Petrol-guzzling RV sales are up, thanks to an increasing number of retirees and cheap petrol. I'll admit that living in an RV never made much sense to me. And now, thanks to a recent New York Times story about RV communities, I'm even more bewildered.
Apparently, more and more baby boomers have been choosing to move themselves into luxury RVs and then parking those luxury RVs in high-end, gated, motor home communities. Here's how the Times describes the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort:
The resort has a terra-cotta-roofed clubhouse, five pools, two hot tubs, a fitness center, tennis courts, twice-weekly water aerobics classes and a nine-hole putting course — all at the center of a maze of 407 lots where owners and renters park R.V.s that can cost more than $US2 ($3) million.
Exclusivity has its perks. Refuges like the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort offer owners a superior experience to go along with their fancier vehicles. The rules are strict: Renters' coaches are carefully inspected before they are allowed through the gates.
"Essentially what those resorts are typically trying to do is create a look and feel," said Kevin Broom, the director of media relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. "It's supposed to create a more luxurious style and luxurious place."
The story highlights one couple who, in the middle of renovating their house, abandoned the project altogether and set up shop in an RV in the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort instead. Later on, they added "an outdoor barbecue and bar, an expansive roofed living space and a large storage cabinet that also houses a washer and dryer."
Correct me if I am wrong, but is that not what a trailer park is? Because that's not a new idea. Even it it's some sort of "luxury" trailer park. But the attitude of the other motor home inhabitants who were interviewed felt like this kind of living situation was something new and novel that they discovered.
They gushed about not having to shop for furniture anymore, delighting in buying food in "reasonable amounts" and not missing "the big house, all the bedrooms, the stairs and the maintenance... This can be cleaned in 30 minutes."
How much furniture is someone buying that it becomes a chore? Who still can't buy "reasonable amounts" of food? And if the house is too big to maintain, what's wrong with living in a smaller house? Stairs? Ranch-style houses are a thing, you know.
These do not seem like real problems!
Many owners here also have traditional homes, or travel and rent their pads for much of the year. Donald G. Jones, who built his fortune in radio and cable networks in the Midwest, sold his homes in Wisconsin and his condo in Scottsdale, Ariz., to spend much of the year visiting his eight children and 12 grandchildren around the country.
"We have a high-rise condo in central Mexico, but we have no home in the U.S.," Mr. Jones said, on a leather couch in a 13.72m Newell motor home he owns with his wife, Nieves, who was born in Mexico. "I love to say that. I'm free of the burden. And I'll tell you something else we don't have — and it's just wonderful — you don't have a mailbox."
But it's not like these people are willing to give up the luxury aspect of their lives. Hell no. They still want to hold onto that, just without the house. Per the Times:
But what the residents here do have is a haven, offering the same kinds of luxuries and standards they would hope to find in an upscale community while letting them maintain the freedom of movement they hold dear.
Of course, it's also unclear what sort of property taxes these RV inhabitants are subject to.
[h/t to Bret and Nosrat Whipple!]