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Where to retire? The search goes on

By on April 27, 2020 in Travel with 0 Comments
Mya Archamboult has coffee on the sunny deck in Palm Desert — a place that certainly checks the list for sunshine.

48 hours to figure out if Palm Springs checks off the ‘musts’ on the list

By Kalin Raible

We are still on the hunt for a place to retire to in 15 – 20 years. 

Last year, we looked at Florida. This year we visited California. 

We are fortunate enough to have friends — Al and Ann Bridges from Wenatchee — who go to Palm Springs (technically Palm Desert) every year for about two months. After comparing calendars we were able to fit in a 48-hour trip mid-January.

Our Working List for Retirement Requirements:

n Sunshine. My wife, Mya Archamboult, would prefer to only wear flipflops after we retire. I like all four seasons so this will probably be our biggest challenge. 

n Be physically active. This seems to be a key component to enjoying life, continuing to travel, keeping up with family and friends and recovering from whatever ails us.

n Quality healthcare. My parents opted to retire to Montana and one of them usually makes a trip to the ER each year. It’s about a 90 minute drive — 20 minutes with the helicopter but that is a story for another time.

n Live in a similar manner to which we have become accustomed. 

n Not to outlive our retirement.

n Stay engaged in our community via part-time work, volunteering or both.

n Interesting enough place to live that it’s fun to have visitors. 

The trip to California was amazing. Al and Ann rent a second floor condo with an awesome deck in the gated tennis community of Deep Canyon Tennis Complex. This was their sixth year there. 

VRBO has a listing at Deep Canyon Tennis Complex that looks similar for Jan. 1, 2021 – Feb. 28, 2021 for $9,696.19. This is definitely more than Mya and I could afford right now but something to consider working towards.

We arrived on the midnight flight and Al and Ann had arranged for a taxi to pick us up. It took a bit to get that sorted but eventually we were on our way. 

We got a ride in a taxi with Jose and we were glad to arrive at our destination because the taxi was running rough. I always enjoy arriving late night/early morning into a new town, driving (riding) with the windows down and enjoying the sleepiness/quiet of the new place as you look around at the quietest time of day.

We got to the condos and (of course) didn’t get to bed until after 2 a.m. because we were catching up and drinking wine. 

Tuesday we got a late start since we had been up so late the night before. Mya was happy. She got to sit on the deck in the sun and listen to the sounds of pickleball being played across the street.

It was delightful to see people older than us being physically active. Yes, there were knee and elbow braces but people were fit. 

A dozen tennis courts are on the property, with some courts converted to pickleball. Ann took us on a walking tour of the compound. This is definitely a goal for retirement: Physically active in warmer weather. Then we were off to explore the area. I can’t quite recall the order of the adventure so I will sum up.

As Ann is an avid tennis player and tennis buff, we visited the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which hosts the Indian Wells Masters, aka BNP Paribas Open or WTA Indian Wells Open every year. 

Ann has volunteered in the past as an inexpensive way to access the event. 

Her husband, Al, got to enjoy the amenities while Ann took tickets at a couple different gates. Ann wasn’t convinced she got the best deal. After several rounds of discussion, it sounded like Ann’s volunteerism got Al the best deal. 

Next, we went to PGA West and had lunch on the patio at the clubhouse on the green. We definitely wanted to play. Mya and I didn’t play much golf last year because she had a cracked tibia, which took about eight months to heal. This visit rekindled our desire to play golf.

After lunch, we were off to visit the Marriot Hotel Complex. What an amazing place! This place has its own lake, which is part of the lobby of the hotel. One can enter the lake inside the hotel and exit through a glass door out into the lake. 

We did take in the town of La Quinta and the Eisenhower Medical Center since Al (post heart procedure) has to check in once a week and has been spending some quality time there.

Next we were off to the Palm Springs Art Museum and Sculpture Garden. The museum was closed but we did wander the sculpture garden. It was right next to an intersection but the designer had done a wonderful job with the design that muffled the sound of traffic and kept the garden welcoming and refreshing. 

Dinner Tuesday was at Al and Ann’s condo and once again we were up past midnight. We did discover the InstaCart app, which allowed us to order wine from one of the local grocery stores and get it delivered to the condo. Totally worth it.

Wednesday was more adventure. We drove up to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The visitor center was closed but we still got to enjoy the walking path and labeled vegetation. 

Next we visited the Eisenhower Thrift Store. They have a nice layout that is easy to navigate and several volunteers that are eager to assist. 

We found some great scarves and a Jura coffee maker. It was a late anniversary present to ourselves. The coffee maker ended up requiring servicing but overall we still came out ahead on the price.

Next we were off to Sunnylands (of the Annenberg Foundation Trust) for lunch and a walking tour of the grounds. We watched a 20-minute video that talked about Sunnylands. A couple factoids we found interesting: It is sometimes referred to as the White House West and it was where Nixon and his wife retreated to after his resignation. 

Next we visited the Palm Springs Air Museum. Mya and I are fans of aviation and this is a very well done museum with lots of aircraft. 

We had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and then we were off to Palm Springs International Airport. The airport is fantastic. If Wenatchee’s Pangborn Airport ever gets a refresh, the design team should visit the Palm Springs International Airport. The airport is very open and has a “Welcome to the Desert” kind of feel. 

We landed in Seattle and drove back home. In bed after 2 a.m.… again!

To revisit the retirement checklist:

n Sunshine — Yes, Palm Desert/Springs definitely has this.

n Be physically active — Yes, Deep Canyon had this but there was Golfing available as well.

n Quality healthcare — Yep, Eisenhower Center.

n Interesting place to live – Yes, definitely checks this box.

But I’m not so sure about the rest of the list:

n Live in a similar manner to which we have become accustomed — Palm Desert/Springs seemed expensive to us given that a condo similar to the one our hosts rent is about $4,750 per month. Although more quick research reveals that other places are available for about $2,500 per month. We didn’t go into a grocery store so more research is required

n Not to outlive our retirement — we need to make a LOT more dollars now to afford to live in Palm Springs year round given our current mortgage payment is $1,300 per month.

n Stay engaged in our community via part-time work, volunteering or both. We didn’t explore this much at all so we need to visit Palm Desert/Springs again for more research.

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