Feb 132016
 

We are a couple of months away from celebrating our 17th anniversary as fulltime RVers. That’s a lot of miles, and we have enjoyed every minute of it. And we look forward to seeing a lot more of this wonderful country of ours in the future.



However, nothing is forever. We know that sooner or later health issues, age, or something else will take most of us off the road. Maybe not next week or next month, or even next year. But eventually it’s going to happen.

After so many years of fulltiming, we are slowing down. We are in Florida now and looking at our options. We don’t plan to stop traveling anytime soon but we would like a place where we could sit still for a few months at a time, with the idea of it becoming “home” when we do eventually hang up the keys. So we are considering our options.

And we have a lot of options. We just haven’t decided which one is best for us. We have talked about buying an RV lot in a 55+ park where we can park the motorhome and recharge our batteries, get some writing and weaving done, and just relax. And eventually, maybe put a modular home on it. We have also talked about buying a modular already set up in a park. We don’t think we want a house, but we are not ruling anything out.

We do have some criteria that we hope to meet if and when we find a place. We want to be close to a beach. When I say close, I mean no more than a 30 minute drive at the most, and preferably closer. We realize something like that may be out of our price range, but who knows? We know that there are some very good deals in central Florida, but they are too far inland for us and are not something we will consider. We’re not willing to compromise that much.



Yesterday morning we left the campground early in the Explorer and drove 165 miles to Vero Beach, where we checked out three places that we have been looking at online. In case you’re not aware of it, looking at RV sites online is kind of like looking at online dating profiles. What looks beautiful on a computer screen may be completely different in real life. The first place we looked at was a co-op with mobile homes and RV sites, but it turned out to be very small and very dumpy. The second place was nice, but they don’t allow RVs, only modular homes, and there was no place to store an RV. It was also pretty expensive. The third place was somewhere between the two. It was a co-op and the buy-in was reasonable, but it was full of old mobile homes and the average age of the residents seemed to be upwards of 80 years old.

You know you’re in Florida when you have to slow down for an old geezer in his motorized cart driving down the road!

Vero Beach park scooter small

We also didn’t care for the traffic in Vero Beach. There was a lot of traffic! We went out to actually see the beach, but there was no room in the public parking lot and cars were circling watching for anybody to pull out so they could grab their spot. It kind of reminded me of a shopping mall on Black Friday. I finally gave up, figuring that if the parking lot was that busy, the beach was going to be crowded, too.

We like the Titusville area and we have looked at Willow Lakes RV Resort just north of there in Mims before. Deciding that Vero Beach was a bust for us, we then drove 90 miles north to check it out again. It’s a nice place, they have a ton of amenities, but the sites are really crowded together. That’s okay when you’re going to be spending a week or two at an RV park and moving on down the road, but I don’t want to live that way forever. We’ve also stayed at The Great Outdoors in Titusville a couple of times, and again it’s got every kind of amenity one could want. But it’s a little too rich for our blood.

Since we couldn’t find the place that would work for us, we did the next best thing. We went to Dixie Crossroads for dinner. This is probably our favorite seafood restaurant anywhere in the country, and we have been known to drive 50 miles or more just to go there for dinner. So how could we be right in Titusville and not go there? It was absolutely delicious, as always.

Then it was another 110 miles back to Sumpter Oaks. We got back to the motorhome a little after 8:30, worn out from our long day, but with full tummies.

So where does all of this leave us? Right back where we started. Well, no, not really. At least we have eliminated some places, and that’s progress of a sort. We’re in no hurry and have lots of time to look. Who knows? We may find our “forever place” somewhere this winter, or we may just keep right on fulltiming until we’re too feeble to get behind the wheel. That wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to anybody, right?

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Dog’s Run, my mystery novel set in a small town in Ohio in 1951. Many people tell me it’s my best book ever, and I have to agree. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

DogsRun_AudioCover_thumb.jpg

Thought For The Day There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. – Willa Cather

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Nick Russell

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  11 Responses to “Considering Our Options”

  1. I know you have your hearts set on Florida, but there are a lot of downsides to actually living there. I did it for 36 years – from age 6 to 42. Good weather and sparse populations are important to me, and neither of those items seem to prevail “East of the Pecos”.

    Maybe at some point, whatever one is accustomed to seems somehow “wrong”, and the search is on for something different. Thirty years ago, I happily traded Florida for California and Arizona. They are all “Sunshine” states, but I’ll stick with the western ones.

    It is good that there are so many possibilities and opinions, otherwise everyone would all be crammed into one state – not sure that would work.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

  2. I always thought , for us, it would be the Oregon Coast. I miss it a lot. But I don’t miss the winter. We still travel there most summers, staying at state parks. We are originally from the L.A. area , near the ocean. We looked everywhere as we travelled and ended up in St George, Utah. Who’d a thought??it meets all of our criteria in the winter and in the summer we still travel. Chance favors a prepared mind, have fun finding your future.
    Mary

  3. The problem with buying a place in an RV park you’d always going to be close to your neighbor unfortunately
    The other problem is the high lot lease rent that you’re going to find if you do not own the land ( in a lot of cases can’t lease it out while you’re not there )
    On the same token when you do own the land how high is your lot HOA going to charge you and what is included and what is not
    If you own your own land your taxes are going to be about as much as you would pay going out to dinner another word real cheap if you lease your land you only pay the taxes on the unit not the land (that’s why you see the stickers on the front windows)( that’s way they’re considered a portable unit and taxes accordingly like your car )
    I wish I know that you were coming up the 95 flyway I would’ve invited you to get off at the Cocoa exit and take 10 minutes to stop in at Forest Lakes ( The cross streets are 95 and 520 w on the lake
    This time a year they’re not many people selling their units but there are some units one of them is a pad that I believe is 39,000 there’s a 55,000 and $60,000 unit on the lake and $86,000 unit on the lake as well
    It is an older park but you own your own lot HOA now has gone up from 60 to $70 per
    month you’re responsible for your yard maintenance
    my taxes with homestead exemption is $250 a year
    Cocoa beach is about 18 minutes east of us but you have to buy a parking sticker or utilize a parking meter or you can go to Cape Canaveral just up the road for free parking did I say free is good
    You can go anywhere in Cape Canaveral to fish or any beach to fish or you can go to the St. Johns River to the west of us and fishing if you like or you can fish in your lake if you were a resident ( I hope you noticed I did not say Indian river or mosquito Lagoon )( because of Kennedy space Center and the lack of fresh salt water moving in there it,s heavily polluted )( do diligence research on both of those bodies of water from the EPA )
    If there is something in the proximity to me that I can help you with or check out and give you a rough idea feel free to let me know
    I will repost to your alternate email address

  4. We liked Crystal River and stayed at Lake Rousseau RV park. Both rv’s and park models. On a beautiful lake and just about 1/2 hour from Tiger Tail beach. Good shopping and restaurants both in CR and Homassas.

  5. I know you weren’t impressed with the RGV, but you might want to reconsider and check our Brownsville, Harlingen, etc close to SPI where they just had their 3 day Kite Festival. This year the weather here has been GREAT and nicer than FL so far as I can tell based on national weather.
    Park Occupancies are currently DOWN (for several years now) in the RGV so LOTS of inexpensive lots and properties are around.
    We’ve been to Mesa AZ, Lakeland FL and we like the RGV best as its much less congested and expensive than those.

  6. I hear you when you say that TGO was a bit pricy, but Bev and I just picked up an RV lot there that is unimproved (concrete pad with small shed) for $42.5k. We thought it was reasonable for a really nice lot with plenty of room and a view of some water (if you crane your neck). 8^)

  7. Sorry, Charles Howard, but the RGV weather has never been consistently warmer and nicer than SW Florida. It does have a day here and there with warmer temperatures, but the winds are usually horrendous. That’s why you don’t find picnic tables at so many of the campgrounds, and awnings, if out, always have multiple straps holding them down. The main appeal of the RGV is it’s proximity to the western half of the continent, and price — a concern for many snowbirds.
    We came to Imperial Bonita Estates in Bonita Springs, FL, when age and physical health became factors. We eventually bought a mobile home. We are in a Co-op amidst double wides, and even some park models. We own a $35K share of the resort. Owners can store their RV’s, boats, trailers, etc. for $5 per month. Maintenance takes cares of the streets and collects the garbage and recyclables. We have between 80 and 85 activities. We are five miles from the ocean. Our expenses are for water, sewer, TV, and telephone the same as you would have anywhere. The big difference is our monthly maintenance fee. $113.
    We began RVing in 1986. We were full-timers for awhile. We’ve stayed in most of the areas being discussed. Florida is not always the most expensive state. It is the best if your idea of retirement is to be able to sit outside under an umbrella with a book in one hand and a cold drink in the other.

  8. Nick and Terry,

    We would recommend The Space Coast RV Resort in Rockledge. It is about a 20 minutes from Cocoa Beach. Six years ago, we wintered there with our Rv and loved the area. Since my stroke we have purchased a home in Melbourne.

    We found the RV park to be spacious, very clean, medium size with a few amenities like a pool. The short drive to the ocean, Merritt Island, historic Cocoa and historic Melbourne sold us on the area. Unfortunately others have felt the same way and there does seem to be more traffic. If the north continues to have these deep freezes, more people will be moving into the area.

    Just a suggestion as another place to check out. Hopefully you remain healthy so you can continue to travel. We would miss your blog!!

    Clairese and Ray

  9. We have fallen in love with the Treasure Coast! The Stuart Florida area in particular. But there aren’t very many campgrounds here. Perhaps a few of us should band together, buy some land and build one! If you build it, they will come….

  10. Vero Beach is not that bad–probably right now it is at it worse. Spent over 10 yrs. in the area. You should have driven down A1A & headed for Sebastian Inlet–beautiful area and the beaches are not that crowded except the 1st one. We usually went to Sebastian Inlet State Park beach (free parking)==nice seafood restaurant there-New England Eatery. We chose not to move there because all our family is in N.E. & we are getting old.

  11. We just bought in Willow Lakes in November. If ever you want some views from someone who did purchase here and is very happy with that purchase, just give us a holler

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