Sunday, December 30, 2007

12/29/07 We Sure Don't Need This!

Today brought us sunny skies and its starting to warm up a bit. We're not out of long pants and sweatshirts yet but we did lose the jackets.

Bob went to Lowe's late this afternoon to get something to store all the new to us this year Christmas lights that were used to decorate the rig. He wasn't gone long. In fact, he wasn't gone long enough to have made it to Lowe's. When I saw the look on his face I knew something was wrong. The check engine light came on in the truck and in Bob's words, "It's running like S_ _ _!" He turned around as soon as he knew there was a problem and now we have to have it towed to the local Ford dealer. In fact, they'll have to bring in a flatbed truck since we can't be towed in the conventional sense. Since it was so late in the day when this happened we have to wait until Monday now before we can get anything done.

This couldn't have happened at a worse time! I have food shopping to do for New Year's Eve, I NEED to get my nails done before the big night and we just have general errands to do like getting to Goodwill before they close on the 31st.

We have a roadside service plan through Good Sam and wouldn't you know it expires on Monday. At least we're covered for this. We weren't going to renew it until the end of March or early April when we're back on the road again. I think this incident has changed our minds about that, we'll keep it in force year round now. We had it mainly in case we had a problem with the 5th wheel and it had to be towed but now that the truck has to flat bedded to a service facility we see the advantage of having it.

This evening, after dinner, I went to the Cantina to work on the latest puzzle because nothing on TV interested me. Bob can always find something to pass his time with. As long as Discovery Channel or the History channel is one he's content.

So here we sit without wheels. We have to find out if a rental car is included with our policy and if not a rental car is in our future. We just can't be without transportation.
The sad part is we had a really cool day trip planned for tomorrow and now that is scrapped.....for the time being anyway.

12/28/07 Not a Darn Thing!

We didn't do anything special today, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing exciting. We just lived life. Normal everyday things.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

12/27/07 It's Still Frigid in the Grand Canyon State

We didn't sign up for this cold weather! On the top of the cold temps it's very windy today. We keep telling ourselves its winter that's its supposed to be cold but that just doesn't cut it. We're in ARIZONA because we thought it would be warm here,,,,,all the time! I guess it could be worse,we could be in ALASKA!

Today we worked but our work was taken care of in short order. We reported to the Oasis where our activities office is and just talked with the others for the first hour. Our job today was to set up the Carnaval Room for Bingo tonight but there was a dance class scheduled so we had to wait for that to finish before we could go in and set up tables and chairs. It didn't take long for four of us to get it ready. Next assignment was to take an inventory of the sodas and ice cream on hand to make sure we had enough to sell during the break in Bingo. That didn't take long either. By eleven we were done for the morning and went to lunch. This afternoon brought collecting cans from the recycle bins for Bob and Lee, our friend and fellow workamper, and then we cleaned out a storage cabinet in the kitchen.

Tonight we went back to work at 6:30 for our shift in the Bingo hall. We were supposed to make popcorn but the machine bit the dust so we ended up just selling sodas and root beer floats.

That was our work week such as it is.

12/26/07's COLD in the desert!!!

Woke this morning to very cold weather. Weatherman says it went to 27 degrees last night! The weatherman also says this area is about ten degrees colder than it normally is for this time of year. The good news is that by the end of the week we'll be back in the high sixties and we'll see seventy by New Year's Day. Back to shorts weather!

This morning neighbors were thawing out their water hoses with hair dryers or laying them out in the sun to thaw. Bob had put insulation around ours but we did have a minor freeze at the water source coming out of the ground. It didn't take much to get through that though.

We're off today even though our three day schedule would normally run Monday through Wednesday. Since all Activities workampers had to work yesterday everyone is off today for our Christmas Day holiday.

We stuck pretty much close to home today. We figured with all the gift exchanging that had to be done and people shopping the after Christmas sales that traffic would be a pain to get through and that was one headache we could do without.

This afternoon I went next door to help LaVon with her blog, showing her how to add a counter, weather stickers and the such. Quite a few in the park are reading this blog and several have asked me to help them with their own blogs so I'm going to be busy in the next few weeks.

We have orange trees all throughout the park and they will be ready for picking in the next few weeks.

Looks ready for picking doesn't it? I'm sure once the word gets out that the oranges are ready these trees will picked clean in no time.

After dinner of homemade steak sandwiches Bob settled in for a night of TV and I made my way to the Cantina to work on the new puzzle that was started today.

All in all a pretty uneventful day in the lives of these fulltimers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Bob and I would like to wish you and yours a very


We started our morning helping the Activities staff get ready for the Christmas dinner we'll enjoy this afternoon. Turkeys and hams had to readied for the roasters, gravy made, salt and pepper shakers set out on the tables and the list goes on. There's a lot to do when over one hundred and thirty people are coming for dinner!

When we arrived several ladies were busy decorating their dinner tables with snowmen and Santa's and pretty pointsettia's. A prize will be given for the prettiest table decorations.

Speaking of prizes, today will be the day we find out if all of Bob's hard work on our site decorations will win him first prize. We have some competition but we're keeping our fingers crossed. Even if our name isn't called we know the winter residents enjoyed seeing our site and that is "prize" enough. We've had so many nice comments on the lights. In case you've forgotten what it looks like I'll post one of the pictures here again.

I'll finish this later as it now time to get ready for dinner.
It's several hours later now and we're stuffed! Oh, the food, Oh, the calories! Once again everyone outdid themselves on the dishes they brought to share. Shame on anyone who went home hungry tonight.

As soon as we all arrived the first order of business was to present Bruce, our activity director, the gift the Activities staff pitched in and gave him and Deann. Unfortunately, Deann is under the weather and didn't get to join in the Christmas festivities. He was quite surprised when he opened our card. We told him to take the cash gift and get him and Deann out of here for a few days. They are so dedicated and put in so many hours, they need a break.

Now it was time to get down to work. The turkeys and hams were done and needed to be carved. Once again Bob pulled carving duty. Here he is working with Richard, one of our workamping friends.
Turkeys and hams were being carved all over the place, on any flat surface. Here's Robin U. hard at work with her electric knife.

Looks like Bud can't wait to sit down and eat!
The tables were all decorated by this time and were just beautiful and festive.
With dinner almost done Bruce took to the stage to make some announcements and award some prizes.

First was the table decorating contest. Next came the site decorating. It was divided in to two catagories, park models and Rv's. Park models are units that are stationary. They aren't towed but are permanent winter homes for those who own them. The honorable mentions were announced for the park models and then the RV's. Next the winner for the park model was announced. Now came the time we were waiting for. Did our site have what it was going to take to win this? YES! Bob won! I think the audience totally agreed with the decision by the sound of the applause when it was announced. Bob graciously donated the winnings of $50.00 to the Activities Fund to go towards the luau we'll have in March. There was a very nice message in the card from the owners of Quail Run RV Resort.
So once again, Bob and I want to wish you joy in this Christmas season.

12/24/07 Christmas Eve Service

Back to work for us again. We enjoyed eight straight days off this time. Today we set up the chairs for the Christmas Eve Service we'll have tonight and started preparations for the Christmas Day dinner. We didn't have to work too many hours this morning and that was a good thing because I still had a cold salad to make for our part of the Christmas dinner. The park is providing ham and turkey and everyone brings a dish to share.

After an afternoon of preparing our offering for Christmas dinner, TV and computers it was time for us to get ready for the Christmas Eve church service.

Pastor Don Baker, who happens to be our next door neighbor here in the park, led us in a very nice Christmas service with readings from Luke in the Bible. This reading is the story of the birth of Christ.

The Quail Run Choir sang several songs and they were wonderful.

On the stage were Lenny and Ginny Dexter portraying Mary and Joseph in the Nativity Scene.
Sharon Layton "signed" the musical selections and was a joy to watch as she brought the musical selections to life with her hands.

Towards the end of the service we were asked to stand and make a large half-circle. Each of us were given a candle when we arrived and the two on each end had their candle lit and then lit the one next to them and in turn the second one in line lit the candle of the third and it went on down the line until the it met in the middle. As we all stood there with our lit candles we sang Silent Night. It was very moving and it brought a tear to my eye along with several others that I noticed.

After the service we had lots of snacks to munch on while we visitied with the friends we've made in the park.

This was a most enjoyable evening and we're very glad we attended the service.

Several park residents stayed behind and helped us set up the tables and chairs for tomorrow's dinner. We're glad they did as this job was done in no time at all.

12/23/07 Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

I want to start this with a special anniversary greeting to my parents for fifty five years of marriage. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, we love you!

We really didn't do much of anything today. The roads are way too crowded with last minute Christmas shoppers to even want to attempt to go out anywhere.

Our day was pretty much computer and TV and that suited us just fine.

Monday, December 24, 2007

12/22/07 Children's Christmas Party & Caroling

Today was the Arizona City Children's Christmas Party that we wrapped gifts for about 2 weeks ago.

The ladies who wrapped that day along with all the other volunteers, read that as the elves that helped Santa, were invited to a luncheon after the party as a thank you from Val, the wonderful lady that puts this party on.

The party was held at Duffer's Restaurant on the golf course right here in town.

One of the fellows here in the park donned a red suit and beard to play Santa.

At the luncheon he explained to us what this experience meant to him. I think we all had a lump in our throat as there were tears in his eyes. He told us that some of the mother's had told him that this was the first time their child had ever seen Santa. Arriving by firetruck, as soon as he hit the ground he was surrounded by little ones hugging him and one little fellow even offered him a nickle.

Some of Santa's elves.

A group picture of Santa and his elves.

All the kids were given an age/sex appropriate gift and we were surprised, no, stunned, that they didn't tear into them right then and there. They hung on to them and carried them wherever they went but didn't open them. In addition to the gifts they were treated to popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate and candy.

Each child had their picture taken with Santa and the pictures were printed right away so they could take it with them.

Parents could take their kids pictures with the snowmen out on the lawn and even I got mine taken. I couldn't wait until this picture was done as this little snowman was made for someone 2' 5" not someone 5' 2".

After all the kids were gone and there were some 500 of them, it was time for us to go in for lunch. We had salad, lasagna, garlic bread, clam chowder and peach cobbler for dessert. It was very good and I look forward to lunch or dinner there sometime if today's meal is any indication of the food they serve.

After we finished eating Val presented a plaque to Quail Run RV Resort for our part in the party preperations, the cash donation in addition to the tree and stand we gave.

Nancy Reid receiving the plaque on our behalf.

By four we were all back at the park getting ready for our evening of caroling. There were about 45 of us and we broke up into 3 groups. Two walking groups and one riding on a hay wagon. Each group took a section of the park to cover.

Getting ready....

The hay wagon was loaded....
....and then we were off to entertain the winter residents with our wonderful singing voices.... or lack thereof.
I don't know about the other two groups but our group had a hard time finding someone to "carol" to. Either the people weren't home or they were already out singing with one of the groups.

Some of us had sheets with the words to the songs printed on them but I noticed we couldn't get past the first verse in most cases for some reason or another. I can't tell you how many times we started out singing one song to the rare winter resident we found home but within what seemed seconds we were somehow ended up singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Oh well, we had a lot of laughs and it was well worth the time to be out there.

After all the groups returned we had spiced punch,,,,spiced...not spiked!

A fun day for us to say the least.

12/21/07 Another Thousand Down

We didn't do too much of anything today. The most exciting thing was the counter turning over 14,000 hits. I looked at the blog tonight to see if it had turned over yet and lo and behold I was the 14,000th hit. Who woulda thought?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12/20/07 A Different Kind of Forest

Bobby and Shelly arrived at our place around 10:45 this morning and we made short order of climbing into the truck for the hour ride to today's destination.

Today we will explore Saguaro National Park also known as Saguaro Forest. First stop was, of course, the visitor's center.

After checking out the gift shop offerings we made our way to the theatre for a short 15 minute film about the park. We took notice of this "Christmas Cactus".

When that was done we went outside for our first real look at the outdoor surroundings. This was view on the backside of the visitor's center.

We were surprised to learn that there is a skeletal wood frame inside of a Saguaro cactus. This one was in a garden on the grounds of the visitor's center. I guess they left it there when it died so that visitors could see what its like.

The saguaro cactus is the state symbol of Arizona, it appears on all vehicle license plates, and provides a universally recognized image of the Southwest. We saw THOUSANDS of them today in all shapes and sizes!

We decided to take the six mile driving tour that had places to pull over so we could walk through the cactus forest.

The first trail we walked was nice and paved and a little less than a mile long. This is MY kind of hiking!

Giant saguaro cacti, unique to the Sonoran Desert, sometimes reach a height of 50 feet in this cactus forest. Did you know that the cactus is about seventy five years old when it starts growing its arms?

Bob walking the trail.

Cacti in all shapes and sizes.

For some reason Bobby just couldn't stop touching the cactus.

It didn't take long before one touched him back!

To give you an idea of how sharp the thorns are on a cactus here are some close up shots.

Now you think he would have learned, huh?

I call this one.....Dead Tree.

Here's one that is just growing its arms or branches.

To give you an idea of just how big these cactus are, here is a picture of Bob and me standing next to one.

We had to laugh when we saw this giant cactus. We figured it must be "depressed" because it certainly looks down in the dumps doesn't it?

We finished this trail and made our way back to the truck to find another one. Some scenes from the truck.

We walked another trail that wasn't paved and hiked up to the rocks where petroglyphics were drawn hundreds of years ago. Personally, I'm very happy we have email nowadays!

After leaving this park we headed towards home and decided on Chinese for dinner. Bob found us a restaurant for us using our GPS and we headed for Lucky Chinese Restaurant. Shelly was very glad to see they served bait,,,oh, excuse me, sushi. I wanted no parts of that but Bob did try some. Oh what an adventurous eater he is! I had my old standby Beef and Broccoli.

After dinner Bobby and Shelly dropped us off and we made plans to get together when they reached their winter destination about an hour away in Mesa.

It was so nice to have this time with them, we enjoy them so much.

12/18/07 A Day inthe Park

The title refers to this park. We didn't leave it. We had no where to go on the outside, no task to complete and no one to see today. So we hung around the park. I made a run to the Cantina to check on the puzzle progress and that was about the extent of our day until late afternoon.

I took pizza orders for Pizza Partner night and Bob played pool in the evening. He won two and lost one.

That was it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12/17/07 Casa Grande Ruins w/Friends

Today we met up with our Delaware full timing friends, Bobby and Shelly. They came over to our park from where they are staying eight miles away. After visiting at the house and taking them on a tour of our park we decided lunch was in order.

We loaded into the truck with no particular destination in mind and decided on Mimi's Cafe, a new restaurant that opened just a few weeks ago.

We all had a lunch that we enjoyed and then headed to the Casa Grande Ruins about 20 miles away.

The first thing we noticed was these tall saguaro cactus. (the "G" is silent in saguaro)

We made our way into the visitor's center and the lady behind the counter demonstrated some of the flutes for us.
This national monument consists of the ruins of multiple structures surrounded by a compound wall built by the Hohokam, who farmed the area in the early 1200s. "Casa grande" is Spanish for "big house" and the name refers to the largest structure on the site, which is what remains of a four story structure that may have been abandoned by the mid-1400s. The structure has managed to survive the extreme weather conditions for about seven centuries. In order to protect the remains this covering was built in 1932 and the walls have structural supports in place as a precaution agains further deterioration.
A closer look at the "Great House". It's hard to believe this is still standing some 700 hundred years later!

A picture of the interior walls, you can see the supports that have added to further preserve the structure.
This round hole was put in the wall for a purpose. When the sun and moon lined up with this hole the Hohokam's knew when it was time for planting and harvesting and even celebrations. The four corners of the building face the four points on a compass. I guess they didn't have a Farmer's Almanac back then.
Another interior shot.
The remains of the foundations of the outlying, smaller buildings.
After we had seen all there was we made our way back to our house. On the way we caught this sunset.
The four of us will get together again on Wednesday, wait till you see where we go!