Monday, April 25, 2011

traveling around at the end of tax season......

is NOT a good idea!  What was I thinking leaving our snug little nest in AZ at the end of March??!! Well, we did have a wedding to attend in northern Ca on April 10th and Bill had 2 meetings in Tahoe right after that, soooo we decided to start our travels north, visiting along the way.

First stop was to visit Will, the youngest child who had just celebrated his 22nd birthday - after a little celebrating....we made our way up to Mercey Hot Springs.  Our friends Pix & Mrs. G mentioned this little spot as a great place on our way up to the Santa Cruz area - and we are soooo glad she did! Off of interstate 5 a little before the Los Banos exit you head west on a little windy road. There is NOTHING around but a few cows grazing and Mercey Hot Springs! They have little cabins for rent, campsites & full-hook up RV spots. You must bring all of your own food and drinking water as there are no stores and nothing available at the springs. They have two areas - one for clothed bathers and one for clothing optional. Lots of individual tubs where you can regulate your own water
temperature. It was beautiful and serene here, we stayed 2 nights and did a little hiking and a lot of soaking!  Definitely worth a return visit or two...

Next stop was to Casey & Betsy's (hash friends) home on Skyline Blvd in the mountains high atop Saratoga, again, what were we thinking??! Round and round we went, up and up, oops - we went the wrong way!! Maybe time to unhook the car...after some amazing driving by Mr. Bill we managed to get ourselves up to their home with a beautiful view.
We got settled in and we all headed down the hill to Santa Cruz for drinks and appies with more hash friends, Pix & Duhh (aka Patty & Judy) - so good to see them, it had been a really long time! But we've all kept in touch on Facebook which has been our lifeline during our travels. We spent a few nights up here wine crawling Saratoga and new friends from Quartzsite, Tom & Schelby, made the trek up to BBQ with us on a stormy night too. We had a great time here and look forward to seeing most of these folks at Burning Man this summer.

Lauryn at work!
On out to Marin to park in front of, yet another hasher's home - Tongueless & Fits In...much more level here and just in time to head out to the Gypsies Hash in SF. Had so much fun meeting up with hashers we had not seen in a long time like GAS, BJ & Lois Lame & &... did I mention it is TAX SEASON and now April??!!  We celebrated the 5th anniversary of Bill & I meeting at my first hash on April 9th at Dr.K's home, who made us a fabulous dinner.
Also got to see the eldest child, Lauryn, in the East Bay.  She did my hair at her salon in Concord & we got to check out her new digs! We had dinner with my best friends in Walnut Creek - Joanne & Gary, Beth & Aaron, Susan & Ron, Marie & Jon and Judy - again, it had been way too long and it was great seeing everyone - should have taken a picture!!

Now finally we were heading out to Livermore for the wedding. I was excited to see my son and a bunch of my old Sacramento best friends. We spent a night in the hotel parking lot & took the shuttle to and from the Ruby Hill Winery for the wedding. It was now April 11th & I was starting to panic...

We made reservations to stay at the Beale Air Force Base FamCamp rv campground because we still had to head up to Tahoe for Bill's meetings and a few of my own. This was a safe place to leave Bebe for a week and cheap too! I was so surprised at how beautiful this military base was. Very quiet and pastoral, cows grazing everywhere and the most space we've ever had - all at $14/night. Not much to do here, though, they do have a gym with some yoga classes & a golf course where we both can play for $20, a bowling alley and lakes to fish in.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Snowbirding in AZ 2011

We spent our first winter at a "55+ senior rv park" in Mesa Arizona.  In December while we were in Tucson we drove up to Phoenix to check out a few of these parks.  They are EVERYWHERE and all look pretty much the same.  The first one we looked at kind of freaked us had about 65% "park models" which look like a double-wide trailer, activity rooms for everything imaginable, pools, jacuzzis, concerts, you name it - sounds good, right? Well, not to me - it just looked SCARY! I said to Bill, I'm just not sure I can do this! I'm not a "joiner", and am just a bit eccentric. And not only that, the majority of the people here were not even close to 55 - they were more like 70+. I turned 53 this February, but Bill's senior status of 60 could get us both in.  So off we went to see 5 more of these parks all within several miles of each other.  At our last park we were going to meet a couple I had connected with on the NuRVer's site. I had been following Karla and Eric's blog for a few months and they sounded like a fun couple who shared a lot of our interests.  They were retired and in their late 50's.  We ended up there late in the afternoon and were  greeted with cocktails and appies to our delight and much excitement from their adorable dog, Cora.  By this time we had gotten a little used to the senior parks and hanging out at Karla and Eric's rig, they actually started to seem palatable.  Eric took us on a little tour and told us that they had applied to workamp at the first park we had looked at. They were hoping to get a job bartending at the pool tiki bar two days a week.  I was just a bit bummed because I really didn't like that park & I was kind of hoping we could hang out with these folks this winter.  But then I started wondering if I didn't like that first park because it was just the first one I had seen and hadn't quite "bought into" the whole idea or if it really wasn't as good as some of the others we saw.  Anyway, neither of us us were ready to commit to a long-term stay at this point, so off we went to play in Quartzsite with our other NuRVer friends (see previous blog).

Because I am an accountant and work quite a bit during tax season I did want to find a place to stay for February and March and not be moving around. As we got closer and closer to February I was in a bit of a panic because there was no rv park that was calling my name.  We had put down a deposit on a place in Yuma for 2 months as a back-up but we really wanted to be in the Phoenix area.  Bill had lived there for 7 years and had a lot of friends he hadn't seen in about 10 years and they also have a hash there, so we would have lots of social opportunities.  One day we took a drive down to Yuma to check out the park there and it was nice but under a lot of construction with loud power tools, so not conducive to either of us working. During this time I had been chatting back and forth with Eric & Karla. They had gotten the tiki bar job at Valle del Oro (that first park) & another full-timing couple they knew was going to join them there.  I called the park and all they could give me was 2 weeks, they were that popular! Eric had assured me that once we were there it wasn't going to be a problem extending our stay as their friends had done just that. So with great trepidation we left Quartzsite and headed into the seniorville abiss........

AND.....we had a great time! Parked in a primo spot steps from the mailboxes, laundry room & great bathrooms. Daily floats in the 95 degree pool & hanging in the jacuzzi.

Bill's usual position at the end of a long hard day of work!

We didn't take advantage of most of the amenities, except for the gym, the driving range and the tiki bar, of course.
Bill hitting some balls

But it was fun hanging out with Eric & Karla & our new friends Sherry and Sharon from Maui. We hashed, introduced our friends Maria & Brian (from Quartzsite) to hashing and hit the golf course with them too - we had both been carrying around our golf clubs for 7 months - that's a lot of valuable space!

In Bill's spare time he made us a great bike rack, he later painted it navy to match Bebe

And we met up with quite a few of Bill's old friends - had so much fun we booked 3 months for next winter, officially becoming snowbirds.  Although secretly I am hoping to be in Mexico for the winter ;) - just not sure that is going to happen, as it depends on what is going on with our work and if we can find a caravan down there to travel with.