Thursday, 17 January 2019

Jan 1 - Jan 6, 2019 Happy New Year & Pioneer RV Park

Jan 1, 2019 !!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!
Yeah okay we said that lots last night already but it's a new day. We got up about 9:00 after a late night for us. We are mostly packed up except for the sewer hose and power cord. Priorities though, coffee! When I look out our back window I can see that John & Sandy are setting up their New Years Day gin fizz machine/ blender. They were telling us last night they do this every year on Jan 1. I don't remember the recipe but it's supposed to taste like a creamsicle but with a good shot of gin. We passed, as we had enough last night AND we are driving soon, but we heard good things about it. We chatted a little with people as they walked by and said good bye to us and hello to John & Sandy and a gin fizz. By 11 am we had said all our good byes, hugs and handshakes and we're off. Going to miss this park and our new friends.
The drive was uneventful which was good. Easy directions on the GPS too, I10 to I17 and straight north until the exit to Pioneer RV.
Our new home for a month.
We had an email with instructions because the office is closed today so we will register tomorrow. We pulled in to the office area about 1pm and there was actually 2 maintenance fellas that said they would show us our site and help get backed in. Nice!

Very western theme here too.

It took a few stabs but I got situated on the lot like the fellas wanted me to. There's rules about that as you have to be on the orange line. We thanked them for helping and got unhooked and did a minimal set up. Power, water and level. Good enough for now. We're hungry and craving junk food. We know it's bad but we drove to McDonalds and grabbed a 6 pack of cheeseburgers. Even Margaret ate one haha! We want to grab a quick nap before we go to Barry & Ailsa's place for a New Years dinner. It will be great to see them again as we haven't seen them since September for the race in Golden. They work a 10 on/ 10 off shift and fly back and forth (in the winter) to Phoenix on their days off so they can train in the warm weather year round. They rented a house over towards Cave Creek here in north Phoenix for a few months and we have been invited over anytime after 5pm. Nap and a shower first. Then pack an overnight bag because we likely shouldn't drive home later.
We arrived just after 5:00 and said hi with big hugs to our super athlete friends. The house they rented is very nice and after a quick tour we all opened a frosty beverage and cheered to the New Year and getting together again. These two make fantastic dinners every time we come over and they have a feast planned for tonight. The steaks they bought would feed a very large family!! Ailsa got going in the kitchen and Barry fired up the barbecue and they built a fabulous dinner. We only contributed wine, the easy part.
Lots of yummy veggies.

Barry, Ailsa & me, notice the steaks are cut in half. 
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner that was perfectly cooked. Barry nailed those big steaks. Awesome!
We have dessert too but we're going to wait a little and settle our stomachs. We stayed at the table with more wine and some Coconut Tequila. Told you it was a sleepover ;) Barry & Ailsa very much miss their dog Sam and they love it when we bring Margaret over so Barry can spoil the crap outta her lol. It gets bad as you will see in these next pics. Remember, Barry loves to spoil her!
Steak bits finely chopped with wine for dinner.

Barry invites her to join us for shots. On the table??

Wine & tequila on a pillow, princess. (Ok not really)

Had too much tequila!
We thought it was funny and, no, we didn't feed her booze. She's a pretty happy pooch of course while we talked and laughed at the table. We really enjoyed the evening with Barry & Ailsa and we forgot to take pics of the cake. It was mint chocolate Oreo cake that was dairy free so I could enjoy it too. OMG, so good. We all moved to the living room and ended the evening with a few glasses of water. They are doing a short run and a long bike ride tomorrow. Yeah their short run is my long run & a bike ride? How about a leisurely 40 miles or so on a pedal bike after a run. Yep they are in a whole different fitness level but they are awesome friends. Thanks you guys for another great night!
Jan 2 
We got up around 8:00 and chatted with coffee and breakfast. Leslie and I need to go back and finish setting up and get registered at the new park. As mentioned Barry & Ailsa are going on a run / bike ride today. We took a couple shots of their house before we left. It's a nice place they rented.
Beauty front yard.

The patio or "lanny" in Hawaii lol.

Arizona landscaping, love it.

The pool, unfortunately not heated, I'm not going in.
After big hugs we did the short drive back to Pioneer RV. We took a few pics on the way to the office to register.
Horseshoe pits, lots of them, yeehaw pardner.

A shiny new pickleball court.

A little desert park and the walkway.

Indoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Laundry room and clotheslines outside. Not allowed to hang stuff at your site.
It is a very nicely kept park for sure but holy smokes there are rules! At Chaparral there was one printed sheet of pretty standard park rules. Here, we get a small booklet of rules in point form. The sign in process took about 20 minutes and we had to provide truck & trailer registration. We signed forms acknowledging that we owe payment as prescribed and we won't do anything illegal and signed that we authorize them to charge us for breaking said rules, it was unreal! They wanted Margarets vet records and the computer flagged her as a "terrier cross" so they wanted pictures for identification (in case she was a Pit Bull Terrier...lol). Umm I'm only staying a month, I'm not buying the place, geezus. Maybe it's standard procedure but it's a little heavy to rent a site for a month. Chaparral was way easier. We finished that task and walked back to our rig for a nap. Exhausting haha. After a little recharge we jumped in the truck to go get groceries and I grabbed some things from Home Depot. There is great shopping just a couple miles away. Everything you need is close so that's good. Back to the rig to put everything away and complete our set up for the month and then a well deserved kick back in the lazy boys with a water! Time to take a couple days off from drinking alcohol, we have been indulging pretty heavy lately and I want to get some longer runs in. We need to find Leslie some pickleball players too.
Jan 3
We walked over to the pickleball courts at 10:00 to see if anyone would be playing. Not yet. Nobody ever did show up so we played four games (I won't tell you who won three of them). After we were done we took Margaret for a walk around the park as a cool down. We walked over to the pool and there is nobody there so we decided to have a swim and a hot tub.  Very nice. Had the entire place to ourselves. Awesome. The afternoon and evening was relaxing for me, catching up on blogs but Leslie made a big batch of soup and an Instant Pot tenderloin for supper! Thanks Dianne for the recipe. It turned out really good. A nice evening in front of the TV and some tea. 
Jan 4
Our goal while we are here is to back off the alcohol intake and get ready for my race on the 20th. I started the day with an 8k run and while I was gone Leslie joined water aerobics and walked the dog. Pretty good morning for her too. We worked together on some laundry and after that it's nap time! Love the afternoon naps. We set a timer for 30 minutes and you feel brand new after. (A new retirement thing...lol)
We have a dinner planned with Barry, Ailsa, Steve & Donna at a place called the Buffalo Chip Saloon in Cave Creek. It's supposed to be a good place for barbecue and they have live bull riding at the bar at 8 pm !!! That's the draw for sure. Should be interesting. Oh and live country music at 9:00. We likely won't make it to 9. C'mon, that's almost bedtime ;)  Leslie and I drove to Barry & Ailsa's and not long afterwards we got a text from Steve & Donna that they had been in an accident and won't be making it. They are physically okay but their new to them Santa Fe isn't very good. Not drivable for sure. It's getting towed to a body shop.
Hood crumpled from the spare wheel. Airbags didn't go off.

Not terrible on the back but we'll see how much.
They were hit from behind and pushed into a Jeep with a spare wheel on the back which promptly took off after the accident?? They must have done something worse or they just didn't want any part of the cops being there. Donna called us at Barry & Ailsa's to see if we could drive them back to Steve's sisters place. Of course we can. Dinner is done for tonight unfortunately. We left right away and picked them up in Scottsdale. It was a little ways to where Steve's sisters house so we gave them a hug and said good night. So glad they are physically okay. We'll have to see how it turns out.
We drove back to Cave Creek for a quick stop at Barry & Ailsa's to pick up our computer and have a short glass of wine. Our supper was a tuna sandwich and some sushi that we bought on the way back. Margaret was very happy to see us and was ready for a walk.
Jan 5
It's grocery day again so we drove over to a different store not far from us. There is a huge Fry's and some attached stores at a little strip mall just south of us. They also have a pet store so we grabbed Margaret some treats at the same time. We stopped at Chili's for lunch which was delicious and then back home.
Not a great pic at Chili's

After we put stuff away we decided on a short hike. There is a trail just across I10 that we want to check out. It looks steep but just a short part of it, we'll check it out. We got a text from Barry that they were just going out for lunch and would we like to come along? Damn, we just ate but thanks for asking. They fly out tonight to go back to work for 10 days. Have a great time up north guys, hope it's not too cold hahaha. The hill we are on is definitely steep so answering his text is a good excuse for a breather. Thanks Barry for helping out.
Does it look steep in the pics? It really is.

Turns out the trail ends at the flag, not very far.
Great views from up here. Thanks USA for warm place to be.

Okay so it looks like this got shot to death. 
How would you like to live down below??

Some beauty houses looking to the north.
It was also fun going back down that hill. With the loose rock and the grade you had to watch your footing until it levelled off. Obviously we made it alright. When we got back to the truck we noticed a lady selling fresh honey at a roadside stand not far away. We walked over and she gave us samples of the different kinds and Leslie chose the Mesquite honey for $15 per quart. Kind of expensive but it's right here and all natural. It is really good too. The rest of the day was just relaxing and supper/ TV/ bed.
Jan 6
We are just hanging out here today. As you might have noticed I am catching up on blog posts from December so we are working to get more current. We walked over to the pool for a swim and a hot tub, all alone again, which is nice. After we cleaned up and took Margaret for a stroll around the block. We got to the top of our street and there was 4 people chatting in their driveway. We noticed Alberta plates so we asked where they were from. They are from Bonnyville!! Kevin & Sue Mulhulland I think are from Muriel Lake and Gary & ?? (forgot her name) are from town. Another couple around the corner are from Smoky Lake. Small world down here. Odd thing about this park compared to the last one is nobody gets together in the afternoon. We thought maybe some happy hours with the folks from B'ville but we hardly saw them again. Just a wave as we drive by occasionally. This park is way bigger and there are way more park model trailers so people own their lots. It's not as fun as High Chaparral. That's okay we're getting stuff done and not drinking as much, which was our goal. We didn't do anything "blog worthy" for the rest of the day. They can't all be interesting but hopefully we have more to come haha. I'm getting closer to being caught up now and that feels great because we will be busy next weekend with the race and my boy Derek Carter coming for a visit. You'll hopefully see that soon. Cheers everybody.








Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Dec 24 -31, 2018 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Arizona Style

Dec 24
It might be "beginning to look a lot like Christmas" but it feels different without snow and cold. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad just different and we aren't complaining lol. We have some tasks today so that we are good while stuff is shutdown for Christmas Day. Leslie did her favourite thing and did some laundry first thing while I made breakfast. Then we jumped in the truck and off to CG for propane, fuel, wash my truck and a couple items from the grocery store. It's supposed to get cool and raining later this week so we have 2 full propane tanks now. Good to go. Back home we put our exchange gifts in Christmas bags and prepped some appies for the table at the hall. We'll take Margaret for a good walk around the park and then head over to the hall for the gift exchange.
Karen & Sandy went over earlier and put paper plates at a table for all of us, they're veterans at this game, they want a good spot. Finally we have pictures of them!!
Tough selfie. My eye, Wayne, John, Sandy, Leslie, & Karen
Finally! We have had so much fun with these awesome people and we never take a dang picture! haha.
We do gift exchanges at home too but for anyone that doesn't here's the basic rules. Everyone brings a gift, at this one they are divided by male and female, but not always. We all get a ticket with a number and when your number gets called you can choose a gift to open (from the appropriate gender of course) OR if there is a gift opened already that you like then you can steal that gift. The victim of the steal can't steal it back but they can steal someone else's gift or open a new one. I think there was 114 players for this game which made it more fun and it took 3 hours to play it out. Another good rule they have is you can only steal twice on one gift. Each time it gets taken then it gets a tag. Two tags and it is frozen. So the veterans coached us to try to pick a previously stolen gift then you own it. Okay on with the game. Karen got a metal dog sculpture with a solar light that she liked and it was the second steal so nobody could take it. The rest of us got booze! Wayne and John got some fancy bourbon with glasses. Always handy at Christmas.
Dog sculpture that lights up at night.

Leslie and I got these, good score!
Almost forgot, when your number was called you had to go up front and say who you are and where you're from with the MC for the evening. He had a Christmas light jacket and pants! Very festive.
Can't see the lights very good, nice suit.
It was a fun evening and as soon as it was over we went home to bed. Santa is coming !
Dec 25
Merry Christmas everyone!!! Yeah it's awful late now but that's what we said that day ;)   We had a nice big Christmas breakfast and then took Margaret on a walk to say Merry HoHo to others we met. Had to get the High Chapparal highlight pic.
The Iron Horse with Christmas hat and scarf.
Leslie got started on some Broccoli Tots for the potluck today. If you have never had broccoli tots, google them, they are delicious. Again Karen & Sandy saved us a spot at their table for dinner. They are so nice. We walked over right at 1pm because we mistimed the tots and they were not ready until then. 
Geez John stop lookin at your phone lol. 
It was an amazing meal with the park providing roast beef and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy. Then people could sign up for desserts or veggies or whatever they wanted to bring. Sooo good. I loaded up my first plate and came to sit down at my spot and Leslie says to me "would you like to switch chairs?" Umm no I don't this is the guys side of the table, guys on this side, girls on that side, don't mess with that. Then she quietly told me to look over my left shoulder..... bahahaha. Good thing I didn't have a mouthful!!
How's your appetite Les ? Hahaha
We debated a long time before adding this pic!
Oh man that was funny! Okay we maybe should have politely said something but honestly what do say ???
The dinner was really good and with the potluck there was so many different things to choose from. The meat and potatoes was great too and this park really puts on a fun couple of days for their residents. Good stuff. Speaking of stuffed, I had serious hangover munchies and I went back 3 times to the food and twice to the dessert table. OMG! Guess what is happening next. Yep, it's couch time.
We had some facetime calls in the afternoon from family in Alberta which was great. Technology makes it easier to stay in touch for sure. What a happy Christmas!! Full bellies, family and friends around us, yep pretty darn fortunate.
Dec 26
Happy Birthday Rylan!! We recorded a birthday message and sent it through Graham to wish Rylan a happy birthday. Graham & Britt always try to make his birthday a special day so it doesn't get washed out on Christmas. Good work.
We had a leisurely morning because we have pickleball this afternoon. Time to burn off some of that dinner and dessert for the two of us. We played for about 1 1/2 hours and then arranged a happy hour in the sun in front of our rig. It's a beautiful day.
All the beginner players from this month.

Apple Pie moonshine, Crown Black and Irish Whiskey shots. Everyone had Christmas booze left over. Yikes!

Around 6 pm everyone headed back to their own rigs but Leslie and I noticed Wayne & Karen outside with John & Sandy so we just moved our chairs over to their place. We were feeling rather merry and stayed outside over there until almost 8:00! We went home and barbecued some salmon burgers for supper. It was good to add food at this point. We were almost finished eating and our next door neighbours from Colorado came home from his parents place. Well we are still feeling merry so I waved for them to come over for a drink. 
Tyler & Apryl are from Ft. Collins, Colorado and come here every year for the last 4 years to visit his parents that are in a neighbouring RV park. That park doesn't allow truck campers?? so they stay here and drive their side X side back and forth. They're younger at 44 & 36 so they only visit for a week and then drive back to Colorado. Absolute gems these two! They settled in and we talked back and forth for a few hours. We almost ran out of beer until Tyler grabbed an open 18 pack from his rig and came back! Phew that was close lol. I think they went home by 1am. We're going to pay for this one but every now and then you kinda cut loose right?
Tyler & Apryl. Thanks for the pic guys.
From one of their ATV rides.
Tyler & Apryl own an RV dealership in Ft. Collins and run a custom haying operation with their ranch. If you are in that area stop in and say I sent you. He might not remember me haha. (their RV shop link) I know we will go out of our way if we get close.
Dec 27
Oh here's a big surprise..... we only went outside to walk Margaret today. We slept in late, again no surprise. We cleaned the house a bit but mostly watched TV and drank water and ate salt and grease Ugh!
Dec 28
Feeling better today! Leslie is cleaning a little more and going for a long walk with the dog and I drove to the golf course for a run. Pulled off 5.5 km or 3 mi. Not bad for today and my leg is okay after the calf strain. Great news.
We play pickleball at 2pm but only Leslie is playing now. I'm letting my leg heal for the race. Leslie is doing great at the game and she enjoys it too. She's always liked competition so this is a perfect game for her. Plus when you commit to a group you don't tend to push it off for something else. Of course after playing there is a happy hour, this time up at Leo & Sandy's house again.
It's a little cooler today so we have 2 fireplaces ready.

We're using Leo's friend and neighbour Duane's place but he's not here lol.
How cool is this? A knitted beer cozi mitten. Hilda made them.
We only stayed for a couple and then went home for supper. I still have vivid memories of the last time.
Dec 29
I was doing some blog stuff when I got a text that I had used 90% of my data for the month?? That's weird, we have 22 Gb/ month and normally have a little left over? For some reason I used 7 Gb in 4 minutes this morning at 9:23? Leslie was out walking the dog so when she got back we both tried to figure what happened. I called Telus and of course waited on hold. While waiting I contacted our I.T. department (a.k.a. texting Dan & Shannon haha). They are both computer genius's in my eyes so hopefully they can help. Dan texted back and of course then Telus picked up. I did what I could with Telus and called Dan back. With the right questions and a little time Dan nailed it we think. I didn't shut off the auto-update feature on Leslie's computer so when I signed on and hooked to my phone it did a system update in the background. That feature is off now! Thanks Dan! So good to have a software developer in the family lol. As a bonus the tech guy at Telus gave us a Christmas present. I asked if he could give me back some of the burnt data and he said he couldn't do that but.... he changed our data package so that we get 23 Gb / month total for $30 less per month. How nice is that?? This whole process took about 4 hours and we are hungry. We are treating ourselves to lunch out. We heard about a Mexican restaurant called Anayas in Casa Grande. Can't remember who told us but it's a real hit. Food is delicious and the service was super fast. Definitely recommend it to anyone that likes Mexican food. We even bought a big styrofoam cup of their salsa, made fresh daily, to take home. It's that good.
Very colorful interior

Leslie's "Dos Amigos" shrimp and scallops in hot sauce
with rice and beans of course.
We were stuffed when we left. I had an Enchilada with rice and beans which was great too. Back to our rig with our big cup of salsa. That's what we had for supper, chips and salsa. Easy night.
Dec 30
I want to get in a last run for 2018 so I'm driving over to my fave neighbourhood by the golf course. Leslie is coming too and I'll drop her off at the Dollar store about 3km from our park. She's going to walk back. Good work. My leg didn't give me any trouble today so I increased the distance to 10km/ 6 mi which really made me happy. The race is 21.1 km/ 13 miles so I have a ways to go yet.
Leslie did more laundry and cleaning while I was gone. I showered and we went outside for a bit before she has pickleball. John hollered at me when we were outside to see if I was up for a motorcycle ride today because the weather is supposed to get cool and rain. Well. hell yes buddy, I'm up for a ride! John has a Suzuki Bergman 400cc and a Harley Street Glide. He has been wanting me to try the Bergie because he really likes it as a short distance runabout bike. Okay sure, let's go. I'm a little tall for the Bergie but it's awesome to be in the wind again!
CVT transmission and both levers are brakes, check. Gas and go.

John's Street Glide. Yeah, I like.

Time to go!

Feel a little big for it but it's a great ride.
We went for about 15 miles on some side roads to where John and Wayne go dove hunting. Let me tell ya, I was doing 70 mph/ 120km/h more than once and that bike drives straight and true. Awesome ride. Don't ask me where the hunting grounds are because we turned so many times I really don't know. We stopped and walked a little and he showed me where the doves are in the fields and the border trees. Ready to go back, he asked if I wanted to ride the Harley. Do monkeys like bananas? Yeah! I'll ride the Harley back but John has to lead because I'm a little lost. A scooter leading a Harley? Heck, I don't know anybody here anyway haha. Thanks John for a great afternoon ride!!
We joined them for happy hour but took it pretty easy and went home for supper by 6:30. That was another great day :)
Dec 31
The last day of our first retirement year. We like our new life just fine so far. Let's see what the new year brings. We are packing as much stuff as we can for the move tomorrow. Leslie did the interior and I went outside to wrap up as much as I can today. We have water in the fresh tank for tonight so I only have to dump tanks and go tomorrow. The day is cool but partly sunny so far. Tonight is supposed to be rain and cold with a wind. Forecast is for a low of 4C/ 37F here but we checked the Bonnyville forecast, -33C with a windchill of -40C or F it don't matter at that point, it's just bitter cold. Kinda happy we're here for New Years.
The New Years party at the Social Hall starts at 7pm and again we are sitting with Wayne, Karen, John & Sandy. Sandy has prepared over 100 Jello shots for tonight!! Uh oh. The band starts at 8pm so we have some time to get our dancin' shoes on. We packed a cooler and met the gang at our table where we quite soon sampled Sandy's hard work... Jello shots!
Me, John, Wayne, Karen, Sandy & Leslie

Sandy with the Jello shots she handed out to anyone willing.
We got right at the fun after a couple shots each.
Leslie ready for midnight!

Karen & Sandy
The band, Cottonwood Stash, fired up at 8 and got the dance floor going real quickly. Leslie even got me up there for a Waylon Jennings tune about 3rd song in. Lucky I had some liquid courage first. We actually danced quite often and had a fantastic time. There was a really nice woman sitting beside me that asked if we were old enough for the park haha. When I told her I am 56 she replied that she has a son 54 so I told her "that's great and I will call you Mom for the rest of the night lol."
My temporary "Mom" so nice.
A good portion of our pickleball friends are here tonight but Les and I thought it odd that Randy & Shelley weren't here. At the band intermission we needed to replenish our cooler so we detoured to their rig to see what was up and at least say happy new year. They were watching the New York ball drop on TV but we quickly talked them into coming to the dance for the real midnight. We had a quick shot while they got ready, maybe 2 actually. Just before we left their rig we got a really awesome gift from them. Randy recorded an incredibly good CD back in 1998 while trying to establish a music career. Timing and commitments didn't work out and his music career didn't go as hoped but we get this awesome disc. (Leslie and I have listened to it lots over the last couple weeks and it's a fantastic disc of Randy's own songs.)
Randy Hamilton (aka Cowboy) fantastic CD
We all walked back to the hall and had a great night. Of course we made it to midnight and a little beyond actually. Not much though because I stopped my watch at 12:39 when we crashed.

 Happy New Year everyone!! Thanks for reading our ramblings and we hope 2019 brings you health and happiness and, with luck, a life as good or better than we are living right now.
Cheers everyone.