As we near the end of our fourth year fulltime Rving we are always on the hunt for where we might want to settle down once we give up the full timing gig that we are so enjoying. With that in mind one of the states we have grown quite fond of is Arizona. I have always been a desert person and feel the most beautiful desert in the United States is the Sonoran Desert found throughout the state of Arizona.
We really have no idea what we want to do as an exit strategy but one possible scenario is living in an active adult community. We do know that whatever we do after RV’ing we plan to remain very active. It made sense that since we are in the middle of one of the retirement meccas (the other being Florida) we thought we might explore some of the retirement communities nearby. Besides our legs needed some recuperating from the grueling hike up Camelback Mountain.
After an online search we found the Robson Community web site. They have several retirement communities in the USA and since they have one in west Phoenix (near Goodyear) and one in nearby (more remote) Eloy, Arizona we decided to check these two places out. As an extra bonus they both offer a free lunch along with the tour of their resorts and because they are both a good hour drive each way we felt the free lunch sort of paid for our gas there and back.
The first one we visited is called Pebble Creek which is an extremely large retirement community. We were told they have nearly 6,000 homes built and that nearly 60% of the resident’s that live there are permanent residents. This would be a factor if we planned to make it our permanent home.
The second one we visited was near Casa Grande in the smaller town of Eloy, Arizona. This is a much newer and more remote retirement community and as a result the residents are mostly seasonal. Even when fully built it will have only 4,000 homes but my guess is that would take another 20 or more years as this area is more rural and thus will appeal to fewer people.
At Pebble Creek, residents enjoy world class amenities including a 40,000 square-foot Country Club. There are two championship golf courses along with activity and craft spaces that will have something to offer to just about anyone's desires. Add their resort outdoor pool and spa, indoor lap pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor courts for tennis, pickleball and even a softball field all located on the premises there really isn’t anything we could think of lacking at this large community. Visits to the nearby White Tank Mountains with their local hiking and biking clubs, allow plenty to do outside the community as well.
Amenities in Robson Ranch are comparable but on a smaller and slightly less grandiose manner. They too have a golf course, resort style indoor and outdoor pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, a softball field, along with a recently opened creative arts center and clubhouse. In fact the day we scheduled our tour at the Ranch they were hosting the grand opening of the creative arts center and clubhouse. Our sales agent, Steve Jones, gave us tickets to a 50’s tribute (the 56 band) band playing that afternoon. They had the best bass guitarist I had ever seen. That kid was so energetic and fun to watch… As the Old Fat Man says we had too much fun! Steve was a great host and understood our motivation for visiting. He gave a very thorough tour without any heavy sales pressure which made the visit all the more enjoyable.
Our thoughts were that although Pebble Creek is more elegant and closer to big city amenities it is also maybe a bit too large for our tastes and it is priced on the upper end of what I plan to spend on our next home. Robson Ranch is considerably newer with fewer people. This is both good and bad… good in that we could get to know the residents better and bad in that we may encounter fewer people with similar likes and dislikes. We do both like the more rural setting that Robson Ranch had to offer and their homes were more within our price range. If interested in this Resort we would highly recommend you visit with him.
Having lived in 440 square feet for the past four years most of the homes in both communities are simply too large for our future needs. Both of these locations have recently begun to build what they call Lock and Leave Villas. They are designed more for seasonal residents and are much smaller. Our favorite units were of the villa type and our very favorite was one of the villas that was less than 1300 square feet (still a large place to us now). HOA fees are higher for the villa (about $375 per month) but included hazard insurance, exterior room and paint and landscaping making it easy to leave the area during the very hot summers for an escape to the cooler mountains.
While we are not ready to quit RV’ing anytime soon this was certainly enlightening as we toured what could be our future home…