EVERY FULL TIME RV’er SHOULD HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY.
Life is full of surprises. A person never knows what may befall a loved one or perhaps their own self no matter what their lifestyle or choices.
We’ve always felt that we needed to have a plan in place should we decide we wanted or needed to come off the road.
As I mentioned in a previous post, part of our reason for being here is because we felt Summerdale, Alabama & more specifically, Rainbow Plantation was a contender for becoming our future home.
Summerdale is a small, quiet town. It’s leading industry appears to be agriculture. No matter which direction you look there are crops growing, cotton fields or pecan farms. There are many horse & cattle ranches too. We like that. A lot. Gives us room to breath. A few businesses such as a bank, 2 gas stations, a Waffle House restaurant, & a post office are close at hand but not much else. However you needn’t drive far to get to grocery stores, medical facilities, shopping malls, restaurants, golf courses, etc. They’re all in the next town over, either north, south, east, or west. The Gulf coast with its beautiful sugary-fine white sand beaches is a very short drive away as are boat ramps to the Fish River, Weeks Bay, & Mobile Bay for those who like to fish. Beautiful gardens, historic homes, parks & museums are less than an hour from town. It truly seems that there’s a festival of some sort going on every weekend too. I-65 is just up the road, a straight shot home to family. Only one thing is missing that keeps this location from being ideal…………….a major league baseball team. Preferably American League so we’d be able to see our Detroit Tigers play occasionally.
However when it comes to the weather, there are definitely pros & cons. Winters are moderate. Summers hot. Spring is a feast for the eyes with Magnolias, Azaleas, & Crepe Myrtle in bloom. Fall is easy to miss without leaves changing color. The pros, well the mild winter temperatures of course. We’re tired of dealing with slush & bitter cold. Spring is beautiful anywhere. The cons, hot humid summers, but it’s getting to the point that you can’t escape that no matter where you are. That leaves Fall, we do miss the crispness in the air & the vibrant hues of orange, yellow & red upon the trees. Seems we must take the good with the bad unless there’s an Eden somewhere out there that we aren’t aware of with the only seasons being Spring, a mild Summer, & Autumn. Now that would be perfect. My mother would argue we could experience hurricanes to which my response would be, we’d learn to deal with them just as we did Indiana tornadoes.
Rainbow Plantation, where we are currently parked. We like how it is laid out with the campground on 2 large loops near the entrance consisting of 87 FHU campsites & 10 one year lease sites, each having plenty of space per site & its own Live Oak for shade. Straight back from the entrance are the deeded lots & in the back western end is a lane with 22 ERPU sites on each side. ERPU stands for Escapee Rainbow Parks Unlimited. These are grassy FHU sites with paved patios, a shed, & a Magnolia tree for shade. They can be leased for 5 years. The deeded lots are private residences that are owned outright. There doesn’t appear to be a building code so owners are free to do with their land as they please. Some are open sites where the owners park their rigs for a winter’s stay, others have modulars, ranches or Floridian-style homes on them. In the center sits the ample sized clubhouse with its own laundromat & pool. There is an abundance of activities happening on a daily basis. Plenty of open areas lie within the boundaries & the entire facility is surrounded by rows of towering, fragrant Alabama pine.
When a person or persons are interested in obtaining an ERPU site, they apply to the main park giving their names, which Rainbow Park they are interested in & pay a $20 fee. This fee is paid yearly until they reach the top of the list. It can take several years before reaching the top depending on which park the ERPU is in. Upon getting into the #5 slot on the list, the interested parties pay $2000 toward a site. The $2000 is deducted from the total cost of the site when the parties reach the #1 slot. The ERPUs at Rainbow Plantation Escapee Park run $14,500. (Prices vary depending on park). Once a person has arrived at #1 on the list & a site has become available, the remaining $12,500 is paid. This entitles the party to their own same site for 5 years. They may add a shed, a deck &/or landscape (pretty much) as they wish with the understanding that when they no longer want the ERPU the new occupants may ask to have the structures removed. At the end of the 5 year lease, the lessee may renew for only $1 per year. During the time of the lease the only other fees that the lessee is responsible for is $750 yearly for maintenance, your site is cared for whether or not you & your rig are on it, & for your use of electric which is metered. When a person decides he/she is no longer interested in leasing said lot, ALL of their $14,500 is returned to them. Pretty sweet deal.
A variety of housing in the deeded lot area.
All of this brings us to the decision we’ve made. Since this park & this area meet most of the criteria we’ve set for our future residence. We have submitted our names to Escapees Headquarters in Livingston, TX for an ERPU site with the understanding that it would probably be several years before our names came to the top of the list qualifying us for an ERPU. AND THAT suits us just fine. We are in no hurry & hope to experience many years of living life as road gypsies before eventually settling. In the case of a situation where we’d HAVE TO come off the road sooner, we could lease a campsite here for a year at a time. This gives us some measure of comfort in knowing we have a plan in place that can be tweaked if necessary.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid……………………