Friday, November 30, 2007

11/30/07 Rain in the Desert

Up and out early this morning. Well, not that early but we were on the miniature golf course to start our tournament play. We'll play every Friday morning for the next several weeks for this tournament period. I'm paired up with man named Gary and Bob is paired up with a fellow who couldn't be here today but he played with a substitute player. I had three holes that only took me two shots to get the ball in. Ok, ok, I also had two holes where it took me six plays and the damn ball still wasn't in the cup. I told my partner I hoped he was in this for the party at the end in March and not for the prize money.

It was cloudy when we played this morning, but still warm enough to be in shorts. From the looks of the truck it looked like we had had a short shower at some time during the night.

After our morning round of (mini) golf we took care of chores around the house and then took off for Walmart. Today was shopping day for our Christmas decorations. The hell with that politically correct "holiday decorations" we're decorating for Christmas! We ended up with five hundred feet of red lights and I'm hoping we've bought too many. After all, our rig is only thirty six feet long. Regardless, I'll hang on to the receipt just in case.

We went to several stores looking for a little decorative flag that had to with Christmas. The kind that slips onto the little metal flag holder that you stick in the ground. Half a dozen stores later and we still couldn't find one. One saleslady told us to go to Lowe's but we were a ways from that store by the time we got that information. We'll go back that way in a few days and see if they have one.

On the way home we couldn't help but notice the water that was laying everywhere. It was still raining, even harder now but by no means a downpour, and the ground just couldn't soak up the rain fast enough. Believe me, the ground is as hard as brick around here! We heard on the afternoon news that there were lots of auto accidents already. I guess Arizona people can't drive in the rain.

Bob and I tried to remember the last time we saw a steady rain like this and the best we can remember we were still in Missouri. It is supposed to rain through tomorrow so we're guessing a lot of the arroyas will be filled.

We just saw on the news that its going to rain through the night and winds are going to pick up. Rain is good,,,,wind is not so good.

We made steak sandwiches for dinner and settled in for an evening of TV. We'll have to get bed early because we have to be up at 5 a.m. because our activities team is hosting this months pancake breakfast and we report for work at six. Five in the morning???? Been awhile since I've had to be up that early. There better be a crowd to make this early rising worth it!

11/29/07 List Making

Another early morning for me as today I joined in with The Next Step. Advanced line dancing lessons! What a workout this is, I don't know if I'm ready for this or not. I'm so glad they teach these dances in small segments. The only problem with that is by the time I learn the second segment I've forgotten the first. Some are so confusing. I'll stick with it and see how it goes.

Today Bob and I started planning our Christmas decorations. This is something we didn't bring with us so we're starting from scratch. If we were in any other park we wouldn't even bother but since we're here and in Activities we have no choice. Well, maybe no choice isn't the correct wording. Lets say it this way....We were strongly encouraged to really outdo ourselves with decorating and as Jeannie the Park Manager put it, "Make those electric meters spin!" Soooo,,,today we started planning and making a list of what we need to get. So far our plan is to outline the rig and slides all in red, if we can get enough strings of light in red that is. If not, we'll go to plan B which we haven't made as yet. We saw some large wreaths at Walmart for less than $10 which we'll put on the cap of the rig in the front. We'll get some garland and wrap it around the awning post and the tripod that stabilizes the front of the rig. We'll get poinsettias and who knows what else when we go to Walmart and the Dollar Store. I'll post pics when we get it done.

All the talk around the park today is the rain that is forecasted for tomorrow. Evidently it hasn't rained in this area in quite a long time and you would think they were talking about the second coming instead of a few rain showers. You wait and see, it will blow right past us.

Bingo starts in the park tonight and this is something I would normally join in on but its Thursday and that means Survivor night. The show doesn't have too many more episodes so I can't start missing them now, its getting down to the end. After the show I did run up to the Carnaval Room (yes, that's the correct spelling) where bingo was being held to get a 50-50 ticket which is going off tonight. I did make it in time but wasn't given the winning ticket like I asked for. I saw some neighbors at a table and wandered over to see how they were doing. I even ended up playing when one player couldn't finish out his cards and I played them for him. Too bad I didn't win for him.

That was about it for our day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11/28/07 It's Getting CHILLY here!

Ohhh,,,,there's a chill in the air today. Long pants came out and light jackets were worn. It isn't getting out of the 60's here and its overcast and cloudy. Where's that warm Arizona weather I heard so much about? I guess it can't be paradise in the desert everyday.

We didn't do much of anything today, I worked mostly on the computer getting this darn blog caught up and now it is! Thank heavens!

I did go to the Oasis today to sign up for some day trips and another class. I also stopped in the Cantina, a gathering place, to see if anyone has started working on the puzzle I started. Somebody is working on it cause more pieces were put in but the chairs were empty when I went to check on it.

Bob puttered around until 5:30 when he went to the pool room to play again.

It looks like the counter is going to turn over 13,000 hits here in the next few days. You know the drill, if its you let me know. Nothing special will happen, I'm just curious. I did get a comment yesterday from a new reader. He/she was just browsing through the blog titles and clicked on this one. This is something they always wanted to do and said that this would be one that they would continue to read. Welcome aboard N! (That's all I have, an initial.)

Let's see what we can get into tomorrow!

11/27/07 Line Dancing and Pool Playing

Jazzbox! Quarter Turn! Vine step! Clap Step! So many new terms to learn.

I was up and out early this morning as today was first day of lessons in line dancing. I usually learn them in a party situation where I just get out there and get next to someone who knows what there doing. Usually by the end of the song I've got it down, not always, but most times. Today I will stand in the Carnaval Room with dozens of others, some who know all the steps already and others who are learning new ones like me.

Dianne, my friend and neighbor in Delaware, and I had attempted this once but I think we went twice and then life got in the way and the lessons went by the wayside. I'm sticking it with it this time! In fact, I just talked with Di recently and she is also taking line dancing lessons.

First dance today, Electric Slide. Well, I was very comfortable with that one, as that one been around for years. The difference in doing it today? It was done to a country song! A little bit slower than what I'm used to dancing this one and to tell ya truth I'd take the original song anytime.
I was both glad and surprised to see men in this class. Bob wouldn't do a line dance if his life depended on it!

Today we also learned the Candida, the Honey. New York, New York and Country Boy. Mostly we danced to country songs, but not all.

Class only lasted an hour but it sure was fun! I did pretty well today with learning the new dances. The test will be if I remember them by next Tuesday!

Such concentration!

This evening Bob started playing pool. This is an activity he used to do when we were back in Delaware at his VFW lodge. He played 3 games and I think he won two and lost one. This is something he'll do every week.

After dinner we settled in for an evening of TV.

11/26/07 Zipper Art

I was hoping today was the day I would get order my Zipper Art kit but the lady who leads the class is under the weather today and she wasn't there. I'm told I'll get to order it next week.

I did go sit in on the class because I'm so facinated by this craft class. I even took the camera so that you could see how projects are coming along.

The first step.

Attching the zipper with glue and using straight pins as a guide.

A close up of one further along.

A picture of everyone working on their projects.

Since everyone is still in this stage I don't have pictures of the colored sand being applied yet. I did go over to the lady's house who runs the class and took some pictures of the finished product that she had displayed outside. Now these are more advanced projects as the stencil was applied to stepping stones.

I have another picture of one of her finished pieces but darn if I can get the picture loaded! I'll post it in another entry soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/25/07 Where We Are

I finally got out and took some pictures of the park we're in here in Arizona City.

The entrance sign.

The pool.

The Hot Tub. I didn't even know this was here until I went around taking pictures.

Our mini golf or "putt-putt" course. Bob and I have signed up for the mini golf tournament on Friday mornings.

The Cracker Barrel. This building is called this because it reminds everyone of the Cracker Barrel Restaurants. This building houses the pool room and the gym or workout room.

The horseshoe pits.

This is the "Oasis", the building where the Activities Department works out of. It houses the craft room, the library, the card room, computers, a small chapel and of course the activities office. In front is a cactus garden.

The Chapel. Regular Sunday services are held in the Carnaval room where we had the Thanksgiving Dinner.

We each have our own mailbox.

The Card room where bridge, poker and the like are played.

Partial shot of the library.

Some outside shots. This is an entrance area you go through to get to the pool, the ballroom, the post office etc.

The metal sculpture buffalo.

A display in the cactus garden area.

That's it! This is where we'll be spending the winter.

11/24/07 We've Seen Our First......

....Saguaro Cactus! We took a ride today just to get out and passed these on the highway.

We understand there is a state park not too far away that has hundreds of these cactus. I'm looking forward to seeing that!

Further down the road we I snapped this picture of a mountain. Turn your head to the left, what do you see?

More winter residents are arriving each day. The park is still far from filled but its a start.

Its gotten chilly here in the Grand Canyon state, we even had to break out the electric heaters. (No sense in using our propane for heat when the electric bill is covered by the park) We're not going to get out of the 60's for the next few days but we'll be back in the 70's by Tuesday. At least that is what the weather man is saying and I'm hoping he's right!

The activities here are really starting to get into full swing and there are quite a few day trips planned. Bob and I will have to sit down and decide which trips we want to take. There's even one to tour an olive farm. I think I'd like to go on that one. Actually, I've never given it much thought as to where the olive comes from to me they were just in the condiment section of the supermarket next to the pickles. The operation not only gives you a tour they offer a lunch also. Wanna bet olives in some form are served? I did learn that Arizona is one of the world's biggest olive producers. Who knew?

11/23/07 What a Lazy Day!

I think we're still stuffed from our Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday. We laid around like slugs today. I don't think either one of us had the gumption to get out of our own way today.

We could have taken a ride today but its Black Friday and we don't want to be anywhere near a store today and the roads were sure to be just as busy.

We did venture outside at some points and talked with our neighbors but that really was about the extent of it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

11/22/07 Thanksgiving

Our day started at nine with a meeting of all the activities workampers. This gave us a chance to meet the members of the Blue and Red teams that we hadn't met yet. Soon the meeting was over and it was time to get the show on the road and getting this Thanksgiving dinner preparation under way.

Fourteen turkeys needed to be prepped for cooking while the men set up the tables and chairs.
While the activities teams were busy getting the turkeys in the roasters residents were busy decorating their tables.

Here's a look at the finished tables before everyone arrived for dinner.

There was a contest for the nicest decorated table and this one won.

Before long we were done all we had to do at this point and were free to go. We agreed we would all be back a three o'clock since "our guests" were to arriving at four.

Bob at his carving station waiting for the turkeys to come out of the roasters.

Four o'clock came quick and dining room was full of hungry diners. Everyone brought their dishes to share and there so was soooo much food! Each table sat 22 and each table had enough food to feed 33!

Our group picture of all the workampers that made this dinner as nice as it was.

After everyone's tummies were full it was time for the cleanup. Our jobs weren't done yet. Everyone pitched in and it didn't take us all that long to make our Thanksgiving Dinner nothing more than a pleasant memory. It was now time for all of us to waddle home after all we had eaten.

A really nice Thanksgiving to be sure.

11/21/07 Our Third Workday

Today we worked in the library. This park has quite a large library where residents are welcome to exchange their books or just take one if they don't have one to bring in.

Our task was to go through the library shelves and pick out the books that didn't have a sticker on them notating the first letter of the last name of the author. Three of us worked on this project and by noon we were pretty much done. In fact, we were sent to lunch and told not to come back. Another day down.

I spent the afternoon cutting up the veggies for the trays I was making for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

That was our day in a nutshell.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

11/20/07 Another Workday

Today was a repeat of yesterday as far as how nice the day was.

Bob was tasked with the other Delaware Bob to put some posters up on the bulletin boards around the park. I happen to mention that I hoped the guy from RV Wifi came again after more winter residents arrived because I wanted to hear what he had to talk about. Bruce and Deann said I should go because they want us to be involved in the community and many of its activities. Hey, works for me. Well, as it turned out I wasn't interested in what he had to say because he talking about external antennas and I already have mine ordered. On the way back to the Oasis I looked in on the Line Dancing Lesson and the Electric Slide was playing, well, who could expect me to pass by and not join in. As I looked around I saw Deann so I stayed for the lesson too. Afterwards she told me that as along as I'm not scheduled to do a task a particular time then its ok and encouraged if I want to join in an activity. Does it get any better than this?

We sat around the table talking when we all made it back to the office. At eleven Bruce announced that he didn't have anything for us and we were all free to go. Maybe it does get better after all.

This afternoon we went to Walmart to get all the things I need for our offering at dinner. I also picked up a turkey breast for us to cook at home, we do enjoy turkey sandwiches with the leftovers.

That's about it for our day.

11/19/07 Our First Day at Work

Well, we're back in the workforce, such as it is. As I explained earlier we get our site and utilities in exchange for 3 days of "work".

We made our way to the Oasis to meet our other team members. After introductions, Bruce and Deann went over the activities that are planned and what each entailed as far as we workampers were concerned.

Since there was nothing really going that we had to do with we were sent home for the day at eleven. I am liking this!

While I was there a group of ladies were doing Zipper Art in the crafts room. I've never heard of this before and was fascinated with what they were doing. I was sorry I didn't have the camera with me. (Note to self: Take camera everywhere) Each kit comes with a very long zipper, a stencil on paper, a square, canvas covered Styrofoam thing and colored sand. The material on each side of the zipper has to be stripped away leaving only the silver metal zipper. The zipper is then placed on the bold lines of the stencil held in place with straight pins. That's as far as this group got so I don't know what happens next, something to do with the sand. I wish I had known about this because I think I would enjoy making one of these works of art. Fortunately, several other women who just arrived also want to do it so orders for the kits will be taken on Monday.

Today we found out that the White Team is responsible for the Thanksgiving dinner. A list of what needs to be done was already prepared so we learned what our assigned task was. Bob will help set up tables, carve two turkeys and get the cranberry sauce and gravy on the tables. I have to help prepare the turkeys for cooking, help Bob carve two and prepare the leftover gravy for freezing.

There will be 132 attending the Thanksgiving dinner. On the sign up sheet you put your name next to what you want to bring. Since we just got here a few days ago a lot of things were already filled in. I put our names on the relish tray line. I could have picked stuffing for eleven.....I don't think so.

Since this is a big dinner to put on all the teams will work on Thanksgiving Day.

We spent the afternoon grinning and asking each other if this was a great job or what?! Two hours of meeting new people and watching Zipper Art being done.

Bob puttered the afternoon away and I sat on the patio and read for awhile.

What a good day this was!

11/18/07 A Day to Start Doing

Its time to start getting out and doing things in the park.

I had to get laundry out of the way and while I was in the laundromat section of the building I was invited to come join the Ice Cream Social. It gave me a chance to meet some more people. Our neighbor, Darlene, came in and asked if I was going to line dance afterward. So I joined this afternoon's line dancing. It wasn't lessons today but just anyone who wanted to join in. I saw dances I've never seen before but managed to catch on to a few of them without problem. I can see where lessons are in order if I'm going to keep up. There was about 20 - 25 of us for this afternoon's session.

Bob took a nice long ride on his bike and met some more people here in the park.

After dinner we just stayed in and watched TV, after all, tomorrow is a workday!

11/14 thru 11/17/07 Just Settling In

We spent these four days still settling in.

We haven't gotten involved in anything in the park as yet as we're still ironing out the kinks at our site. We set up the satellite dish for TV since the cable here is not much more than basic cable. We like having the choice of seventy five channels. As luck would have it we can't get a signal. Bob has tried everything and the neighbors have given advice but still no signal. As a last resort we called Direct TV to have someone come out. They must be busy because they can't get anyone here until Monday the 26th.

Channel 27 on our TV is the RV park station. It lists all the recurring activities and special events going on plus notices for the residents concerning park issues.

Bob is getting an excellent signal on his laptop but I'm not having much luck on the desktop computer at all. We signed up to get the RV Wifi service in hopes that it will improve the computer signal.

We went on another trip to Walmart and on the way out Bob says, "Look over there" and I looked where he was pointing. A car with Delaware plates! I wanted him to stop right then and there so I could meet them but that wasn't in his plans and we kept going. Two nights later I took a walk over to the area and the couple was outside. Our conversation went like this:

Me: I noticed your plates from Delaware, what part?
Her: Newark
Me: So are we. What part of Newark?
Her: Chestnut Hill Road
Me: We were close to 7 & 40.
Her: We're workampers here.
Me: So are we. What department are you in?
Her: Activities
Me: So are we.
Him: What team are you on?
Me: The White Team
Him: So are we.

Now is this a small world or what? Not only do we meet fellow Delawareans but we're on the same team! And his name is Bob too!

There is just about anything you could want to do in this park. Some of the activities are:
Horseshoes Pool League A gym Line dancing A mini-golf course
A pool A Hot tub Library / Computer room Day trips
Ice Cream socials every Sunday Special dinners and potlucks Water Aerobics
Bingo Card night A sewing circle Red Hat Ladies Bridge
Poker night Dominoes Zipper Art Pokeno Bible study and all kinds of golf outings. This is just a partial list. No one has any reason to say there is nothing to do here.

We've met more people in the last few days, enough that we can't keep names straight. Until we look at their names tags that is. That's right, we're all given name tags to wear. Ours haven't arrived yet as they are engraved with our names and the state we are from.

That was pretty much it for these past few days.

11/14/07 Cleaning Day

WOW,,,,being out in the desert things sure get dusty. Today was a day for cleaning, front to back and top to bottom.

While I took care of the inside Bob arranged things in the basement of the rig and finished up the last touches of getting set up for a long stay.

We ventured out this afternoon to find the grocery stores, gas stations and to see whatever else is around.

We found the Hundred Dollar Store in Casa Grande which is eight miles away. That is a much bigger town than Arizona City. They have all major stores there and lots of restaurants. Diesel fuel in this area is running around $3.34 and gasoline is coming in at $2.85 to $2.90. One good thing, beer is cheaper here than in New Mexico, by about $3.00 a case.

When we were outside today we couldn't help but notice that everyone who walks by our house stops to talk, introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. Yep, I think we're gonna like it here.

11/13/07 We Arrive in Arizona City

We arrived a little after one o'clock in the RV park where we'll spend the winter.

We were supposed to spend the winter in Apache Junction but that changed just before we flew to Tampa for the Buffett concert. I was reading the job listings and I saw one that sounded good to me. We had decided that we wouldn't work this winter but this ad sounded so good I just had to call. We were hired within an hour of calling.

The job listed was for the Quail Run RV Resort in the activities department. We'll work on a team of four couples and we'll be known as the White team. There are two other teams, the Red and the Blue. Bob and I will work three days on and six off. Our hours are 9 to 3 with an hour for lunch. On days we don't have anything to do we'll be told to go home. Our duties include attending all the park functions, setting up for activities such as bingo, doing the pancake breakfasts if our shift falls on that particular day, decorating for the holidays and whatever else comes along.

After getting the rig set up as far as electric, sewer and water are concerned we made our way to the main office to meet with Jeannie the park manager. We filled out some paperwork for her and then followed her to the Oasis, where the activities office is situated. We were introduced to Bruce and Deann the Activities Directors. They gave us a tour of the park and explained what we'll be doing.

We don't have to pay for our RV site, electricity, water, cable or the telephone land line we are required to have, we'll take it in trade for the hours we work.

Back at the house we finished setting up for a few hours. We don't report for work until Monday so we have the next five days to make it home again and learn the lay of the land.

We had no sooner gotten out of the truck and our neighbors came over to meet us. The park is barely half full right now as the RV'ers haven't really started arriving as yet. On our street out of eleven spaces there are only five filled, including us.

We are no longer snowbirds. In Arizona we are known as winter residents.

This park is very well kept, very clean and very pretty. I'll get pictures up in a day or two.

Well, we have arrived, we're happy to be here as it is in the 80's. We think this is going to a good experience.

11/12/07 So Long New Mexico, Hello Arizona!

We've spent the last six weeks seeing New Mexico and we can say we really do like this state. We can see ourselves settling down here when we decide we no longer want to live on the road. Of course we haven't seen Arizona yet......

We packed up and were road ready by ten. After a stop for fuel and ice and we made our way to I-10. We don't normally use the interstate highways but since our winter destination isn't that far we decided to make it the shortest trip possible. We have a 325 mile trip in front of us and we'll make it in two days. Yes, we could drive straight through but we have a self imposed rule of no more than 200 miles a day if we can help it. Who wants to arrive rumpled and tired?

Before we got out of New Mexico we saw these signs. We're glad this wasn't something we had to deal with.
We passed little ghost town on the way. There must be an RV'er there exploring.
It didn't take us long before we saw this sign.

We stopped at a rest stop just after crossing into Arizona and my first thought was, "This is my kinda state!" For those of you who know me will understand this picture below.

While at this rest stop we couldn't help but notice the rocks. You just can't imagine how big these are, I can assure you the picture doesn't do it justice.

We got back on the road for the final leg of today's journey and soon came to an over pass. Like New Mexico, Arizona doesn't let these go unadorned.

We made it as far as Benson, Arizona and decided to call it a day. We pulled into a very nice RV park but didn't even bother unhooking the truck since we would be leaving in the morning. We did take a ride around the park on our bikes and noticed that one half of the park was double wide mobile homes, some park model RV's and then coaches and 5th wheels that have come in for the winter. This park is very well kept and we're hoping where we're headed is just as nice.

After dinner we watched some TV and turned in early so that we can get an early start tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/11/07 Veteran's Day

Today we will visit area State Parks.

First stop,,,,,Rockhound State Park.

The park office, restrooms and concession area.

Detailed views of building above.

Scenery from the area.

Some of cactus plants we saw.

We followed the road below to go to another section of the park. Wouldn't this be a great sledding area? I'd hate the walk back up though.

We made our way up a mountain and found picnic areas tucked away here and there.

Here is the view we had when got near the top of mountain.

Driving through the park we noticed the livestock but also took notice that there weren't any fences around. We guessed they just had free range to roam.

This one particularly caught our eye.

When we had seen all there was in this park we decided to move on to the next. On our way we saw a sign that said the Mexico border was only 30 miles away. We made a change in our plans and headed towards to Mexico.

We decided to walk over the border rather than go through the vehicle search on the way back into the States. We had nothing to hide its just that we could see how long the line was and we didn't care to have to wait. We parked the truck in the parking lot and walked into the country.

We first noticed how colorful it is.

The next thing we noticed is how dirty it is. The roads are paved in only a small section of this town. The dust you see in the next picture doesn't stay over there, it makes it way to "Main Street".

I've never seen so many dentists offices in one place! Nearly every other building on the first two blocks of the town housed a dentist office.

Stores sold their wares on the sidewalk rather than in the building.

Anybody ever been in a Disco Sports Bar?

What is pictured below was a common sight as we walked the two blocks of "Main Street".

It didn't take us long to figure out that we weren't comfortable in this border town. We last about 20 minutes and we both had enough. On the way back to the US we passed this fella.

We sure were glad to see this sign!

How often does one get to stand in two countries at the same time?

It isn't often one gets to see this mile marker.

So there was our visit to Mexico. We can say..... been there, done that.

After dinner we tried to watch TV but the cable kept going in and out and we couldn't get a WiFi connection for our computers. We're sick of this park, even though we're paid through Wednesday we've decided to get out of here, its not worth the aggravation to us so tomorrow we'll pull out and make our west.