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Chuck Woodbury

Chuck Woodbury

Editor’s Note: The following is a column authored by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury offering a look at the growing extended-stay park model trend.

I have been holed up at the Voyager RV Resort in my motorhome to see how the “other half” lives. The park is a few miles east of town, just off I-10. It’s a huge place, with 1,600 RV spaces and a population of roughly 3,000 snowbirds at this time of year. You must be 55 or older to live here. More than half the residents live in park model RVs, and that’s what I’d like to tell you about.

First, I will simply say that if you live where the winters are cold, rainy or otherwise unpleasant, Tucson is a great escape with its pleasant weather. The park models are an incredible bargain for people who want to head south but don’t have traditional RVs.

They are about 350 to 400 square feet and are not meant to be moved. They have a small living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom — about the same space as a large fifth-wheel trailer. Many of them also have an attached “Arizona room” — typically a family room and small laundry room. With this add-on, the living space may expand to 800 to 1,000 square feet.

Now, here’s what I think is impressive: you can buy one of these mini homes, usually fully furnished, for between $15,000 and $30,000, with most $20,000 to $25,000. I’m told that in sizzling hot July and August, when no living thing except a lizard has any business being here, some sell for less than $10,000. Many residents are elderly, and one day they either pass away or move elsewhere. When they do, they (or their children) must sell their residences, often in a hurry at a bargain price, typically with all furnishings included right down to the pots and pans.

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