Escapees and Visit With Karen and Sherie

2/2/13 Saturday at Benson, AZ (Valley Vista RV-PPA)

This morning we figured out our change in schedule: We’ll add 3 nights here by staying at St. David for free (they’ll try to sell their campground membership) in a Western Horizons resort. Then Deming, NM for 3 nights, a rest area near Sierra Blanca, TX for 1 night and 1 week at Marathon, TX-our base to see Big Bend National Park.

After that, we went to the nearby Escapees Co-Op (adult only) to explore what their system is all about. This park (Saguaro) is so nice. The whole place is so neat, lots of activities at the clubhouse, ways to donate and lots of encouragement to volunteer.

An Escapee Co-Op is an independent nonprofit corporation where people can purchase their lot to park their RV (for Saguaro the lot buy in is $9,246 + improvements like casitas – small buildings that can have anything except a bedroom, built by the a prior owner. If you want to be such an owner you can have your name put on the “hot” list by giving the Co-Op $500 earnest money. You’ll need to look on line to see if any are available, then call during certain hours to let them know you are interested. Some people have been on this list for years. Once you find you can buy a lot you can get on a “wish” list for a better lot. Meanwhile, you can rent your lot (with casita) out for, $280/month plus taxes. When you’ve put your lot in the rental pool for at least 16 nights, you are eligible to receive some of that income-towards maintenance dues. Your taxes will be something like $75/year.

People not interested in purchasing a lot can rent by the day ($15-$18/night), by the week or by the month. They can dry camp for $5/night. No reservations – call before you come.

Each Co-Op is unique in what the lot costs and other charges, as well as how it’s run. It is a Co-Op, so everyone has some obligations to the Co-Op. There are 11 Co-Ops throughout the country.

There are 4 Rainbow and 4 ERPU Parks. The ERPU (Escapees Rainbow Parks Unlimited) program is an alternative to deeded lots and lets members “purchase” a five year lease with renewal options. Lease purchase ranges from $10,000 to $14,000 with annual maintenance fees ranging from $500 to $750. Upon termination, the lease purchase fee is refunded. While there is no ownership of the lot that might allow for equity appreciation, you always get your investment back except for the annual maintenance fees. They also have non-ERPU sites for traveling Escapees. All offer rentals by the day, week or month, as well as dry camping.

Plus they have 1,000 campgrounds with Escapee discounts from 15% to 50%.

Check them out at www.escapees.com. Each Co-Op, Rainbow and ERPU park has its own website.

PLUS a great mail forwarding service, local chapters, common interest groups, rallies, HOPS (take you to theme-related events like balloon fiestas, music festivals) and a forum (free to nonmembers).

It looks like a great deal for $5/month membership dues. ($70 first year, includes enrollment fee).

As you can see, John and I are thinking about this club. It’s great for true full-timers who need a permanent base. I feel you get more quality for less quantity, with the right price, plus the option for a long term “snow bird” base when we get tired of running around the country.

This was a gorgeous, blue sky 70’s kind of day, so just perfect for sharing food and travel experiences with our friends, Karen and Sherie (I took care of their cat at Mt. Vernon) and Karen and Pete (from New York – so funny!) all afternoon, until about 8 pm. Then home for Gonzaga basketball. That was quite a game. Our guys struggled to keep ahead, getting 9 points over them a few times, then it got really close at the end (nail biter), but we pulled it off winning by 2 points. We are currently ranked #7 in the nation, 22 wins and 2 losses. Yea Gonzaga!

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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