Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


611 Snowbirding (part 2)

This is the second in a series concerning going south for the winter or snowbirding as it is sometimes called.

As I stated last week we are now setup in a nice townhouse in Green Valley, Arizona about twenty five miles south of Tucson. That is one of the draws for choosing this place for a winter break: Tucson.

This last week we found ourselves there again just for a few hours. My wife needed some good quality watercolor paper for a class she was about to begin in Tubac a small artistic town just south of Green Valley. We were in Tucson in 25 minutes and at an art supply store at the University of Arizona in another 5 minutes.

The presents of youthful college students came as a breath of fresh air after two weeks living amid a 55 or older crowd. We loved movement and energy about the college and the small commercial area that abuts the campus. There is something about the presence of youth that puts a little Adrenalin in your blood. Within two hours we had walked part of the campus, purchased the watercolor paper and had a pint with our lunch while sitting on a patio in the sun. What a great morning. There are advantages locating close to a larger city and a college campus.

Green Valley Social Centers have become most important to our snowbirding activity. We have visited one at least two out of every three days since arriving. There are seven of these within the valley. They are designed particularly for those over 55. You have to be that age to be a member and you have to own a home here or be a tenant. We quality as tenants.

These places are designed to provide many if not all of your social need. Here you can work out in a great fitness facility. This is what we use it for. Or you can swim, play tennis, dance, play pool, arrange for tours, attend lectures on astronomy, flora and fauna, polish gems in lab settings, construct furniture in wood shops, attend movies or join a painting or sculpture class. And other social events too many to mention. This is probably why many people come as snowbirds for a winter and then buy a house and live our their lives here That and the sunshine.

My brother said one of the big pulls his move here was the lack of clouds. He said he just got so depressed when one or two weeks of clouds drug on for even longer periods of time. The sunshine has a way of clearing the mind and body.

Water is a real concern for me. I have always thought that if there isn’t enough water in a place then people shouldn’t live there. I have asked many people here if they don’t concern themselves with this water issue. They have all stated their concern.

Water rights have always been a competitive issue in this area of the country. And that there are three major interest who are slugging it out. The mining companies have first rights as I understand it. And the mining is big in this valley: copper mining. There are huge open pit mines. They work twenty-four seven with enormous equipment providing copper for almost everything we use, including this computer, house, car, etc. It is hard to be against mining copper. But it uses an enormous amount of water to process it.

The agricultural interest are in second place when it comes to water rights. There is a lot of irrigation and lots of pecan trees. And it just so happens pecan trees consume lots of water.

Then the people come in taking third place in the water rights placement. I am relying on what I have been told by several people on this and have not done any research. But they have all told me the same thing. I believe them. They say they all think about the water issue. But they came here anyway. Just like I did.

If you are a golfer you will love this place. There are many golf courses. The grass is brown but the greens are green. I see people playing all of the time. I am not a golfer but I can see that this would be a great place for retirement if golf is your thing. The second car seems to be an electric golf cart.

Hiking in a desert and mountainous environment is another huge plus to being a snowbird. A desert environment is not something most of us are familiar with. It perks up the mind and body to see different flora and fauna. We have done a couple of these and delighted in the time and effort spent. This is a real plus for us.

Artist also flock to this area of the country. Something about the light. Tubac is a small artistically oriented just south of us. This coming week 200 jurried-in artist will display their works for 5 days. And just west of us across the desert lies Ajo, Arizona. It is also an artistically oriented town. This is one of my favorite little spots in the southwest. It is over 100 miles from any other major spot. It is tiny and very colorful.

Lower real a state prices also offer a real pull. Lower prices of course is relative to where you might live. For us the prices here are perhaps one-third the price where we live. It has a dramatic effect when you walk into a house that might cost six hundred thousand dollars where you live and find out you can be in one for around two-thousand here.

Being a snowbird is an exciting adventure. Experiencing something new is one of those things that many of we retired people seek. Snowbirding can satisfy that desire.

This is Retirement Talk.


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