Brookield Zoo

Brookield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo

Friday, October 23, 2015

Settling in at Canyon Vistas, pickleball, pool and geo caching.

Well we've been at our winter destination for a week now. Catching up with neighbors from last season and meeting some new ones. We've set up the grill and a table next to the rig and Glenda set out some decorations for fall. We washed the ruck today and I plan to do some waxing tomorrow. Still waiting for the pressure wash company to come and get the rig thoroughly cleaned. Feeling more like home for a while. Last year I was introduced to Pickleball and got started again on Tuesday. Boy was I sore for a couple of days but so much fun. I plan to make it a regular activity again this year. Pickleball is played on a court similar to a tennis court but smaller. It's played with 2 teams of 2 people. The game is similar to ping pong but you're actually on the table(court) instead of behind it. The game can be fast paced or slow depending on the type of game you like to play. You use wooden paddles and wiffleball. Of course the ball is specifically made to play Pickleball.


I found this photo on the internet and it gives a good depiction of what the court is like and how the players are positioned. I got out again today and played a couple of hours. The weather is cooling down a little making more comfortable to play. I love the cool mornings and warm afternoons this time of year here in AZ. Exactly why we came here again.

We also made it to the pool last weekend. It felt great to get in the water and do some swimming and soak up the sun. Temps were still in the 90's then but cooled into the 80's now. Last year we didn't even go to the pool until about 2 weeks before we left in March. So many things to do here. I know we'll get there more often this season.



There are two pools with hot tubs. Nicely decorated area with lounge chairs and some shaded seating too. The pools are heated so we can still be comfortable in the cooler months here. We're so glad we made the decision to come here last year and return.

Last year we met some folks when we were taking some couples pattern dance classes and in the hiking club. These folks happened to be doing some Geo Caching in WY and ID and came across our friends Debbie and Steve from Down the Road. What a coincidence. They sent us a picture of them Geo Caching and asked us if we knew those people. Of course we did. Such a small world.

Well I saw Jim and Cherie at the ballroom on Monday at Coffee ad Donuts where the residents meet to find out the upcoming activities. We talked for a while and I told them we were interested in Geo Caching so we got together yesterday and they took us to some easy to find caches near the park. IT wa great fun searching and following the compass that lead us to the finds. We logged into Geocaching.com and once we found the caches we were able to log them into our individual accounts. Jim has found over 2000 caches and Cherie has about 200. Jim's been doing this for a few years. After we found one cache we decided to take a selfie and send it to Steve and Debbie. I asked them if THEY knew these people. They got a big kick out of our photo.

Me, Glenda, Cherie and Jim
 
This is something Glenda and I will continue to do as we travel. It's a great way to get exercise and see new surroundings. We'll be getting together with Jim and Cherie again to do some more. After we found about 12-13 caches were getting tired and hungry. We drove back to town and found a nice pizza place and filled our tummies.
 
So far it's been a great start to our winter here at Canyon Vistas. We'll be getting together with our friends Faye and Dave from The Wandering Camels. They're getting in this weekend(at a nearby RV park) to start their workamping job for the winter. Can't wait to hear about their travels from Vermont. That's about it for now. More fun to come. Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kartchner Caverns SP and our winter destination....Gold Canyon, AZ

After we left Las Cruces, NM we headed to Kartchner Caverns SP for a couple of days. We had been there after leaving Gold Canyon, AZ last spring on our way to IL for the summer. So it was fitting that Kartchner was our last stop on the way back to AZ for the winter. Kartchner Caverns SP is to us getting back to nature. We prefer state parks and more natural setting than RV parks but sometimes you have to do them. Anyway, we got the site we had last spring, site #4, a pull through with electric and water.



Mesquite trees between the sites for privacy and the park wasn't very full this time of year. the views from our window were just what we like. Since we were only going to be there for one full day we planned on hiking the Foothill Loop. The loop doesn't have too much elevation change but the landscape is perfect for high desert. We loaded up some water and a snack and headed out. The loop is about 2.5 miles. We didn't get out as early as we should have and it got pretty hot as we hiked but we took breaks and found some shade at the top of one short climb.

Love the high desert

Had to get a selfie

Stairs to heaven?
 
We had a great hike and did some wandering around the gift shop afterward in the visitor center. Our awning was on the east side of the rig so we were able to sit out in the afternoon with some shade. The low humidity and breeze was very comfortable. It was a perfect break before moving on to Gold Canyon and our winter destination at Canyon Vistas RV Resort. We booked our same site from last season and looked forward to seeing friends and our son, Chris. The trip to Gold Canyon was very easy and only about 150 miles. We arrived on Oct 15th and checked in. After paying our site fees and getting some information we took the rig over to 9th street and our site #319. It's a end of row site and faces the west and some green space. Our neighbors from last year behind us were there already and our neighbors on the back side were there too. We thought about how we would back in this time and with a little more experience than last year I got the rig parked with only one minor adjustment.
 
The rig is a mess from all the traveling and we got an appointment with a rig pressure washing company for November 5th. So far we've done some prep cleaning to get some black marks off the slides and the big bugs off the front cap. Other than that after getting settled we have enjoying riding our bikes around the park. Talking with other residents and we spent some time at the pool. A great start to our winter. We're just waiting for some folks from Canada to get here that we meet last season and we look forward to getting together with our friends, Faye and Dave Malouf(The Wandering Camels), who will be workamping at a nearby RV park and Steve and Debbie McCormack(Down the Road),who started fulltiming about the same time. We also spent some time with Steve and Debbie in NM at Pancho Villa SP and City of Rocks SP last spring. This is what I hoped full time RV'ing would be like. Great friends, new adventures and scenery.
 


Everyone has their way of doing this RV thing. We like being in nature at State Parks, County Parks and more natural settings but sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses in just one place. That's what's nice about this lifestyle. you can do it whatever way YOU want. We're doing it our way.

I'm sure we'll be ready to move again after 5 months here but for now we're enjoying it. The fun has only just begun. Stay tuned. Thanks for following along.


Monday, October 19, 2015

San Antonio, River Walk and the Alamo

We decided to veer off our original plan on the way to AZ and headed to San Antonio. Glenda had heard and read about the San Antonio River Walk and the bike path along the San Antonio River. So we did some research and found the Travelers World RV Resort about 2 miles from the downtown area and the River Walk. The River Walk is made up of hotels, restaurants, shops and nearby the Alamo. Very touristy but it looked like it would be fun. The RV park is a little pricey and typical spacing of sites but they do have the closeness to the River Walk and the park is right next to a trailhead to the bike path.

Our site

Trailhead to bike path

Total of about 10 miles of path

Section along the river

The first day there we rode the path to downtown and looked at where the River Walk was. We got to an area where you can't ride your bike due to the foot traffic and narrow walk along the river downtown. It looked pretty cool and we knew we had to get down there the next day.

We found a parking lot near the River Walk and walked through downtown. The River Walk is below the street level and follows the San Antonio River. We found a tour boat and got our tickets and rode through the River Walk area with great narration of the history.





Doug... our River Walk tour guide
 
Part of the River Walk was developed for the 1968 HemisFair. Great architecture and landscaping.
 


We had a great lunch after the tour at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Rio. The food was very good and it was cool watching the people walk by and the tour boats float by. Except for the pigeons looking for a meal after people would leave it was a great place to sit and eat.


 
 
We decided to stay an extra day and go back to the River Walk and ride the bike path one more time. This time I wanted to have some Texas BBQ and we found a nice restaurant further down from the Casa Rio called County Line BBQ. I had the brisket and Glenda had smoked turkey. Of course we shared each others food since we wanted to try different dishes. Both were delicious. I also had seen where the old Lone Star Brewery was when we were riding along the bike path the day before so I had to try one. It was good but I like a little more body to my beer. But that's just me.
 

We walked along the River Walk and over to the Alamo plaza next to the actual Alamo. Funny thing is having never seen it before I thought it was pretty small compared to what I thought it would be. The history is very interesting and there was some renovation going on in the front area.
 
Enlarge the photos for better viewing





In December 1835, during Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers occupied the Alamo, a former Franciscan mission located near what is now the city of San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force numbering in the thousands and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. Even though they were outnumbered, the Alamo’s 200 defenders–commanded by James Bowie and William Travis and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockett–held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became a symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year.

Nice history lesson in person. Unfortunately they don't allow and photography in the Alamo.

We got another bike ride in the next day and again saw some nice scenery.  We definitely enjoyed our time in San Antonio.

Random photos from San Antonio and our bike rides
 




After San Antonio headed to Fort Stockton on our way through TX. We stayed at a nice park called the Hilltop RV Park for just one night and then moved on to Las Cruces, NM
 
A few photos from the Hilltop RV Park





We spent a couple days at the Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces, Got some DEF for the truck at the local Ford dealer and had a nice meal at a Mexican Restaurant down the street. Then on to Kartchner Caverns SP. More on that later. Getting closer to our winter destination. Thanks for following along.

Couple photos of our sites at Hilltop RV Park in Fort Stockton and Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces
 
Hilltop RV Park

Hacienda RV Park
 







Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gulf SP and Catching up on the blog to San Antonio, TX

It's been a long time since my last post because we seem to be using up our 15 Gb of data on our hotspot very quickly in the month so I have to wait until I have Wi-Fi I can use and not my data. I still want to kick myself for not upgrading my data package while I had the chance to double the data for the same cost last year when we had to get off Millenicom and go with Verizon. Anyway.......

In my last post we left Town Creek COE early and drove to Gulf SP in Gulf Shores, AL. We got a nice pull through site on the Canal Rd. The pull throughs actually are set up so you parallel park. Awning side faces the canal.




 
 
We rode the bike paths around the park and took several walks. We also ate a lot of seafood and hit the beaches across from the State Park. We ended up staying about 6 days. Great decision on our part to head there on the way to AZ.
 





We did make it to a Lamberts Restaurant too. They specialize in southern cooking and thrown rolls. After they give you your first roll, if you want another they throw it to you. Their delicious and very big. Lots of fun there and great food.





 Hard to leave a place like that and I know we'll be back again. We stopped at a local seafood shop and picked up some grouper and a couple pounds of Royal Red Shrimp. Plan to do a boil with some friends at the RV park in AZ.

After Gulf Shores, AL and we headed to Buccaneer SP in Waveland, MS and had some good seafood there too. Buccaneer SP is a place we stopped at on the way back to IL in the spring. We only stopped there for a couple of days. Then it was off to Abbeville, LA and Palmetto Island SP. Again we only wtayed a couple of days but while there we had to stop at Shucks Oyster House and meet the owner, David Bertrand. The food is to die for and their hospitality is second to none. We even got our picture with Mr. Bertrand and he posted it on their FB page.

 
While at Palmetto Island SP we took a walk around the park and came across an armadillo and near a pavilion we saw a alligator up close.
 



This is one of our favorite parks so far. Wish we could have stayed longer but se are on a mission to get to AZ.

After Abbeville, LA we headed to Galveston Island, TX. Our first stop in TX. We couldn't get into Galveston Island SP so I opted for a city park called Dellanerra Park about 5 miles closer to the downtown historical area and beach scene.

The park is right on the beach. The TX beaches aren't as pretty as FL and AL beaches in our opinions. But the sand is very hard and cars can drive on it in certain areas. Easy to walk on too.



 
 
 
We took a tour of the historical area and got a nice history lesson on the area and the hurricane of 1900 and Hurricane Ike. Some home had been restored and some still in progress and still some with no progress.
 






Hurricane Ike did a lot of damage to the Live Oak trees on the island and some folks took advantage of the damage by making some nice tree carvings.
Click on the photos to see them better.
 




While there we also did a dolphin tour and saw a couple of Cruise Ships getting ready to leave for some ports in Mexico.





We gorged on some more seafood and some nice beach scenery. I think we're almost ready for some Mexican food in AZ now.








Down at the pier we ate at Joe's Crab Shack too. We took a walk along the pier and saw some oil rigs in from the gulf and other tour boats.




 
After all this fun we had to move on through TX. Our next stop was San Antonio. We found a park about 2 miles from the downtown River Walk area. This is a nice park for convenience and it's very clean and well kept up. We had a FHU pull through.
 

Like any RV park the sites are close together but as I said it's convenient and well kept. This is a pretty long post so I will end here and catch up some more next time. Lots of tell about San Antonio, the River Walk, bike paths and the Alamo.

P.S. We are in AZ at Canyon Vistas RV Resort as I write this post. This is our winter destination.

Thanks of following along.