Members of Jojoba Hills
Mar 12, 2011
|The most exciting news of the past week was that we were offered a site at Jojoba Hills, Aguanga, CA, 17 miles southeast of Temecula. We were on our way back to Silver Lakes from Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary when we received the call, several weeks earlier than expected.
Lynda answered the phone but did not fully comprehend the message offering us a membership. She did not hear Jojoba Hills; so she thought it was about something different, perhaps, Silver Lakes. Consequently her response was, “We’re not interested. We’ve made a deposit on a site in California.” The caller said “This is Jojoba Hills in California!” Although we almost turned down the offer we were waiting for, we are now the proud owners of Site 516 on Roadrunner Way at Jojoba Hills.
A short while later we received the papers by fax that we completed and returned by Express Mail the following day (Wednesday) along with our membership check and a check for the prorate share of the monthly fee for March. As I have written previously, we do not own our site but have a “life lease” membership in the Co-op. When we die, reach a point when we can’t care for ourselves, or decide to move to the next stage in our lives, our membership fee is returned. We cannot sell our site or membership nor bequeath it to our children or anyone else.
We have chosen this next step for getting “off the road” primarily because it is a very inexpensive way to live while feeding our travel addiction to see the world. Barring any major health issues we will live at Jojoba for six months of the year on average and travel the rest of the time until we are either tired of so much traveling or are unable to physically endure the pace. The majority of this travel time will likely be spent in extended stays of a month or more rather than continuous touring, e.g. “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium.” While traveling, our only fixed cost besides insurance and license fees is the monthly fee at Jojoba, currently $7.59/day which includes water, sewer, and park maintenance.
This is not solely a financial decision. We prefer the year round weather in the west with the low humidity. Yes, it rains and gets chilly for a couple of months in the winter and, we are told, it gets hot in the summer at Jojoba. These are the most likely times for us to travel. We like to have access to a large city, so being between Los Angeles and San Diego is a real plus. When staying at Jojoba last April we met a number of people with similar interests, unlike most of our other RV park experiences. Lynda, probably more then me, is in need of a sense of community; one of her goals in us becoming RVers. Jojoba is the first park that has provided promise in this regard for her. Finally, there is the setting with wonderful views and the park’s amenities; particularly, the wonderful clubhouse and Olympic size pool.
What about earthquakes you ask? Certainly with the recent disasters in Japan and New Zealand this is a topic on peoples’ minds. Although Jojoba is close to the San Andreas Fault line, this is not a matter of great concern even though the chance for “the big one” in the next 30 years is 97% according to the experts.
Most deaths and injuries from earthquakes are the result of buildings, etc. falling on you or tsunamis like in Japan and Indonesia. At Jojoba, except for the clubhouse and the office there are no buildings to collapse or big trees to fall. At 2000 feet elevation, obviously, tsunamis are not a big risk. Unless the earth opens up, RVs just shake like they do in a strong wind or when one of us walks around. Sure, there are risks; but at least there are no tornados or hurricanes.
Once we received the phone call from Jojoba, we called our friend Carole there and asked her to check out Site 516. It is pretty much the standard 50’X70’ lot with an 8’X30’ concrete pad, the standard shed, and gravel put down by a previous occupant. It is not a view site, which we did not expect. Consequently, once we get settled, – we won’t arrive until early June – we will probably begin the process to transfer to a site with a view; there are numerous sites with wonderful views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Being a member gives us the advantage over anybody on the Waiting List.
So that’s my Jojoba story for now!
As I mentioned above, we visited the Corkscrew Wildlife Sanctuary last Tuesday. It is a favorite attraction of ours for seeing the local flora and fauna of the region. Corkscrew is operated by the Audubon Society and consists of a circular boardwalk of approximately two miles. It was our third visit while in the Naples area visiting friends Pat and Jim. Since it is the dry season, the wildlife is not as abundant; nevertheless, we saw interesting birds and one large female alligator sunning herself. Regardless of the amount of wildlife it provides a peaceful interlude from the traffic and bustle of Southwest Florida in the winter.
The previous evening we had very pleasant dinner and visit with Don and Donna Wehunt from Woodstock, GA, winter residents of Silver Lakes. Lynda’s birth surname is Wehunt, the American derivative of the German original. Consequently, Don and Lynda are distant cousins; their three-great grandfathers were brothers. We located them in the Silver Lakes’ telephone directory by chance the last time we were visiting Pat and Jim, but only met this time. This genealogy journey is building our respective lists of cousins that we never knew existed heretofore!
Staying at Silver Lakes went by too quickly. Despite the high cost, we wished we had come for a month. Being with dear friends in this lovely park was a certainty that time would fly by. Fortunately, we shared several meals and had other times to spend together. One of the highlights was the evening we all got in their golf cart to traverse the nine-hole executive course. The primary goal was to see the horned owls that resided in a pine tree near one of the tees. Happily, mother and baby, who looked like a big furry cat, were in one tree and proud (I assume) papa was silently roosted nearby.
Far too soon our departure day arrived on Thursday, March 10. It was also the day to get three new tires for the rig – for the blown out one plus the remaining two originals – and taking the rig about 70 miles to Charlotte RV in Punta Gorda for repairs. First we went to the Goodyear Service Center about a mile from Silver lakes. While they were doing their work, Pat took us to Marco Island for breakfast.
By 9:30AM, with some tears in Lynda’s eyes, we said auvoir to Pat and left for Punta Gorda. As we entered I-75 north, we were greeted with a thunderstorm that added to Lynda’s stress. But all went well and we arrived at Charlotte RV about 11AM. With a couple of recommendations about their workmanship and integrity, and a good feel of the place and people, we decided to have a few more items done since they had our home until the 23rd.
Shortly after noon we headed back south on I-75 for the Miami area, my hometown from 1947 to 1958 when I graduated from the University of Miami. We had a reservation at the Travelodge in Florida City (south of Miami) for Friday and Saturday, so Lynda called to reserve a room for Thursday too. Staying in Florida City was because it was proximate to Everglades National Park. We have been to the western end of the park in Everglades City but never in the main part in the east.
Upon arriving at the Travelodge we were discouraged by its appearance and decided to move elsewhere. The Travelodge cancellation policy allowed us to cancel without a fee. So we went to the Best Western across the street; although more expensive, it is perfectly adequate.
Yesterday we spent several hours at the park driving to the southern terminus at Flamingo and stopping along the way to walk a couple of short boardwalk trails and view the sights including some birds; nothing exciting, but quite pleasant on a brilliant sunny day with no mosquitoes.
On our return trip from Flamingo we stopped at Paurotis Pond to see spoonbills. We saw a couple of the gorgeous pink birds as well as many wood storks in the trees across the pond. One of the storks was busy gathering rather large sticks on the shore near us and carrying them one at a time across for a nest. On the first flight across that we saw, he dropped it in the water. Not deterred, he returned and successfully carried others across.
Checking the RV Dreams blog we learned we missed Howard and Linda by three days. Too bad! At the Visitors’ Center in Flamingo we saw posters for the missing person about whom Howard reported. The search was apparently still ongoing as helicopters canvassed the area. As of today he has been missing a week.
We plan to return to the park to walk the Anhinga Trail near the park entrance. It is described as the most likely to see wildlife. We have some issues with our new Verizon phone and MiFi so we need to go to the Verizon Store first. Depending on how long that takes, we’ll either return to the park this afternoon or in the morning before driving to Miami and the Marriott Residence Inn at Doral for three nights, from where I’ll get to visit my old neighborhoods and haunts from the days of yesteryear.
Once again, until next time, stay well, be safe, and live life to the fullest!