Home Progress

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted pictures of the progress of our Reno here in Gold Canyon. Lots has been accomplished, although from day to day it’s difficult to see much progress from the outside, as a lot of the work has been done inside the walls.

I have spent a  few days working on the place as Head Go-Fer and Chief Tool. (No pithy comments from our lowbrow friends please)

On Feb 24th it was quite cool here in Arizona, and we took advantage of having the walls in place to sit inside and enjoy our little Sunroom. Dana and Deb came by for a visit and she insisted on documenting the occasion of our first  Happy Hour in the new AZ Room.


I have to admit it was quite comfortable being protected from the cool breeze and sitting in the sunshine.

Since then we have had the roof installed, and I was there to help push the trusses onto the roof. The plan is to have an access hatch to the attic where we can store useful stuff like a Christmas Tree. (Useful??)

IMG_5155We have decided to not have a window in our bathroom (it is on the Sunny South side of the house) as there wasn’t a lot of room to place a decent sized one. Instead we’ve added a 2’ X 4’ Skylight and it provides quite a bit of light.


The pocket doors have been installed, and this one accesses our storage closet in the AZ room. We decided to go with pocket doors as they don’t impact the space in the rooms as much as a swinging door would. Despite people thinking we are building a HUGE room, there is not a great deal of space we can waste.


Our Front Door was installed this week. Originally this was going to be our only view north to the Superstition Mountains. We’re glad we decided to add the extra window.


This is a view of where our Shower stall is going to be. No, it’s not the little space in the center of the frame. The 5 foot shower will be on the right, and a storage/linen cabinet will be put beside it eventually.


This morning I hung around and helped with the installation of the Fascia and Soffits on the addition. Our Builder is a One-Man show most of the time, and giving him a hand once in a while is necessary to help him get things done that he’d have to hire help for, or take risks to do by himself. Besides, I kind of enjoy handling Air Nailers and big pieces of lumber.

The white support is what the old roof was mounted on. The extra height is what give people the impression that we are adding a huge structure. That support will be relocated  to mount the awning over our parking area. Then our truck will be fully shaded.


I find it interesting how many folks walk by and comment on the progress, or mention how ‘quick’ things are going when we see them elsewhere in the park. More than a few times while we’re having coffee in the morning we have caught people up on our deck looking through the windows. As the windows in the Park Model are heavily tinted they don’t know we are watching them as they are peeping in the windows. It’s kinda funny, but just a bit creepy.

Lots of folks who stop and chat while we are working are surprised when they find out I am the owner, and not just a hired hand. One fella today just wouldn’t believe that we designed the plan ourselves, and are also working on it. Not many people are as Hand’s On as I am I guess.

We’re out of town on a camping trip next week, so in a couple of weeks I should be posting some more progress pictures. Maybe siding???


Guess What?

I mentioned a while ago (2 months) that I had inherited the job of managing a softball team here at Canyon Vistas. I had played on the Coyotes since the very first week that we arrived in the park in 2012 and we have had some good years and some not so good ones, but it has always been a good bunch of guys and a lot of fun, win or lose.

For the past several years the Coyotes have played in a different league, on a different day than the other teams here in the park, but this year decided to join the Superstition Softball League along with the other 3 teams. This cut into our pool of talent as several players who played with us on Mondays now had to commit to their previous Tuesday teams. We were left with only 6 guys who played on last year’s team, one guy who returned after a year’s absence, and a whole bunch of holes in our lineup.

I spent the last 2 weeks of December scratching up as many players as I could find. Some of these were only temporary players as they moved on from the park, some only lasted a couple of weeks before injury or indifference caused them to back out, and one was on the roster all year, but never played a minute due to shoulder surgery. It meant that, on top of trying to figure out where to best place all the new players, I had to figure out where to put new replacements almost every week. It was quite a challenge.

Needless to say, we weren’t that good for the first half of the season, and ended up losing all 8 of our season opening games. At the mid point of the season the league shuffled us down to a bit weaker division, and right about the same time we really were starting to play better. We took off from that point and ended the second half of the season with a 7 win, 1 loss record, only losing our final game.

This weekend, the season ending tournaments were held for our entire league. On Friday we played only one game, and won it 15-1. Saturday morning we played another team and won 18-7. We were on a roll. We sat around to watch the two teams we’d beaten duke it out for the opportunity to play us for the Championship. That next game was a real struggle for us, but we came back at the end to make it close before losing 14-12 to the same team we’d beaten that morning.

Because we had only lost the one game we played a winner-take-all Championship game against the same team which we ended up winning 8-6. It was a good thing that was all the games we had to play as both teams were absolutely worn out by the last game. More than a few of our guys limped off the field, but it didn’t stop them from smiling for the team picture.

I was thrilled how the team came together at the end, and couldn’t be more proud of how they improved week by week. (7 Canadians, and 7 Americans incidentally, ranging in age from 55 to 75).

And now I will show you our secret weapons. No matter where we played we had the largest cheering section of anybody. Our wives and friends followed us around to all the other parks, and easily outnumbered and out cheered all the other team’s supporters. In fact Sylvia says she’s just as worn out as I am today from beating and stomping on the aluminum bleachers at today’s game.

Thanks Ladies!

Softball is almost over as I have one more tournament to play on Monday and then it will be back to our regularly scheduled hiking and Pickleball.

We had a Busy Weekend

Among the various clubs and activities we are involved with, we are on the committee that runs the Pickleball club here in our park. This past weekend we organized a 3 day ‘Pickleball Fights Cancer’ fundraising tournament that went off very well. It only cost $5 per event and we ended up raising over $700 for the cause.

On Thursday, Sylvia played in the Ladies event, and while she and her partner didn’t do that well they had fun. On Friday, I played in the Men’s event, and we didn’t do much better but I console myself by noting that we lost to the eventual winners by only a couple of points, which turned out to be the closest score they had all day as they smoked everyone.

On Sunday, I had to set up the Sound System for our Church (another of our various jobs) and then hightailed it to the courts where Sylvia and I played together in the Mixed Team event. This time we fared much better, and ended up winning a Silver Medal in our division.

That’s us in action against the winners, Dick and Paula. The day was rather cool, but you can tell that we were the Canadians in the field, as we could still wear shorts when we played. Mind you, the Bronze Medal winners, Dan and Karen are from Saskatchewan, so I think we are just a bit crazier than they are.

We had a great time all 3 days, and also did a fair bit of reffing of various games everyday. The experience will be useful, as our club back home is sponsoring an even larger tournament this summer. Hopefully that will be as much fun.

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

I just have to let you see the pictures of a friend of ours from Kelowna. MaxxTrails has put together a compliation of their Top Ten pictures from their past several years of travels. Check it out. Sylvia can’t pick out any favourites, ‘They’re ass gorgeous’.

Maxx Trails

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2017. We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2017 🙂

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links … and just an FYI, all votes are anonymous, your name does not show up anywhere.

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2017 …

Sunset, American Girl Mine Road, California. Picture taken 4 January 2017

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Picture taken 21 March 2017.

Duck, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 4 May 2017.

Okanagan Lake, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 5 June 2017.

Pend Oreille River, Montana. Picture…

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Another Week’s Progress

Our Addition progress has been coming along since last week. We have some walls and windows in place and are able to visualize how the layout actually looks now that it is not just on paper. We really like it!

The existing roof came off the addition today, and that allowed some walls to be moved into place.

That white wall is the side of our Laundry room.

We have added an additional window to the plan looking North towards the mountains.

We love the view of the Flatiron.

The view West towards the Sunset is pretty nice too. It might look a bit different tomorrow as the plan is to get the trusses in place. We’ll see how that plan comes together.

That Kicked our Butts

On Friday 21 of us took off for a hike we call Miner’s Needle Loop. My GPS tracker kept a pretty accurate recording of the hike when compared to our club notes from previous years, so a 9.5 mile hike with 1500 feet of elevation gain accurately describes the day’s adventure. You can see from the track below that we had most of our climbing in the first half of our loop, especially at the very beginning when we hiked up Cardiac Climb. This is a route we can take in either direction, but coming down that steep section at the end of a long hike is not my idea of fun.

Miner's Needle Loop

The day was quite cloudy, but quite comfortable for hiking. Most of us wore long pants, as we expected it to be rather cool, but at times when the clouds thinned out it was pretty warm.

No blue skies today, but the subdued light and the recent rains we’ve experienced made for some decent pictures.


Before long we were looking down from Cardiac Climb onto Bark’s Basin. The end of our hike would have us walking right across this section.


A Saguaro Cactus is a tough Desert Dweller. I thought this fella was just another Dead Soldier until I blew it up a bit and saw the living arm still hanging on. We’ll see how long it survives though.


For whatever reason we’ve seen an abundance of Jojoba nuts still on their bushes this year. Usually the birds have stripped them all off by now. They are related to Almonds, and once you peel the husk off they’re quite edible. Could use a little salt though.


I did say we’ve seen a bit of rain, and some of it was collected in Bark’s Canyon. That allowed us to get at least a partial fill of Reflection pictures and keep several of our photographers busy for a bit. In the past, we’ve seen lots of water in this section, and last year I had to get my boots wet to get through here. (Ok, I was just being clumsy)


Weaver’s Needle keeps popping up no matter where we are in the Superstitions.


This little bush has managed to find some soil and moisture somehow. If it can survive this very dry fall and winter it likely will continue to grow for a long time.


One hiker in our group considers every hike that doesn’t provide a view of Weaver’s Needle a waste of good hiking time. I figured I’d catch a picture of Hans and his favourite piece of rock. This part of the hike was in the shallow center section of the track I posted above. It was a welcome respite from all the climbing, but we still had some elevation to gain.


Our lunch stop was above Miner’s Needle. This is the last high spot on our track, and most of the rest of the trail is downhill from here. Dana and I have made a promise to climb the needle on the right at some point. I don’t think it will be when we are on this particular track though, as it’s about 6 miles from where we started. I think we’ll come in from the short side of the loop to do this.

That’s Bark’s Basin in the background, and once we reach it we have a few miles of rolling desert before we get back to the trucks.



This particular group of rocks always keeps us busy trying to figure out what it looks like. Everything from Winnie the Pooh to a St Bernard to a sleeping Lion complete with whiskers and even a Water Creature from the movie The Abyss.

It is unofficially called The 3 Dogs. If you can find 3 pups in there, you’re either a better observer than I am, or you are having flashbacks from what you injested in the 70’s.


There were lots of blooming Ocotillo on the way down to the basin. It added a nice bit of colour to our day.IMG_5141


Not all Saguaro are as resilient as the one I posted above.


One final view back where we came from. It was a great day, but our legs were a bit worn out by the time we were finished. I heard from a few fellow hikers who were planted on the couch for the evening, or had put their PJ’s on by 5:30.


And that was the end of our day wandering in the desert.