Friday December 31st, 2021
December the first, and Phoenix is today setting a new high temperature record for December the first, at 85°F (29°C), and we are kayaking with friends on Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest. This is why we live this lifestyle, to enjoy the warmth of the southern United States while snow is piling up back in Canada, and while exploring beautiful landscapes with some very wonderful people.
This will be the last blog in this twelve month review series, and this blog may seem shorter than some of the previous, this is mainly because December seemed to often find us doing less traveling than many other months, and I have to confess I started this series to selfishly remind myself of all the great adventures we have already experienced while were back in snowy Canada and we were enduring yet another lockdown because of the pandemic, and while I hope you have found them interesting the monthly windshield view will end with this one, although I will keep them under the “A Quick Look Back” menu tab on the blog.
This month’s windshield windshield view is of a sunset view taken standing behind the coach, looking southwest, and is similar to what we experience almost every evening, and while the sunsets taken while at LHR (Lake Huron Resort) were outstanding when taken over Lake Huron, here in Arizona with the giant saguaros and the stunning mountain setting are providing some pretty remarkable photos.
And just after I had chosen the sunset photo to be the windshield view, Miss Laurie captured this photo of this morning’s sunrise, and it is too good not to share with you.
December 2017: Was going to be our first Christmas away from our family, for both of us and while saddened by that fact, we were experiencing a new type of camaraderie with the people around us at our first monthlong stay at a park. And this park was located almost in the middle of nowhere, Miss Laurie had heard about this park from a YouTuber a few months earlier, it was located in Why, Arizona and most people even in Arizona have never heard of Why, but it was a full hook-up park for only $225 per month, now our electrical use was on top of that, but it was so cheap we had to try it. And it was here that we first experienced the community of a long stay (seasonal) campground, we made so many connections with people at this park that we still hold very dear to hearts five years later. This is where we first developed the term “RV family” as we experienced daily happy hours with many of the park residents, and weekly potlucks that seemed to just happen, and while they were enjoyable, they were also community building and while we had never considered this when we started out on our adventures, we were now becoming aware of just what a large part of our life they would become as time went on.
This park was our home for the month of December, so we experienced the build up to Christmas as well as New Years and because of this experience we actually had booked back into the same park for another month, in 2018. This park has approximately fifty sites, the sites were small when compared to other campgrounds there were virtually no amenities which could explain the low price point, so what I’m trying to say it wasn’t the park that made this experience special it was the residents that made this park as we have seen since
The atmosphere had changed at the park management level, when we returned in March of 2018, but most of the resident were still there, and while we enjoyed that stay as well it was not without some drama with management.
December 2018: Found us still boon-docking at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area about an hour south of Orlando, and again we had become part of a community that was developing there, we were still exploring the area, which had multiple hiking trails and reasonably good shopping a short distance away. From here we were heading south to a newly opened resort that Miss Laurie had book months earlier while still in Arizona, this would be a new adventure with being booked in for three months, we had booked this spot not knowing anyone else at the park, now that changed when Bob & Shari booked into the park after learning about it from Miss Laurie so on the 7th, we rolled into what would become our new home for a number of months.
This was our first experience with a park with amenities, and while being a new park brought on a number of issues, everything was new and in pristine condition, this was our introduction to pickle ball, and a game called petanque, plus a pool, horseshoes. and a shuffleboard. There was a weekly Sunday morning breakfast, a weekly Friday night meet and great, plus bingos, dinners and dances, with a bar to provide refreshments, washrooms and laundry facilities were all new so clean and spacious. There was man made ponds that were stocked with fish, many walking paths with solar lighting, what it didn’t have was completely finished sites, oh they had pads made with concrete pavers, but grass was scarce to non-existent on the new site where we were.
But what we gained during our stay has changed our lives and continues to change our life even now, some of the people we met continue to affect our adventures, as our “RV family” grew because of this decision to pick this park for the time that we did, and while being a long way from our normal way of travelling it was obviously the correct decision for us at the time. We have often discussed trying to recreate the community that we had found here this December, but we all know that it can never be duplicated, oh I think we will try to get the old gang together again but there were so many outside influences that had affected the outcome then and while a recreation could be great it will never be duplicated.
December 2019: Finds us back in Why Arizona, but not at the original park from 2017, no the world had changed and so many of the parks in the southern area of Arizona. The parks were now catering to the wall workers, the people from all over the States that were coming to build the wall between the United States and Mexico. The parks were charging much higher rates and getting it from the workers, so the park community that was here two years earlier was diminished and we were unable to get into that park at all, because they were trying to keep spots for the wall workers that would stay year-round, but we did get a spot in a new smaller park next door. And while serving our need for a location that would allow me work on our coach, there was little or no community as most were wall workers and we seemed like unwelcome outsiders next door when we visited the original park, there were a number of familiar people, but the community was just not the same as two years earlier.
One of the draws to the Why area is its proximity to the “Organ Pipe National Monument” which offers many days of exploring, it is also less than an hour to the Mexican border crossing near Lukeville Arizona, this was at the time our most lonely Christmas, both being away from family and not having the community of a larger park either.
December 2020: Stranded in Ontario over a snowy Canadian winter unable to visit family or friends because of an ongoing pandemic lockdown was devastating to our lifestyle, and while trying to keep in touch with people it just us missing human reaction more than ever. I refer to this time in our life as our “Winter from Hell” and it was in so many ways, while we were able to decorate a bit for Christmas it was also one of the loneliest times in our lives. Miss Laurie out of boredom had taken a job at Walmart to help fill long days, but with vaccines still months away the pandemic was causing hell on the healthcare system, causing many lifesaving surgeries having to be cancelled, and so many people moving onto a whole new level of me, me, me stupidity was emerging on both sides of the border that it was difficult to watch.
And while being a real wake-up call as to how fragile our life and lifestyle was, it also has made us fully aware of how important human interaction is to sustain our lifestyle. And how important taking control of one’s own health and taking all the precautions to ensure our safety, such as mask wearing around people we don’t know, sanitizing, washing hands, and just avoiding uncomfortable situations and locations. And we know that some of you will laugh or scoff at such a statement, I can only assume you have been lucky enough not to lose someone that meant something to you to this pandemic, while we have.
December 2021: Well, here we are back on the road and also back into our nomadic lifestyle, and we have had more human interaction this December, than the last couple of years, our spot here at BTA (Boyce Thompson Arboretum) is a small group of full timers, and we are lucky to be close this winter to Ray & Karen,
Our weekly adventures are being documented in our weekly blog so rather than be repetitious here in this blog I will just continue to touch on highlights from this month, every day is not an adventure, as we need days to just kick back and enjoy a cocktail or two in the warmth of an Arizona December.
Miss Laurie is still scouring websites in search of some type of work-camping position for next summer on Vancouver Island, we have sent out some resumes, and have also got some feedback on some of the positions we were considering, as we have friends that are on Vancouver Island and the community of work-campers is reasonably small and try to help each other, and all positions are good positions, so if someone is not treated properly and with respect that circulates through the community quickly, as well some members of the community have unrealistic expectations and that also comes to light quickly.
So as I prepare to schedule this blog to post on New Years Eve, I need to mention that the pandemic is still alive and well, with record cases being reported daily on the Omicron version of the virus, proving that a year has not taught some people a damn thing.