LIVIN’ IT UP ON MILLIONAIRE'S ROWORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN INDIAN RIVER MAGAZINE
BY SUE-ELLEN SANDERS
PHOTOS BY ROBERT P. DUDLEY
Bill and Rebecca Sanders love the great outdoors. In fact, they live there. “We’re vagabonds,” says Bill, relaxing in the shade of the thatched tiki hut built on their Outdoor Resorts home site in St. Lucie West. “We don’t like to stay in one place too long.”
Home base is on the road with their high-end motor conversion bus, but when they aren’t at a NASCAR race or traveling across the country, the couple spends much of the fall and winter months enjoying the mild weather on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Home is also the thatched roof that provides shade and protection for an incredible outdoor kitchen, bar and serving area, just a part of the outdoor oasis that the retired Iowa couple have created alongside their motor home. Their home site at this motor coach-only, gated resort in Port St. Lucie’s St. Lucie West, offers a luxurious version of the outdoor life, and many of the neighboring home sites are just as loaded.
Along the Sanders’ lane are the crème de la crème of home sites. It’s outdoor living with a definite upscale flavor. These home sites alone cost upward of $350,000, and are owner-upgraded with outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and ponds, often designed and created by Island Girl Trading Company, a St. Lucie West-based business specializing in outdoor kitchens.
Many of the motor coaches parked on the lane are valued at more than $1 million each, like the Sanders’ conversion bus, a 45-foot Liberty Prevost. That’s why some of the lesser-valued lanes at the resort have dubbed this lane, “Millionaire’s Row,” in honor of high-end outdoor living.
Back at the Sanders’ abode, the covered bar area comfortably seats 24 in the shade and contains everything the couple desires for their dining needs, including a state-of-the-art Evo grill, a flattop grill that can cook any type of food, perfect for the frequent entertaining the Sanders enjoy.
Just outside the dining area, a deep seated outdoor living room set is surrounded by the sounds of nature; a waterfall to soothe the soul, a pond stocked with fish and a fireplace that crackles with warmth on cool evenings.
For six months of the year, the Sanders’ motor conversion bus is parked at their custom-designed home site at Outdoor Resorts. The rest of the year, the tiki bar is wrapped in heavy-duty shrink-wrap to keep it clean and varmint-free, while they are either traveling throughout the United States, parked at their Apple Valley Farm lot outside Lake Lure, N.C., or cruising the open seas.
Bill Sanders owned several radio stations in Iowa when he bought his first motor home more than 20 years ago. That 35-foot Pace-Arrow, wired for a studio, allowed the stations to do live remotes, and was the forerunner of the mobile studio, the only one in the state of Iowa.
In 1989, when United Airlines Flight 232 crashed after its emergency landing in nearby Sioux City, Sanders and his crew drove a half-hour down the road and were already doing live remote broadcasts as the 195 survivors were walking out of the cornfields in that miracle story.
It was after he sold the radio stations that Bill and Rebecca Sanders began their nomadic life. Longtime NASCAR fans, they have traveled to many races, visited their son, a chef in Minnesota, and traveled from New Mexico to Colorado, California to Oregon, packing up their two dogs and their life, enjoying their time on the road.
They’ve also visited 136 countries in 487 days at sea on cruise ships since Bill’s retirement in 2001, a habit begun during Rebecca’s career as a cruise ship guest lecturer.
As spring heats up, the owners at Millionaire’s Row pack up, until the air gets frosty again up north and they can join with their neighbors living in style in their own version of the outdoor life.
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