Sunday, March 18, 2018

Staying at a Real Resort - Casa Grande AZ

We don't often stay at a real resort.  We have camped at many places through the years that have 'resort' in their name, but we have learned often times that means they charge more $$.

Our time at the Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort here in Casa Grande AZ has been really great.  It is a little pricey, but there are ways to make it less so.  We booked for a whole month for the monthly rate, and since this is our first time here, we got the 20% 'First Time Visitor' discount.  Those two items means it averages out to be less than $40/night.  Still pricey, but a lot more doable.

We are here because but we wanted to visit friends Steve and Karen.  The added bonus is that we have gotten to see some other friends as well:  Paul and Laura, Mary and Tom, John and Cathy, Ron and Marta, John and Greta, and Paul and Bobbi.  And friends Kirk and Susan are going to stay with us here for a few days.

We really like the Palm Creek.  It has a lot of things to do and it is a first class place.  It is a REAL resort.  There is so much to do here if you like sunshine and swimming, golf, pickleball, ping pong, softball, shuffleboard, tennis, walking, hanging out with friendly people -- the list goes on.

Here are some things we like about Palm Creek:
  • First impression:  Check in and name tags
The ground are beautiful.  The little creek winds through the property from one end to the other.  Palm trees line the creek, plus there are hundreds of more throughout the campground and on every street.

The RV check in area in large and accommodates rigs of all sizes.  Someone did some excellent planning here.  You pull up to the very long staging area, then get out and meet the greeters at the Check In table who tell you were registration is at Guest Services in the building.

Then it takes about 10 minutes to fill out paperwork, get a photo badge/ID, settle your bill, get all the information we could want and then a Ranger (guy in a golf cart) escorted us to our site.
  • Friendly people on our street and all over the park
It took less that 10 minutes at our campsite for neighbors to introduce themselves and invite us to a nightly happy hour.  We met four or five neighbors within an hour.  It is a welcoming sort of environment.
  • Wide lots/camp sites
The campsites are very large.  We could park two cars on our space if we wanted to, and still have room for our shady REI canopy, mat and chairs.
  • Ample washers and dryers in laundry facility  
We are a block away from a second pool and washer/dryer facility, and our mailbox.  It makes for a quick day of laundry with a lot of machines to use.
  • Beautiful Oasis

  • Great par 3 golf course
We don't often play 'Executive' Par three courses, but this is a very nice one.  It makes perfect sense for the people here.  Lots of folks play this course that probably would not venture out onto a municipal regulation 6500 yard course.  

This course is very inviting because it has big greens, every hole is a par three, many can reach every green on the first shot, and it is a walking course.  Pam and I have played it three times already.  We love being the first off the tee box early in the morning.  She hasn't played in a while, but has done well and enjoys it thoroughly.
Without the long par 4 and par 5's, she and I are pretty even when you take out the long shots.  Which means she is a good putter and chipper.  Its fun!
  • Big main swimming pool. Plus two other smaller ones

  •  Nice library and hobby facilities (jewelry making, woodworking, pool tables)

  • World class pickleball courts and facility
We arrived in Palm Creek the day the 'Duel in the Desert' Pickleball Tournament began.  This is the first time we have been exposed to a very well organized pickleball community.  The tournament was had hundreds of competitors and the 32 courts seemed to be always full of action.  We got to watch men and women's singles, men/women mixed at 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 levels.

Friend Steve and his partner Bill gave it a valiant effort, winning 7 or 8 matches but falling one match  shy of making it to the medal round.

It is fun to watch and even more fun to play.  I took a beginners class that might be the best two free teaching session I have even participated in.  There were 17 in the class with 5 instructors.  Reed, the main instructor ran down through his clipboard hitting all the important items ranging from safety, mechanics of hitting different shots, strategy, and the rules and scoring.  And there was a lot of 'hands-on' participation.  We broke up into groups of four and took the court for instruction and practice in warming up, dinking, serving and volleying.  I can see why the sport can be 
  • Grounds well manicured
  • Large property good for walking and biking
  • Lots of different activities:  lawn bowling, shuffleboard, tennis, water aerobics, 
  • UPS deliveries to campsite (e.g. Amazon)
Sometimes it is difficult to get mail at a campground.  This place makes it easy.  More than once we have had the UPS truck pull up to our campsite and drop off a package.  It is very convenient.
  •  Good eating places nearby
Dinner with a friends Karen and Steve, Paul and Laura at Barro's.  Might be the best pizza I've eaten. Certainly in the top two or three.
Those Arizona sunsets are pretty wonderful.  I love this particular one.

Palm Creek has been one of the nicest places we've been to.

There's a look at where we have been hanging out in March.  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, March 9, 2018

RV Insurance Time Again

Each year I look forward to the time when I do some research and call RV insurance companies for a new quote.  I am regularly surprised to find that the lowest is not always the expected one.

I start with last year's list and put a call out (like on FaceBook Group or Tiffin RV Network) and then add a few companies to my list.  Last year we went with National Interstate but we received a note from them they were getting out of the business.

I use the same criteria and go over the same coverages with each agent to get the quote.  I also make sure they know I am a Full-timer as some will not cover RVers in that category.

Next, I try to talk with someone for a quote.  Most are glad to walk through the process which takes about 10-15 minutes to come up with a number.  I pay in full for the entire year to get the discount and be done with it.

One thing I found is that even though a broker may offer insurance from the same company (e.g. Progressive), the often do not come up with the same price.

Here's a look at my spreadsheet:
This is a series of snapshots of my spreadsheet.  If you'd like a copy of the actual Excel file, I'd be glad to send it to you.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Winter 2018 Travels Campsites

I look back over the months or years and forget exactly where we have been.  Or the route we took during different times.  So I need to 'document' our travels along the way.  It makes it a lot easier to remember where we were when...

We left Virginia Beach the day after Christmas and have been as far West as Redlands CA (near San Bernardino CA).  We are currently at a very nice place in Casa Grande Arizona enjoying the very Palm Creek RV Resort (between Phoenix and Tucson).
I like to take a snapshot from time to time to recap where we've been and this post is a look at a most of the campgrounds where we have stayed in the last couple of months.

Our first stop was in South Carolina.
We stayed at a campground just off I-95 after a long day on the road.  We stayed here previously in 2010.

In the Fort Walton Beach area to see Karin and then the next morning we drove to Pensacola to have breakfast with Bill.  It was the first time we parked the Roadrunner in a Cracker Barrel RV spot.  It was tight but it fit.
Overnight stop in Lake City Florida.
On a lake but more importantly, it was near the Interstate and we were able to get satellite access for the night.

Our next day was a fairly long one but we made it to NorthLake RV Park outside of Houston to see nephew Drew and Mark (and his wife Dean-na, and little one Kayley.)  
We were going to make it a short stop but we ended up staying at the campground for a couple extra days to wait out the ice storm in the Fort Worth area.

From Houston we went to Fort Worth (actually Cowtown RV park in Aledo) to see my brother Brad and his wife Sue.

We spent five days there before continuing on through the great state of Texas.  We had an overnight stop in Monahan's State Park.
Very unique and interesting sand dunes in the middle of the west Texas oilfields.

Deming NM was our next overnight stop and we like staying at the Escapees RV park there - Dreamcatchers.
The sites are wide and spacious and it is an easy in and out access.

We drove next to Benson AZ to spend the night and go out to dinner with Brenda and Kit.
We were together with them on a Care-A-Vanner build in Sioux Falls SD last fall.  

From Benson we made the short trip to Davis-Monthan AFB for a few days.
We were in the dry camping area but right across from the laundry and bathhouse.

Catalina State Park north of Tucson AZ.  One of our favorites.  Beautiful sites.  Great hiking at the park.  10 miles from my brother Marty's place in SaddleBrooke retirement community.
We only stayed a few days before leaving for Quartzite AZ to meet up with friends.

Our travel plans continued out to California where we had a couple of stops.   First one was at El Centro Naval Air Station.
If we like to check out military campgrounds if we are in an area where we can find one.  This turned out to be a great one.

Farther west, we made our way to Redlands CA to see friends Bob and Sue.  We camped at a great County Recreation campground in Yucaipa which was a couple of miles from their place.
Our stay was too short but we needed to get going and head back to Arizona.

We had our second stay at El Centro Naval Air Station.

Next we made our the way back to Catalina State Park north of Tucson.
After that, we returned to Agave Gulch FamCamp at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson AZ.  
Sites are fine but a little tight.  Great location.  WiFi in this spot worked well.

We are now at Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande AZ which is about half way between Tucson and Phoenix.  
We are here to see friends Karen and Steve.  This is probably the nicest place we have ever stayed in terms of the park and facility.  Wide campsites, level, friendly people, golf, pickleball.  Great place to walk or bike.
More on this place later.

That's bit of a lengthy look at where we've camped in our travels for the last 2 + months.  We are looking forward to more warm weather and time with family and friends!

Hope you are all well and enjoying March!

That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!