Saturday, October 17, 2009

From Blowing Snow to 37 Degrees Celsius!

Hello from Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort in scorching Mesa, Arizona! It's 4:00 in the afternoon, and a balmy 36.5 degrees Celsius (the picture is from yesterday, when it was 37.5 degrees!!).

The air conditioner is working furiously, but losing the battle. The cats have given up any hope of being comfortable, and are splayed out on the motorhome floor in various positions of complete, utter defeat.

Terry, however, is in his glory. Part lizard, I'm convinced.

To bring everyone up to speed on our trip, we left Alberta on Wednesday, October 10th. We had planned on sticking around 'til Thanksgiving, but a looming cold spell with snow and threat of poor driving conditions tipped our hand to leaving earlier. And are we glad we did.

We left in the late afternoon (what a surprise); just in time to participate in the delightful Deerfoot Trail rush hour. Our first evening was spent in a Costco parking lot in the City of Lethbridge.

Up and at 'em early the next morning, we crossed the border with minimal delay (they did manage to confiscate my apples, which broke my heart - they were the size of baseballs and looked fabulous - I'm still upset about that).

Our next planned stop was Salt Lake City, but the discovery of two badly worn tires on the trailer resulted in an overnighter in Pocotella, Idaho. We stayed at 'Casa del Walmart Superstore Parking Lot', which was conveniently where we had made arrangements for new tires to be installed first thing in the morning (and BONUS - it was a 24-hour Walmart, so after a late supper at Red Lobster, we were able to do some grocery shopping at 11:00 at night AND observe the interesting array of 'late-night' shoppers that darken their doors ... would have loved to have seen the 3:00 a.m. crowd).

Next morning, Terry looked after the tire replacement situation (he left for a few minutes and returned to find that they were in the process of removing the wrong tires – good thing they didn’t choose ‘doctor’n’ as their profession!!!), while I took a walk to kill time.

We were soon on our way, and made our next stop Mesquite, Nevada. We parked in a huge, empty (just us, a few trucks and a couple of other RV’s) casino parking lot. Turns out the casino was closed down – a sign of the poor economic times in the area. We set up, and strolled over to the neighboring Casino to take a turn with ‘Lady Luck’.

Next morning – off to Vegas. We stayed at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort – nice park, but didn’t get any opportunity to use the beautiful amenities, as we managed to keep ourselves fairly busy. We of course did the ‘strip’ a couple of nights (slots were a little tight I’m afraid), and enjoyed an incredibly expensive dinner at the revolving restaurant located at the top of the Stratosphere. You pay for the view, but it is amazing.

We particularly enjoyed our first major ‘alcohol’ purchase – the tab for all of the bottles in the picture? A mere $48.00. God Bless America!

We contacted friends that we had met last year at Puerto Penasco – Jim & Nancy Walton – and made arrangements to meet them for a golf game and dinner. We also met a friend of theirs – J.C. – who joined us for the afternoon and evening. We had a great visit, enjoyed the golf game, and appreciated their hospitality at dinner.

One of our ‘field trips’ consisted of a motorcycle ride to Red Rock Canyon, located 19 miles West of Las Vegas, and within the Mojave desert It is visually stunning, with huge cliffs and ravines composed of bands of grey, white and red sandstone, set amongst the desert and Joshua trees.

There are many, many hiking trails of varying distance within the area. We stopped and hiked along the Calico Hills before taking the scenic 13-mile circular drive.

The only wildlife we witnessed were a few little lizards and a couple of different species of birds. We did run into one couple, however, that told us they had seen a rattlesnake and a bunch of fairly large tarantulas ….. and, they came across them in the area we had just hiked through …. All I can say is, thank god we didn’t see the spiders. I hate spiders …. kind of like Donna Scholer and cats.

While we were packing up frantically to leave Alberta, a huge windstorm blew in and managed to knock down and damage our satellite dish (GREAT timing). Terry had wanted to install an automatic dish system (for both internet and satellite TV access), so this was the impetus for us to explore our options to have this done before we carried on our travels further south. We had to ensure that our internet access was going to be reliable, and not go through the difficulties we experienced last year in Mexico.

We contacted a company that was based out of the Oasis RV Resort, but instead went with a company from Quartzite, Arizona. The company came recommended to us from our friends Brenda and Adrian, who had their unit installed there last year. We bit the bullet and headed out Thursday morning for Quartzite.

We arrived there early afternoon, and Paul went to work on the project. Of course it was hotter than Hades. Since the work involved much coming in and out of the motorhome, we moved the cats to the trailer. As you can imagine, they absolutely loved that little experience. The heat was overwhelming, so we had to purchase a fan, and placed a bag of ice in front of the oscillating fan in an attempt to cool the air down. The heat remained a fairly constant 35 degrees Celsius, so everyone (myself the primary culprit) was fairly stressed. And of course Paul ran into problems with the internet set up. Things were finally in place by 8:00 that evening. We stayed the night and headed out to Phoenix the next morning.

That brings us to where we will be for the next two months (approximately). The amenities here are great – 18-hole regulation golf course plus executive par-3 course on site, great pools, hot tubs, fitness center, etc. They have an active tennis club with many courts, and a ball league that Terry has already signed up for. I’m looking forward to signing up for as many hikes as I can fit in.

We are going to start ‘house hunting’ in an effort to take advantage of the depressed housing market and great exchange rate right now. We’ll keep you posted!
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