Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How Do You Choose a Snowbird Home? New Questions!

Did we make a good choice by moving to Tucson, Arizona? Well that ship has sailed. We have lived there for 6 months in the winter for a very long time. Yes, I would recommend you move close to us but I wouldn't want to do that without telling you the truth. Like so many other places, being on vacation does not mean you can escape life. 

It has occurred to me that many people are confused about what their location will be if they choose to be a snowbird. Should they go to Florida, one of the Gulf of Mexico locations, southern California or Arizona?

Location is important. Most, of course, will choose based on where they live now. Those in western Canada will go to a west coast location, those in the central states can go either way and many for the East Coast of the United States will go to an east coast location.

Many will make that choice based on cost of living. A few will look at safety. Quality of life may also come into play. It can be very confusing at best and most people don't want to wait for 10 years so they can explore the possibilities.

Here is the deal...I am adding another twist! The question is, should you look into the political history and culture of the locations? Would that make a difference? We did not do that and I don't know that I would now. But you might.

Note: The citizens of Maricopa County, AZ reelected Arpaio for more than 20 years. See The Long Lawless Ride of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Rolling Stone.

What I know about the state of Arizona:

Background on current news:

Last week Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona and a lot of memories were revisited by locals AND snowbirds. We all knew that Arpaio was running his vendetta against illegal immigrants using racial profiling. It was common knowledge. In fact, at one time as I remember it, the state tried to enact a law that would have allowed the police throughout the state to stop anyone that looked hispanic without cause. The courts ruled it unconstitutional.

And yet Arpaio continued the practice. Arpaio was quoted as saying that he ran a concentration camp. When he was sentence to a jail sentence for over 20 counts of ignoring court ruling, I for one was relieved. Here is what the Phoenix New Times had to say:
Over the past 20 years, Phoenix New Times has reported on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's serious abuse of power. The self-described "Toughest Sheriff in America" has fostered horrendous jail conditions, reckless police operations, and carried out personal vendettas against political rivals and members of the press. In the past year or more, he has also appointed himself enforcer of the nation's immigration laws in Arizona, and a whole new series of problems has emerged. Foremost, he and his deputies have violated the Constitutional rights of brown-skinned U.S. citizens and have committed outright cruelty against the undocumented.
Think about it!

So, as a snowbird, do you choose to move to a place that boasts a history like this? In Arizona the U.S. Border Patrol is front and center. They have stops on the I-19 between Tucson and Nogales where we are asked to present drivers licenses, or in the case of foreigners like Canadian, a passport. We often carry a passport with us. I have seen illegals on a golf course in Tubac and have heard them in the Pantano Wash that runs close to our park model.

What do you think? If you knew this, would you just blow it off as the cost of living in the sunshine? That is what we do. For the most part, we do not feel endangered...well I don't like that people kill the javelinas in the wash at night but that is another issue.

This is the reality of where we the United States. It is all there under the layer of civilized society, affordable living and big city with a small town feel.

View of Catalina Mountains from park model
But, if you were to ask yourself about almost any city in the US or even Europe, you are going to find that being safe depends on the many choices you have. In Tucson, for example, we have two cities. South Tucson is a separate entity and most of the people residing there are Hispanic. It is well know that we don't go into that section of town at night. It is said that it is not safe. I don't know that for sure.

Then there is Oregon. In Portland there was a time when the east side of the city was not a good place.  Now the east side of the city is getting more gentrified. We still have a huge homeless problem. But the thing is, that is what makes Portland hip...the mixture of the gritty with the gentry sets the city apart.

Quality of Life:

View from Blanco Restaurant, La Encantata
On the other hand, Tucson is home to the University of Arizona and a strong student society that feeds the downtown businesses. The downtown has become very cool of late because the city fathers began a redevelopment project (Rio Nuevo) several years ago. Apartments, restaurants and a transit line make it very appealing. It is close to the government center too. The museum is nearby and the area around the Presidio gives you a glimpse of what Tucson was like in the early 20th century and before.

We live on the east side of Tucson. It has become a second home to us. We are just a short distance from Davis Montana Air Force Base and the Saguaro National Park. There are dude ranches at the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and million dollars homes overlook the beautiful valley that runs east to west from the Rincon Mountains to the Tucson Mountains and north to south from the Catalina Mountains to the Santa Rita Mountains. The observatories dot the mountain tops and there is even a ski slope in the Catalina's on Mt. Lemon.

A short drives takes us to La Encantata, a premier shopping center with beautiful restaurants. When we come to eat we sit outdoors so we can enjoy that beautiful view. Going south we can visit the St. Xavier Mission, Tubac and even Mexico.

Cost of Living:

All in all I suppose that the cost was a big factor in our choosing Tucson. We have lived in a RV Resort for many years. It is affordable, has so many actives and the social life is wonderful. We are moving to a older townhouse that we purchased for very little. We will restore it and in the years to come it will become more valuable. We will sell the park model. Our location in the city will remain essentially the same.

Groceries are about the same there but, because we are close to Mexico, we buy produce for less.

We have a system for shutting our life down in Oregon so that our household cost are comparable. It is very doable and our health is much better in Arizona in the winter.

Park Model after remodel 2017. (my husband is the photo bomb!)

Did we make a good choice by moving to Tucson, Arizona? Well that ship has sailed. We have lived there for 6 months in the winter for a very long time. Yes, I would recommend you move close to us but I wouldn't want to do that without telling you the truth. Like so many other places, being on vacation does not mean you can escape life.

Any thought? Where are you considering going when you retire?



  1. It's interesting the way people like Cindi who hopefully wouldn't be so insulting in real life feel free to disgorge their bitter venom online. Frankly, it says a lot about their sad lives that they can't be civil and discuss things rationally. I feel incredibly sorry for people like that because their lives must not be much fun (and they aren't fun for family and friends to be around) when they are so filled with bitterness and hatred.

  2. Cindi, thank you for your input. I am sure that you know more about Arizona than I do. I will not be leaving though. I love the state and its people.

    It is really not a good thing when you resort to name calling and even hatred. I know that does not make you feel good about yourself. That is too bad.

    Be well.

  3. Sheila, I agree with you. It does not make me angry as much as it makes we uncomfortable. I have always had a hard time figuring out what a "leftist" is so it really doesn't matter. We are who we are!

    Thank you for stopping by.


  4. For my readers I want you to know that the "concentration camp" quote come from a speech that Joe Arpaio made several years ago. Here is the information with the link:

    "The chants were directed at the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who a few months before had called this outdoor jail close to downtown Phoenix – his own tough-on-crime creation – a “concentration camp” in a speech to political supporters at his local Italian-American club.

    (go to You Tube and search for "Sheriff Joe Arpaio Brags His Tent City Jail Is A Concentration Camp". He did qualify the statement in this news conference.


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