Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Working and Planning (Patagonia, AZ)

We begin our first work week today at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve. Yep, back to work.  Well, sort of...we maintain some records, clean up, help visitors, sell passes and items from the office.  You know, just sort of keep an eye out for things to be done.  Not too hard.
Our new home is in a field near the Visitors Center and it is very dark.  A great place to see the stars.  Last night around 9:30pm while feeding the cats, Dusty, our gentle giant started to growl which made Max growl.  Suddenly, all the cats were on alert!  We used flashlights and our motorhome's docking lights (spotlights for parking in the dark), but we did not see or hear anything.  We think we got our first visit from a Javelina or wild pigs.  It took the cats some time to settle down.  They never did eat their food before we went to bed.

Anyway, Dan has sent out an explanation as to why we are looking into finding our future home.  So, without further Adieu!  Heeeeere's Dan!!!

Several people have been curious about the posts we made on our blog about the Escapees co-ops we are visiting, and how they work.

All full time RVers should have an exit plan for coming off the road for age, illness, or desire, We have had a rough plan in mind for a while, and are now firming up our exit plan. As with everything else RV related, we may change our plans, or modify them at some later date.

Our long term plan is to remain in an RV, but when the time comes to get off the road, park the RV at a SKP co-op. Escapee (SKP) co-ops are RV parks affiliated with the Escapees RV club (designed for full timers who RV 365 days a year).

Corner lot
We will buy in (lease) a lot in a SKP co-op before the time to get off the road permanently, and use it as a home-base in the meantime, perhaps staying several months a year. We want one not in a city, but near good shopping, 'maybe' a military base somewhat nearby, a VA hospital or clinic is an upside, decent medical and dental care nearby, and maybe even an assisted living facility nearby. Some freezing nights is OK, and an occasional light dusting of snow, but with decent daytime temps to walk or be outside.

The people in the co-op purchase a life time lease on a lot, and then all lease holders jointly own and operate the park, with member elected boards for decision making. They have nice community centers, community activities, and keep a clean and well operated park. The cost of the lease varies park to park, plus the cost of authorized 'improvements' on the lots such as a casita, storage shed, cement pads, etc. The co-op members help keep the park up to reduce cost of hired help.

When we buy a lifetime lease, we can sell it back early, or if we die our kids can sell the lease back. When finished with the lease, the entire lease cost is returned back to us. The only long term cost is annual maintenance fees, which pay for the community roads, community shared space and buildings/utilities.
The annual maintenance fee includes water, sewer, usually cable tv, usually wifi in at least the community center, garbage, weed control, and more. The only cost to us once we 'own' a lot is electric, propane, and the annual maintenance fee which varies park to park and year to year. Benson was $1,000 last year, so after buying the lease about $100 per month, plus our own electric and propane use.
Benson, AZ - Casita
If we travel, we can at our option, place our lot in the rental pool for other Escapees who are not co-op lease holders to rent while we are gone. The rental pool splits the proceeds, approx 1/4 to the park for overhead, approx 3/4 split by everyone in the rental pool. So overall, after an up front cost of a low of 3,000 for a bare lot in Hondo TX, to a bare lot in Benson AZ for $10,000, to a lot with a very nice Casita in a popular location perhaps $25,000 to $50,000, then thereafter $100 a month average, minus any rental proceeds we earn when we travel. (only the lot rents out, not the Casita  itself which will be locked up).

So bottom line, that is our long term plan, for a low cost way to have a home base, and a landing place when we cannot or do not want to travel either temporarily, or long term.

Benson AZ has the longest waiting list, currently around 7 years. That works for us as we want to travel right now anyway, and cannot tap our 401Ks without penalty for another 4.5 years. We put down a $500 deposit (refundable if we change our minds) to get on the list at Benson AZ Saguaro Co-op. We are number 374.
Benson, AZ - Casita
We plan to travel many more years, don't think we want the trouble of a deeded house again, and have no desire to rent. A SKP co-op gives us a community of like minded folks, a community center on site, and the opportunity to travel without worrying about our "home/homestead" as the co-op looks after it in our absence. When we are no longer capable of living in a co-op we would also be incapable of living in a house, and it will be time for an assisted living facility. A list of all the SKP co-ops and locations: http://www.escapees.com/baseco_op.asp

We still have yet to visit the Yuma AZ, Pahrump NV, Wauchula FL, or 2 California co-ops, and we want to re-visit and re-evaluate the Summerdale Oregon co-op. If we change our minds as we visit more co-ops next calendar year, we can get our $500 Benson AZ deposit back, losing only the additional $20 handling fee.

Thus far this year we visited the Lone Star Coral co-op in Hondo TX, The Ranch in Lakewood NM, Rovers Roost in Casa Grande AZ, Saguaro in Benson AZ, and 2 years ago Evergreen Coho in Chimacum WA, and Timber Valley in Sutherlin OR. Our favorites so far are Saguaro, The Ranch, and Timber Valley. FL is not a player for us, so we will skip that co-op. The Ranch is a nice friendly park, and nearby Artesia NM is pretty nice - however the co-op is out of town a good ways. The Ranch had lots available right now - no wait.

We don't recall the Oregon park very well as we were not in the market for a co-op at the time, so we plan to revisit as it this coming summer as a potential area for us. The WA co-op is not an area we are interested in. It is in the NW peninsula of WA, fairly remote, and with limited roads in and out, plus the ferry system. We doubt Yuma AZ will work for us either as we want a year around weather capable park and Yuma may be too hot in summer. For us, 'light snow' and 'a few' freeze temp nights are more acceptable than extreme heat in summer.

So in a nutshell, that is our current long term plan.


  1. Your black kitty looks just like my wubber kitty!

    I love kitty pictures! They always make me smile!

    (I'm following you from Karma Bloggers)

  2. Very interesting info on the co-ops. Nice photos too!

  3. I've never heard that term used before (SKP). There is an RV Resort (well, several of them actually) in Florida on the Space Coast near where I live. What a way to live - traveling all around, seeing so many beautiful things. One day I hope to do the same!

  4. Funny cat pictures!
    Also, my aunt and uncle go RV'ing and are currently on their way to Arizona for the upcoming holiday. I hope to be able to do that one day when my kids are grown!

  5. Thanks for stopping by and following me, That Shelly Girl. That's a good name for a boneless cat - wubber cat! LOL! Good one!

  6. Thanks ArtisianAllUnwound! I never knew about the co-ops until we started traveling.

  7. Co-ops are new to me. What a great idea they are! I enjoy reading about your RV travels and your cat photos are hilarious!

  8. Thanks SibStudio! I'm so glad you enjoy my stories and the cat photos. Lol cats is always makes me laugh.

  9. Fun kitty images! I had to google Javelina to see what they looked like - what strange creatures!! ^.^


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