Tue, May 26

Recreational vehicle enthusiasts hunker down in hopes of avoiding COVID-19

Verde Ranch RV Resort, off Interstate 17 and State Route 260, has space available for RVers, but its amenities are now off limits. VVN/Bill Helm

Verde Ranch RV Resort, off Interstate 17 and State Route 260, has space available for RVers, but its amenities are now off limits. VVN/Bill Helm

VERDE VALLEY — When social distancing and other coronavirus-related restrictions were first implemented, Anna Kunze of Distant Drums RV Resort noticed a “large increase of people canceling” their reservations.

The past couple of days, the resort’s interim manager said, bookings “have leveled off.”

With 158 spaces for folks to park their recreational vehicles, Distant Drums is at about 70% occupancy, down from the roughly 90% it averages in March and April. Typically, about 75% of the resort’s guests do not live in Arizona. This ratio hasn’t changed significantly since COVID-19, Kunze said.

“But we lost all of our Canadians since they closed the borders,” Kunze said. “We also lost a lot of people who were worried they couldn’t get back home. People were afraid their states’ borders would be closed.”

‘A lot of precautions’

For the occupants of the approximately 110 RVs parked at Distant Drums, the resort’s common areas such as the community room, kitchen, and access to a large oven are now closed in state compliance. Verde Ranch RV Resort in Camp Verde has also suspended use of its common areas not just to help keep the residents safe, but also for the safety of staff.

Open less than a year, Verde Ranch is “taking a lot of precautions,” said Lisa Harold, chief operating officer for Contemporary Resorts and Residences, parent company to Verde Ranch RV Resort. “We want our RV’ers to be well.”

Although laundry services are still open at Distant Drums and Verde Ranch, each limits the amount of people who can use them at any one time.

“We consider laundry to be an essential service,” Harold said. However, no more than two people are allowed in the laundry building at any one time.

“They can come back to pick up their laundry when it’s done,” she said.

Distant Drums has implemented a schedule for its patrons to wash and dry. Once they are finished, the area is closed for 30 minutes so it can be disinfected.

But people don’t go on vacation just to do their laundry. For entertainment, folks are taking hikes, or walking their dogs.

But, Kunze said, “it’s eerily quiet,” at Distant Drums.

“We’re keeping staff safe as well,” she said. “Everything (about the coronavirus) is so new. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

No bad apples at Rain Spirit RV Resort

Clarkdale’s Rain Spirit RV Resort is “just about full,” said Gary Clouston, who owns the resort with his wife Kristen.

Rain Spirit has been losing its daily and weekly vacationers since the coronavirus pandemic, Clouston said. But folks who stay a month or more have been extending their stays.

“A lot of those people have been here since February,” he said. “People from Texas and Florida are here.They’re staying put.”

With 63 spaces, Clouston said that “everything is open and clean” at Rain Spirit RV Resort.

“We’ve asked people not to use facilities and bathrooms all that much,” he said. “There’s not a bad apple in the group.”

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @AZShutterbug42

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