Saturday, March 31, 2018

Last Few Days in Casa Grande

Our time in Casa Grande was filled with a lot of interaction with friends and family.  My brother Marty and wife Elena were a little over an hour away in Saddlebrooke which is a retirement community just north of Tucson.  We managed to spend almost every Sunday going to church with them and then out for Sunday brunch.

Marty and I got to play a lot of golf during our time in both Tucson and while Pam and I were in Casa Grande.  Golf is always a fun time with Marty.  He's an excellent golfer and always improving, though he sports a pretty strong 6 handicap.

Back at the Palm Creek Gold and RV Resort in Casa Grande, we had some projects around the Roadurnner to tend to and some serious hang out time at the pool.  One thing I really like is to be able to get UPS packages delivered directly to the campsite.  That was the case for our new porch light that we installed.
I got the idea of the light from Steve @GoneByRV and found that Art and Gerri had ugraded from the original to this brand.  So I figured I was in good company.  I reread the tutorial Steve posted on how he did his install, but had trouble finding it now.  But I know its there somewhere!

During our time in Casa Grande, we took a couple of day trips to the Tempe/Chandler/Mesa/Apache Junction area to have lunch with friends and to stop and see other friends one day which was fun.  Ron and Marta are from Albuquerque and are also full-time Rvers.  We are glad to connect with them whenever we are anywhere close to where they are.  Ron and Marta headed from Phoenix to Albuquerque where he was going to get both knees replaced.  Yikes!  Tough patch ahead but he'll be glad when they are done.
Other friends John and Greta were in Apache Junction and we had the chance to meet them for dinner.  They are friends from one of our early Habitat for Humanity builds in Brookings, South Dakota.  It was great to see them again after many years.  They recently bought a beautiful VanLeigh 5th wheel which we were able to see.  Fun to catch up with these folks.

Before we left Casa Grande friends Kirk and Susan drove from OKC to stay with us a few days and to play golf
Here we are with Marty at the Preserve Golf Club in Saddleback where Kirk, Marty and I played 18 holes.  It was a fun day.  While we played golf, Pam and Susan and Elena went to lunch, shopping and spent time at Marty and Elena's place.
One Sunday afternoon, we got to join Marty and his two sons (Matt and Rob) and Rob's wife Christine (with kids Jackson and Andy) at an Oakland A's Spring Training baseball game.  Matt is from the San Jose/Bay area.  Wife Sierra and 3 year old son William did not make the quick weekend trip.  Rob and Chris are from the San Diego/Del Mar area.  We haven't seen them in years so that was fun!

Next are photos of friends Bobbi and Paul.  They were nice enough to stop by (and pay the $$$) and visit overnight.  We met them in Santa Fe at one of our early Habitat builds in Santa Fe.  They are from Tehachapi, CA and were en route to their place at the Escapees Campground in Benson Arizona.

Palm Creek is one nice resort.  It is an actual resort, not one in name only.  We were lucky to have spent time there during March.  It is a very nice place with lots of nice things to do.  I especially loved the swimming pool and enjoyed it every chance I had.

That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  On to Yuma and getting some dental work done...
Thanks for joining us today!

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!