Home TIPS Retirement Home: House On Wheels Or Not?
Retirement Home: House On Wheels Or Not? PDF Print E-mail

Senior Guest Editor MJL, Tombstone AZ: We’re happily retired now in a snug desert home, surrounded by tall Saguaro cactus and other seniors. Except for the Old West amusement park downtown, there’s not much change of scenery. But at our advanced age age, that lifestyle fits us just right.

A few years ago, when my working days were ending, we considered buying an RV. Not one of those cramped little campers, but a truck-sized luxury home on wheels. We wanted to travel, and having our comfortable home along with us was a fun idea at the time. We had seen examples of this style of living when visiting California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, national parks and beach communities. It seemed all RVers had to do was drive right in, find designated parking areas and hook up the electricity and plumbing.

Then, it was just a few steps to swim, surf, climb a mountain, fling a fishing line, try your luck at a casino or just relax in the sun. It all seemed so inviting, and we seriously considered it.

When I retired, with our kids all grown up and gone, we sold our home in the cold, clammy Northeast and drove to the dry, sunny desert Southwest. We rented an apartment, then went shopping for the ideal home on wheels.

At the high end were those on bus chasis, typical luxury for rock stars and rich retirees. Some had private compartments, dining areas, washer/dryers, lounges, kitchens and several bathrooms. Prices ranged from $200,000 on up.

The less costly were camper vans with a small sleeping/couch area, teeny bathroom and teenier kitchen. Some had pop-up roofs and slide-out sides to make them larger and more comfortable when parked. They were priced from $40,000 on up to $100,000.

To help us decide, we rented a medium-sized camper for a three-hour drive to Las Vegas. We found an RV place just off The Strip to park and hook-up. It was  $50 a night, and the total cost, including gas, for the four-day trip was $350. It was cheaper than flying to Vegas. When we did it that way, it totalled $1,000, involving air fares, airport parking, taxi fares and a hotel room.

After trying out the RV retirement life, we eventually bought a home in an Arizona senior community. We don’t need to drive or fly to Vegas. We’re satisfied with four upscale Native American casino/hotels all within a 30-minute drive of our sunny desert home.

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