As of tomorrow we’ve been in Gold Canyon for 3 months, and in 3 days we’ll be heading north towards home. In some ways we’re sad about that, but it’s about time to get back home and see if we can remember how to get around our new house. We’ve actually been here longer than we were in our house last fall, so it just might feel like we’re in a new place all over again when we get home.
Sylvia and I have been talking quite a bit lately about how each year we’ve spent in Arizona is different from the year before. In 2011 it was our first year heading south for the winter, and we spent a lot of time exploring all the touristy sites we could find in Yuma and the Phoenix area as well as some time hiking in both areas. I also took Sylvia to her first NHL game to watch the Canucks play the Coyotes. For year number 2 we decided that we really liked the Phoenix metro area more than Yuma so we booked for a full 3 months here. We were actually quite worn out after spending the summer and fall travelling across Canada and back so we ended up having a bit of a quieter winter. I joined one of the softball teams in the park and we ended up spending a lot of time seeing what we could of the museums and cultural activities available in the area. This included several concerts, plays, dinner theatres and another Canucks game against the Coyotes.
When we returned this year we thought that we might spend our time as we had last year, but it’s really been very different. The first difference was no NHL hockey game for us. After watching the dispute between the players and owners stretch on through last fall I was not interested in supporting either side this year. I was again able to play softball, but other than the Eric Clapton concert which we had booked before we left home, we have not attended any concerts outside of the park. There really was only one performer that we wanted to see this year, but unfortunately we couldn’t get tickets to see Bonnie Raitt. We did see one play in Gilbert, and got to 2 museums and a monastery, but that’s quite a bit less activity than previous years. That’s not to say that we haven’t been busy though. In fact I think we’ve only sat still and read at our site twice this winter. We’ve also only been to the pool once this winter, although it’s never really been something we enjoyed that much. To fill our time we joined up with the hiking club here in the park and were on more than 15 outings, none of them less than 5 miles. A few of the hikes were 8 or 9 miles, and we’ve found that we really enjoy traipsing around the desert, and up the local mountains.
We also got more involved in pickleball which we were introduced to last year. We’d been playing fairly frequently against other newbies since we arrived, but this last week we’ve decided to get involved in the morning games with all the serious players. I can’t say we’ve won more than we lost, but we’ve held our own, and really enjoyed playing in the mornings. A few of the regulars are all about winning, but several of the better players have given us valuable tips and we have learned a lot about how to play better. We really like this game, and I’ve learned that there are 3 new courts less than 2 km from our home in West Kelowna. As Sylvia has declared, we’ll go home and continue to get better then come back next year ready to play well against the local pros.
We’ve also found that we’ve made some great friends here in the park, spending some great times with the Kirke’s, Boyes’, Boulton’s, Allen’s and Farrell’s. We’re looking forward to seeing them all again next year, and in some cases we hope to see them this summer in Kelowna. We’ve also met with a couple of other bloggers. We really enjoyed our time with Rene and Jeanette from RV Voyageur and have enjoyed keeping up with the exploits of Trent and Teresa. As well, we’ve met and made friends with a number of folks from the hiking club, and look forward to hiking with them again next year. All these friends, plus the ability that technology has given us to stay in close contact with friends and family back in Canada has really made it easy to enjoy ourselves this winter. We feel really blessed that we are able to travel as much as we do and while we don’t know if we’ll continue to spend our winters solely in Arizona, we figure that we can’t go too far wrong coming back here and so have booked our site again for next year.
With all our recent mornings spent on the pickleball courts we haven’t done any hiking but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen any flowers. The cactus here in the park are starting to show their colours quite vibrantly and every day we discover new flowers to take pictures of. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. You do have to be quick to take their picture though. Usually the flowers only last for one day before they fade.
The park has really started to empty out, and of the 13 units on our street 9 have left in the last 2 weeks, with most of the rest of us gone this week. I’ve been told that on Monday there will be 125 RV’s clearing out so I’m glad we’re waiting until Tuesday before we join the exodus. Mind you these folks might be filling up the various RV parks on our way home, so we’ll see how that works out.
All in all I have to say that we’ve had more fun this winter than we can ever remember having, and we hope that this next year will be the same.
We also want to wish you all a lovely Easter Weekend, hopefully with family and friends. For us this is a time when we reflect on all of God’s gifts to us. All of you who read and comment on our blog are part of those gifts and we thank you for being part of our lives.