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Points To Consider When, Selecting An RV Home Base

By Ron Dingee #59338

For hundreds of reasons, Americans are retiring earlier than ever. While some stay in their brick-and-mortar stick houses to become more involved in their communities, churches and social clubs, others have stepped out to enjoy the freedom and adventure of full-time RVing.

Yet, while traveling around the country following the sun is an amazing way to live, going from one RV park to another, you may find yourself desiring to find a home base among other RVers, a place to hunker down during the cold winter months, a place to rest and recharge your batteries, clean up and plan to head out again.

There are places where you can buy a site within an RV park, and there are places where you can rent. Then there are membership parks where you only own a membership, not property (no taxes and residency issues that come with ownership). Then there are membership plans where you have access to many parks around the country for a few weeks at nominal cost. Each plan has advantages and disadvantages. It all depends upon what you want and what fits your needs.

The decision to find an RV home base can be a complicated one, as there are many things to consider. Here’s a short checklist of the major considerations to help organize your thoughts. Perhaps, some things you might not have even thought of.

Personal Considerations

• Do you want to be close to family?
• Do you need medical services within a reasonable distance?
• Do you need VA (Veterans Affairs) medical services within a reasonable distance?
• Do you want to own, rent or have a membership?
• How many months will you be on the road vs home base?
• Do you prefer a member- or privately owned community?

Choosing a Location

• What environment would you prefer? (ocean, mountain, lake, forest, desert, near large city or remote)
• What’s the year-round weather?
• Where’s the shopping? (near, far, good roads, malls)
• Is there cell phone service with your carrier?
• Is high-speed Internet service available?
• Are there opportunities for exploration?
• Are there entertainment opportunities in the area?
• Is the area quiet or near local annoyances? 
• Are there cultural/sports activities nearby?
• Are there large cities or airports nearby?
• Is the area safe or near a high crime area?

Choosing a Community

• Is the facility financially secure?
• Is the size of the community cost efficient?
• Do they have a strong reserve fund?
• Does the facility have good management?
• Do the members have any say in the operation of the facility?
• What’s the annual cost considering how much time you’d be spending there?
• Would there be taxes to pay?
• What’s the character of the community? (old, young, active, friendly, welcoming) 
• Are there cultural/social activities in the park?
• Are your special interests covered and are they available in the facility?
• Are sites roomy or lined up side by side?
• What site modifications are allowed?
• Is there a place for storage? 
• Might there be an opportunity to volunteer your skills, experience and/or education?
• Does the facility have organized activities, dinners, excursions, dancing, music?
• Are there organized sport activities?
• Are there exercise facilities and activities?
• Are tools available for member usage? (garden, auto, RV maintenance)
• Is there an area on site for wood or metal-working and vehicle maintenance?
• Are there laundry, bathroom and shower facilities conveniently located nearby?
• Are the roads paved?
• Do they have dependable utilities (water, electric, sewer)

My wife, Evelyn, and I chose Jojoba Hills Resort SKP Co-Op, an active 55+ RV resort and Escapees park in Southern California. It is located about 75 miles northeast of San Diego and 105 miles SE from Los Angeles. It is a membership park with a buy-in that is returned to you when you leave (when a new member takes over your membership). In addition, there’s a monthly maintenance fee ($253 in 2014), which includes water, sewage, trash pick-up, cable TV, phone and access to all amenities. High-speed Internet service is available. You can visit online at www.jojobahills.com for more information. If you’re in the area, stop by this winter.

There are many wonderful places to choose from, so take time to carefully consider all your needs. 

Author

Ron Dingee

Ron Dingee, DMD, MPH, practiced dentistry in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, for almost 25 years during which time he volunteered his skills in Latin America, Mexico, Haiti, Zaire and Thailand as a medical missionary. In 1991, he and his wife, Evelyn, sold their home and the dental practice to go to Bangkok, Thailand, to co-manage the Bangkok Christian Guest House for four years. Ron and Evelyn now divide their time between western Pennsylvania and the Jojoba Hills SKP Resort in Southern California. Visit rondingee.com for information on Ron’s two books, Missionary Memories and Nanna (or How to Eat an Elephant).

One Response to “Points To Consider When, Selecting An RV Home Base

  • I didn’t know there are places where you can buy a site within an RV park, and there are places where you can rent. I guess I just thought that they were all rent. I think especially if you had a place where you bought a site for your RV it would be important to have someone who can service it nearby so that you would know where to go if something went wrong. Thanks for the tips on what to consider when choosing an RV home base.

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