis court, three billiard tables, book and video rental (50 cents) library, RV storage, horseshoes, shuffleboard, card game room, fitness center and a large club house.  Here is how full timers invest in Jojoba Hills.  First, you place a $2,100 deposit (2007) to get on the list to purchase a membership.  When a membership comes available (takes around 2 to 3 years), you purchase it for an additional $24,038 (2007).  You move in and pay a monthly fee of about $200 (2007) plus your electricity bill.  Okay, so you move in and enjoy it for as many years as you want, then what?  Then you sell your membership for $26,038 and move on.  The sale is guaranteed and you lived for peanuts per month.  And the people here are so nice! [Temperatures parallel Paso Robles].

Like the desert, you'll love Pahrump!  Neveda's Treasure is an amazing resort in Pahrump (northeast of Las Vegas).  The lobby is four star and  rest of the facilities match it.

The lots are varied.  Our rental lot was fully landscaped with boulders, palms, a Tiki hut umbrella and chairs.  There are multiple pools, spas and waterfalls.

1) Boulder bordered lot. 2) This section is perfect for RV clubs with dozens of back-in sites in this row.  3,4) Shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce ball, putting green . . .

bowling alley, restaurant and the best fitness area we have encountered anywhere across the nation.  Dozens of high end exercise machines, many with headphone equipped TVs; men and womens spas, steam rooms, saunas and lounges; all oak locker rooms.  The small restaurant, on our visit, had a five start chef, Mark.  The food was fabulous and reasonably priced.  Mark would take your order early in the day and have it ready at your specified time or even deliver it to your RV.  We did not take a sales tour, but the current website states that lots start at $55,000.00. [July average high is 100].

Over at Virginia Beach, the Outdoor Resorts sits on a quiet cove off the Atlantic Ocean.  Nice in its hay day, it could use a little more maintenance. [Average highs vary from 49 to 87, but humidity will once again be a factor].

Still if you want to live right on the water, this could be your home.  As in other ownership parks, you will pay your mortgage, HOA fees, utilities and property tax.

Over in the Northwest in Blanchard, Idaho is StoneRidge RV and Golf.  1) Our Atascadero neighbors, Ben and Sid have a lot here.  Theirs has been enhanced while 2) we visited on an undeveloped lot.  The lots in this development are the largest, by far, of those we have visited.

1) Ben and Sid's patio, casita and pergola. 2) Other occupied lots; there are many lots for sale. 3) Pool, spa and fitness room. 4) Clubhouse lounge, kitchen and laundry.

StoneRidge is different than any other ownership park we have been to.  On the property is the RV park, houses, condos and timeshares.  It's crowning feature is the 18-hole golf course. There are also tennis courts, pickleball courts, high quality miniature golf, restaurant and pro shop, indoor pool and spa.  This resort is a summer time location, it gets too cold be be here for the majority of the year. [Jan average high is 33].

Another previous Outdoor Resorts is Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort in Newport, Oregon. 1) Situated on a bluff over the Pacific Ocean, the views are spectacular.  2) Our good friends John and Gloria's site is  pictured below.  John and Gloria spend summers here and winters in Florida.

Sites here vary mostly in the view.  The park has all the amenities: indoor pool and spa, billiards, clubhouse, laundry and game room.  A small golf chipping course is in the park and golf courses are near by.  As Oregon will do, the weather varied from warm sunshine one day to a covering of fog the next.  This also is a summer time resort as the winter ocean weather in Oregon can be very volatile. [Temperatures are also moderate. Highs vary from 51 to 66.  We find the high highs, quite low!].

And you thought we were done!  Here is the mother of all ownership parks.  And the highest price to buy and live.  We have stayed twice for a few days each and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But you won't average under $20 a night staying here.  We paid $82 per night for a water-front lot.

It is hard to find a square inch here that is not landscaped.  The builders started with a flat parcel and carved a mile and half of waterways.  They piled the dirt up in the middle of the park and built a five-star restaurant.  A bare lot here is gorgeous and costs from $99,000 to $300,000 (2007).  But most owners spend another $100,000 or more upgrading their lots.

1) The 5-star restaurant 2) View of the entry from the restaurant 3) Bridges allow the golfers to get around their pond filled course.

1) A row of undeveloped sites. 2) This is the back end of two sites. 3) A site on the water  4) A site where the standard concrete pad was replaced by brick pavers.

1) The site below is along the back wall and has a completely private fenced backyard.  2) It is hard to tell where this site's private spa ends and the water way begins.  Oh yeah, to rent or own here you must have a 30-foot or longer, well maintained, Class A motorhome.  No fifth wheels, trailers or campers.  Okay, we have a 44-foot Class A, but no, we won't be moving here.  In 2006 there was one developed lot being resold for $565,000.00.  Nice!  [January average high is 71 nice! July average is 107].

If you are not on photo overload, here is our last park, Ozarks Luxury RV Resort. This is the second ownership park we ever visited and we fell in love with it.  The park sits on a knoll facing Table Rock Lake in Arkansas.  Every RV site here has a view of the lake. Motorhomes and 5th wheels are allowed. The owners here are the most outgoing we have met.  And that says a lot, as all RV folks are friendly. 1) The clubhouse  2) pool , spa and tennis courts. Yes, they have pickleball here.

The current golf course is 9 holes and will be 18 holes when all phases of the park are completed.  But golf is not a huge activity here.  This resort is 20 miles from Branson, Missouri and you can get there by various mountain roads or water.  Activities here are motorcycle rides, boat rides, fishing and fellowship.  They have Texas Hold'em nights, game nights, video nights, potlucks, wine and cheese night all organized for all owners and guests.  Then of course, people invite you over everyday.

1) Ellen stands at the back to a lot that was offered for $57,000 in 2006. 2) The original swim pool is a few steps from this lot.  3) Pastor Teddy's church is right next door to the park. 4) Kevin gets ready to lead the bikers on a ride.

1) Paul and Cara's lot.  2) The covered boat dock is top notch, with electric boat lifts and power and storage bins for each boat.  3) Coming back from lunch at a lakeside restaurant. 4) An evening with Paul, Cara and Kevin.  [Average highs range from 43 to 88, humidity can be high as well].

So that was only a sampling of the ownership parks available across the United States.  Where might we end up? Not sure, but a new park was coming to North County; the Paso Robles Motorcoach Resort.  Interestingly enough, right here in our own backyard will be one of only a few parks that we would find tolerable year round.  Yes, it is little cool to be in an RV in the winter and you will need the air on high for several weeks in the summer.  But you could live here comfortably throughout the year. [Sadly, the developers gave us on this ownership park and sold to a daily rental park Cava Robles.]

Anyway, we have time to think about it, as we are not yet done exploring.  Hmmm, where in the world will the Mattson's be next?

Until next week,

Love, Pete and Ellen
Photos from Apr 2006 to Oct 2007

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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