Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome To Canada....How did you get here??

Yesterday we drove the last leg of our journey back to Saskatchewan. We spent the previous night in Havre, Montana. Since the border crossing doesn't open until 10:00 AM we took our time in the morning and winterized the 5th wheel, organized and packed some of our stuff and went over our list of items we needed to declare at customs. AT 10:00 we were loaded up and ready to head north. But on the edge of town there was a road block up that said "Road Closed To Through Traffic". As we sat there contemplating our next move, which would have included turning around the truck and 5th wheel on a hill with a slight curve, a vehicle came from the opposite direction. The guy stopped and told us the road would be closed for at least 3 hours, possibly longer. He must have seen the looks of despair on our faces because he then proceeded to give us a set of lengthly directions of a route that would take us around the highway construction and still lead us to the border.
Senor Ping backed the rig up (well, actually down the hill) and turned us around and away we went...."when you come to the corner keep going straight, out on a grid road, past the golf course about 5 miles and then turn right and go another 3 or 4 miles and then you'll come to the highway and that will lead you to the Willow Creek Crossing". The road was not too bad for a grid road, there were some ruts but we slowed down and didn't have any problems and we eventually came to the highway. There was a bit of traffic on the road, so we decided that other people obviously knew about the detour as well.
When we arrived at the US border crossing we had to pull in to the US Customs office first. A big sign said, " Wait for the Officer". There weren't any other vehicles there, but it seemed like it was taking him a long time to come and wave us through. Finally, he came to the window and said "How did you get here?" We explained about the alternate route we had taken and he told us that when the road is marked closed that means it is detours, "do not pass go, do not collect $100"!!!!! According to him, if the state police had seen us they could have fined us! HUMPF!!! No one told us that!!!! He must have been happy to see someone though, because he chatted at length before letting us head to the Canadian Customs office.
Again, we were met by the same question, "How did you get here?" We repeated the story about the detour we took and they were amazed. They had been told that the Shepherd Road (the one we took) was full of ruts and that vehicles couldn't drive through to the highway. We were the first vehicle they had seen and were certainly not expecting to see any more until the road was repaired. While we were there, two vehicles came from the north. The road was blocked and an officer went out and told them the road was crossing into the US for them!! It would be a long drive out of their way to find another crossing open.
After a quick run through of the usual questions, checking of receipts and Abbey's papers, we were on our way. We were back in Saskatchewan!!! The next 3 hours we were bumped and jostled around as we drove the rest of the way home. The detour road, that was supposed to be closed, was much better than most of the highway we drove on for the rest of the trip. But, as
Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Stop At Zion

Our last stop before heading home is Zion National Park. We settled into an RV park in Leeds Utah on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning we packed a lunch and drove to the park. Vehicle parking is limited within the gates of the park so we used the free shuttle from the nearby town of Springdale. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is accessible by shuttle bus only and visitors can hop on and off the bus as often as you like. It stops at the Museum, the Zion Lodge as well as the starting points for the numerous hikes throughout the Zion Canyon. We rode the shuttle to the Temple of the Sinawava, the last shuttle stop before it begins the return trip. There is a 3.5 km hike that runs along the Virgin River to the Narrows. There was a spectacular waterfall at the start of the walk.

The path follows the river with plenty of areas to stop and enjoy the scenery, walk down to the river and enjoy the wildlife. We saw lots of squirrels along the trail.

There were wild turkeys across the river. The male turkey is much more easy to spot than the females.

On Sunday we went on a "Ride With the Ranger" tour. The 2-hour tour included 4 stops with a short, but informative lecture at each stop and lots of time for photos and questions. There was a light rain shower as we boarded the bus but the sun was shining by the time we made our first stop.

There are beautiful little streams and waterfalls.

A yellow columbine in bloom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Golf at Johnson Ranch

Yesterday Senor Ping and I golfed at Johnson Ranch at Queen Creek, which is a 45 minute drive from our RV park. The front nine has wide a few rolling hills and longer holes on the floor of the San Tan foothills. The fairways are lined with homes, but they didn't come into play too often!!! The back nine rises and falls in and around the San Tan Mountains and and has some elevated tees and approach shots. We golfed with a couple who were familiar with the course so it made for an enjoyable round.

A view from the top.

A par 3 with an elevated tee.

A long par 5 with a challenging approach to the green. Guess who was in the rough!!!

The cactus was huge!

Water and wildlife on Hole 18.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chicago in Concert

I have been listening to Chicago since their first album back in '68(?). Finally got a chance to see the band at the Encanterra Festival last night. Awesome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fun Times at Canyon Lake

Our friend Pat has done a fantastic job of retelling the tales of our 5 hour tour on Canyon Lake so I have asked permission to post a link to her blog. If you are a blog reader, you must add "A View from the Edge" to your reading list. Pat writes a wonderful account of their travels as well as a humorous look at their daily adventures.

To get you in the mood for the Canyon Lake tour here's our version of "Gilligan's Island" theme song.

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a wonderful trip,
That started from Canyon Lake,
Aboard three tiny ships.
The mates were mighty sailin' men,
The Skippers brave and sure,
Thirty passengers set sail that day,
For a five hour tour,
A five hour tour.

And here is Pat's blog:
(Be sure to read part 1 and part 2)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Phoenix Suns vs. Toronto Rapters

One of the highlights of our winter in Arizona has been the NBA basketball game that we attended last week. Our resort had a special deal for tickets and we paid $45 for $130 tickets. We took the Metro light rail to the US Airways Center. Our tickets also included early admittance to watch the pre-game warm-up.

One of the courtside celebrities was Martin Kaymer, the #1 ranked golfer on the PGA tour.

The Rapters led most of the game but it was the amazing play of Steve Nash that led the Suns to a win.

Besides an entertaining basketball game, the cheerleaders, the mascot, the giveaways and the fans made for an exciting evening.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More Music with Plan B

Plan B played in the courtyard for the last time this season on Friday. Everyone was there to sing a long, dance and have a good time.

Friends from Eatonia and Regina joined us for the afternoon.

Senor Ping got the crowd rocking!!

We did the Locomotion!!

And after the last song, a group of us moved over to the BBQ Patio for a Potluck supper. There was tons of food, many laughs, good company and lots of farewells as some of the group are packed and ready to leave within the next few days.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Krazy Daze Parade

The RV park held a parade last week to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the arrival of spring. There were decorated golf carts, line dancers, tennis players, horses (real and cardboard) and lots of people having a good time.

A huge favorite was the Lawnchair Brigade. These gentlemen are also members of the Val Vista Synchronized Swim Team.

Following the parade we enjoyed burgers, green beer and more music!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gold Canyon-Sidewinder Course

This week Senor Ping and I played in a golf tournament at the Gold Canyon Golf Course. Half of the golfers played the Dinosaur Mountain Golf Course and the rest of the golfers play the Sidewinder Course. This year it was our turn on the Sidewinder. The day started out windy and cool, not the best weather for golf. Fortunately the wind died down a bit in the afternoon. It was a fantastic golfing experience in the shadows of the Superstition Mountains.

Quilt Show

Last November I decided I wanted to learn to quilt. Loreen was an excellent teacher and showed me the ins and outs of cutting and sewing the strips of fabric and building the blocks for my first quilt. I finished sewing the blocks and was able to lay them out before heading home at the end of the month. While home, I sewed the blocks together and picked out the border fabric. When I arrived back at Val Vista, I got the border cut and sewed on and the binding ready, but I was sure I wouldn't have time to get it finished before the Quilt Show. Well, with lots of help and a few strings being pulled, a miracle happened and four days before the show I dropped off the quilt to have it machine quilted. Loreen came to my rescue again and showed me how to prepare the binding and then sew the binding onto the quilt. Before and after the Canada Days' celebration I hand sewed the binding. This is the finished product!!

On March 2 Val Vista hosted their first Quilt Show, with 129 entries, plus 37 challenge fabric entries.

This quilt is called "Quick Trip Around the World" in black and white fabric. it is one of my favorite at the quilt show.

The challenge fabric brought out the creative side in all the quilters. These flowers were cut from the challenge fabric and attached to a painting. Just beautiful!!!

More challenge fabric!!

This is the "Best of the Show "quilt. The photo does not show the beautiful embroidery or the detail. Lil did a fabulous job!!

Dancing Queen

When Plan B played at the neighboring park Ellen and I went along to listen. When the music started, a not quite so young gentleman came over and asked Ellen to dance.

He sat with us for a few minutes and told us he goes to all the dances and has been coming to Mesa from his home state of Missouri for 26 years. He danced every dance and Ellen had a second round on the dance floor. He left before I had my turn....maybe next year!!!!

Are We Having A Good Time?

Senor Ping and I have been back in Mesa for a month and I've only posted once on my blog. That's not because we lead a boring life, never do anything and consequently have nothing to blog about. It's the exact opposite! We are so busy, I hardly have time to do laundry and the usual cleaning around the 5th wheel, let alone keep updating my blog. Shortly after we arrived, I went to "Menopause: the Musical" with a group of gals from the park. We had so many laughs!! Gavin and Loreen and Doug and I also went to "Spamalot" a few days later. We are so fortunate to have access to performances like these, without driving two and half hours like we would at home. The park has a concert series and we went to see Esteban (a classical guitarist). There is music in the courtyard at least twice a week, there are lots of talented musicians here in the park, as well as other musicians that are hired to perform. A pitcher of beer sells for $5 so with free entertainment and cheap beer how can you not have a good time!!

I usually take my camera and have photos to add to my posts, but there were a few events that I have forgotten my camera, or it was too dark to take good photos. Besides the usual Music in The Courtyard and Saturday night dances, we were fortunate to get tickets for the Canada Days celebration. Each year residents from a specific province host a dinner and dance. This year it was scheduled for February 4 and Saskatchewan was hosting the event. Unfortunately there was a power outage in the park and the host committee decided to postpone the celebration. Fortunate for us, tickets came available and we were able to get some. No surprise to us, the Saskatchewan committee put on a fabulous evening. They wore their "Rider Pride" shirts and were easy to identify in the sea of red and white. The provincial flags were on display and Ellen was an honorary "Newfie" for the evening!!

On March 7 and 8 the park held their annual Variety Night. This year the show was the best ever. The theme was "On The Road Again" and the show included music and dance from across the U.S. and Canada. Doug accompanied the line dancers with "I'm Going to Kansas City" and I was part of the Mardi Gras paraders. The highlight was the Synchronized Swim Team!! I just wish I had taken my camera!

I am going to try to get a few more posts done today. I have quilt show, golf tournament, happy hour photos and pictures of the St. Pat's parade to sort and organize and then get posted.....but first it's time to hit the pool!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Can You Hear The Music??

Plan B played in the courtyard at Val Vista this week.

The sun was shining and the crowd was lively. A broken leg didn't stop Margaret from encouraging crowd participation. The "trashy women" were also in attendance.

Some friends from home came to the park to dance and enjoy the music.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor: Oasis Players Version

Another fabulous drama season has come to and end, but the memories live on!!!