Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On the Road Again

Posted from near Page, AZ
(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Although we had a great time during our winter stay at Palm Creek Golf and RV in Casa Grande, AZ, we felt it was time to hit the road again.  After all, fulltiming to us is exploring new locations and learning about people and places.

So with that thought in mind we've planned half of our summer destinations thus far and have decided to tour the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona before returning to Palm Creek in the fall.

We left Palm Creek on April 23rd.  Many of the "winter crowd" had already departed and spaces are now plentiful.  Our first destination is near Page, AZ, a short drive of a bit over 300 miles, but we are in no hurry so we overnighted near Cottonwood at the Verde Valley Thousand Trails. This TT campground seems to be very popular in the winter and we attempted, on several occasions, to secure a spot via online reservations before actually securing one.  We found out that one of the reasons that a spot is hard to book is because the park still has a large number of sites "unavailable" due to the upgrading of their electrical system. Nothing special here, just one night and gone the next morning.

We've never visited the Page, AZ area, but thanks to our friends Paul and Laura they steered us toward a campground named Wahweap RV Park. To be honest, it's more expensive than we usually spend (about $48.12 per night with taxes), but we are so glad that we decided to take their advise and book here for a 6-night stay.

The campground is right on Lake Powell and the views are beautiful.

We are staying in a FHU section of the campground. There are 139 FHU sites. All of the roads are paved and in excellent condition. They are easy to maneuver by the largest MHs.

The sites are all paved with either a back-in or "loop-like" pullthru.

Our first order of business upon arriving at a new destination is to head to the local visitor's center and secure guides and information to use to plan our stay.  Being totally unfamiliar with this area, we didn't know what to expect.  After looking at brochures and maps from the NPS and doing a bit of online research, it is clear that 6 days probably will not be long enough to visit.  That's ok, because we can always return!

We headed north on Hwy. 89 from our CG and traveled to the Visitor's Center for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument located in Big Water, UT (our CG is right on the AZ-UT border). We arrived on Tuesday and it appears that we had not done enough research.  This Visitor's Center is currently closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

We do plan to return on another day, because later in the summer we'll be exploring part of this National Monument from further north in UT. Looks like a neat place from the outside.

The next planned stop today was at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center beside the Glen Canyon Dam.

The visitor center is located right off of Hwy. 89 at the dam. We later learned that Hwy. 89 was an engineering feat in itself, because prior to its' construction a journey of 200 extra miles was needed to get to the location on the other side of the Colorado River.

Tours of the Glen Canyon Dam seemed reasonable at $5 per person, so that sounded like an educational thing to do.  NOT!  I guess they saw the Fischers coming, because the elevators which transport people to the hydroelectric workings of the dam at the base were not functioning today. We'll attempt this tour again on another day.

We concluded today by taking a short hike down from the scenic overlook just below the dam. This turned out to be a great photo-op location for taking a few pictures of the entirety of the dam.

Here's a picture of the Colorado River as it continues the journey beyond Glen Canyon Dam. The canyons are gorgeous everywhere we look here.

Hopefully, a future blog will have a few more pictures of the dam itself.

We see many adventures ahead for this summer.  If we have decent internet access, I'll attempt to do a better job of making posts in a more timely manner than in the past.

Thanks for dropping by to take a look!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2016 Year End Review (Belated)

4th Year of Fulltiming Summation
Posted from Casa Grande,AZ

Well, since we just finished the first quarter of 2017, I decided that it was about time that I posted our summary for 2016.

We completed our 4th year of fulltime RV living at the end of 2016. Wow, where has the time gone! We spent our winter months again at Palm Creek Golf and RV in Casa Grande, AZ.  This marks our fourth winter here and the time here flew by this year.

We decided to become annual lease holders before leaving in 2015 and signed a 2-year lease agreement for our site in the park. One of the "perks" of that initial agreement was that the park would construct a 10x12 foot shed complete with water and electric. We decided to improve the site a bit this season by adding some additional concrete and brick patio pavers to make the site a bit more "homey" feeling.

We chose to become "work campers" here at the park for the 2016-2017 winter season to help offset the costs of our improvements and to help pay for the annual lease costs. We both worked in "Special Events" here at Palm Creek. Let's just say that the job is physically demanding, but certainly we were involved in a variety of tasks throughout the season. Everything from setting up for dinners and dances to larger park-wide outdoor events.

Let me get back to reviewing the 2016 year. When we left Palm Creek in mid-April of 2016 we traveled for several weeks with our friends Paul and Laura and explored some new areas in Texas before they departed for their summer plans. We continued to the East Coast, had some work done at Red Bay, AL, saw family in Virginia, then meandered up into the northeast to attend the Escapees' National Rally in Vermont.

We had an accident with the motorhome in Burlington, VT (prior to the Escapade). After the Escapade we made a beeline back to Red Bay, AL (home of Tiffin Motorhomes) to have the coach repaired by an independent shop in that town.

Because most of our summer plans were squashed due to the accident, we hung out in Red Bay thru most of August and September visiting with different friends who happened to be there for either factory repairs or modifications being performed by third-party vendors in the area. (Hey, we actually do like Red Bay).

It just so happened that Paul and Laura showed up in September, so we started our journey back toward Arizona with them. We again split up just west of Dallas, TX and we arrived back in Casa Grande, AZ on October 3, 2016.

To view a map of our 2016 travels CLICK HERE.


I've been keeping stats concerning our travel costs since we began fulltiming. If you're interested, please feel free to take a look at the chart below and leave a comment at the end of this blog if you have any questions.

(Click to Enlarge)

During 2016 we camped in a total of 13 states and spent an average of 10.74 days in one location.

Thank you to everyone who continues to visit our blog!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Still Alive and Kickin'

Posted from Casa Grande, AZ

(Click on Pics to Enlarge)

I can't believe that it's been since August of 2016 when I last posted a blog.  There's no excuse. I've just been darn lazy. When I last posted we were still in Red Bay, AL getting the damages to our coach repaired. Although we finished all of our work in a relatively short period of time we just "hung around" the area for awhile waiting to see several friends who dropped in from time to time.

We finally picked up the jacks and left on September 22 to begin our journey west toward our final winter destination here at Palm Creek Golf and RV in Casa Grande, AZ.

I'm not going to bore everything with all of the stops and details of our trek, but I'll just mention a few of the highlights along the way.

We stayed in Vicksburg, MS for a few days with our traveling friends Paul and Laura. This gave us both a chance to make sure that all systems on our rigs were working correctly and to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park.

This park has more monuments to fallen soldiers from individual states (other than Gettysburg) of any park I've visited.  One very interesting section of the park housed the U.S.S. Cairo Museum.  The ironclad was sunk in the Yazoo River on December 12, 1862 and was re-discovered in 1956. It was raised, restored, and re-located to its' present location and is the only remaining example of this type of vessel in existence.

We continued into Texas with Paul and Laura and finally split up to allow them to visit some friends before we would meet up again in Casa Grande, AZ.  We overnighted in a neat little Texas State Park named Monahans Sandhills State Park. It was water and electric only, but we were only here for one night (wished now that we had stayed for a couple of days to explore).

The sand was so white and soft that you would have thought we were at the beach. Very cool in the middle of Texas.

We usually begin our winter stay at Palm Creek (this is our 4th year now) in the middle of October, but Karen was having a problem with a tooth so we hurried back a bit sooner to get to our local dentist. We arrived in Casa Grande, AZ on October 2nd this year!

We like Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort so much that last season we decided to sign a 2-year annual lease agreement. The advantages to us were that the park would construct an 10x12 shed with electricity and water hookups plus give us a monetary credit for the first year.  Because we knew that we would be coming back for at least the length of the commitment it was a no-brainer for us.  The only negative is that we continue to pay during the summer months when we're not actually here.

When we arrived this year we decided to have a bit more concrete patio installed, along with some brick pavers to make the site a bit more useable.  To help offset the costs of these additions, we decided to do our first ever workcamping since becoming fulltimers.

We took a job in "Special Events" with the Park.  Little did we know that this job is somewhat of a catch-all, because Palm Creek has a lot of special events.

Without getting into all of the events we've setup for, worked, and then torn down afterwards, here is a look at one of our first events, the Palm Creek Fall Festival. It is the first "welcome back" get together held in November. Every one of those tables and chairs are positioned (and then removed) by the Special Events Team.

Here we are in our outdoor "uniforms" before the Fall Festival began.

Back to the fun stuff.  In November, Palm Creek Golf and RV again hosted the USAPA National Pickleball Tournament.  My partner from last year, Bill, and I again played in the Nationals.  Definitely no medals from that event, but since we both were moved up to the 4.0 skill level this year we both learned a lot and had a great time. (Sorry, no photos on this one.)

In January we decided to leave the comfort of FHUs in Palm Creek and venture out into the desert of Quartzsite, AZ to attend the 2017 OOBerfest. What is OOBerfest you might ask?  It's an informal gathering of friends who follow a blog called Outside Our Bubble created by David and Brenda Bott. They happen to own a Tiffin motorhome as well, but that is not a requirement for attending their OOBerfest gatherings.  For full information and some great drone videos take a look at David's posting on the event.

I'm not sure of the final count, but it was somewhere in the mid-70 count.  There were about 100 rigs who had made initial commitments, but the weather might have kept some away.

As is typical of RVers who gather, there is usually a potluck dinner. There was certainly no shortage of good eats here.

On Saturday night, David and Brenda had arranged for a local band Notes from Neptune to entertain the crowd under the stars. Several large bonfires were built (it does get a bit chilly in the desert) and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Being in the open desert always provides for spectacular sunsets.

One day while in Quartzsite we decided to do a short bit of hiking. Something we both enjoy, and something we had not done in some time. We drove a few miles south of Quartzsite and visited the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge.

An interesting reason to visit this area is to see the California Fan Palm, which is the only palm native to Arizona.  There are just a few remaining, but a short hike up the trail revealed some up in the crevices of the rocks.

I'll have to admit that the palms sighting was not my favorite, but the views both in and out were certainly worth the hike.

If you've been to Quartzsite before, then you know that a visit to the Hi Jolly Memorial is required. It's in the center of town located in a cemetery and is easy to get to. Rather than explain the significance of Hi Jolly to the military, I'll just post a picture of the memorial to him and the second picture will explain the significance.

(Click to Enlarge)
After getting through all of the holiday season events (which meant a lot of work for Karen and I), the work load has lessened somewhat and the real start to the pickleball tournament season has begun. Karen is partnering this season with Debi, who is the wife of my partner Bill.  They played in their first tournament together over at Mission Royale and, although they didn't medal, played well together.

Bill and I didn't medal either, but we had a good time.

Women's Doubles Skill Group 3.0

Just a few weeks ago we had our annual Palm Creek Members' Tournament.  Debi and Karen played together again and won the bronze medal for their skill/age group. Way to go ladies! (It must have been all of that drilling provided by their husbands.  LOL)

I was able to win a silver medal with Rick in the Men's Doubles 4.0, Age 50-64 Group.  My regular partner Bill took the gold medal with his mixed doubles partner Vera.  All of our little group won medals, so we were happy picklers!

Hopefully, that catches up the blog for a bit without being too wordy. I had to use a lot of restraint to keep this blog as short as it turned out.
My goal is to attempt to write more often this year, but I make no promises.

Thanks again for stopping by to take a look!