Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Time winding down, time to put Arizona in the rear view mirror

Time, as it always does, conquers our visit to Arizona. As I write this we are methodically packing our things and preparing for the long trek home. As our time winds down I often get a little melancholy because I really love the mountains and the activities here at Voyager, but deep down I know that I wouldn’t enjoy the 114-degree summer days.

It is also good to get home and see family and friends in Michigan.
Cactus blooms along the Bridal Wreath trail

During the past week the temperatures have slid back to the more normal 60s and 70s of this time of year. We have done a number of fun activities including our annual wine tasting trip (I’m the designated driver and Joan is the designated taster) and this year we did it with our new friends, Mike and Susan.

Mike has lived all over the world as a plant manager for GM and his wife is delightful. We had a really fun day with them while touring the Sonoita wineries near here. We picked us a few selections for the Southwest Wine Package that we annually donate to the Family Literacy Center auction which occurs very soon after I get home.

We also attended a nice party for my friend Frank, of Elko, Nevada, who at 90 continues to hike with the Tuesday hiking group. He is an inspiration to all of us as he climbs up and down the mountains at his age. The party was fun and Frank was surprised by the appearance of several out-of-state family members.

Tonight (Wednesday, March 29) will be our last show and it’s a presentation here at the resort by a large part of the Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Last week was another great show – Paper Back Writer – a tribute to the Beatle’s. Some of the older members of the park weren’t as impressed, but at least they didn’t walk out after intermission like they did with the Beach Boys show.

I’ve done two more hikes – Hutch’s Pools – which is a moderate hike into the bowels of Sabino Canyon, but it was made a little more difficult because the temperatures in the afternoon as we completed the hike were in the low 90s. Water became scarce and many of us spent a lot of time hydrating when we got back to the trailhead.

Frank's party on the patio
The second hike was supposed to be to the Chirachua National Monument, which is one of my favorite hikes, but we woke up to rain on Tuesday (March 28) and an advance group of hikers from the park who were staying at the monument texted that it was still snowing there into the morning.

So we aborted the three-hour drive there and did a more local hike to Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro East National Park. It was a good hike, but only five of us made the hike, and it certainly was not comparable to the Chirachua hike. This is the second year the Chirachua hike has been aborted so I’m hoping that next year will be the year.

In all seriousness, if missing that hike is the worst thing that happened this trip, I’m a blessed man.
Joan continues to volunteer at the health center (her last day is tomorrow) and my last chair set up was today for the orchestra show tonight. After the show I’ll help put away the 500 chairs and then I’ll be done for this season.

We’ve signed up to host next year’s Michigan Party again. The rhythm of the resort is slowly winding down and the bulletin board where all the week’s and month’s activities are listed, is nearly bare now. We’ve already said good-bye to many of our good friends here, a couple of them apparently for good, as they feel they are no longer able to travel. While it is sad to see them go, it has been a pleasure to get to know them.
Meet Me at Maynard's March 27

We were invited last week to attend a private dinner for volunteers who helped with the chair, table and kitchen set-up crew. This was different from the all volunteer party, which includes many more people who help around the park.

Because we are involved several days a week, the park hosts a special dinner just for us and it was very good. The park could not operate as it does, for the prices it does without all the many volunteers who help out here.

Although I’m not a card player, there are several groups of folks who play cards here every week. Bunko, poker, euchre, bridge, you name it, just about every kind of card game is played here.

There is pickleball, tennis, bocce ball, shuffleboard, softball, volleyball and other sports which are popular here as well. All have gone pretty quiet this week as people depart for home.

On Friday, March 31 (Joan’s birthday, by the way) we will head out of the park about noon and drop the trailer at Camping World in Tucson so that it can be winterized for storage. Later that evening we will start the trek up the hill to Flagstaff and drop the trailer off early in the morning and then head to California to visit friends and relatives there.

At some point I’ll post again, but I can’t say for sure when I will have time for that. So stay tuned. Thanks for joining us on this year’s voyage and we look forward, God willing, that we will do it all again next year.

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