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Sat. Apr. 6 to Fri. Apr. 12, Casa Grande AZ

Saturday- There was a discussion about the vests that we are going to make at the pre-rally, last evening at the social hour. I had forgotten to buy the material, so I printed out a Joanne’s coupon and we went to Joanne’s to buy the material and the binding. We also bought some material for a Valentines Day table cover and another summer table cover.

From there we went in search of the mini-farmers market at the end of the garden tour. We found it and there was basically nothing there. So we returned to the park and went to the activity office to check on what else there was to do in the area.

From there we went to lunch at the Grand House Café for lunch. The food was very good, but we waited over half an hour for the food to be delivered. This was obviously a local favorite and very busy.

We drove through old town Casa Grande, which took about two minutes. Not a very big area. The town farmers market is on Tuesday and Friday evenings.

We returned to the motor home and of course, we took a nap! At 4, we went to the happy hour, which lasts until about 6 PM.

Sunday- We paid bills and updated our budget, then went to the Prime Outlets in Chandler, just south of Phoenix. These outlets had just opened on April 4, so it was pretty wild. I was able to purchase two pair of sandals at the Naturalizer store, so that worked out. We left as soon as I bought the sandals. We  continued north on I-10 to Phoenix. We wanted to go to Old Town Phoenix, but there is no old town. Phoenix is a new city. They must have torn down the old town. There is an old town Scotsdale, but no Phoenix. The downtown is modern, with high rises, sports stadiums, convention center, and lots of new apartments/townhouses. We saw an old looking Catholic mission, but mass was in progress.

We stopped at Angel’s Trumpet Ale House. Bob had a sampler which he enjoyed. I had water. We ate lunch there and to be perfectly honest, the food was not all that great. Bob had a burrito and I had the steak sandwich.

Angel's Trumpet Brew Pub

Bob's sampler

Isn’t this a neat idea, placing the glasses in a muffin tin!

We needed bread, so we went in search of a bakery. We found a nice little one a few blocks away and purchased some marbles rye, which is very good.

We returned home. When passing the outlet mall on the drive southeast, the traffic was backed up for about a mile. The mall is on an Indian Reservation, with lots of Indian security. The traffic only slowed us down a little bit, as we stayed in the car pool lane and bypassed most of the back up. It does not take long to drive 50 miles when you are sailing along at 80 mph.

The steak sandwich was really greasy and did not agree with me, so I skipped the happy hour. Bob went and enjoyed the conversation about the balloon fiesta in ABQ.

We ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed early.

Monday-  The temp was 62, same as yesterday, so I put on shorts and a t-shirt to go for a bike ride. I made it around the block, as it was so cold, due to the wind. I returned and pulled on sweats and went for a walk, through areas that I am not allowed to ride the bike. While we were eating breakfast, the wind picked up, with gusts all day up to 50 mph. The sand, dust, and pollen were flying. We decided to have a stay at home day. We took the quilt over to the laundry. We stopped in at the mail room and picked up our mail and went to the sales center to see which RV sites are for sale. I had found one that I like, but we are really not interested in purchasing at this time, although the prices are reasonable. Palm Creek is definitely on the list of places that we could settle in for the winter. 

We worked on transferring out savings from Wells Fargo to Navy Federal Credit Union and moving the electronic funds transfers to the NFCU checking account. A lot of work, but hopefully worth it. Bob had to change over his direct deposit and I worked on trying to secure a smaller storage unit in Westminster. Since we rid ourselves of the ski stuff’ and the insulation, our unit is too big. We wanted to do this last fall, but it just did not work out. We should be able to save almost $40 per month with a smaller unit.

We also decided it was time to shred some of the stuff we have been carting around with us. We still had checks from three previous checking accounts! So we had a one trash bag shredding episode!

Meanwhile, the wind howled! It was a pretty miserable day. We had leftovers for lunch then we decided to venture out to go grocery shopping.  The dirt in the air was not as visible in the park, but out on the highway, it was obvious. We saw on the news that there were a lot of accidents on the interstate. Fortunately, we did not have to use I-10.

We returned home and the winds diminished, slightly, so Bob took the dogs over to the dog park, next to the tennis courts. The dogs had a great time playing with the other pups, before the winds picked up again.

We ate dinner and started to watch Killing Them Softly, with Brad Pitt, from the Redbox. It is a horrible movie. We watched about 20 minutes and decided to say forget it! Around 9:30 we had a thunderstorm and the temperature dropped to the 50’s,  form the 70’s, in about 15 minutes.. It is supposed to be in the 40’s overnight.

Tuesday- Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary! Wow, time really flies!

For excitement, we decided to clean out the file cabinet. We shredded two more bags of ‘stuff’. Always nice to clean out old receipts and medical forms. We sorted out our mail, and took care of some business.

Bob ended up heading outside to put things away. We still have not put out the awnings again, as the the winds are still in the 30 mph range. Much better than the 50’s.  Yesterday we had found an entrance rug in the street, so we had put it near the entrance to our site, with a brick on it. The brick ( which has our site number on it) is still  there, but the rug owner must have come by and picked up the rug. Everyone was out checking on damage.

We ate lunch and Bob left for Phoenix. He needed a new CPAP machine, and the only contracted DME provider is in Phoenix. AT 12:30, I went over to the clubhouse to drop off our mail. deliver and pick up books, and to Mahjongg. I won the first game and did not win another game the rest of the afternoon. Bob arrived back at around 3 PM. I was home a little after 4.

The wind was still a little strong, so there was no happy hour this afternoon. the weather should be better starting tomorrow.

At 5, we went to the prime rib dinner. We were late, as the door opened at 4;30. The dinner was very good with prime rib, baked potato bar, salad and a delicious chocolate cake for dessert. They sang happy birthday to some guy named Wendall, then they sang happy anniversary to us. Marian had told them it was our anniversary. That was nice!

Since we had ridden our bikes over to the clubhouse, we rode around the park on the way home, instead of just coming right back. We are in the ‘pet section’ so while walking the dogs,  Bob had not seen the rest of the park.

We returned to happy canines and settled in to watch TV, read our books and I was cruising Pintrest. About 8:30, Bob noted that the A-fib had started again.

Wednesday-  We puttered around and left at about 9:45. We stopped at the UPS store to drop off a box of Bob’s CPAP supplies. Bob had requested a new CPAP because the old one as over 10 years old. Also, one of the vendors when were were in California, discussed oxygen and CPAP. Once you start on Medicare, Medicare only pays for one machine. So when Bob starts on Medicare, he will need to get a new machine. So we wanted him to have a new one now, then another in a few years. This is not something new with Medicare but an old, ongoing policy. It is because they don’t pay the vendors for CPAP or Oxygen after 18 months, but the vendor has to carry you forever. Weird, but typical.

Bob had ordered new supplies, before he rec’d the new machine on Tuesday. The new machine uses different supplies, so he was returning the old machine’s supplies.

We stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce and picked up Arizona brochures, then headed out to the Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence AZ. There were no signs, so we ended up passing the turnoff. We figured that out when we arrived at the Tom Mix memorial. We were going there anyway. The memorial is a rest area and is located at the spot where Tom Mix as killed in an auto accident in 1940. Tom Mix was a famous actor, a cowboy, in the 1930-40’s. 

Bob at Tom Mix memorial

Tom Mix Memorial

We turned around and went back to the Monastery.

St. Anthony'sGreek Orthodox Monastery

The drive was interesting, as the cactus on the sides of the roads had changed and become more plentiful. Some of them were starting to bloom. We were on the Pinal Pioneer Parkway. The road out of Casa Grande as nowhere near as pretty as this parkway.

We have found it interesting that the saguaro cactus seem to grow at just a little bit higher elevation. We noticed this on the way to Phoenix. You could see the saguaro on the mountains, but not on the flats in the valleys.

We arrived at the Monastery just in time for their lunch, so they had just walked away, leaving the gift shop wide open! As you arrive, you have to report in at the gift shop. We have been told that the women then receive a skirt and head covering. Men also have to have head covering. Anyway, we will have to return another time!

We drove back into the town of Florence and went to lunch at Mt. Athena, a Greek, Italian, American restaurant. The restaurant was listed In Nick Russell’s Gypsy Journal blog, which I read everyday, this morning he talked about meeting friends at this restaurant last evening. He has also placed this in his restaurant guide, so we decided to stop there for lunch.

Luckily, we arrived just before the crowds, as this was a very busy place! The food was good, but they were slammed with customers when a large group of ladies, who were obviously an older women’s tennis club, arrived for lunch. They also had the lunch crowd from the local county government offices.

Florence AZ history

After lunch, on our return drive, we stopped at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge AZ.  We purchased our National Park pass for the year. Only a year and a half before Bob is eligible to buy the lifetime senior pass!

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Casa Grande ruins

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Ruins built in blocks for  4 stories

The ruins were built by the “Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert” in the 1300’s. The building was 4 stories high and 60 ft. long with a platform mound filling the first floor. They lived in this area for centuries, but in late 1300’s and early 1400’s. they ‘disappeared. In the 20 minute movie, the decedents point out that they did not disappear, that the decedents are still here. The theory’s are that the people overpopulated and they could not farm enough food. In addition, there is evidence that there were floods in the area during this time. These had to be some hardy people to be able to live in this arid climate and survive. They built canals to bring the water into their fields. Since they did not have steel for shovels, they had to dig these with sticks and stones! They also had decorated pottery and jewelry. There is also evidence that they played some sort of game with a ball. The inside of this mound is a ball field, and a polished round stone was found imbedded in the mound.

The ruins were discovered by a Spanish missionary in the 1600’s and he named the area Casa Grande meaning Big House. We enjoyed our visit to this interesting historical site.

We returned to the motor home. Bob laid down, as he as worn out. He still has the A-fib. We went to happy hour at 4:15. This had the feeling of a meeting, as our Wagon Masters made announcements about the pre-rally starting tomorrow.

We went out to dinner for our romantic anniversary dinner at BeDillon’s restaurant, which is the only really nice restaurant in Casa Grande.

Bob at Anniversary dinner at BeDillon's RestaurantDenise @ BeDillon's restaurant

Bob had the pork chops in a cherry sauce and I had the coconut shrimp. Both meals were excellent.

Thursday- We decided to have a quiet day. Bob’s A-fib stopped at some time during the night. The episodes are lasting longer!

At 10 AM I biked over to the sewing/quilting room of cut out the material for the vests. The room is fantastic. It is large, with cutting tables, storage bins, very nice expensive sewing machines and pretty much anything that you need like nice irons and ironing tables.

I returned to the motor home for lunch, then biked back over to the sewing room to finish up. I returned home and worked on putting the binding on the vests. That took a lot of time. We pulled out my sewing machine and it started sewing. I had also cut the material for the table covers.

We went to happy hour at 4:30, over at the tennis pavilion. Up to this point it had been at site 964, the Wagon Masters site. Since the pre-rally was starting, we had a nice  Roadrunner sponsored spaghetti dinner, with salad and bread. There was carrot cake for desert.

Happy hour

Mike Lynch making announcementsHappy hour

Above was Mike Lynch, the club president and Wagon Master running down our activities.

Friday- The plan had been to go for a jeep ride in the desert. Unfortunately, the person who was planning this adventure, was stuck in a repair facility. So the Wagon Masters had to punt. Instead, we all went to Adventures Skydiving to watch the skydiving, just about 10 miles away. This is a very large facility, with RV hook-ups, a store, and a restaurant.

We watched quite a few people folding up their Para shoots, and dropping out of the sky. They do tandem jumps as well as single jumps.

Paracutests folding parcutes

WAtching the field

Watching the landings

Landing

Landings

Flying over for landing

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We had considered indoor skydiving and hiked over to the building to find that it was closed to the public today. 

The highlight was at 11:30, when the planes went up for a coordinated jump. There were people there from 42 countries, with about 152 people jumping. They missed their formation by one person! Thanks to Lorraine Lynch for this fabulous picture!

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We ate lunch at the little restaurant, Bob had the patty melt and I had the BLT. The french fries were excellent! Some of the folks caravanned to the Casa Grande ruins. We had ridden with Charlie and Paula Gray. No relation, but plenty of mix ups. We are known as the Grays’ and the Other Gray’s! They are parked two doors down from us!

We arrived back at the park around 2:45, so I had missed Mahjongg! Oh well, we had a lot of fun. We were seriously thinking about trying the wind tunnel, but it was in use by classes and not open to the public. We will have to try that again a different day.

We had happy hour at 4:30, then MaryAnne and Ray Balzer went with us to the Elks Lodge for dinner. MaryAnne wants to join the Elks, so we had an application for her to complete and one of the cooks, Gail, is sponsoring her. The dinner was ribs, baked potato, and coleslaw. We were running late at about 6:15, and were the last folks served. The food was great. Drinks for everyone was a total of $3 and dinner each was $ 12 dollars. We hung out talking until almost 8 PM.

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