Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gold Canyon. We've arrived.

Actually we arrived sometime ago.  December 1st to be accurate.  However I have been somewhat busy, lazy, unmotivated, take your pick, in taking the time to sit down and post an update.   So here it is.  

Friday, December 1, we made the short, 40 minute, drive from Fountain Hills to Gold Canyon.  We turned off of I60 and thru the entry gates to Gold Canyon RV and Golf Resort.  We immediately had the feeling of being at home.  This is our 3rd time here and that familiarity was obviously very comforting.  That feeling was further enhanced when we saw two familiar figures walking up the main drive.  Mark and Jan, who had been our neighbours during our stay last year, had been at the Club House and were on the way back to their rig when we drove in.  Talk about a nice coincidence.

On my way into the Club House to register.
Pickleball courts are in the back, Shuffleboard to the left and 9 hole
 par 3 golf course winds its way between Park Models.
Club House contains rooms for all the other activities. 

I went to the office to check in and pay for our 4 month stay.  $3195, or so I thought.  Turns out their email confirmation from April was $65. short.  We had booked for 4 months but their months are based on 30 days and if you add up the days in the months of Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar and divide by 30 there is one day left over.  My email receipt made no mention of this but no big deal I figured.  Just take the per diem of the cost of our 4 month stay, $26.63 per day, and I would pay the balance in cash.  But no, that would be too logical, and fair, in my opinion.  Instead they charged me $65. for the extra day which is the fee that they charge someone coming in for one night.  Not exactly rewarding a returning customer and one committing to a long term stay.  The other factor in their favour is electricity.  When you book for less than 1 month you pay a higher per diem but your use of electricity is included.  When you book for 1 month or longer electricity use is metered and you pay separately for that.  So I am paying their highest per diem plus paying for electricity for that extra day.  Not fair.

While I am on this little rant about how these large Snowbird parks dictate to the little guy here are a few other irritations.  If you want the monthly rate you need to arrive at the beginning of the month and leave at the end.  No mid month arrivals or they charge you a higher weekly rate till you get to the 1st of the month.  I don't think they were doing this in past years.  For payment they will accept Visa for your deposit, $500 in our case, but the balance has to be paid by cash, bank draft or cheque drawn on an account at a US Bank.  My US$ account at home doesn't qualify.  I have been getting a bank draft (cashiers cheque) from my bank before we leave home.  If you stay for 3 months or longer you have to set up an account with the local utility, SRP.  This year was our first time having to do this and our first bill for 2 weeks came to $60 for 14 days at $0.08 per Kwh.  The energy consumption cost us $15.51 but then there was a Service Establishment Fee for $30. plus a Monthly Service Charge for $9.34.  This gets us a free service call in the highly unlikely event there are problems with the metre or underground cables, kind of like paying for an extended warranty.  Then there are taxes for $3.67 plus a fee of $1.90 to pay by way of our Visa.  It almost seems like the longer you stay the more you are penalized.  

You may ask, why we keep coming back.  Well if you want all the facilities that come with this type of park these irritations are pretty standard stuff.  Some parks even charge extra for garbage pickup or a sewage fee.  A few years ago, with America still recovering from the Financial Crisis, many RV parks had lots of empty spots with plenty of Park Model units for sale and it seemed Parks were more accommodating.  Canucks often dominated the parks during those dark days but America is back financially and with the C$ at a tolerable discount to the US$ Snowbird parks are now operating much closer to capacity and they can once again set the rules.   One thing about having an RV, as opposed to those that have Park Models, we aren't married to this park so we can shop around if we want.  For the time being we like the people, activities and location and its only money and as they say, you can't take it with you.

Our rig, Christmas lights and the Super Moon.
There is another Super Moon Jan 1 and again on Jan 31.
Will try to get a better picture with a tripod and hopefully clear skies. 

When you check in they provide someone to take you to your site and help you back in.  I dare say that the guy I got this year was in competition with the fellow that we had last year in Yuma for ineptitude.  I will admit backing in is not my forte but when Lori is my guide we seem to do a better and quicker job.  We finally got backed in and by the time we got set up and unpacked it was time for dinner.  As luck would have it the food truck was making a visit to the Park so we met up with Mark & Jan and headed to the patio for some pulled pork sandwiches.

Saturday we headed to a craft show at Montesa, a retirement community next door to our Park.  Lots of very creative, artistic people selling their wares.  Sunday was laundry followed by a visit to the Gym and some laps in the pool.  After all that sitting and driving I needed to get the muscles moving again and, although my swimming could best be described as floundering, I took my noodle and did 12 laps.  Good strengthening for my knee the Dr says.  Monday it was time to head to the Pickle Ball courts for some beginner lessons and see if my wonky knee would be able to handle it.  Wednesday morning is also a day for D group players so for the last 3 weeks my Monday and Wednesday mornings have been PickleBall mornings.  We have also been out walking Charli around the park each morning and afternoon so we are getting between 6-10 miles each day.  My knees are talking to me but so far between the Unloader Brace, Ice and Alieve I have kept the discomfort tolerable.  Unfortunately Monday and Wednesday are also the days the Hiking Club heads out into the desert so so far no hiking activity.  I think after New Years I'll drop the Monday Pickleball in favour of Hiking and pick up another day of PickleBall later in the week.   Tuesday and Thursday have been gym mornings.  Yoga is also on those mornings but so far Lori is still working on some basic mobility and strengthening exercises for her arm and Yoga, for the time being, is a no go.  She has started going to Aquasize classes and has even bought a pair of foam dumbbells which, when used under the water, provide some pretty good resistance for my one winged snowbird.  

The instructor says I'm doing well.
I think he is just humouring me so I keep coming back.
But its fun and 2-3 hours leaves me pretty tuckered out. 

The pool with Lori's dolphin group.

Lori with the shades.  Notice the dumbbells in the lower right. 

The gym with 4 treadmills

Plus 4 stationary bikes, 3 steppers, weight bench and full set of free weights

Plus 2 weight machine stations and all sorts of mirrors for those who choose
to watch themselves or others while they work out.  I prefer to close my eyes. 

We have also taken a Lapidary class and made a couple pieces of jewelry.  We have a few more stones to grind and polish but not sure if we have caught the bug enough to make it our life's work.  They also have a Woodworking shop, Silversmithing, Sewing and Quilting.

All suited up and ready to grind.

$20. each got us our supplies and lessons from 2 of the parks finest.
Use of the equipment is free.
We just have to get our own rocks when these are done. 

The grinding and polishing wheels.  Starting at 80 grit up to 3200 grit

Grinding away.
Not sure what I'm doing but my mentors are just off frame waiting to jump in.

Finished results.
Not perfectly symmetrical but pretty good for a first attempt.  

I did bring my Golf clubs however I have only been out twice in 2 years and my already poor excuse for a golf game has deteriorated to the point where I have no confidence that I could keep the ball out of the neighbouring park models living room windows.  Perhaps I'll wander next door to a driving range to try to improve my accuracy although we have been busy enough that I'm not actively sourcing out additional activities.  

On our way down here we ran into some wet, windy and dusty conditions so the rig was real dirty.  I had intended to have the unit washed and waxed by the same guy that did it last year.  $200 last year but the prices had gone up to $250 plus another $150 for the roof.  I elected to do the roof myself and paid him $85 to power wash the road grime off the sides.  I will do the trailer myself a bit at a time.  I don't have the buffer he does, just some old fashion elbow grease but given I wasn't overly happy with the job he did last year I think I'll save myself some money.  After all, time I have lots of.

The view from the roof of our rig.
Perhaps I should mount some lawn chairs up here.
Actually I was up washing the roof and checking for damage to the seams. 

Lori's ready to push a lawn chair under me to break my fall.
 Given my fear of heights I did ok.
The blue club chairs with foot stools were our Camping World purchase.
Very comfy.  

Was the first time I had washed the roof and it was pretty dirty.
 Found a spot where the rubber roof was peeling back from a moulding.
Another trip to Camping World for some repair material.  

I think we have got the required shopping out of the way and a good thing cause we are fast burning through our budget.  A couple visits to Camping world netted us some nice new comfy outdoor chairs and foot stools plus few other not so exciting essentials for the trailer.  We also made it to the Mesa Swap Meet which is a huge outdoor flea market selling all sorts of essential and not so essential stuff. We did order a wooden name sign to hang from our pinbox, picture coming once we pick it up, and a piece of pottery for our mantle back home.  Combine that with a trip to the Outlet Mall (the Columbia store is our weak spot) and Costco plus Fry's Grocery and the trailer is filling up fast.  It always amazes me how 2 people can run up such huge grocery bills.

The plan over the next few years is to buy a few pieces of pottery each year and bring home to decorate our home and patio.  The Mesa Swap Meet and a pottery retailer called Southwest Pottery provide plenty of choices.  Now if we can just fit them into the trailer for the long drive home.

Southwest Pottery has an acre or two of pots n things. 

Haven't bought anything yet but before we leave I'm sure we
will have a few of these coming with us 

We have been on the road for 1 month now and really looking forward to another 3 1/2 months.  The weather has been great, mid 50's at night and 70ish during the day.  Next 2 weeks are going to be cooler but still a lot warmer than Winnipeg.  Things should start warming up again in January and I'm sure that by March we will be wishing we could have bottled some of the air on these cool nights.

Monday we went on a Christmas Lights tour.  2 buses picked us up and we headed out.  We had about 6 stops but the highlights were definitely the Mesa Arizona Temple, a cul-de-sac where every house was decorated to the max and the Christmas on Comstock display where 13 houses are covered in lights flashing in rhythm to various songs played on an FM frequency that can be picked up on your radio.  Obviously some techies live on that street.

Mesa Arizona Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Temple Grounds

Temple Grounds

Temple Grounds

Temple Grounds

One of the houses on the Cul-de-sac

Another one of the houses on the Cul-de-sac

yet one more

These guys decorated the house and yard but then one upped the neighbours

They opened their garage doors and held a pool tournament.
Try to do that in Winnipeg in Dec.
Hmmm. Gives me some ideas for our place back home. 

Yet one more.
Had to be about 25 in total all their electric meters were spinning out of control.  

That, finally, is it for this post.  I will try to be more diligent in the future to keep my post down to a more reasonable size.

Are we having fun yet?  You bet ya.