Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Not-So-Happy Blog Update

Casa Grande, AZ

I know that it's been awhile since we've updated the blog, but we really haven't had a lot of "new and exciting" information to report.  We've just been settling in to our winter home and doing some domestic chores which still come with the fulltiming lifestyle.

Oh, yes, and playing more pickleball. Karen and I both attended a 2-day clinic given by Prim Carnot last week and learned a LOT more about the game and its nuances.

Then we had a somewhat unusual occurence.  It rained beginning Friday and lasted until Sunday afternoon. This part of AZ has had about 250% of its normal precipitation for the month of November. By Monday morning it was beautiful (weather-wise) again.

I try to play pickleball at least three times a week, so I went to the courts at 10:00 AM to play a round robin event of equally skilled players.  Everything was going well for the first hour. We were midway through a game, then it happened. I made a routine return of a ball and suddenly it felt like somewhat had hit me in the back of the right calf.  I really didn't think too much about it until I tried to take the next step.  Then *?&* as I grabbed my calf and sank to the court.

It turns out that I torn a calf muscle. Now, I've played sports my entire life and have never had this happen before.  Possibly something to do with older age?  Not sure, but I do know that there will be no more pickleball (or any strenuous activity for that matter) in my future for the coming weeks.  I went to the hospital shortly after getting back to the MH, but all they really did was give me a pain pill and wrapped and splinted my lower leg.  I can't even get in to see an orthopedic doctor until a week from today.

At least we're parked in one spot for awhile and not trying to travel around.

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No Plans, But We Never Seem to Finish

Casa Grande, AZ

Let me first apologize for not getting our blogs out quicker, but now that we're settled in for the next four months I might not write as often unless we visit some interesting sights.

Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort is really feeling very comfortable to us.  Although there are still some vacant spots around us, the snowbirders are slowly returning for the winter months. There are many Canadians who come south for the winter.  We have a  rig from Quebec on our right side, then a couple from British Columbia and Washington state across from us.  Everyone we've met has been super friendly. We've already made an observation about the general health of folks here.  They seem to be in a lot better shape physically than the people in most RV parks and campgrounds we've visited.  The vast majority of folks do something to keep active. It could be walking, riding bicycles, water aerobics, pickleball, tennis, or golf.

Speaking of pickleball.........nice lead in, huh?  The pickleball national tournament is being held this week in Buckeye, AZ (just west of Phoenix).  It's about a two hour drive from us, so yesterday we attended the event.  Very cool to be able to watch really good players for someone like me who is just starting out.

We specifically went to watch a husband-wife team who instructed in our beginner's class last week. In the picture they are the ones in the matching yellow shirts.  (In their early 60's).

Yesterday's session was just for mixed doubles and the ages ranged from the 19+ group to the 80+ group. A wide range of ages and quickness there, but we were VERY surprised by the reaction times and quickness of some of the "older" folks.  I just hope that I can move that well when I'm their age.

We've also been catching up on some of the more mundane things in life.  I was all set to play pickleball here last Tuesday, but found out that Karen had scheduled me for a dental check-up.   GRRRHHHH!  Well, it turned out to be pretty good news for me.  I just needed a routine cleaning, but Karen wound up needing 2 fillings replaced and a third tooth filled. Overall, the experience was very pleasant.

There is never a shortage of activities to do here inside Palm Creek.  On days when not playing some pickleball (and Karen is NOT an addict, btw), she's been able to participate in a colored-pencil drawing class. She really enjoys the "artsy" things. We also want to get out and do some exploring in this part of Arizona.

For our friends back in the colder climes, please allow me to gloat a bit.  Temps have been in the mid 70s to around 83 since we arrived here on the 1st.  It rained for a few hours one night, but the skies have been clear and bright blue for the most part.  I COULD REALLY LEARN TO LIKE THIS!

Ok, it's midday.  Time to grab some lunch and head over to the pool for a few hours.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day

Casa Grande, AZ

Today is a special day to thank all of those who have served throughout the many years to allow us the freedom we enjoy to express ourselves in blogs such as these.

Say thank you to a veteran, and to those currently protecting our country today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Settled in for the Winter

Casa Grande, AZ      (Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

We left the SKP Co-Op in Benson, AZ last Friday and drove two hours to Casa Grande to the Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort.  We made a reservation (sight unseen, I might add) last July while we were visiting Yellowstone Park.  A woman working the information desk for the NPS suggested we give this park a try after we told her that we'd like to "winter over" in AZ this year.  She has a permanent residence at Palm Creek and we found out later that they were running a "first time visitor" promotion which gave both the referring party and us a $100 per month discount during our stay.

We originally made a reservation for November 1st thru February 1st, but after only 4 days we've already decided to extend our stay for another month.  Although we haven't stayed in a lot of the really "high end" RV resorts across the county, we both agreed that this is the nicest one we've stayed in to date.

The maintenance is first rate and the landscaping here is beautiful.

I'm not going to list all of the amenities here (you can visit their website if interested), but I'll show a few pictures of the areas we've visited around the resort so far.

I know a few of our readers are golfers (sorry, I've never picked up a club), but I do love the looks of a golf course. The resort has an 18-hole course (which is also open to the public) and a pro shop.

There is literally an activity calendar which has events scheduled every day of the week.  The resort is a 55-plus community and I honestly don't know how us "old folks" can muster up the stamina.

Our first dealings with the resort, after passing through the gate, was check-in. There is plenty of space to stop, unhook our toad, and complete the very well choreographed check-in procedures.

We had a "ranger" lead us to our site via golf cart. Usually, I'm not too thrilled by this, but this resort is so large that it turned out to be very helpful.  I'll have to post pictures of our site and the variety of properties within the resort on a future blog (sorry, no pictures taken yet).

After getting the rig set up, we took a ride around the park on our bicycles. These will come in very handy over the next few months I'm sure.  For tennis players, there are 8 very nice courts.

Sixteen shuffleboard courts.

Ten horseshoe pits.

A lawn bowling green. I will admit that I know absolutely nothing about lawn bowling, except that the "diehards" here apparently take it very seriously and dress in a whole lot of white clothing.  I just like to look at the beautiful grass.

For dog lovers and owners there are four separate areas throughout the park to take the dogs for exercise and to do their "business".

The resort has a softball league during the winter months and outside teams also come in to play in tournaments.  The field is in better shape than any field I ever played on throughout high school. This view is looking toward home plate from extreme left field.

Main Swimming Pool
The central activity complex houses one of the two swimming pools and hot tubs (hear that, Paul?) plus a bistro, the resort's activity office, registration desk, and mail room.

Hot Tub

Registration Desk

Also in the area is a mail room, billiard room, and library.

Mail Room

Billiard Room


I've saved the best for last.  Karen and I have found a new "addiction".  For those of you who have tried this activity, I think you'll agree.  The new activity is PICKLEBALL!  I had seen this played a bit at other RV places we'd stayed, but neither of us had even picked up a paddle, much less played.

Let me say that pickleball at Palm Creek is very big.  They recently built a beautiful complex (in 2012, I believe) that consists of 24 top notch courts. 
We've already taken a beginner's class (this past Monday) and purchased our own paddles. Yeah, we're sucked in! Many of the pickleballers haven't returned to the resort yet for the winter, so any type of organized playing doesn't begin until mid-November.  The good thing is that we'll get a chance to practice at our leisure without looking too uncoordinated when we begin playing in a few of the structured events.  WARNING!  Do not begin playing pickleball. Most who do, really enjoy it.  It is not only a great physical workout, but a great social event as well. Everyone we've met are anxious to help the "newbies".  There are people in their mid-80s playing pickleball here.  I say good for them!   Sorry, just realized that I was doing a PSA for pickleball. I'll climb down off my box now.
Casa Grande is located approximately midway between Phoenix and Tucson.  We haven't even begun to explore all of the sights we'd like to visit in these areas yet.  I guess it's a good thing we decided to add another month here.
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Friday, November 1, 2013

"The Town Too Tough to Die"

Benson, AZ                      (Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

......well that would be Tombstone, AZ, of course.

We visited Tombstone on Tuesday and Wednesday and learned a lot about western history, and had a great time to boot!  For those not familiar with Tombstone, probably the most famous (or infamous) event occurred here on October 26, 1881.  That was the gunfight at the OK Corral.

First, a bit of factual history about Tombstone.  The town was founded in 1877 by Ed Schieffelin, a prospector who found a rich vein of silver.  Because the Arizona Territory was such a harsh environment at that time, soldiers at nearby Camp Huachuca (later became Ft. Huachuca) told Schieffelin that the only thing he would find in this area was his own tombstone.  The name stuck with Schieffelin and the town became known as Tombstone.

In 1879 a town site was laid out in the area previously known as Goose Flats.  With word of the silver strike, people flocked to the region.  By the mid-1880's the population had grown to around 7500 people. (Keep in mind that only white males over the age of 21 were counted in the census of the day.)  Total population estimates range from 15,000 to 20,000 persons.  At one time, Tombstone was the fastest growing town between St. Louis and San Francisco.  That fact alone was a shocker to us.

Tombstone was quite a town.  It had over 100 saloons during the mining days.  It had a huge "red light" district where prostitution was legal at that time (and taxed, I might add). It had one of the first swimming pools in the southwest which is still used today. The Tombstone Epitaph was the town's first newspaper and is still in publication today.

One of the measures of a town's "sophistication" in the early days was the presence of a theater.  Tombstone had two notable theaters. The first was Schieffelin Hall built in June, 1881 by Ed Schielffelin's brother Al.  This is where the respectable people in town attended the theater. At the time, it was the largest adobe structure in the southwest.

The other theater was the Bird Cage. It opened on December 25, 1881 and also contained a saloon, gambling hall, and brothel.  It was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Bird Cage closed in 1889. It survived one of the fires which destroyed many of the wooden structures in Tombstone because of the adobe building material.  The unique thing about the Bird Cage is that it today is a very accurate look back into Tombstone's history because once it closed in 1889 nothing was disturbed prior to 1934 when new owners purchased the property and opened it as a tourist stop.

Today much of Tombstone has been re-built (because of the two fires in 1881 and 1882) to portray the Tombstone of the era.  A good place to get oriented is the building which today houses the Visitor Center. This building was originally the site of a bank.

After picking up a few brochures we decided to take an "overview" tour on the trolley.  This tour was pretty informative, but we learned by the end of our second day that "true history" is sometimes a bit slanted depending upon who is giving the talk.  If you really would like to learn as much as possible in a short period of time, we would advise you to take one of Dr. Jay's Tombstone Walking Tours.  We took the 2-hour tour and he was excellent.  This is the "slow" time in Tombstone (before all of the snowbirds start to arrive for the winter) and we were the only two taking the tour on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the best museums in Tombstone is located in the old Cochise County Courthouse.  The courthouse was built in 1882 at a cost of approximately $45,000.  It remained the courthouse until 1929 when the county seat was moved to Bisbee, a significant copper mining town. Today, the former Courthouse is administered by the Arizona State Parks.

Seven people were hanged during the Courthouse's tenure in town. These are the reconstructed gallows at the rear of the Courthouse.

Here's a look at the court room located upstairs in the Courthouse.

The Tombstone City Hall was built in 1882. It is located on Fremont Street (today's Hwy. 80).

One street over is Allen Street. This is the area closed to vehicular traffic and attempts to recreate the "feeling" of the 1880s.

This is also the street to take a tour of the town in a stagecoach.

We ate lunch on Wednesday at Big Nose Kate's Saloon. Big Nose Kate was the "girlfriend" of Doc Holliday. This place was pretty interesting and you could really get a sense of what it must have been like on a bustling day back in the Old West.  There is live music and the food is really pretty good. The bar is as is would have been back in the 1880's with the addition, however, of bar stools for today's population.

Lots of fun things to see in Big Nose Kate's.

Of course, a trip to Tombstone wouldn't be complete without learning about the shootout at the OK Corral. Let me just say that Hollywood movies have greatly distorted the factual account of the shootout. The shootout took place in the alley off of Fremont Street leading into the area of the OK Corral.  It was a gunfight between Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday against Billy and Ike Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury. The fight lasted 30 seconds and between 25-30 bullets were fired.  In the end, Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury lie dead in the street. Morgan and Virgil Earp were wounded and Doc Holliday received a minor injury.  Only Wyatt Earp was uninjured.

The three casualties were buried nearby in Boot Hill Graveyard.  The cemetery was opened in 1879 and used until 1884 when the new city cemetery was opened on the west end of  Allen Street.

Some of the headstones are amusing, some sad.  Many graves are only marked as "unknown". 

The visit to Tombstone was very enjoyable.  Let me warn in advance that the "touristy" attractions can become expensive.  We did a few things, but left several others for another visit.  For those interested, here are the current ticket prices as of this blog writing.  (Each ticket price is listed as per person.)  Listed in order of best value for the money.    (MY OPINION ONLY HERE.)

Dr. Jay's Tombstone Walking Tour (2 hour)     $25
Cochise County Court House Museum      $5
OK Corral/Historama Combination Ticket   $10
Combination Trolley Tour and Helldorado Town  $10
Trolley Tour    $7

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!