Extract Junk, Inject Living
At this point, we have no idea when we'll make it to Florida to see what we've purchased, much less when we'll "move in." Another selling point for Port St. Lucie, however, was that we can technically make the drive in our motorhome on one tank of fuel, while stopping only for naps, meals, and to use the restroom in our own coach. Once there, we can easily quarantine in place if necessary, particularly if we stock up on necessities before hitting the road. We don't look at this as an end to full-time RVing. We would still rather be traveling and enjoying all of the sights, attractions, foods, and beverages this country has to offer, but it simply isn't a good time for that kind of living. We see this decision as a "pivot." We're going to make the best of a bad thing, and insure that our retirement continues to be enjoyable and rewarding no matter what is happening elsewhere in the world. We'll let you know how it all works out! Until then, be safe and stay positive.
Margaret and I are anything but impulsive or reckless. In fact, it could be argued that we are risk adverse. Nonetheless, we both woke up one morning a few weeks ago with the same foreboding feelings about the effects of COVID-19 on our lifestyle and happiness, and we decided to act. We'd been hoping the spread of the disease would slow enough that we'd feel comfortable traveling to take a better look at The Motorcoach Resort St. Lucie West in Florida, but if anything things were getting worse, and it seemed likely it would be well into the Fall (if not into 2021) before that was going to happen.
On the other hand, we "knew" a few things: 1, we wanted a comfortable place in a warm climate to spend our winters; 2, we wanted to own something that will give us a safe place to hunker down should States begin closing campgrounds again in the future;. 3, if we were to own property again, we would want it to be in a low tax state, and finally, we would it to have amenities, creature comforts, and the possibility of a lively social life (once that is possible again). We were also hearing from a lot of other full-time RVers who were thinking the same way, and we were beginning to hear rumblings from Realtor friends that properties in low-tax states were selling very quickly and that there were very few properties remaining on the market.
So, while we've been to Florida numerous times (and even considered buying a condo there years ago), we'd never been to Port St. Lucie specifically, and we'd only seen the Motorcoach Resort on YouTube videos and pictures, we decided it looked wonderful enough that it would be hard to go wrong and pretty much anything would be better than spending the winter in an area that—while incredibly beautiful—is simply too cold in the winter to allow for outdoor living (which any full-time RVer will tell you is pretty important when you live in a 300-square foot tin can). We poured over the listings of available lots and came to the conclusion that there was one lot in particular that we could both agree on based on the pictures and its location in the park. Twenty-four hours later, we had an offer accepted and we were in escrow on a piece of property we'd never visited and might not be able to visit for months.
On a more positive note, the resort has several pools and hot tubs, an 18-hole 3-par golf course, and the requisite pickle ball courts and sports facilities. Our particular lot as two tikis—one with an outdoor kitchen, and the other with a bar and entertainment area looking out over the golf course and one of the ponds. There are palm trees everywhere (something that always makes us feel like like we're on vacation), and from what we can see from the videos and pictures, there's a strong "happy hour" culture (which we enjoy). We figure that at the very least we can social distance in comfort while waiting for a vaccine or reliable treatment for COVID, and once it is safe to be in large groups again, we'll be surrounded by like-minded neighbors.
Just before closing escrow, the property owner contacted us to inquire whether we'd be interested in buying their golf cart as well. Oh well, we decided. Since we're writing checks, why not add that to the deal. We're now also the proud owners of a "lifted" golf cart which we're learning is the latest status symbol in resorts these days. Our little Thor Palazzo motorhome will be rubbing elbows with a lot of luxurious tag-axle behemoths while we're there, but we're willing to get him counseling if necessary to make sure he doesn't suffer any self-esteem issues as a result. I keep telling him that they simply mis-spelled Prevost when he was painted...that's all. ;-)