Four Months In Arizona 2019 - Wrap Up
We planned a four month stay in Arizona to see if we would like to live there part time. We stayed in four different areas for a month or longer to get a good feel for each location. Verde Valley (Cottonwood), Congress (Wickenburg), Sierra Vista and Prescott Valley. The weather was not the best, it was quite cold and we enjoyed (not!) two snow storms. The temperatures were very cold at night, down to the low 20s and one night in the teens! Our April stay in Prescott Valley still had some nights down in the 30s.
We played alot of disc golf. Though Congress has no course, we had a huge area we would walk to where we could throw our discs. Cottonwood has a perfect course for us. It is a large 18 hole course with some tricky upshots. We'd played that course the first time we visited there over a year ago. The Sierra Vista course was very compressed with narrow fairways. Totally flat with pointy trees you want to avoid. Since we stayed in Sierra Vista for two months, we were able to master each hole. Some days we executed better than others. My best day was a -1 for all 18 holes. I am sure it was a record for me on any course. Hub played very well there, but he rarely keeps score. I think he was about -5, he definitely birdied alot more than me but my putting is more consistent.
Prescott has a very unique course that is quite hilly and meanders up and down the very bouldery terrain at Watson Lake. The first time we visited Watson Lake I said I would never be able to play the course and here I am a year and a half later able to complete the course with many pars and a rare birdie or two. It is at 5200 feet and since we are sea level people it really knocks the wind out of us. We go slow and steady and bring lots of water. The first time there we played the first nine holes, then walked through the rest of the course and we were exhausted, not realizing the elevation we were at.
We have decided Sierra Vista and Congress aren't for us. Cottonwood beats out Prescott and Prescott Valley because the CW disc golf course is somewhat "normal", not scampering among boulders, normal is much better for us. The terrain overall is the same for all three locations. Hub would prefer something north of Cottonwood, but Flagstaff and Sedona are too expensive. We plan to pursue property in Florida first and then we will revisit Northern Arizona or even Utah as possible summer locations later on in our travels.
There wasn't alot of wildlife in Arizona whereas Florida was full of wildlife including entertaining squirrels, birds, cranes and butterflies. Prescott Valley did have herds of Pronghorn that we saw every morning and afternoon. It is mostly grassy prairie for cattle, but the pronghorn live there too.
We are now finishing up our second year of travel and this is the first winter that we paid for our lodging. The monthly rents for an RV site in the areas we stayed is quite reasonable ranging from $300 to $370 per month. The RV resort in Sierra Vista included electric which was awesome, and is largely why we stayed an extra month.
One drawback to Sierra Vista is the lack of RV services. We did see one mobile truck in the resort but when I called them, I never heard back from them. Prescott Valley had plentiful mobile RV services and we used one to do some warranty work on our fridge. He did not charge a service call fee which was awesome, and is why I called him first. He noted this "feature" of his service on his business card.
Overall Arizona is very laid back, everything is within 15 minutes of the RV parks. Congress and Wickenburg lacked a WalMart so we had to drive 45 minutes to the outskirts of Phoenix for reasonable grocery prices. They did have a Safeway but the prices there are very high in comparison. Wickenburg is the team roping capital of Arizona and there were horses and arenas everywhere. Every third vehicle on the road was a dually truck, many pulling trailers. I felt right at home being a long time horse person. UPDATE: we drove through Wickenburg today on the way to Quartzsite and there were NO horses in the pens on highway 60. It is the end or April so I believe folks have moved on to their summer destination, someplace cooler.
Sierra Vista is just the most unhospitable land, some sparse grass with mesquite trees that have evil thorns. We tried to walk on the neighboring BLM land but it was just too crowded with these scrubby, pokey trees. We visited the bird and butterfly preserves, but didn't see much even though March is supposed to be a migratory month.
While in Prescott Valley we drove up to the Grand Canyon. On the way we drove through Chino Vally and Paulden, other possible placed to buy property but it all looked the same, not very interesting. On the way back we drove the full length of 89A, through Sedona, Cottonwood and Jerome. Now that has some awesome land, but is very expensive. It is one of the twistiest highways we have driven. Nothing longer than 50 feet allowed, and they mean it. Some switchbacks are 15 miles an hour. We will never take our fifth wheel on that stretch of highway!
Three days before the end of April we drove to Quartzsite to stay a few nights. Wow, now there's a gravel pit for you. I don't understand why my grandparents decided to snowbird there of all places. Now granted it is a ghost town now as the season is over. I saw monthly rates posted as low as $199/mo. There are empty RV parks everywhere and I know you can camp for free on the local BLM land. We played the local disc golf course both days and that was very interesting. The rocks there are very sharp and we now have alot of sanding to do to get our discs back in shape for the next round. We saw some arizona critters, lizards, quail, doves and bunnies.
Overall we did enjoy our stay and we are surprised we didn't like Arizona better. I had very high expectations, but Arizona paled in comparison to Florida. Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see the highlights for each location.
Watson Lake Disc Golf Video and below is the link to the Quartzsite disc golf video. Both courses are very unique and really should be on any disc golfers bucket list of places to play at least once.
Thanks for stopping by, please feel free to leave comments or questions, I am here to help!