Out Hunting & Scouting


What do you do on a rainy day?  Go out reconnoitering! And that was just what we did on Wednesday.   And in the process we set a record for us in Texas — we actually made it a full 7 days on a single tank of gas!  Hooray!  And we fueled up today at $1.79/gal.

Our goal for the day?  Check out RV parks and Mobile Homes.

Please understand we are in no way interested in trading our RV on a mobile home.  But, considering that we have not looked at manufactured housing for stationary use in 42 years we decided that getting a little background for the future was a good thing.  Who knows if we might ever get to the point where we physically could not travel as we have been — and perhaps at that point something that stayed in one place might be a good option.

Neither are we upset with our RV park — but we owe it to ourselves to check on what else is available out there.  After all, there are some 500 parks in the Lower Rio Grande Valley — so say members of the RV Park members.  So….

We’ve done some online scouting but but pictures on a screen are a lot different from reaching out the window to see if your neighbor could refill your coffee cup, or whether you can smell the neighbor’s aftershave.

We have done the drive West from Harlingen a couple times but we’d never gotten as far as Mission — which is sort of the de facto end of the Rio Grande Valley Winter Texan enclave.  So, we hopped into the car and headed out for the day — in the rain.

Mobile Homes

We checked out two mobile home sales lots, for Palm Harbor Mobile Homes and Oak Creek Mobile Homes.  There were others nearby, one of which didn’t have much to show and the other just gave me the wrong vibe from the get-go so we didn’t spend any time there.

Quick takeaways:

  • In terms of manufacturing, both our coaches are/were constructed better than what we saw.
  • Buyers need to beware:  what is included in the ‘sale price’ varies greatly — some dealers include setup/air conditioning/skirting/delivery while others tack those on as added charges so finding comparable pricing can be difficult.
  • There are a lot of available designs but the most important parts of the mobile homes are the parts you cannot see — so research, copious questions, and actual proof of the answers are essential.

We aren’t serious about buying and after looking at a pretty wide range of mobile homes I question that we’d ever be interested in this solution.  Having said that:  “Never Say Never.”   Incapacity and necessity sometimes make liars of us all.

A few quick looks.

RV Parks

The most consistent comment we have heard from other longterm returning Palmdale residents is that they are here because of the lot sizes (bigger than average).  After that the pros have been that the other residents are pleasant, the park keeps the facilities (pool/hot tub, etc) in good shape, and it’s convenient to Brownsville, Padre Island and Harlingen — whereas the parks in the upper valley have their towns and services but they are all further from the Gulf, Padre Island and the beaches.

We checked out about 8 parks: both public and membership (ownership) parks.  In general the story about larger lots here at Palmdale is true.  We didn’t see any parks with lot sizes comparable. They all had their nice features:  certainly the roads in almost all the parks were in better shape — but then we know that is a project being worked on here this year — when it dries out — front end loaders, compactors and graders left here all testify that the claim is real, not just an empty promise.

We have said many times that we are not interested in owning bricks & sticks again.  Owning a site in an RV park is ‘different’ (no bricks or sticks) but not all that much different so we aren’t inclined in that direction.  You pay a sizable hunk of money up front, and then there have to be some sort of ongoing annual expenses but from what we saw of the required initial outlays they are all asking more than we are inclined to pop for at this point (or probably at any point in the future).  It’s not hard to see the appeal for many; but similarly it’s not hard for us to make up our mind quickly that none of the locations we saw were appealing to us at all. (With the exception of one that had mature fruit trees – orange, grapefruit, and lemon — but was otherwise unacceptable.

The rental parks varied greatly in their appeal.  When we compare the ones we saw today and with those in Port Isabel which all seemed to be too tight for our preference it still boils down to Palmdale being closer to our list of must haves than any of the others. Every place has it’s selling points and liabilities; finding one that agrees with your needs is just a matter of knowing what you want or need to be happy.

We met some interesting folks today.  People here really do delight me.  And I really do like this area.  As we were eating lunch Peggy was reminded of how much like France it can be to take a meal at a restaurant:  people are relaxed about being relaxed.  It’s not all that uncommon to have to ASK for your bill because a lot of folks like to linger at their table and the waitstaff seem to understand and condone that lifestyle.    The pace is relaxing.

That’s about it for now.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

P.S.:  This is the weekend for the Rio Grande Valley RV Show.

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4 Comments

  1. Are you going to the show? We are going to the show up here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Shari Galiardi and David Hutchison of Tales From a Mid-life Adventure are presenting, along with John Holod. Should be fun.

    Interesting post on your thought process regarding mobile homes/RVs and traditional/ownership RV parks. It’s basically the struggle of being tied down or free to move about. It is somewhat reminicient of the struggle between motorhome/5th wheel when first starting out. Thanks for posting!

    Like

    1. We will probably check out the show. As much to learn more about the RV’ing resources as anything else. We’re stilling learning our way around the Valley and trying to find what resources, suppliers, etc., might be down here. Having needed an RV repair source when we first arrived we were immediately made aware that this was a very different world.

      Some people might think it excessive to research choices we aren’t particularly interested in AT THAT MOMENT — but I really believe that it’s a smart thing to do to look ahead, not just at what you want for the moment. And there aren’t many couples who both pass away while still actively RV’ing from place to place. Most often one passes (often the guy) and the wife is left to re-make her life. Or, infirmity gets the best of one or both and RV’ing simply is no longer an option.

      When we sold the house we both agreed that we had no interest in owning property again, and that continues to be our view at this point. We also like our space but what we have seen at so many RV park is sardine can living — too many people in too little space. But we do not think like the majority.

      So many people seem to yearn for community — for card parties and pot luck dinners, and dancing and being entertained, and tours and clubs and golfing. We don’t need a lot of those things and we live a quiet life. So, the average/common/popular is probably not for us — but I”m not sure how serious we would be about volunteering either (quite yet)

      The question as I see it is not about being tied down or free — it’s a question of what one really WANTS for their retirement. I try to stay away from looking at things with that kind of negative connotation because (obviously) a lot of people CHOOSE those options and we don’t always know why.

      There’s a lovely couple here — Otis and Ann — who used to come down in a Class A Coach. But Otis has mobility problems and that was no longer an option. So this summer they sold the coach and bought a small pull-behind trailer. They were here when we arrived but thy were very unhappy that the trailer was as small as it turned out to be in real life. So, they went shopping and traded their new trailer on a different larger trailer. I’m sure it was an expensive mistake but it’s a happy ending and they are now enjoying a more convenient winter and they will year after year as long as they can make the trip. But I’m not sure how long that will be based on Otis’ mobility.

      That could be us in the future — or not. We just don’t know. But we are taking each place that we visit with just the same attitude, what would it be like to LIVE here. Sometimes we stay for 2 weeks, other times longer but we’re not in any hurry. And we ARE enjoying every stop along the way.
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a glorious day yesterday. Today should be the same. Everything has been better than up north! Just not what we had hoped for our first winter South. Still and all, we’ll take this over our other winters! Thanks for the positive vibrations!

      You still thinking of coming down? or not?

      Like

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