Well, we arrived at our seasonal location in Hemet, Oct. 1, apparently the first of the Canadian snowbirds to arrive. We feel quite lonely as the park is half empty. However, we are using this time to get familiar with the local area – markets, malls and grocery options and do the “touristy” things. Plus we are practicing pickelball so we will be primed when the rest of the gang gets here. Pickleball is played like tennis and/or badminton with a larger racket and a plastic ball full of holes (causing it to slow down, which is a good thing). It is typically played with 4 people on a much smaller court than tennis (which is also a good thing). So you can work up a sweat chasing the ball, but not so much as to damage yourself (which is a very good thing). Perfect game and lots of fun!
The area of Hemet is better than I had expected. Location is superb – 64 miles to Disneyland; 74 miles to San Diego; 44 miles to Palm Springs (great for attracting your family down here ;-)). We are surrounded by the San Jacinto mountains and southern California vineyards and golf courses although we haven’t ventured out that way yet (its on the day tripping list). The outlining areas are sandy and deserty so it’s not all greenery unless it’s irrigated. Hemet is also more populated than I had anticipated and although it has the advantage of lots of shopping & large markets, it is busy, especially on weekends. Traffic can be heard from the major roads surrounding the park especially motorcycles and sirens.
From Golden Village Palms Resort, we can walk to grocery store and Target, several restaurants and other services. The park is extremely clean with nice wide spots for RVs. Very friendly guest services and employees who work here and there are lots of them constantly triming, cleaning pools and groundskeeping. About 15% of the park has park model lots and the rest is for RVs. No one owns the lots, they are leased by month or by long-term months. The rates vary depending on the time of year and where your lot is located in the park ie in proximity to activities centre, pools, etc.where the price is a little higher rate. We are not that close to the clubhouse and activities area (3 mins walk) and are paying $695 US/month for Oct Nov and Dec. (includes cable TV and wifi – which is really excellent at the moment) plus you pay electrical (which can get expensive if you are constantly running air conditionners). If we stayed for Jan. Feb. March the rate would be higher as that would be peak months.
The temps have been in the high 70’s to 90’s. However, we haven’t felt really stinkin’ hot. I think it is because there is often a breeze (Craig thinks its more of a wind than a breeze) either way, it is keeping us cool. And we haven’t turned our a/c on yet, just a fan. So I would have to say very comfortable weather. (What…Saskatoon got snow, no kidding, that sucks!!) Anyway, ants, who knew. Apparently, while the temps are still quite warm these pesky tiny water ants like to climb into your RV through anything that touches the ground. So we had to quickly go buy some vaseline and borax – I know eh! The ants can’t make there way across the vaseline so it’s gobbed onto the botton of the jacks, the water lines, etc. and the borax is sprinkled around the tires and other possible climbing things. The park came and sprayed our site as well, so we should be good (here’s hoping anyway). They should disappear when the weather gets cooler.
The average age in the park for residents, so far, is quite young – 55-60 years I would say. We have met people playing pickleball who are Americans from California, Oregon and Washington State. Its an active park with lots to do. My week, so far is shaping up to look like this: Mondays 9 a.m. Strength & Stretch class; 10 a.m. water exercise (there are 3 pools) then 1:00 p.m. Maj Jong. Tuesdays 8 a.m. Art Group (yeah!!); 10 water exercise; Wednesday 9 a.m. Yoga Flow (?); 10 water exercise; Thursday 10 a.m. water exercise; Fridays Zumba or Aqua Cardio morning. I haven’t any information yet on the pickleball schedule nor the ladies golf so will fine tune my activities as we head into November. Craig, is considering pickleball, shuffleboard (they have a HUGE floor shuffleboard building), Texas Holdem and billiards. I am predicting that we are going to get into a routine here and not want to leave! There are so many other activities to get involved with from crafty things to card games, to water volleyball & sand volleyball, running/hiking club, all kinds of dancing too. Be as busy or not, as you like. I’m such a keener, I’ll try it all!
Every week they have w/end poolside music and food. And apparently, the tribute bands booked for Jan, Feb. March are awesome. Unfortunately, we will miss all that entertainment. Lots of music and mixers like Spud Night (next week), pot lucks, etc. They also have a local farmer’s market starting next week right in the park.
Laundry in the park is $2.25/wash and $2/dryer (expensive I think). Groceries are about the same as at home (only paid in US dollars makes them more expensive). Local veggies are super tasty and less than at home ie. brocolli and cucumber (currently in season). Gas is more expensive in this part of the US than center US. We will pay here $2.69/US gallon diesel which still translates to 30% cheaper than our diesel at home. The BEST NEWS is….wine is cheaper by FAR…now that’s important!
As you can see, we have located our nearest Costco (about 12 miles).
So far, things are going really, really well. We still have lots to see and do, so stayed tuned for my updates and insights as we become more seasoned in this “snowbird lifestyle”.
PS Trying to steal TRUMP lawn signs as I think there might be a market back home ;-))