Summing up our stay in Casa Grande

Even though we are still here for a few more days it’s time to sum up our first attempt at what was an extended stay for us (3 month’s) at the Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort.

We have made comment before that living fulltime in an RV would only work for us if we stay on the move and even though staying 3 months here didn’t have the tires moving, WE stayed moving so it seemed to work for us.

In fact compared to our norm of lifting our jacks and making a move about every week it was a nice break away from always planning where we would be going next, what route we would drive, where we would stay, what we wanted to see and what restaurants we wanted to try. I know I know, that’s why we live this life style but trust me, the old saying that too much of anything can get old is true, even if it’s a good thing you are getting to much of LOL!! Does that make sense?

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Another pool at Palm Creek

Another pool at Palm Creek

The main pool at Palm Creek

The main pool at Palm Creek

After a few weeks and after all of the activities kicked in (most things start November 1st) we started figuring out the newness of having so many options of activities to choose from and participate in. At first we certainly tried to squeeze too much in (for us). On some days we found ourselves busy at 6am then rushing home from one activity only to change cloths, grab a nibble and run off to another activity keeping us busy from early morning to early evening, sometimes later. That pace is obviously good for some but we soon figured out that we needed to start picking and choosing so we could have a little down time (or recovery time LOL!!).

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The things that we ended up liking the most and that we put into a routine were going to the RC airfield in the mornings, bike rides and walks, going to the gym a few days a week and Pickle Ball that we played at different times of the day and almost every day. Those were our favorites but we still tossed in a few other things for variety like Lawn Bowling (very little actually), Hillbilly Golf, and a Genealogy class (Diane) and of course checking out a few restaurants in town. Very few if any days were spent being completely down days, in fact I can’t think of even one. This is not a place we can just sit on our butt’s at, there is just too much entertainment to be had. In fact my rough count is 68 different activities are supplied by the resort, that’s not counting walks and bike riding. If anyone gets bored staying in this park it’s their own fault that’s for sure.

We both have to admit that Pickle Ball was almost addicting. Instead of reaching for a beer at happy hour time it wasn’t uncommon for us to head over to the courts to see if we could find a game or at least practice and many nights I had games between 6pm and 8pm. I’ll admit that we hardly drank a drop of alcohol during our stay in exchange for activities. That’s almost hard to admit LOL!!

 

Some of the guys at the park think of different ways to bring their planes to the airfield.

Some of the guys at the park think of different ways to bring their planes to the airfield.

Did I mention recovery time earlier? Well Diane took that to heart and decided to take a tumble one day while we were playing Pickle Ball and landed on her wrist and bonked her head on the court at the same time. It put her in a daze for a bit and in fact a couple fellow Pickle Ball players came over to lend a hand, put Diane in a wheelchair and gave her a ride home in their car while one rode her bike home for us.

Lucky for us our friend Nurse Ratchet, I MEAN Lynn (inside joke), a retired nurse, was camped next door and she came over to check Diane out. At that point she seemed pretty ok but Lynn told me what things to watch for before heading home.

That all happened midafternoon and around 8:30PM Diane started complaining about a headache and an upset stomach and said she wanted to go to bed. I on the other hand decided going to the ER was a better idea so I loaded her up and away we went for an enjoyable evening at the hospital.

At around midnight and after a CAT scan of her head and an x-ray of her wrist they said she probably had a light concussion and a badly sprained wrist, patted her on the ass and sent us on our way. What a day.

She was pretty out of it for the next couple days but after about 5 days she was back on the Pickle Ball courts with her wrist brace on playing lightly. After a week she was playing in Round Robin matches again, my Diane is a tough ol bird when she wants to be.

During one of our days playing Pickle Ball before Diane had her fall I was playing with a lady on my team that also took a fall but she wasn’t so lucky. They ended up hauling her off in an ambulance only to find out she had a spiral fracture of the femur and they had to operate and put in a carbon rod. With Pickle Ball being so popular here and people over 55 getting so competitive at times it’s not really that uncommon for accidents to happen and at our ages we just don’t bounce like we used to.

For Thanksgiving our new friends and neighbors across the street Dave & Jenny (from Kansas) suggested that Roger & Lynn and Jenny’s brother Jeff and us gather at their place for a pot luck dinner. So Roger & Lynn and Diane & I jumped in the truck a day or two before and took a drive to Costco in Chandler just south of Phoenix about 40  miles north of our campground to do a little shopping and pick up a couple of their pumpkin pies (we love Costco pumpkin pies). We also made a stop at a Honey Baked Ham outlet, I can’t do a Thanksgiving without Honey Baked Ham LOL!!

I didn’t take a single picture (part of the slowing down on the blog stuff I guess) but we had a great spread of food and enjoyed it very much.

On another occasion just before Dave & Jenny headed to Kansas for Christmas we all gathered again over at their place for another pot luck with the main course being Dave’s fantastic smoked salmon. This time Doug & Linda (from Massachusetts, Jeff’s neighbor during the winter. And Doug is a RC pilot I know from the airfield) came over as well. Once again we had a great feast and once again I didn’t take a single picture.

Dave & Jenny have a nice Coach House and a very well done patio at their annual site and it makes for a great gathering place. Diane and I would be very happy to have a place like that to call home for a few months a year and it’s something we are keeping our eyes open for.

Our friends Dianne & Tom from Tucson drove up one day for a visit and it’s always nice to see them. Diane & I made a pot of chili and an apple pie and Roger & Lynn BBQ’ed up some burgers and made a salad so we sat around and had a nice visit and did a little catching up.

Roger, Diane, Dianne, Tom & Lynn

Roger, Diane, Dianne, Tom & Lynn

We will probably see Tom & Dianne next during our stay in Quartzsite mid-January.

On another occasion Roger & Lynn and Diane and I jumped in the truck and drove up to Chandler to have a late lunch with a few members of the “Class-less” group we hooked up with a couple years ago in Quartzsite Arizona.

A gathering of "Class-less" people at the Can't Stop Smokin BBQ joint.

A gathering of “Class-less” people at the Can’t Stop Smokin BBQ joint.

For those of you that don’t know, If you are a member of the Escapee when you start the fulltime life style there are groups that call themselves the “Class of” whatever year you started full-timing. For example we are in the class of 2012. Many of the members of each “class” will keep in touch and have gatherings now and again but some classes like our 2012 class just don’t seem do that. So a group called “The Class-less” was formed that consists of people like us that belong to classes that proved to be inactive.

The Class-less group has proven to be a very active in keeping in touch with each other and some sort of communication can be found almost every day of the year. And it seems many of the group bump into each other often and once a year a bunch gather in Quartzsite. In fact Roger & Lynn who we camped next to for our 3 month stay in Casa Grande and Tom & Diane who we mentioned earlier are Class-less people. WAIT, I should rephrase that, members of the Class-less group LOL!!!

Anyway, I think there were 14 of us that gathered at the “Can’t Stop Smokin BBQ” joint and had a nice time either catching up or meeting for the first time

The next couple days after the Class-less gathering the weather was pretty iffy. It rained a fair amount during the night times and morning hours, just enough to make the Pickle Ball courts to wet to play on safely so a couple of our morning Round Robin matches were cancelled and made things a mess around the airfield as well. It was then as we sat solemnly in our coach that we realized just how much we were going to miss all the activities we had grown accustom to when we leave the park. In fact I think we realized that our little test of a 3 month stay just might have changed how we plan our winters from now on. I’m not sure if we mentioned this before but we are considering booking 4 months here next winter starting November 1st.

The rental rate here is $1650 for the 3 month period of Oct., Nov, and Dec. (plus electricity and a $30 garbage & sewer fee) making it $550 per month plus fee’s (for a basic site). For a 4 month period of Nov. through Jan. is $3531 plus fee’s making it an average of $882 per month plus fee’s. Our motorhome fuel consumption averaged out to be about $200 per month before we landed here and our average toad fuel consumption was $125 per month. Of course while here our motorhome fuel cost was zero and our toad fuel bill dropped by almost half AND our food costs dropped because we seem to eat at home more while here so even with the higher price for the premium months if we take into consider our saving on fuel and food it’s not all that bad. So let’s see, tons to do, we meet lots of new people, we seem to live healthier and some of the best weather in the country during the winter, it’s seems like an easy decision.

During the Christmas Season Diane and I both do our best Ostrich imitation and try to burry our heads, it’s both of ours least favorite holiday of the year. For me I think it’s all the years I worked retail dealing with the greed on the corporate side of things and of course all the “Happy shoppers” it brings out. Neither of us have exchanged gifts in many many years, eliminating the stress that it brings with it and we both agree to avoid the shopping crowds from just before Thanksgiving until after Christmas is over. Not that we don’t like what Christmas “stood” for, we just don’t like what it has become for the most part.

Oh, we should mention that we didn’t escape Christmas totally, one night as I was locking up for the night I noticed a bag sitting outside our front door (like we have another door LOL!!) and in it we found a few very nice munchie treats along with a note.

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At first after reading the note we started thinking about getting our two bags ready to set on some ones doorstep. While doing so I realized that because we don’t carry a copy machine with us we would need to make a run to Staples or someplace to make copies. Then we would need to go to a store to buy things to put in the bags, dang. It didn’t take me long to figure out that all of that is exactly why we don’t do anything for Christmas so I decided  we would simply leave all the goodies in the bag and just pass it on to the next victim, I mean person and call it good. Problem solved and we didn’t have to venture out into the craziness right before Christmas. So according to the instruction sheet maybe we are only half Scrooges LOL!!

On Christmas Day Diane and I went over and played a little Pickle Ball in the morning and then headed home and asked Roger & Lynn if they wanted to have dinner with us but it seemed they just wanted to hang out at home, I guess we didn’t plan well enough (and I was going to shower and everything), so I smoked a fantastic Tri-Tip (if I don’t say so myself) and Diane and I spent a quiet afternoon and evening watching football (Way To Go Chiefs!!). And with that said we wish you all a belated MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Between Christmas & New Year’s we continued our normal routine with a couple gatherings with fellow Pickle Ball players tossed in. The more we play and putz around the more people we meet and become friends with.

New Year’s Eve we visited with Mike & Sharon “a couple of full-timers from Florida”. We met them on the Pickleball courts and have played with them a number of times. We had a nice visit and Sharon shared some fresh apple pie she made that was to die for!!!

Mike & Sharon

Mike & Sharon

Like normal we had no intension of ringing in the New Year so we headed home about 10:30 and were in bed by 11 LOL!!

On New Year’s Day we were invited back over to Mike & Sharon’s for a gathering of friends and to share in a Black Eyed Peas feast.

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Sharon made I think 3 crockpots full of Black Eyed Peas and everyone else brought finger food. About 30 people showed up and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t overly cooperative so we only hung around a couple hours before retreating back home where we spent the rest of the day watching football. (GO CHIEFS!!!)

On another day Diane and I made a run out to Eloy and visited Skydive Arizona again. Last March while in the area we visited for the first time and enjoyed it enough to go out again.

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We went out mid-week this time and it wasn’t nearly as busy but we still watched well over 100 skydivers during our visit.

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We won’t elaborate a bunch in this update but we will share a few pictures and a link to the update we did on it the last time. https://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/still-hanging-out-in-casa-grande/

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Diane stated one day that she is feeling very much at home here at the park and if anything ever happened to me that she could easily live in a place like this. I asked her to not start feeling TO at home because it’s not going to become home just yet LOL!! But I will say I’m very very happy to see Diane enjoying the activities and hitting it off with so many people as much as she has.

Right after Christmas and especially after New Year’s the park started filling up. In fact one day a ranger made mention that 150 rigs were scheduled to arrive just that day alone. January and February are supposed to be the busiest months here at Palm Creek. I know we have already noticed it at the PickleBall courts. The biggest crowds are not even here yet and mid-day it’s not uncommon to see all 32 courts being used and the signup sheets fill up fast. Maybe we are glad we will be gone through most of the busiest months LOL!!

One Saturday morning I made a run out to the Coolidge airport. On the first Saturday of every month (except June, July, August and September), they sponsors a fly-in.

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Breakfast is served by the Coolidge Lion’s Club in front of the 1940’s main hangar. It’s $8 for all you can eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, mmmmmm.

The Coolidge Municipal Airport was originally constructed in the early 1940’s by the U.S. Army.  It was originally constructed as an air transport command base, Coolidge Army Airfield served as an auxiliary operating base for Williams Field during World War II.

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The original airfield was constructed with three runways in a triangular configuration.  Of these three runways only two remain. On January 19,1950 the airfield was transferred to Pinal County since the airfield was no longer needed by the U.S. Department of the Army.

Pinal County owned and operated the airport until 1959 when the City of Coolidge obtained ownership of the airport.  On March 2, 1959 the airport was officially transferred from Pinal County ownership to the City of Coolidge.

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I've seen RC planes this big!!

I’ve seen RC planes this big!!

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From 1962 until July 1992, operations at the airport were dominated by training activities of T-37 jet aircraft based at Williams Air Force Base.  The Air Force had a lease agreement with the City of Coolidge for four parcels of land and joint use of the main runways and taxiways in return for the continued maintenance and upkeep of the main runway and taxiway.  In addition, they constructed several facilities along the runway and apron to support their operations.  The Air Force lease was terminated in July 1992 and training operations at the airport ceased in June 1992.  Williams Air Force Base was closed in late 1993.

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This was the only visit I made during our stay but I guess I timed it right because close to 200 planes arrived for this particular event. The next time we stay here I’ll make it a point to attend more often.

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We will be here at Palm Creek until January 15th, at that point we will lift our jacks (if we remember how and they haven’t grown roots) and drive to Tolleson (just west of Phoenix) where we have an appointment at a Freightliner shop to attend to a couple recalls that have been issued on our motorhome. The 15th is a Sunday but they have a few full hookup sites available that we can hopefully get into for the night, our appointment is for Monday morning at 7am.

With a little luck they will be able to take care of the recalls in one day and we will be on our way to Quartzsite where we have plans of meeting up with a bunch of old friends and also plans of attending the 2nd Annual Ooberfest where the last count we heard over 100 rigs plan on gathering, that many rigs is going to take a good sized chunk of desert and the fires at night are going to have to be pretty darn big LOL!!. This year they even have a live band scheduled to play. Let’s see, boondocking in the middle of the desert with big screen TV movie nights and live bands, we hate roughing it but I guess we will get by LOL!! This should be interesting.

To sum up our attempt at an extended stay, we enjoyed it, and can certainly see this being a normal thing during the winter months. But only at a park like this one with tons of activities to choose from to keep us busy. There is no way in the world we could have sat this long if we didn’t get out and participate and stay active. Not that we don’t stay active while traveling but that’s a different active. Being here put a little structure in our lives with planned events.

And we met lot’s & lots of like-minded people getting involved in the activities like we did, some that I’m sure we will stay in contact with while traveling and a few that we already figure on meeting up with in different parts of the country this coming summer, fun stuff!!

That’s it for now, we hope everyone had a great and Happy New Years!!

Oh, I just about have our 4th year analysis completed so we will be posting it up soon.

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12 Responses to Summing up our stay in Casa Grande

  1. Jim and Barb says:

    Man, you guys have been busy! Time to get out to the desert for a little R&R. See you when you get here!

  2. We are so glad to read that you and Diane have enjoyed your stay at Palm Creek. That pickleball is a bit additive, isn’t it? We really hope that you two will return next winter (maybe for a stay beginning in November). The Pickleball Nationals are the first part of November and I’m sure that you would enjoy that.
    We’ll be hot on your trail at the Ooberfest in a few days. Save us a good spot! LOL

    • Dave & Diane says:

      At this point we do plan on returning next winter but before that we may just come back in March if the park tosses out a special deal like they did last year. I wish we were here through Feb. because I would really like to play in the In House Tournament, maybe next year. We will probably see you around the park before we leave but if not we will see ya in Q.

  3. John Huber says:

    It’s nice to have a post with an update. Sounds like you really enjoyed Palm Creek,  It’s quite a place. If you’re bored there it’s your own fault. Keep the posts coming, I’ve missed them.

  4. Nancy and Bill says:

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your extended stay. We’re with you that it would only work if there were lots of activities that you enjoyed. Looks like you found a winner!!! Great catch-up post also. That is really something I have to work on;o))

    Safe Travels and Happy New Year!!!

  5. colibabas says:

    It’s nice to see a recap and sounds like you guys found a great spot. Glad Diane wasn’t too badly hurt. Looking forward to seeing you guys in Q!

  6. Boy you two know how to travel. I’m just starting my forth year and have experienced similar costs and always telling myself to slow down. Thanks for sharing,

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