Helena and Vic Mageau

Winter 2005 CSANews Issue 57  |  Posted date : May 25, 2007.Back to list

Q: Where do you spend your winters in the south?
A: We spend our winters in Yuma, Arizona at a gated park named Country Roads Resort. It has 1,250 lots, 24-hour security and lots of amenities.

Q: So, it's safe, convenient and comfortable. Do people own or rent at Country Roads Resort?
A: All of the lots are privately owned, but many of them are for rent either through the real estate office on site or privately by the owner.

Q: Does that mean you have to have a trailer or a motor-home to stay there?
A: Many lots have park models (prefabricated homes) on them for sale or for rent. Others are lots ready for motor-homes or trailers.

Q: The park model homes would be self contained, but do they have additional facilities for snowbirds who live in motor-homes and trailers?
A: There are two satellite areas on the site that provide shower and laundry facilities along with a swimming pool and hot tub.

Q: How much does a residence at Country Roads Resort cost on a monthly basis?
A: Park models rent for about $1,200 USD per month, but if you just want to park your trailer or motorhome on a lot, you can rent one for $450 USD per month.

Q: Is that cost inclusive of utilities?
A: It includes cable service for your television, electricity, water and sewage, but charges for telephone service are extra.

Q: Free cable television is a nice benefit. What other kinds of recreation does your park offer for its residents?
A: It has two outdoor swimming pools, one indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, card rooms, billiards, exercise room and a library.

Q: How much does access to the facilities cost?
A: It is all included in the cost of the rental.

Q: Do they hold many special events there?
A: They have a beautiful ballroom where special events are held. Saturday evenings we have a dance with a live band. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays we have a Happy Hour party from 3-5 p.m. (BYOB). You can learn ceramics, sewing, lapidary, wood carving and much more.

Q: So you have a busy social life at your "southern home"?
A: There's so much to do in Yuma! Old Town Yuma holds many special events through the winter months, such as the Lettuce Festival, Yuma River Days and Concerts. While in Old Town a visit to Lutes Casino is a must (it's not what you think). The Yuma Territorial Prison is also interesting.

Q: What other kinds of unique benefits are there to staying in Yuma?
A: A quick twenty-five minute drive via California takes you to a little town called Algodones, Mexico. There are plenty of kiosks where tourists can purchase their unique souvenirs. Many indoor and outdoor restaurants are open for Mexican cuisine. There are many drugstores which supply cheap prescription drugs and will issue receipts so you can claim them on your drug plan at home. Dentists and other doctors are available and cost much less than in the US.

Q: How do you get there?
A: We drive, one driver the whole way there.

Q: How long does it take to get there?
A:It takes us four and a half days to get there.

Q: Timmins, Ontario to Yuma, Arizona is a long distance. Fuel must be a major expense for your trip south.
A: We spend $490 on gas each way.

Q: How much does your "snowbird lifestyle" cost?
A: Apart from the rental charges and the cost of gas to get there, living expenses are much like at home, even with the exchange in currency.

Q: Food and household items are comparative in cost to back home then?
A: Grocery stores have excellent advertised and unadvertised discounts. An excellent place to pick up fruits and vegetables is the Arizona Marketplace. Prices are much cheaper than in the grocery stores. The Marketplace also sells a little of everything and includes a Dollar Shop, casual clothing, kitchen items, herbs and spices, hardware, greeting cards and more.

Q:More?
A: Wine, beer and liquor are much cheaper than in Canada.

Q: Well, that certainly helps with the BYOB events at the park, but how about golf?
A: There are many golf courses within a 15-25 minute drive. Par 3 courses charge approximately $15 per round while executive courses cost approximately $38, but that usually includes half the cost of a cart.

Q: Do you have any more hints for snowbirds who may be interested in trying Yuma, Arizona as a winter destination?
A: There are more than 60 RV resorts and parks in the Yuma area. Rental rates and amenities at each location vary. So, do your homework so there won't be any unnecessary surprises.

Q: And for the trip south?
A: When traveling from state to state, stop at the Welcome Centers in each state and pick up free traveller fliers for hotel discount coupons. These coupons can save you money.

Trip Length: 182 Days
Distance: 2739 Miles / 4382 km
Travel Gas: $980 USD / $1,196 CAD
Hotel: $990 USD / $1,208 CAD
Travel meals: $640 USD / $781 CAD
Rent: $7,500 USD* / $9,150 CAD*
Insurance: $1,292 USD* / $1,576. CAD
Recreation: Not Included
Total: $11,402 USD* / $13,910 CAD*

* The costs associated with this profile do not necessarily reflect the monies spent by the persons in question, but are generalized assumptions based on a six-month trip by two persons in good health of average snowbird age.