Camping here in the red rock boondocks of my youth stirs the coals of old fires. Some of my first memories are of coming up to Sedona from Phoenix with my parents in order to climb all over these iron bleeding monuments and play in Oak Creek's icy waters.
A friend of my parents had a cabin in Sedona... this would have been around 1958... it was a different time. "Things have changed," as they say. Today, Sedona is overrun with camera toting, ice cream licking tourists. Pink Jeeps are everywhere... crawling around like mudusa-headed ant machines... through every crimson nook and cranny. If you dare make a pee stop you'll end up in someone's vacation photo; it's that bad. And still, I make pilgrimages to this formerly spiritual, now turned shopping Mecca for Phoenicians with fat wallets. Why?
We had stacks and stacks of outdated Arizona Highways Magazines laying around our (trailer) house, some with photos taken around Sedona. My thrifty mom would never dream of paying for a subscription; purdy pictures are timeless. Instead she purchased "used" ones at garage sales for a nickel each. Once she found a grapefruit box full of A. H. magazines in the trash carried them home. She never threw them away, either, always found a way to "recycle" those beautiful magazines. Who knows, maybe that's where my fascination for purdy pictures originated.
I wish her thriftiness would have rubbed off on me a little bit more, it might have saved me thousands of dollars in trying on various RV's to see how they "fit." It is a boon for the RV industry that newbies have trouble getting it right the first two or three times. It seems like most RV'ers eventually spend their way up to a motorhome anyway. Is it just me, or is there not an increasing profusion of busses lately?
Wow, if you think vehicles depreciate fast, take a look at motorhomes in your RV Bluebook. New motorhomes cost more than houses and suffer most unreasonable depreciation. A cursory look into their time/devaluation index had me wondering who in their right mind would agree to take such a "hit" to net worth/savings. I know a few people who retired and used proceeds from a house sale in order to buy their Dream Machine. I worry about how that might work out in the long run. For the filthy rich it doesn't matter; a new motorhome is a drop in their bucket and depreciation is not a game changer.
There are exceptions, but generally speaking the mid-priced 200,000 dollar motorhome will lose 25 percent of it's value in the first year of use; Wow again... that's 50 grand! You can stay a long time in the finest National Park lodges for 50 grand and have enough money left over to fuel the Prius for it's lifetime. After the initial year's free fall in value, depreciation makes a slight correction and drops about 10 percent per year over the next eight years. Finally, valuation almost levels off around 10 percent of the motorhomes original purchase price.
Wow (#3), talk about putting a match to money. And yet I'm seeing more and more motorhomes on the road every year... nice ones. Aside from depreciation, there is also the cost of operation to consider... the six, or even eight, tires at 300 bucks a pop, the gas or diesel at 4 to 5 bucks a gallon, the broken doo hicky that only an RV shop can find and fix at 120 bucks per hour, or the insurance costs... it goes on and on. Then there are RV Resort costs that rival or exceed a decent motel and membership dues to various travel clubs.
Rational people do this... so of course they must rationalize it somehow. Maybe they think they'll make up for all those costs by preparing "home cooked" meals instead of eating out. Yeah, right... breakfast, maybe. How long does it take to pay for a motorhome by eating cereal for breakfast?
Look, I'm not bashing Motorhomers; I want one too. It must be the same defective gene that brings me back to Sedona in spite of what it has become. Unless you are so fortunate to be rich or live long enough to use a new motorhome "up," at least 40 years (I figure that's the "break even" point) it represents a mind numbing loss of wealth that you might need someday.
Before you get all peed off, I'm preaching to the choir here, too, and thus what I'm about to say is going to shock some of you. See, I'm starting to look at used motorhomes with a lustful eye. But note, I said USED... as in a 90 percent depreciated ($15k), clean, low mileage, gasoline powered turn-of-the-century rig with one, maybe two slideouts, good rubber and only driven to the lake and back by a little old widow lady in west Kansas. No, I am not getting rid of the Chalet; it is our ultimate "go further" backcountry boondock machine for ever and ever... you can bury me in that A frame coffin (he says, wondering if he really means it given "history").
I guess I just want something bigger and more comfy for extended winter escapes to where weather better suits my clothes... something I can still boondock in, tho I realize the limitations that come with what is essentially a Greyhound Bus.
Am I crazy? Is it selfish? Does it spit into the eye of "Simplicity" to want to get out of Tiny Chalet in order to be a little (lot) more comfortable from November to May? I don't even have a place to park a motorhome in the off season.
Enough questions. Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.
|A grunt of a bike ride up onto House Mountain|
|Contemplating Arizona's Big Sky|
|A typical Forest Service Road|
|From the top of House Mountain... Oak Creek is beneath the serpentine grey canopy of leafless Sycamores and Cottonwoods|
|Mingus Mountain in the far background... Jerome is halfway up, barely visible as Ghost Towns should be|
|A little "Flower" grows from Volcanic rock...|
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