There was a commercial on tv recently about grownup toys. The difference they said from kid toys is that grownup toys are much better and much more expensive. In that many retired seniors finally have discretionary time and money, there is a lot of truth in that.
In no particular order, here are just a few of the more exciting toys around Sun City Carolina Lakes, our active adult community.
The sheer number of Corvettes in our community is staggering. There are also a fair number Porsches and Miatas. Add to the mix numerous modern American muscle cars – Mustangs, Chargers, Challengers, and Camaros, to name only a few – and you have a 1960’s high school boy’s best dream that’s not about girls. Jeeps are not sports cars by any means, but there is that crowd as well. Sun City also has a Topless Club, which sounds intriguing, and it is, but it’s for convertible owners and not for what you first thought. Residents have been known, in fact, to buy a convertible just to join this very active, very fun club.
You would think that residents of a 55+ community, more than a few of whom need assistance walking, would not be on two motorized wheels, which is definitely not the case. There are many, many motorcycles in our community. All heavy, all shiny, all overpowered, and all expensive. Harley-Davidsons mostly, but a few Indians and Honda Gold Wings. For those less inclined to ride on two wheels, there are Trikes, also manufactured by Harley-Davidson, and Spyders manufactured by Can-Am. Again, as with the convertible club, the Motorcycle Club regularly meets for short rides and for major multi-day adventures.
Although there are a few mountain bikes in the community and more than a few townies and cruisers, there is very active sub-culture of road cyclists. Good road bikes, like nice cars and motorcycles, are art on wheels. We all grew up with Schwinns, Huffys, and Stingrays, but these bikes are carbon frame treasures, running from $5,000 to well over $12,000. [Personal note: I grew up riding dirt bike motorcycles and still ride a high-end hard-tail mountain bike. I have also parachuted out of airplanes – both military and civilian, but I cannot fathom how riding a bicycle on roads with cars and trucks is safe or fun.] Again, Sun City has a very active group of cyclists who venture out several times a week on rides.
Seniors and recreational vehicles go together like peanut butter and jelly, and we in Sun City wear the stereotype proudly. Since our HOA guidelines dictate that sidewalks cannot be blocked and that vehicles cannot be left overnight in the road, the full-blown full-size RV’s are stored off campus, but we see them occasionally for either the load up for the trip or the load down after. However, we do see the high-end custom Dodge conversion vans and a few very cool Mercedes parked in driveways around the community.
The RC hobby is something I never considered as a “senior” thing, but obviously it is. A senior “guy thing” mostly. Our community even has its own runway behind the ballfield. I have been out on late Sunday afternoons to watch the enthusiasts fly their planes, but there is a learning curve. It seems you have to be able to tell your right from your left regardless of whether the plane is coming toward you or going away; ergo, things I have witnessed: Plane stuck in the trees (eventually recovered). Plane in the Catawba River (lost). Plane in the pond (still at the bottom). Plane in the ballfield fence (plane destroyed). The day the plane went into the Catawba, my friend with a drone said, “Watch this.” He took his hands off the remote, and the drone came to an immediate stop and hovered. He pushed a button and the drone returned to the spot from where it took off. He said, “This is why I have a drone and not a plane.” The RC sailboat folks host regular regattas on our central community lake. Although I personally don’t get why the RC plane/drone thing is fun, I don’t get the RC boat hobby at all. They all have sleek sailboats. I would want a pirate ship or a destroyer.
The perception of old people, even among folks in our surrounding community, is that we ride passively about Sun City in underpowered golf carts going to and from Harris Teeter, the hair dresser, the nail salon, or medical appointments. But the fact is almost everybody has worked full careers and is now enjoying the toys he or she couldn’t afford before, or, if they could afford them, they didn’t have the time to play. So, you can keep your Hot Wheels, kids; we have toys for ages 55 and over.
*Corvette photo courtesy of Debby Hudson / HD photo courtesy of Austin Neill / Drone photo courtesy of David Henrich