I spent a little time at a Fly-in

Things have been pretty much status quo since our last update. About the only thing that has changed is that I made my way to the Fly In & Breakfast at the Coolidge Municipal Airport the other day.

 The Fly In is held the 1st Saturday of each month through the winter and for $8 you can have an all you can eat breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon & eggs and coffee.

 I rolled in about 7:30 and was one of the first few there and they were already serving breakfast so I grabbed a plate, found a spot at a picnic table and watched about 30 planes land while eating.

 After eating I walked out onto the tarmac to get a close up view of the planes while more planes kept landing one after the other until roughly 60 planes had flew in for the short event. The scheduled time is 8 to 10:30 but a few planes fly in a little early and of course a few hang around longer but for the most part you can go out, have some breakfast, watch planes land, get a close up view of some pretty nice planes, shoot the bull with like-minded people, watch some planes take off and still have most of the day free to do whatever else.

 Diane opted to not go with me to the fly-in and went golfing with 3 friends at 9:30 and then played Pickleball in the afternoon. Once we finally got together that day we had a light dinner and then headed to the courts to practice a couple particular shots for about an hour before heading home for showers and some relaxation. Another great day.

 In our last update I mentioned that we got off to a slow start this year here at Palm Creek but it seems we have both fallen into a pretty full schedule now with Diane’s Pickleball and taking up Mahjong and golfing one day (talking about 2) days per week.

 It’s sort of funny, we normally always go grocery shopping together but now that our schedules have filled up and our activities are almost always at different times when we need a few things from the store we have a hard time finding time to go together.

 Well maybe it’s not that funny but it was to us when we found ourselves looking at our calendars together to find a time slot suited for shopping and we ended deciding we would just have to make do with what was in our cupboards for the next couple days LOL!! OR become late night Walmart shoppers.

 On another note we have 2 sets of friends that have sent us there travel itineraries for 2018 so that in case we are in the same areas we can get together, heck one even has the travel time between each stop figured out along with check-in and checkout times. They both asked what our year looks like and we just don’t have the heart to tell them we have not even scheduled our next trip to the grocery store not alone any travel plans for 2018 LOL!!! I guess we should at least start talking about what part of the country we want to hang out in this summer.

 I have done a little research about where I have been wanting to spend the winter in Texas (Mission Texas) but have found that there is very little Pickleball there. Now it may sound funny that we let Pickleball dictate where we go but we have mentioned in previous updates that in spots we plan to spend any length of time we want to have activities (physical activities) like Pickleball available to occupy our time because if you stay put for say 3 months there are only so many trails to hike and sights to see and we don’t want to feel like we have to be out and about every day, yet sitting on our asses at home does not work for us either LOL!! So with that said I think we have crossed spending next winter in Texas off the list for now unless we come across new information that changes our minds. That puts Arizona back at the top of the list for our winter stay again next year, and that’s ok. Where in Arizona we have not figured out yet.

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Our stay at Palm Creek continues

 We have been settled in at Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort for a month now and things are clicking right along after what we consider a slow start this year. Even though it will not be the normal that we fell in love with last year because of the ongoing construction, the new rules and regulation’s at the Pickleball courts (maybe we didn’t talk about that because it’s pretty new) and lack of the RC airfield we talked about in our last update it’s still pretty ok.

 Construction on the new Pro Shop, Bistro, Ballroom, sewing Room and added RV sites still continue and some if not most simply will not be completed during our stay this year but I think we have come to grips with the fact that temporary fences and heavy equipment will just be part of the experience this season.

This will be the Pro Shop when it's completed

This will be the Pro Shop when it’s completed.

The unfinished sewing room

The unfinished sewing room

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

 The Nationals Pickelball Tournament is over and was fun to watch but as much as we appreciate the amazing talent that came here from all over the USA and Canada that we were able to witness we are (as well as many others) darn glad they have packed up and moved on so we can get to OUR normal routine around the courts. Well, not as normal as last year but we may or may not get into all that hoop-la in another update.

 

One of the Gold Medal matches.

One of the Gold Medal matches.

This is where some of the media were stationed during the matches.

This is where some of the media were stationed during the matches.

 We attended a general Pickleball meeting the other night and was informed that this year’s Nationals at Palm Creek became the largest Pickleball event ever held in the country hosting 1,400 players from 42 states and three Canadian provinces. That’s pretty amazing.

 

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

 

 From what we gather the Nationals will NOT be held here at Palm Creek next year so IF we come back we should be able to get right to business and start play as soon as we roll in instead of having to deal with temporary courts at the tennis courts and with luck the Round Robin organized play will start earlier as well as the clinics. But time will tell.

 There is a slight buzz going around that the USAPA is pressing Palm Creek to host the event again next year and if they decide to that will be one more thing that might deter us from coming here next year. It seems those little “push us away” buttons keep getting pushed.  

 Unfortunately the airfield situation will never be the same again but I have joined the Casa Grande Fliers club and have gone out to the city airfield a few times to fly but it’s just not the same and it’s far from a great field.

Casa Grande City Fly Field

Casa Grande City Fly Field

 The club president has spoken words of grandeur since last year talking about things like resurfacing the runway so that it’s not so rough, adding a battery charging station and even a weather station that members can hook up to remotely before making the long drive to the field and adding some sort of cover that would allow members to get out of the sun a little but nothing has happened except the raising of dues LOL!!!

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 I guess he did have someone from the state push a little more dirt out of the way (the land is leased from the state) to increase parking space a bit and there are a few new tables available but heck they were donated by our old club at Palm Creek so really no noticeable improvements have been made that really make a difference. If only they would smooth out the runway I think most would be happy.

Gun range across fro the airfield.

Gun range across fro the airfield.

 And it’s just not the gathering place the field a Palm Creek was, very seldom is anyone out at the field at the same time it seems and half the fun is the camaraderie which is now lacking. Oh well, enough about that.

 Diane and I took a drive to a spot about 5 miles north of town in the middle of the desert where some go fly to have a look but dang it’s just a dust bowl getting there. The routine would be, pack up your own table and shade and head to the field, fly, drive back through the dust bowl to the main road, go directly to the car wash so you can tell what color your rig is again and head home LOL!! Not so great.

A runway etched out in the desert

A runway etched out in the desert

 And there is a chunk of land across the street from the park that is owned by the state and like BLM land you can get a use permit for $15 per year that would allow us to fly there, and some have done that, but it’s nothing more than a narrow dirt and gravel road with a concrete drainage ditch right next to it that is far from perfect so I may or may not take advantage of that spot.

 On a brighter note like we mentioned the Pickelball play for us is going strong again and I sign up for at least 5 different Round Robin Matches each week (Round Robins consist of 6 games) and I have signed up for the Men’s Shootout which is a step up in competition and sort of a rating or ladder system to really see where I stand compared to men in my current level.

 Diane’s sign up habits are a little more scattered at this point but I’m sure she will find a routine that works. She moved up 1 skill level this year and was a little apprehensive at first but is feeling better about it now. And I understand how she feels because I have felt the same way each time I have moved up. She however has added golf and Mahjong to her activities.

 

Diane with a few of her friends on a social night at the Pickleball Courts.

Diane with a few of her friends on a social night at the Pickleball Courts.

  

 On top of the play mentioned above it’s not uncommon to get together with another couple or even a few others and just go have some social play in the evenings as well. And now and again we just go over to practice certain shots with just practice in mind.

 As you can tell, Pickleball is pretty addicting to us and its great exercise and a great way to meet people.

 And yes, there is more to our life down here than flying RC planes and Pickleball (even though they take up the majority of our time). We get out for some sort of bike ride pretty much every day, there was a Art’s & Crafts fair that we attended and there was a Blue’s Band playing in the park that we went and listened to for a while one Saturday. And we get in a few games of Hillbilly Golf now and again. And of course there is a happy hour or two tossed in.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

There were a few vendors outside and dozens more inside.

 And we drove to Chandler (just outside of Phoenix) for a Costco run in preparation for Thanksgiving which we spent with our friends & neighbors Dave & Jennie (from Kansas) and Jennie’s brother Jeff (who lives fulltime here at Palm Creek).

 Dave smoked a turkey and we had plenty of sides to feast on followed by some visiting before everyone waddled off.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s funny, we normally go out to eat 1 or 2 times per week but we have been here for a month and have only gone out to eat twice. The same thing happened last winter, we just seem to stay busy and don’t think much about going out to eat and we tend to just stay home and eat healthier while here. I think I mentioned last winter that we treat this like a “club Med” lol!!! Heck I have only drank 1 beer and a little wine on Thanksgiving and Diane 2 beers and a little wine since getting here. Hey, we feel free to abuse ourselves 8 or 9 months of the year so I guess it doesn’t hurt to take care of ourselves a little more 3 or 4 months of the year, in fact I have lost 10lbs since we have been here and that’s after a huge Thanksgiving feast. Oh, do I have a goal in mind, yes LOL!!

Coming in for a landing

Coming in for a landing

They can make ANYTHING fly

They can make ANYTHING fly

See the prop behind it's head?

See the prop behind it’s head?

 There are a couple restaurants in town that we like so I’m positive we will hit them a few times during our stay so we won’t be deprived by any means.

 I guess that’s it for now, we have plans to drive south to Tucson within the next 2 or 3 weeks to take a look at 2 or 3 other RV Resorts in case we decide to make a switch away from Palm Creek in the future because of all the changes and to visit friends in that area so we should have something other than Pickleball and RC Airfields to talk about LOL!!!

 We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!       

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Which way do we go!!

Ahhhhh, what a summer!!! We traveled and camped in 18 different states and stayed at 52 different campgrounds and we covered more miles this year than any single year since hitting the road in late 2012. We said early on that we were going to treat 2017 like a vacation and in our minds we sure did, we saw some great country and picked a few things off our bucket lists for sure!!

 Now that the years travels are pretty much done we need to kick back and give some thought to what 2018 will bring. While we were leaving Michigan (which we loved) we were freely and openly talking about returning again next summer but after working our way all the way back down to Arizona (in a zig zag fashion) for the winter I started having second thoughts, not because of Michigan but because of the travel involved in getting from Arizona to Oregon and then all the way back over to Michigan for the summer months and then all the way back to Arizona where it seems we like to spend winters.

 It’s not just the distance even though it is a bunch of miles and a bunch of fuel but it really involves having travel days that are FAR longer than we like to travel in a day. We had days that were pushing 400 miles this year when for the first 4 years on the road we averaged more like 80 to 150 miles per travel day which was perfect in my mind, we didn’t just drive by things. And we had a lot more 3 and 4 day stays this year instead of the 7 day stays we have grown accustomed to and like.

 We have a few thoughts flying around in our heads like just stop thinking about it and make the loop with a different route across the top of the US over to Michigan, or taking Oregon out of the mix and just angle up to Michigan from Arizona which would save a bunch of miles and maybe even head to southern Texas after Michigan and avoiding Arizona for the 2018/2019 winter months (southern Texas is on my bucket list anyway but not Diane’s so much) or say to heck with it and just hang around the west coast and do a short loop (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and back to Arizona) this year slowing the pace a little which sounds like the best idea to me right now (only because I’m still dragging a little from this year’s venture but after a couple months of rest and sitting in one spot I’m sure my feeling s will change).

 The down side to taking Oregon out of the loop is that we have a bunch of great friends we would miss seeing and our “real life” stuff like doctors, financial advisor, buying larger ticket items without sales tax (lol), and a few other odd ball things are all in Oregon. But our thoughts are that doctors could be skipped a year and the other stuff we would just deal with over the phone.

 On the other hand the down side to staying on the west coast this year is that my driver’s license needs to be renewed in Feb. of 2019 so we need to hang around the west coast next year which would mean 2 years in a row out west, not that that’s a horrible thing either. I’m glad that renewing drivers licenses in Oregon is a once every 8 year thing. 

 So as you can probably tell, we have some thinking to do and at this point we have no clue what we will do in 2018 and have decided to give ourselves until December to figure it out because if we decided on Michigan we will need to start making reservations right after New Year’s and I’m guessing the same would be true if we decide on certain parts of Texas.  

 Decisions decisions, who said this life style is so easy LOL!! We are so fortunate that we are in a position that we CAN make these type of choices in our life.     

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Time to head to Casa Grande

Wednesday (11/1) we woke up (that’s always a good start to a day) and prepared for what we think will be our last travel day of 2017. Yup, we lifted our jacks and headed a whole 55 miles south to where we have called home the last couple winters at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande Arizona.

 We didn’t even bother hooking up the pickup to the motorhome for this travel day, Diane just tossed in her favorite Bruce Springsteen CD and rocked out while following behind.

 We rolled in at about 11:30 and while checking in we immediately started bumping into friends that we have made here at the park over the last couple years. And that trend continued throughout the day. In fact we just got backed in and hadn’t even lowered the jacks yet and Drew & Becky came riding up on their bikes to say hello LOL!!

 Once we were all set up we jumped on our bikes to take a quick tour of the resort. As we were leaving last year we were told of a bunch of changes that were to take place over the summer and be completed before the busy season hit this year and at that point we thought it sounded like a lot to get completed in one year so we had to check it out.

This will be the new clubhouse for the golf course. Tis is what you are greeted with now when you turn the corner to the check in area.

This will be the new clubhouse for the golf course. Tis is what you are greeted with now when you turn the corner to the check in area.

 Well we were right, there are so many things not completed that I’m sure the resort will be taking some heat from visitors and rightfully so. And to be honest, because of the way they did away with our airfield without much of any notice I’m going to take great enjoyment in hearing about the crap they get lol.

 As soon as we turned the corner and headed towards the check in area we were invited with the view of heavy equipment and narrowed roads next to the new golf clubhouse that was supposed to be completed.

 And right next to that were we used to walk through to get to the pool & hot tub is still all torn up and the little Bistro coffee shop is closed down because it’s going to be part of the clubhouse that is still not completed so the bistro is now being ran out of a cargo style makeshift trailer and all of the food is being stored in a refrigerated trailer.

 Then there is the new Ballroom that is still not completed. Of course the old Ballroom is also in a shamble because it’s going to be connected to the new ballroom so I don’t know what the plan is for dance lessons and bingo nights and other gatherings that are held there until they get everything finished.

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

The sewing room used to sit here but now you see the unfinished ballroom.

 Then to go along with all that there is the attractive temporary fencing and work site garbage containers set up around all the construction areas that certainly take away from the eye appeal that we enjoyed when coming here.

 And we can’t forget the big multimillion dollar expansion that took away our RC Airfield, RC Racetrack and all of the RV storage that was once there, it’s just a bunch of heavy equipment and people still working on all of the underground utilities that looks like is close to being complete so they can start grading for roads I would guess.

This is where RV storage and the RC airfield used to be. Next year this will have streets and more RV parking sites but I think mainly park models will line the outside.

This is where RV storage and the RC airfield used to be. Next year this will have streets and more RV parking sites but I think mainly park models will line the outside.

 Then there is the big sewing room move that had to happen so the ballroom expansion could take place that’s not completed.

Heck that was the first thing they did to get everything moving and they don’t even have that done. Boy howdy, I wouldn’t want to be the one that answers to a bunch of woman that can’t use their sewing room!!! That’s going to make us guys who lost our flying field look like a basket of freshly born kittens.

The unfinished sewing room. I guess the city said they needed to have a bathroom that was not in the original plans.

The unfinished sewing room. I guess the city said they needed to have a bathroom that was not in the original plans.

 What a cluster it all is but of course I’m lashing out a bit because of our airfield being taken away in such an abrupt manner and yet on the other hand everyone is still paying prime dollar for their stay even though things are messed up and not completed as promised when we all left last season. A small discount at check in would have gone a long way to offset a bunch of the ill feeling we hear people talking about in just the few short days we have been here.

 OK, how did we do, did we paint a gruesome picture of a horrible start to our season LOL!!! Well good, I meant to LOL!!!

 Alright, in all reality (OTHER THAN THE AIRFIELD and the eye appeal factor) everything that’s going on really has very little effect on us. We hardly ever went into the ballroom except for Line dancing lessons a couple times and I think we both agree that wasn’t our thing anyway, especially me. And Bingo which I think we have gone a whole 2 times to. And I think we stopped in for coffee and a breakfast burrito twice at the Bistro so no big deal there either. But we still feel a little discount for the month of November would have gone a long way.

 Our main focus here are the friends we have made, Pickelball, the gym and bike riding and none of those things are effected by the construction so we are just going to do our thing and enjoy our stay.

 On our first day here we must have ran into close to a dozen friends and on our 2nd day I was at the Pickelball courts at about 7:30 and was involved with about 40 other players in my first Round Robin of the season and Diane rolled in about 10 and got involved with her first round Robin of the season. On day 3 I found my way to the gym and spent some time on the Elliptical which I love to toss into our daily routine a few days a week. And I assembled the largest plane we carry with us and am ready to head out to the airfield soon so we are off and running.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

You can see the 32 Pickelball courts in blue & green and the vendor tents set up. This was taken right before morning play so the crowds had not gathered yet.

 The Pickelball Nationals started at the park on Saturday (11/4) so our routine has been and will be hampered a bit while that is going on for a week but it’s fun going over to watch some of the best players in the nation battle it out. There are some temporary courts taped out on the tennis courts so we can still go over and play if we want, and I have.

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

PIckleball courts and you can see the softball field in the background.

 This is the last year the Nationals will be held here at Palm Creek we are told so IF we come back next year we will be able to take advantage of the courts without having this one week interruption but again, we enjoy watching so it’s a tradeoff. I bet we spent over 15 hours watching matches in just the first 3 days of the tournament.

 OK, that’s it for now.          

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A little time in Gold Canyon “2017”

 Wednesday (10/25) we lifted our jacks and rolled away from Juniper Ridge and headed 148 miles south to Gold Canyon Arizona. We basically took HWY 77 into Show Low and then jumped onto HWY 60 and drove it all the way to Gold Canyon.

 We drove this same route last year and really enjoyed the scenery, there are two or three 6 and 7 % grades you have to descend and a couple are on some fantastic motorcycle roads but nothing the engine brake on the motorhome doesn’t handle with ease, I love that thing!! Plus the views while winding your way down the canyon are fantastic, I envy Diane for being able to really to take in the views from the co-pilot seat at times.

 The last couple times we visited the Gold Canyon Area we have stayed at a RV Resort called Superstition Views and have enjoyed it pretty much but this time we decided to try Gold Canyon Golf & RV Resort which is pretty much next door to Superstition Views for something different.

 Once we checked in we were lead to our site and got set up, well set up enough because I just did the basics and then we hid inside with the AC running until the sun went down and it cooled down a bit, I told you in our last update that I would be whining because we have been so used to cool temperatures all summer so let the whining begin LOL!!

 By the time it started to cool down it was time for the World Series game to come on and at that point there was no way in the world I was going to pry Diane away from the TV so I jumped on my bike and headed out for a ride to check out the resort. Once I returned she sat outside to watch the game while I set up the BBQ and a couple other things and we called it day with the intent of waking up and hitting the Pickelball courts at 8am.

They have 5 Pickelball courts and there is talk of adding 1 more.

They have 5 Pickelball courts and there is talk of adding 1 more.

 Once Thursday rolled around we were right back in the “Resort mode”!! We were up, had breakfast and on our bikes headed to the Pickelball courts at 7:30 and by 8 we were engulfed in a game.

 The RV Park isn’t very full yet but there were still about 20 people at the courts and everyone was very inviting and had us feeling like we had been coming here for years in no time at all. I don’t know how many games we played but we played pretty solid for 2 ½ hours. Even though Diane and I have dinked around and practiced whenever we find ourselves around a court we have not been in any hard played games and I will admit that I was huffin & puffin a couple times during our play. In our defense the temps where in the high 80’s by the time we stopped playing and we were both feeling the heat from the sun, not just the competition LOL!!

Shuffle Board

Shuffle Board

Silver Smithing room

Silver Smithing room

 Once we finished play we headed home for showers and some lunch before heading back out to investigate more about the park. We headed to the clubhouse and toured the woodshop, stained glass shop, Lapidary room, wood carving room, pool hall, weight room, library, shuffle board courts and the pool areas. Like so many of the resorts down south they have every activity under the sun available to keep you as active as you want to be.

Lapidary

Lapidary

Wood Carving

Wood Carving

It's early in the season so the Activities Board isn't full yet but you get the idea.

It’s early in the season so the Activities Board isn’t full yet but you get the idea.

Pool and 2 hot tubs

Pool and 2 hot tubs

Good sized weight room.

Good sized weight room.

Small library.

Small library.

A nice pool hall.

A nice pool hall.

 

Look at all the concrete around those horseshoe pits!!

Look at all the concrete around those horseshoe pits!!

WHAT THE!!! That is as about the most dangerous looking horseshoe pit I have ever seen.

WHAT THE!!! That is as about the most dangerous looking horseshoe pit I have ever seen.

After touring we headed back home for a light dinner and then hit the Pickelball courts again at 6 and played under the lights until 8PM. And that my friends set the pace for our stay at Gold Canyon Golf and RV Resort LOL!!!

Diane & Diane taking on the guys.

Diane & Diane taking on the guys.

I thought this shot was funny. Everyone is looking at the ball as if to say "are you ever going to come down". LOL!!

I thought this shot was funny. Everyone is looking at the ball as if to say “are you ever going to come down”. LOL!!

 Oh sure, we did more than just play Pickelball, we put a bunch of miles on our bikes, we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant in the area called Chens for a meal, we went to the Mesa Marketplace that we hit every time we are in the area and we headed out to the Apache Junction RC Airfield to see what was going on. But we did play Pickelball every day and on some days we played at least 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.

There are at least 6 or 7 rows full of everything we didn't need.

There are at least 6 or 7 rows full of everything we didn’t need.

 We partly stopped in at this park to see if it might be a viable option other than going to Palm Creek during the winters. Because Palm Creek has now done away with the airfield some of the attraction has faded even though it’s a top notch park otherwise and has every type of entertainment available known to man and is pretty eye appealing, but we do not take advantage of most of the things available and the things we do take advantage of we can find in most of the larger resort type parks and at a lower cost.

 Gold Canyon Golf and Rv Resort is really just a smaller version of Palm Creek in about every way. Gold Canyon has about 1/3 of the spaces which means less people and every activity room is far smaller than those at Palm Creek but probably pretty proportional with the people each resort can hold.

 Palm Creek would certainly gets the nod for eye appeal and at this point has more sites that are actually used for RV’s and not filled up with park models but that is changing every year. Plus even though Palm Creek has its share of older park models Gold Canyon’s percentage of older (but still nice looking) park models is much higher. And the RV sites that are available at Palm Creek are a little larger which we most certainly like if we plan to spend any real time at all, we want to spread out and feel at home and not crunched in.

 Cost wise if we compare the 4 months that we will spend at Palm Creek this winter to the same 4 months at Gold Canyon, Gold Canyon is 13% cheaper (just comparing “published” standard lot prices to standard lot prices). We pay a little more each month at Palm Creek over standard site prices because we opt to have a premium site which gives us a corner site and even a little more room. After touring around Gold Canyon RV Resort I’m not sure we would be able to upgrade because from what we could see all of the premium sites are filled up with permanent park models so that is a ding as far as we are concerned.

 You might have noticed we said “published” prices, Palm Creek is pretty slick at nickel and diming. Palm Creek adds $30 per month for septic and garbage fee’s. We asked in the office at Gold Canyon and they said the published prices is the price you pay, no extra charges. Of course both charge for electricity for monthly stays. So with the added charges it makes Palm Creek roughly 15% higher than Gold Canyon.

 As we mentioned, both Gold Canyon RV Resort and Palm Creek are full of activities and both have some charges involved with some of these activities to cover material’s which makes perfect sense but during our comparison research we found that there are a few activities at Gold Canyon that are free compared to the same activities at Palm Creek having charges.

 For us if we look at the activities that we get involved in the charges don’t make a bunch of difference but for some it could certainly add up and increase the cost difference between the two. 

 By now you are probably asking, what are you guys, campground critique’s?? LOL!!! Well no, but this blog is a big part of our memory and in the future when making choices of where we might want to stay we will no doubt refer back to refresh our memories but if it helps give others a little insight it’s a plus.

 Besides, it’s not just about the money, it’s about the overall experience and we will see how we feel about Palm Creek after this season is over. Heck, we may skip Arizona all together next winter and head to Texas which makes being able to refer back to this info even more important after a year or two go bye because we probably won’t just remember LOL!! Sad but true.

 Ok, that probably sums it up for this area this year. We really enjoyed our short stay and really enjoyed the people we met while here, they all made us feel so welcome. Heck they even let us win a few games on the Pickelball court LOL!!!

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 Wednesday (11/1) will be another move day and it will be a biggie of 55 miles

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Spending some town outside Show Low Arizona

 Tuesday (10/17) rolled around and with it yet another travel day. Today we decided to head towards a spot about 15 miles outside of Show Low Arizona called Juniper Ridge RV Resort that sits in the White Mountains of Arizona.

 We were told about Juniper Ridge by a guy named Neil who gave us our Lawn Bowling lesson last winter in Casa Grande. He mentioned that he spent winters in Casa Grande and spent summers at Juniper Ridge because it sits at an elevation of about 6400ft and has much cooler temps than the valley and is chocked full of activities so we figured we would check it out.

This is the main hub with the cross looking thing in the middle being the pool.

This is the main hub with the cross looking thing in the middle being the pool.

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 Juniper Ridge has 528 privately-owned deeded lots and includes both RV sites and Park Models for sale or rent. Plus it is a 55 & older park which is right down our alley if it happens to be a place we want to stay put at for a month or so in the future.

Just one of the water features in the resort.

Just one of the water features in the resort.

These two ponds are stocked with fish and are catch and release.

These two ponds are stocked with fish and are catch and release.

 We have said before that we like a wide range of RVing styles, everything from boondocking with absolutely no amenities except nature to state parks and privately owned parks but if we plan to stay put for maybe a month or longer we want activities at hand.

 We have found that finding parks full of activities in warm areas that we would want to spend winter months is easy but finding them in areas that are cooler in the summer months is more of a challenge so when we hear of one we try to check it out.

 Juniper Ridge stated on their web-site that they had activities that include a large Clubhouse with TV Lounge and Commercial Kitchen, a stage & Dance Floor, a private 18-hole Golf Course, Pro Shop, computer lab, swimming pool and spa, fitness Center, locker room with steam & sauna, tennis court, Pickle Ball Courts, shuffle board courts, horse shoe pits, croquet, bocce ball, lake-side park, fishing dock, a billiards room, pottery club, card rooms, library, large laundry room, salon & barber Shop, arts & crafts rooms, quilting/sewing room, lapidary/silver smithing room, wood shop, RV & boat Storage (on-site) and access rights to the private White Mountain Lake Recreation Area. Whew, that should be enough to keep a person busy!!

The gym is in two sections and has the basics.

The gym is in two sections and has the basics.

Another game room.

Another game room.

They play Poker a number of nights during the week

They play Poker a number of nights during the week.

Pro Shop for the golf course.

Pro Shop for the golf course.

Pool hall

Pool hall

 Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) most everyone had vacated by the time we arrived so we were not able to see just how active everyone was but I guess being here almost all alone gave us a chance to check things out pretty much uninterrupted and at our own pace and to be honest the pace was that of a snail.

 This stop made out 50th campsite stop in 2017 and keep in mind that we spent 1 month this year in Casa Grande and 1 month in Grants Pass AND we still have November and December left so we have really been on the move this year and I’m just about spent and ready to stay put a bit, Diane on the other hand has a little bit of the Energizer Bunny in her I think LOL!!!

 Once we got here the first thing on the list was to fix a flat tire on my bike. I thought I had a spare tube but it turned out we had 2 spare tubes for Diane’s bike but none for mine so I ended up using my patch kit.

 After I fixed it once and mounted it back on the bike it didn’t take long to figure out I had another leak someplace so I took it off again and fixed it. After I thought all was good we headed out on a ride only to find out it was losing air again!!!! What the!!!!! Well I figured that was a sign that we needed to drive into Show Low to poke around a bit and buy a couple new tubes for my bike.

 After getting back home and changing the tube all together we were able to get some rides in during our stay. Holy cow, I should have just went into town in the first place, I must have wasted 2 hours on that stupid tire when it should have been a 15 minute job. Oh well, what else do I have to do anyway.

A nice mediation garden by BLM

A nice mediation garden by BLM

 Other than the tire project I took some time and gave the truck a good wash and I half assed washed the motorhome. When we get to Casa Grande in 2 weeks we will have Dave’s RV Wash do a complete wash and wax so I didn’t go to crazy washing it myself.

 We had pretty good weather during our visit with mostly blue skies and temps in the mid to upper 70’s except for one day it stayed in the mid 60’s and one other that the wind blew hard all day. Because it was blowing so hard we of course pulled in our awnings, well tried anyway!! When I tried to retract the awning over the entry door it was a no go, dang.

 We have had issues with that awning since new but have never been able to trace down the problem. We have even had a couple shops take a look at it while in for whatever other reasons but of course it never acts up while we are at a shop. In fact we had Tiffin look at it while in Red Bay but again it was working perfectly while there.

 Normally if it acts up I can go whack it, push on it, shake it or some other type of sophisticated thing and it comes back to life but not this time. So I got the ladder and socket set out and manually retracted it and tossed a big zip tie around it for safety sake and figure to leave it for another time when we are sitting in one spot for a while and I can take it apart and not feel rushed, OR have a shop look at it now that it will surely not work for them. But watch, if I take it in it will probably shake itself back to life while we are driving down the road and work perfectly at the shop LOL!! Wait, that’s not funny, that’s really how it happens.

 And of course we took a couple drives while in the area. We drove to the small towns of Taylor and Snowflake and to Show Low, Pinetop and Lakeside which we visited last year on our way down to Casa Grande. Here is a link to that visit in case you’re interested. https://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/our-stay-in-show-low-arizona/

Probably our favorite drive in the area is one we did last year and again this year, it leaves Show Low and heads out HWY 260 through Pinetop and Lakeside and continues through McNary until we reach HWY 273.

Shush Be Tou Lake

Shush Be Tou Lake

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

 We then follow 273 which takes you by Sunrise Park and Lake, then Basin and Crescent lakes and on to Big Lake which we use as a turning point.

 Once we head back we turn on HWY 261 which takes you by a pretty cool overlook and eventually down to HWY 260. At that point you have a couple options depending on where you want to go but this time we drove into Eagar and then Springerville where we stopped in at the White Mountain Historic Park before heading back to Eagar for a fast stop at Dairy Queen before heading home.

Zoom in and read that sign. Some guy lived in that shack for 60 years!!!

Zoom in and read that sign. Some guy lived in that shack for 60 years!!!

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Big Lake

Big Lake

Big Lake

Big Lake

 We love that drive because of all the lakes we get to visit and this time of year the trees are changing colors. We did this about 3 weeks after what we did last year and we have missed some of the colors but it was still a great day trip.  

Big Lake

Big Lake

Big Lake

Big Lake

A couple mornings between 5:30 and 6 I went out to try and get a glimpse of the huge herd of Elk that hang out in the area. We were told there are 50 or 60 that show up someplace almost every morning and from all the tracks and poop around on the golf course and even the streets we would believe it.

 I normally get up around 5am and some mornings while having coffee I could hear them squeal and whine so I would head out but it was usually dark enough that I either couldn’t see them or I would just see silhouettes run across the fairway but to be honest I never went in full hunt mode to catch a better view. And it would be easy because it’s pretty obvious where they normally cross through by the 18th green which was only maybe 300 yards from our campsite.

 A couple nights before bed (10pm) we decided to jumped in the truck and take a drive down the main road and along the golf course to see if we could see any Elk. At one point we saw about 15 cross the road but by the time I grabbed the phone to take a picture only the bull was left standing guard in the road giving us the stink eye while his herd got a safe distance from the road before he walked into the brush himself so we only got a poor picture of him.

 Another time on our evening drive we saw roughly 30 but once again by the time we got close enough to even thing about pictures they had made their way into the brush.  

  So, to sum it up we found Juniper Ridge RV Resort to have all of the amenities we would desire in a spot if we want to spend maybe a month or more, the sites are large enough to spread out and with a little picking and choosing you can get a spot with nature as your back yard or a nice golf course view if so desired, and the prices are not out of whack.

 Speaking of prices this is a spot where you can buy and own the lot or rent, for a bare lot prices start at about $30,000 and go up from their depending on improvements. At that point the yearly dues are $1864 plus property taxes so after the initial purchase a person could live pretty darn cheap. Think about it, where can you live for roughly $200 per month (if you stayed year around) where you have all of the infrastructure that you have at Juniper Ridge

 As far as renting you can get a nice lot with a concrete patio for around $750 per month plus electricity or an annual lease for around $3000 from what we could find out but nothing is set in stone by the park so it can vary from owner to owner. But if you think about it at $3000 for a annual and if you only stay on the lot 6 months of the year, which from taking to people is pretty average, the cost per month is $500 and you have a storage shed to leave some stuff in if you want. All just information for us to keep in mind for when the time comes.  

 The temps can still get into the high 80’s in July & August which are still a little on the warm side for what I would call a cool comfortable place to be during the summer but they are about right for Diane and it does cool off during the evening and morning hours with temps dropping into the 50’s so it’s doable but no comparison to what we experienced in Michigan this summer, can we pull Michigan a little closer to the west coast?? LOL!!

 It’s times like this that I compare the weather in Southern Oregon to spots we think we could hang our hat for a couple months during the summer and as much as we love Oregon it always comes back to the same thing, there just isn’t any nice enough parks with activities that we would care to stay at for any length of time in Oregon that we have found. It’s a sad thing.

 Oh well, that’s it for us in his area, we enjoyed our stay in the Ghost Town of Juniper Ridge RV Resort (LOL) and Wednesday (10/25) we will drop farther south and down over 4000’ in elevation so we will no doubt get into some much warmer temperatures so I will have a little acclimating (and whining) to do and Diane will be happy LOL!! Two more stops and the wheels will stop turning and we will get to hunker down for a while this winter.   

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Spending time in (how do you spell it?) Albuquerque

 Sunday (10/8) we lifted our jacks and left Angel Fire New Mexico as well as the incoming snow and cold weather and drove to the Route 66 RV Resort just a few miles west of Albuquerque New Mexico.

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Even though there is lots of country out there that we have not yet seen it is getting to the point that we at times find ourselves crossing the same trails and have to think a little bit more about taking the untraveled path yet be smart about our travels, and this is one of them.

 Albuquerque other than being one damn hard name to spell is the largest city in New Mexico and also way bigger than what we normally like with a population of over 559,000 people but if you look at the metropolitan statistic’s the population jumps to 909,906 making Albuquerque is the 60th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

 Now add in the fact that we just happened to pop in during the largest Hot Air Festival in the world that happens the first week of October each year and it makes the city even a little busier LOL!!! Had we known we were going to be coming through at this time we would have made plans to get a camp site right at the event and take it all in but because we didn’t and we have seen other balloon festivals (although smaller) we didn’t have the desire to fight the crowds and drive there during our stay. But we did see tons of balloons in the air as we were driving around in the morning hours.

 Not to worry, there is plenty to do around Albuquerque other than the Balloon Festival. One day we drove to Old Town and took a 2 hour Trolley Tour that started at 10am followed by a great lunch at the Hacienda del Rio Restaurant.

 After lunch we spent a few hours walking the streets of Old Town popping in and out of the numerous shops and galleries but mainly enjoying stumbling across quiet hidden patios and gardens all with the old Spanish feel that we both like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Town was Albuquerque’s first neighborhoods in 1706 when a group of Spanish families settled here not far from the Rio Grande. The settlers organized their new town in the traditional Spanish colonial way, with a central plaza anchored by a church. When the original adobe church collapsed after the long, rainy summer of 1792, they rebuilt, and in 1793 San Felipe de Neri church was completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today this adobe church with walls five feet thick is the oldest in Albuquerque and its white towers mark Old Town from a distance. It remains a functioning Catholic church today.

 While walking around a few different music groups would take the stage in the gazebo that is positioned in the middle of the town square so of course we made our way over and spent some time enjoying the festivities.

 In fact we liked the Old Town area so much that we made our way there 2 times during our stay in the area and would probably go again if we ever pass through again.

 On another day we made our way to the Petroglyph National Monument and started by stopping in at the visitor center and watched a 22 minute film before getting directions to a few hikes in the area where we could see the Petroglyphs.

 We got our first tip about this spot from our friends Steve & Karen’s blog because they were in the area just a short time before us and then of course from Trip Advisor which we check religiously whenever we stop in an area.

 For our first group of 3 short hikes (1 hike and 2 walks really) we went to Boca Negra which is a few miles north from the Visitor Center. The trails are called Mesa Point, Macaw, and Cliff Base.

 We did all 3 hikes and only one had any elevation gain to talk about but it twisted up to a pretty high peak that have us some good views and the Petroglyphs on the way up and down were pretty good as well.

 After our hikes we made our way to a Costco that wasn’t far away and stocked up again.  

 On another day we drove to Rinconada Canyon for another hike.

 It was a 2.2 mile hike that was rated Easy to moderately strenuous but in reality it was just easy. There were a lot of Petroglyphs on this hike and it was probably or favorite of the 5 we did while in the area.

 We will just say now that we took literally a couple hundred pictures so we will spare you and only share a few LOL!!

 After Rinconada Canyon we made our way to the Piedras Marcadas Canyon trailhead that was about 7 miles away for another hike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one was only a 1.5 mile hike that was rated easy / moderate and boosted to have up to 400 Petroglyphs to see and it certainly had more than the other hikes we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All of these hiking trails are very close to the city and it’s times like this that we have to be thankful for whatever groups got involved to save places like these because development is all around and if someone hadn’t stepped in they would probably be all cleared out and replaced by housing developments or gas stations.

 We mentioned earlier that we were camped at the Route 66 RV Resort but I don’t think we mentioned that is right next door to a Casino. So of course during our stay we took advantage of a couple 2 for 1 Buffet vouchers we were given (it’s not often we can both have a meal where the total bill is $12 LOL!!) and also ate one meal at the Thunder Road Steak House and Cantina which we liked allot.

 Now is probably a good time to give a shout out to Carlos, the manager of Route 66 RV Resort. The place was pretty packed because of the Balloon Festival and he worked some magic to get us in and in a spot we were able to stay put in without moving around during our stay. And on top of that they had a nice BBQ during our stay that was free to the guests and they had a Hot Air Balloon set up that offered free tethered rides. We would stay here again if ever I the area for sure.

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We also have to note that the Route 66 RV Resort was the 4th highest priced campground we have stayed at so far in 2017 out of the 48 we have stayed at, and we have stayed at some of the top rated resorts in the country this year.

 We also took advantage of the 2 Pickelball Courts that are at the park. There was another couple here that we were able to at least play a few games with but mainly Diane and I played one on one and practiced.

 We were told of other courts in town by our friends Steve & Karen and we did drive by them one afternoon during our travels but didn’t make it in to play on them, maybe next time.

 All in all even though I have gone on the record and made it very clear my dislike of larger cities we found it pretty easy to navigate around the areas we toured. But we did pretty much stay on the western side. We could see ourselves coming back and spending a little more time in the area, there are lots of things we didn’t experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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But once again it was time to lift our jacks and make another move, something we will only be able to say a couple more times this year before landing in our winter spot. Tuesday (10/17) we rolled away from Route 66 RV Resort and headed a little farther southeast.

 We enjoyed almost perfect weather over the last week with temps in the high 70’s for the most part and I hope we are dragging our feet enough to continue this trend and not drop to far south before the heat lets up, time will tell.

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