Friday, January 30, 2009

Volunteering at the FBR

On Thursday over 60 people from the Park left at 6:00 am for a 45 minute trip to the FBR Open in Scottsdale in order to volunteer for security duty at the PGA Golf Tournament. We normally work at the famous 16th hole each year, and this year was no different. There were too many of us, however, so we had to be split up for duty elsewhere. I ended up at the golf range which was rather neat as I was able to watch people like Villegas, Perez, Holmes, Weir and Couples to name just a few. It was really something to see these guys finish off their 18 hole game and go straight to the range to work on their technical elements for an hour or longer. Many of them had coaches there to help with the mechanics.

It was a good day and the crowds seemed large although the tv stations indicated that the daily crowds were down about 10,000 from last year. The weather was perfect, about 73 F with a slight breeze. I found it rather hot as I was standing out in the sun all day; there was no shade to be found where I was assigned. But, hey, who's complaining. It's not often you get an opportunity like this. A couple of us are going back on Sunday to volunteer again. This time we're assured that we will be working at the 16th. We're all hoping our day is finished early enough so we can get back to our park to catch some of the Super Bowl. Go Arizona!! :-)

Today, Friday we went to a few stores with our friends Gary and Karen. They were going to Costco and we needed some things so they kindly offered to take us as we don't have a membership. We made an obligatory stop at Camping World since we were in the neighborhood. For once we came out with only what we went for - talk about discipline!

Later on we visited a dart shop to purchase some darts. Who knew how many types there were - from soft tipped to steel tipped; different weights, different widths, many lengths of shafts, and of course the flights on the end that provide the aerodynamics. We settled for two sets at $23.00 each. There were sets that cost as much as $150 and probably more. I was starting to go cross-eyed looking at all the hardware available so figured it made more sense to get something not too expensive and see just how much we really liked this new pasttime.:-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a friend remembered

I'd like to take a moment to talk about a friend of ours, from this RV lifestyle, who passed away last week. Gerry Gnabah was just 71 years old and left behind his wife Joan of 50 years. He had developed a cold since arriving in Arizona which he couldn't shake. He went to the hospital and they diagnosed him with lung cancer. He and Joan decided he should head back to Ohio to get local medical help. Some family members flew down to help them drive their truck and 5th wheel back. While in northern Arizona Gerry had difficulty breathing and it was decided to arrange for an air ambulance to get him home. The family was required to put up $23,000 before he could be transported. Once back home the doctors determined that he had invasive cancer throughout his body and he died a few days later. It is a sad time for all, but what struck me is the unexpected costs that one can incur while enjoying this lifestyle. I thought it was important to put this down for those of you who read this blog because of an interest in traveling around the country as we do. This may be an unusual occurrence but it's certainly not unique. For Canadians, good medical coverage is imperative if we intend to travel, particularly in the States where medical costs can be excessive when compared to Canadian fee structures. Gerry will be missed.

We tried something new yesterday. A group of people in the park have started up a darts night. We tried it out for the first time last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. So I expect we'll be at the local darts store buying the necessary equipment. Apparently you can spend quite a bit of money on buying sets of darts. We hope to keep the damages to about $20.00 each. Time will tell. It will be interesting to see how practical my estimate is. I'll let you know later :-)

We've decided not to attend so many happy hours and pot lucks at the park this year. There is a tendency to eat too much, and sometimes the food choices are not the same as we would pick for ourselves if we were eating at home (our rv). We could always go out for the social aspect of it by turning up after everyone has eaten. We've had many great times sitting around the gas fireplace next to the pool area of an evening, talking with old and new friends about a wide range of topics. It's a fun time. Our son-in-laws' parents are enjoying a similar lifestyle in Florida this winter and they also really enjoy the social aspect. We're looking forward to hearing how their winter was.

Our hike today was to Hackaberry Springs, a five mile walk that was not too challenging but was picturesque. Because this was an easy hike we had 28 people show up. At times we were spread out over about a half mile. We had some new hikers that had never been out before and I think some of them found it pretty challenging; but everyone completed it and there is always a sense of fulfillment for newbies when they stretch themselves to accomplish more than they thought they were capable of.

Hackaberry Springs is at the foot of this cliff.

The views are always great as we get higher and higher

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another busy week in the Valley of the Sun

We have been quite busy this week, with golf, hiking and attending other events with friends in the campground. I golfed three times this week. It sometimes seems like I can't get enough of it. The only thing that slows me down is the cost. :-) Lise started water aerobics again. She doesn't go in the pool when it is cooler but it has been in the low to mid-70s all week so it was the perfect time to get back into the routine. Even today, Tuesday, although quite a bit colder (53-55 F) she was still able to go in the pool (as long as it is not in the 40s). Also she bought a new bathing suit so that acts a bit like an incentive.

Our hike this week was up the Peralta Trail to Freemont Saddle from where you can see Weaver's Needle. This is part of the group on the way up to the saddle. We are averaging about 20 hikers on each hike.

This is a view from the saddle looking back the way we climbed.

Our hiking group with Weaver's Needle in background.

Lise has started taking violin lessons again. She was learning the fiddle when we were in New Brunswick but hasn't practiced at all since we left two years ago. A friend in the park gave her the name of a teacher in the Valley and she has had two lessons so far. I think she is glad to be back at it. It is something she really enjoys.

About 50 people from the park went to a play last week, us included. It was called The Best Little *****house in Texas - same as the movie with Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. It was fun and included dinner. Everyone seemed to have a good time. It played at Broadway Palms Dinner Theater.

Some of our friends wanted to check out the new light rail transit that has just started running through Phoenix and the local communities. We went along as 10 of us hopped aboard the train for a ride into the downtown core and had lunch. This is just an example of the things we come up with to keep busy around here.

Some of our friends next to the train

This is just a quick synopsis of the things that keep us busy down here. There's a lot of repetition but it's always fun to be doing things with friends - and that is the real fun of being down here (after the weather, of course).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Taking it easy today.

When we got up this morning, we decided that we wouldn't do anything to strenuous today. After breakfast, David tested our water and decided it was time to add more salt to the water softener. During that time I went for a 45-minute walk around the park. Later we went out for lunch. When we got back, David headed to the pool for a short swim then stayed out by the pool to read. I sat outside on our own patio and read my book. We spent the rest of the day around the motorhome until we came in for supper.

We had another gorgeous sunny day with a high of 74F (23C) today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We visit Kartcher Caverns.

We were up at 4:45 am this morning because we were leaving at 5:30 am. We were 22 people in four vehicles heading to Kartcher Caverns State Park near Benson (south of Tucson). This is a live cavern and it is beautiful. It's Mother Nature's art gallery underground. There are stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing formations that have taken millions of years to be created. These caverns are very much protected so that visitors do not create a lot of damage. Visitors are not allowed to bring any kind of bag, purse or camera inside the cavern.
After our tour, we headed to the town of Tombstone. By now we were about 200 miles south of Apache Junction. David and I were there in June 2005 and it hasn't changed. The main street is closed to motor vehicle traffic and all the store fronts look exactly the way you think it would have looked in the 1800s. There are a few restaurants and a lot of gift shops. Of course, this is the town where the famous 'Gunfight at the OK corral" took place. We ate lunch at one of the restaurants then headed back to Apache Junction.

Some people from our group on the boardwalk.

I think this cowboy is looking for his horse.
You can take a tour of the town in a stagecoach.
I tried to pick up this handsome cowboy...
Here we are having lunch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A great day for hiking.

We woke up to another beautiful sunny day with a forecast high of 70F (21C). Today we were hiking Siphon Draw trail in the Superstition Mountains starting from the Lost Dutchman State Park parking lot. It's only a 10-minute drive from here. A group of 22 people headed out from the park at 9:30 am. Siphon Draw trail is a 2-mile hike (one way) with a big change in elevation. Nine of us including myself went to the end of the trail and came back. The other 13 people went one mile further to the top of the mountain which is called Flat Iron. This last mile is very challenging and very risky. David was one of the 13 who climbed up. I hadn't come prepared to try it so I didn't. The elevation at the start of the trail is 2,084 feet and at the top on Flat Iron, the elevation is 4,684 feet.. a change of 2,600 feet in elevation in a distance of three miles. David forgot to take the camera with him so I don't have any pictures but we are expecting pictures from a fellow climber. I will post them when I get them.

Stopping for a short breather about 1/3 of the way up the trail.

A great view of Apache Junction and beyond.

The end of the Siphon Draw trail. Keep going straight up another mile to reach Flat Iron.

The start of the Trail (trailhead). The arrow points to Flat Iron.

It was around 2:30 pm when the group of nine were back at the parking lot. The group of 13 were back at the bottom around 5:30 pm. The resort was hosting a BBQ chicken dinner at 5 pm for which we had bought tickets. I went ahead to the dinner and it was 5:55 pm when David showed up for the dinner. He had just arrived home. After dinner, he went and sat in the hot tub. He was pretty tired.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting new strings.

After breakfast, we went over to the clubhouse for the 9 o'clock weekly activities meeting which last an hour. David and I then got in the car and drove to Buchanan Music store on Brown Street in Mesa to have my fiddle restrung. It wasn't as expensive as I expected. That was good. On to the next stop... a sporting goods store which didn't have much in the way of running shoes. So we had to make a second stop at the Sports Authority store. Bingo! David was looking to buy a new pair of running shoes because his old shoes are a few years old and after spending two weeks in an Ottawa winter, they now had 'salt' stains on them. They looked pretty sad.

David was leaving at 2 o'oclock to play golf so when we got back home, around 1:30 pm he made himself some lunch while I went to listen to the 'jam session' on the pool patio. Every Tuesday, several people in the park who play musical instruments get together for a two-hour jam session. Don't get any ideas. I will not be attending with my fiddle. Not for a few years anyway. LOL

I came back to the motorhome around 3 pm, and although I was very tempted to take up my fiddle or just read a book, I had a few other chores to do which I did. When I was done with that, David wasn't back yet so I went for my daily walk around the park. I finished my walk around the same time David got back. We had supper then settled down to an evening of TV. We had another beautiful sunny day, same temperature as yesterday. It must be very easy to be a meterologist around here. "Today will be sunny, tomorrow will be sunny, after tomorrow will be sunny, etc. etc." LOL

Monday, January 12, 2009

Appointment in Tempe and fiddling around.

David left early for golf (took the car) and as usual, I took my time getting up. I had intended to start water aerobics today but I talked myself out of it... again. So after eating breakfast I went for my daily walk around the park. I met up with my friend Micheline who was also out walking so we walked together. Micheline is from the province of Quebec. She wanted to practice her English so we walked around together talking in English... two French-speaking people. Kind of felt weird but I don't mind helping out.

When David got home it was almost lunch time. I had to go to the library but first we went to the restaurant to eat lunch then we went to the Apache Junction library to renew some books. David had a 2 o'clock appointment for the car with Tempe Saturn so he dropped me off at home after. He was getting a diagnostic test done, under warranty of course to make sure everything is working fine. I mentioned earlier that when we came home after being away for two weeks, the car battery was dead.

I was sitting outside reading when Micheline came over to let me know that the 3 o'clock exercise class had been rescheduled to 2 o'clock. She knew I wanted to go and realized I probably didn't know about the time change... which I didn't. So I quickly changed into some shorts and went over to the clubhouse for another hour of exercise. David came home around 4 pm with a clean bill of health for the car. Good.. at least it gives us peace of mind.

Around 4:30 we still didn't have any idea what we were having for supper so we jumped in the car and headed to the grocery store. We ended up having chicken on the barbeque. We are still looking for a place where we can buy fresh wild fish; I don't want farmed. We do buy frozen but the last time we bought frozen tilapia (about one month ago), the ingredients on the package said "tilapia and carbon monoxide"... what is that about?? Isn't that poisonous?? We actually ate two pieces but threw out the third piece. It just didn't seem right to eat 'carbon monoxide'... and it was from China... humans might be high on the food chain but our governments are the dumbest animal around when it comes to protecting the rest of the flock. Just because they were selling it didn't mean it was okay to eat it.

So I took my fiddle out of mothballs today. I want to start taking lessons again. I hope I can find a place close by that gives lessons. I took fiddling lessons about five years ago in New Brunswick but I haven't touched the fiddle for 3 1/2 years. I tried to tune it up so I could start practising (I still have all my sheets from my previous lessons) but a string broke. I think I will get them all replaced. It's better to start with a fresh set. We had a beautiful sunny day again today. The weather is getting warmer too. It was about 70F (21C) today.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Good friends and a little bit of golf makes for a great day.

Have I mentioned already how great it is to be back where the sun shines every day. Today is my older sister's birthday. Happy Birthday Paulette. Hope you have a great day! Love u lots!

Before Christmas, we started golfing every Sunday morning for fun with our friends Jim & Linda. So this morning, we were also joined by our friends Gary & Karen and made a 'sixsome'... as opposed to a 'foursome'. We went to our usual hang out Fiesta Lakes golf course; it's a 9 hole executive course. Having new clubs sure seemed to make a difference. I had quite a few nice tee offs. I only just started to golf this past summer so I'm not a very good player. But I felt like I had a good game and I enjoyed myself. And it's a nice way to spend a few hours with good friends. There's no pressure and no competition. After golf, we headed to Applebees Restaurant for a well-earned lunch and then we came back home again.
Gary, Karen, David, Lise, Linda, Jim (the Sixsome)

We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside reading and relaxing. The temperature was up to about 69F (20C) today. Another great day in Arizona.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We hit the trail and the driving range.

David and I left home around 10 this morning and headed for Superstition Mountain. It's only about a 10-minute drive from here. We were going hiking... just the two of us. We drove up Apache Trail Road to get to the Crosscut trail head parking lot. It was sunny but there was a very cool wind this morning. The temperature was only around 53F (12C). We took it easy as I'm still coughing my fool head off. The trail starts out easy and is pretty much level for the first mile. Then over the next mile, the elevation constantly increases. Once you are at the two-mile point, you have a choice of taking another trail which cuts across the desert in a different direction or stay on the loop we are on which will take us back to where the car is parked. And that's what we did. So the total distance for this hike was 3.6 miles. It was a good way to get back into hiking before we join our regular Wednesday hiking group next week.
The Trailhead..
It's always a great view from wherever we are..

On the Treasure Loop trail.

We were back home around 1 o'clock and ate lunch. David asked if I felt like going to the driving range so I could try out the new clubs. We are supposed to go golfing with Jim and Linda on Sunday so I should get familiar with the clubs before I get on a golf course. I'm glad he suggested it because it was a good idea. After a few practice shots, the clubs felt really comfortable. I'm not saying I will golf better but they did feel very nice. It's a shame to get that shiny chrome all scratched up though.

After we got home, we sat outside for a while but the wind was still cool. So we went in and watched some curling on TV. After supper, I spent a few hours on the computer catching up on my banking stuff and my blog while David watched TV. Life is good!

Friday, January 9, 2009

New golf clubs and golf cart.

David has been trying to get me to buy a new set of golf clubs for the past six months or so. The set I have is a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law which was good enough for me. Anyway, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to get into golf and I didn't want to spend money for nothing. Well today I let him talk me into it. Around mid-morning, we went to the Kokabelli Cafe for coffee and bagel, then we went to the Sports Authority and I got a nice set of clubs on sale. Regular price was $399 and we paid $249. The advertised price was $299 (a reduction of $100) but there was a price of $249 on one of the clubs so we got that price. The price included a black and pink golf bag. David has been wanting a new golf cart for a while and he got a nice one which was also on sale. His old one has two wheels and this new one is a three-wheeler... and I get to use the old one... so it works out for both of us.

I didn't have a great night last night. I spent a lot of time coughing even though I had an extra pillow under my pillow to elevate me. It didn't seem to help much and I was awake quite a bit. All this to say that we both laid down for a nap this afternoon... David on the bed and me on the couch. I was just starting to fall asleep (I don't nap very well) when there was a knock on the door. It was a couple who are staying in the park for a week and had noticed that our name sign says we are from New Brunswick. As they are originally from New Brunswick, they just came to say hi. David woke up from his nap and came out while I was talking to them. They were very nice people.

Today being Friday, it was Happy Hour at 5 o'clock so this afternoon, I made some egg salad sandwiches to share. It was pretty quiet as a lot of the people were on a three-day Las Vegas tour and we only due back later tonight. We were back home by about 7:30 pm and spent the rest of the evening watching TV.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Time to unpack.

This morning David left around 7:30 to go golfing and I stayed in bed until 8:15. My throat started feeling itchy on Tuesday. On Wednesday, our traveling day, I started coughing. Today my voice is raspy and I'm still coughing a lot. I hope it doesn't get too much worse. After eating breakfast, I went for a 45-minute walk around the park but at a very much slower pace than usual. I didn't want to drain all my energy. Then I thought I better unpack my suitcase. I don't know why but I hate unpacking my suitcase. Always have and probably always will. And I rarely unpack the same day I return so I'm unpacking today. Of course, I have no choice if I want to wear those clothes again.

After lunch David and I went to the bank then we went grocery shopping. We spent the rest of the day just enjoying the sunny weather and relaxing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We love this sunny weather.

David and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year! We had a fabulous Christmas and New Years. I hope yours was too.

We arrived back to Apache Junction from Canada today around lunch time. We spent a very nice two weeks visiting with our daughter Renee and family plus visiting other extended family members. By keeping up with our three-year-old grandson Liam, we managed to still put in a daily 30-minute... or more... workout. He had us playing cars, hockey and anything else his little heart desired. He doesn't stop for a minute, all the while talking away and not letting anyone else have a say. I'm exaggerating some but not by much. It all made enduring the cold weather worthwhile but once we got back, I realized how depressing the cold weather is up there.

As you will have noticed, I couldn't find the time nor did I have the inclination to blog during those two weeks. I was too busy playing...

After opening up the motorhome and unpacking, we had to go out for food so we get into the car and it's dead as a doornail. Couldn't even unlock the doors with the fob... just nothing. David got a friend to bring his pickup over so we could get a boost. That got the car started. There is no reason for the battery to have died. The car only sat for two weeks and we didn't leave anything "ON" in there. So we are taking it in to Saturn on Monday to get a diagnostic test. It's a hybrid so we feel it's better to get it checked out.

Other than that, it's nice to be 'home'.