Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dancing Through the Winter into 2015

     Our Winter season started off with helping to prepare and then participating in the Electric Light Parade in Casa Grande.  This is a really big deal, as they have upwards of 50,000 people attend this parade each year.  Those interested can view it on You Tube.  Because of our lateness in entering, we were float #94 out of 97.  Our theme was “On the Road Again.”  We all wore Willie Nelson style braids and played his song as we walked the two mile route.  Here’s a few pictures of our group.  Businesses along the route are asked to turn their lights off and all streetlights are turned off, making the floats really stand out.   It was a great way to start the season.

     Adding to our enjoyment of the Christmas Holiday, was Riki’s family coming to see us for Christmas.  We rented the spot across from us and parked our Motor home there.  That way they had their own place for our few down times.  One of the sights we all enjoyed was visiting the LDS Temple in Mesa to see their beautiful light display.  This year we allowed more time for family games and most evenings went to the clubhouse for cards and scheduled parties.  It was great having them here to join our park in the Christmas festivities. 

     We left mid-January for the SKP Co-Op in Yuma and enjoyed their pool and hot tub for a week.  We also took a tour of a Date Farm while there.  It is amazing the  number of times that the date palms have to be individually attended to each season, from picking thorns, to placing wire rings to separate the dates. 

     From there we headed to Quartzsite, AZ for a couple weeks of RV Rallies.  You’ve all heard my descriptions of Quartzsite before, so know that this is a sleepy little town of about 3,000 that swells in the winter to accommodate over 1 million RV visitors at different times.  There are large areas of desert where RV’s are allowed to boondock (no hook ups) for 2 weeks to several months.   The first area we went to is lovingly called Boomerville by a group of fun loving, active RVers.   Daily hikes and activities from crafting to movies, to star parties take place.  I even led a Laughter Yoga  group for  the second year.  Its one of the best groups I lead, because of the enthusiastic participation. 
    One of the days we hiked to the top of Q mountain, about a ½ mile hike with an elevation gain of about 700 feet.  Here we are at the top enjoying the view and trying not to get blown off.  The white in the background are some of the thousands of  RVs parked in the desert.

     We also had  a karaoke night and dance in the desert.  Here’s a picture of us dancing to “YMCA.”

     From there, we moved about 5 miles to another desert area for the Geocaching Rally.  This is a subgroup of Escapees that enjoys geocaching and especially teaching it to others.  While there we found about 75 caches.  Here are a couple pictures of a mine tour we all took to the “Parade of Toilets.”  Obviously there is a geocache there.  Also there are several toilets along a hillside with plastic flowers planted in them.  We had been forewarned and came armed with more flowers to add to the colorful display.  There has been a mine on this site for many years and continues to be the site of an active claim today for mining gold and other minerals.

.     After all this frivolity, we headed back to the Roost  in Casa Grande for more fun activities.  February is a very active time of year for our park with the annual meeting and fund raisers taking place.   Last year it was the Olympics and this year it was a Senior Rodeo.  The participants were divided into Ranches.  We were members of the 6 R Ranch (Red, Rip-Roaring, Rambling Rooster Ranch).  Gary participated with his friend Steve in the team roping.   After placing in the second go-round, I won the finals of the Bull-Riding Championship.  In order to win this title, I had to guide a remote controlled bull with a rider (doll) placed on it, over a mat with pipes laying underneath it, creating bucking hills., without the rider falling off.  Believe me, I never thought I would participate in, let alone win the title of Bull-riding Champion.  

      Another part of our Rodeo week was a Chili Cookoff.  We had 16 entries and  I was thrilled to win third place with my White Chili.  People voted on the chilies, not knowing who cooked each one.   When Gary labeled mine, he said, “The Chili’s Mild, but the Cook’s Hot.”  I think it was the label that did it.   I won a really nice folding Camp Chair.

      Also in February, our friend Kathy visited us.  She was here as a judge for the local Gourd Festival.  She drove here from S. Calif and rented a spot, where we had our Motor home parked.  Kathy is a fantastic gourd artist, so it was fun seeing the gourds from her perspective.   She’s also a geocacher and was with us to snap this picture when we found Geocache #3,000! 

     Escapees have an annual convention with seminars, entertainment, and  all sorts of fun events.  For the first time this  year, it was held in Tucson, AZ.  Each of the 11 Co-Ops, and several chapters are invited to have a table “on the row” to publicize it to those coming by.  We were the Row Representatives for our Co-Op in Gillette, WY in 2013 and again this year.  We had a busy time  as there were 1,952 attendees with 851 rigs parked at the Pima Co Fairgrounds.  I was able to participate in the daily line dance sessions and learned a new Irish line dance to bring back to the Roost.  Bandit participated in their pet parade and enjoyed the chance to visit with his friends in the fairgrounds dog park.

     The other major happening in March was reaching my Weight Watchers goal.   Many of you know that after I was placed on blood pressure medication in Spring, 2013, I decided I needed to once again do something about my weight.  I went back to Weight Watchers on May 20, in Show Low.  While there, I was very active in water aerobics five days a week.  I lost 43 pounds by the time we came back to the Roost.  I continued my meetings, stayed on plan, and started walking when we came back here in October.  Since then I’ve lost another 33 ½ pounds for a total of 76 ½ pounds lost in 10 months & 3 days.  Now I’m walking 3-5 miles almost every morning.  I’m sure looking forward to getting back in the water when we get back to Show Low.   Thanks to all my friends and family who encouraged me along the way.   The really tough part, as I know all too well, is maintaining the weight, but I’m hopeful continued meetings and exercise will do it.  I have several Weight Watcher buddies in both places and that helps a lot!!!

     Besides the events I mentioned above, Gary continued to participate in billiard tournaments and league with mixed success.  We also enjoyed dancing a couple times a month and even found a few other couples to join us.   We took a trip to Butterfly Wonderland and really enjoyed all their beauty.  

Our park also had another wild desert golf tournament where surprisingly I tied Gary for the most holes in one.  Different folks designed the various  holes and we all linked up randomly with others to play the course.  It was a great day ended with a campfire, hot dogs, and s’mores.  

We also attended a couple geocaching events and found this fellow guarding one of the caches.  He was spotted in plenty of time, since he was out sunning.  The ones I see never scare me, it’s the ones I don’t see that worry me. 

     Now we’re getting ready to head for Show Low on April 11th.  Please do not send any more mail to Casa Grande.  Our Show Low address is 1051 N. Central Ave.  Space #272,  Show Low, AZ 85901.  We’re looking forward to another great summer there.

     March 9th, was 10 years since the passing of Chris LeDoux, one of our favorite country singers from Wyoming.  Little did we know then, that a month later we would lose Robert.  It’s hard to believe it will be 10 years in April.  His children have grown so much with the older two boys becoming young college men and his daughter a high school Junior.   Robert also became a grandfather last summer.  Here is a picture of his grandson, William.  I know Robert’s busting his heavenly buttons! 

     We will be making a car trip to Utah and Wyoming mid-June.  Plans have come together for us to be able to attend and help with the Utah National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation, (NFFF) Golf Tournament , in Orem, UT.  We’ll head up to Evanston, WY the next day.  Along with Riki and Kevin, I will be flying to Annapolis, MD the end of June for the annual NFFF Survivor’s Conference.  I am again presenting a seminar on Laughter Yoga, we are presenting a joint session on Geocaching, and  Riki and Kevin are also presenting a session on preparing your kids for college.  We’ll be busy, but  looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones while there.

      We think you'll agree that it's been a fun and eventful winter.  If any of  you are in Arizona this summer, give us a call.   For now, we're dancing on down the road to Summer in Show Low, AZ.

       Hugs, Katy, Gary, and Bandit