The start of November marks the start of winter visitors arriving in central Arizona’s Valley.
Among the early arrivals, Mary Lange, who was found this week lounging by the pool at the Desarama RV Park in Mesa, according to KTAR-TV, Phoenix.
“Feels pretty darn good. It’s about 86 degrees here, very nice,” Lange said.
She comes to Arizona from Iowa the last week of October each year and stays until the last week of April.
A survey by the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds indicates many parks are seeing more business this year. The Towerpoint and Good Life RV Resorts in Mesa said winter reservations are up 15%.
However, the Shangri-la Resort in Yuma said things are about the same as last year, and the Rincon Resort in Tucson expects a slight decline.
Lange believes people are coming. She said there were “a lot of travel trailers, a lot of motorhomes already on the road the second weekend in October,” when she was traveling.
Nancy Lou Fiumidinisi runs the Deserama RV Park and has been getting ready for the “Snow Birds” to return.
She said workers “have painted the clubhouse inside, the restrooms, resurfaced the pool. A new sign out front has been fixed.”
Fiumidinisi has a “Welcome Back” banner draped across the front entrance.
“From what I’ve heard from some of the residents who are coming to their home here for the winter, they said Interstate 40 was loaded with RVs headed this way,” Fiumidinisi said.
Lange keeps busy during her winter vacation.
“I work for Wal-Mart. I transfer down here, work down here for six months and work back up North for six months,” she said.
She believes she has the best of both worlds: “I can have the summers up home and the winters down here.”
Meanwhile, Valley hotels are hoping for a better winter.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Kristin Jarnagin with the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, although she said, “The most recent numbers we have, from September year-to-date, they show we’re still about 15% down in occupancy and about 30% down in revenue.”
Revenue is down because of discounted rates, she said.
She believes the worst is over and things have started to stabilize.
“Of course, it will rebound. It always does. People love to travel and they love to explore, that’s just part of human nature. It just depends on how long it’s going to take,” she said.