Monday, November 09, 2009

55+ Resort

We are parked for two months at Valle del Oro, a 1760 space 55+ Resort in Mesa, Arizona. We never expected to spend this much time in one place, if we weren’t volunteering somewhere. But we did want to be in Arizona and didn’t have any specific sightseeing plans. When we learned about Cal-Am’s sale (Cal-Am is based in Costa Mesa, California, and owns seven resorts here in the Phoenix area) we decided to take advantage. They offered three months—October 1 to January 5—for the price of $795. Of course, water, sewer and electric are extra, but 96 nights for $795 is only $8.28 a night—better than full hookups at a Corps of Engineers park at half price for seniors. We didn’t arrive in Mesa until Oct. 26. Even then, we will be parked here for 67 days at a cost of $11.86 a day.

What is really surprising is we are enjoying it. This is a view of our trailer, looking down a row of Park Model homes.

What are they? They are small mobile homes, maybe 34 ft long by 12 feet wide, that are pulled in on wheels, then set up on blocks and attached to the utilities. A covered car port is usually built and many people add what is called an “Arizona Room.” It amounts to a family room, attached to the original structure. The same lots used for the park model homes are also used for RVs, like ours.

Our trailer front door faces the south, so we are in full sun all day. The good news is, we have only had one day of wind since we arrived. Almost the entire summer, we had wind every day and have rarely been able to use our awning. Although it doesn’t give us enough shade to sit out there, it does help keep the trailer cool.

On the north side of the trailer, we have shade. We put our chairs there, where we are surrounded by citrus trees.

There are grapefruit trees and lemon trees. Even when the fruit looks ripe, it is still hard. I wonder if any of it will be ripe enough to eat before we leave here.

When you drive around the Phoenix area, wherever you see large concentrations of palm trees, you know you are approaching either a 55+ resort or a shopping mall.

And what do 55+ resorts offer? There is a swimming pool, shuffle board and tennis courts, a softball field, exercise room, sewing room, computer room, wood shop, “lost wax casting” room, lapidary room, and numerous activities. We probably won’t participate in many activities. We aren’t traveling to spend lots of time with people. We have signed up for the Thanksgiving Day dinner. And we check out the information on the hikes to get ideas for our own—private—hikes. These resort activities are the main reason a lot of people come here, I think. That just isn’t our way of life.

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