Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Neighbor, Century Plant and New Kayak

We returned to Benson on Tuesday to a couple of surprises. First, the RV lot next to us no longer has the 5th wheel that sat there for many years, since before we bought our lot in 2008. The rose garden and concrete bench have also been removed from the front to allow the trailer to be removed, and the bricks from the retaining wall are stacked against the fence on the right.


The man who lived there, Kenneth (Dutch) Van Wyk, passed away suddenly in January while we were in Quartzsite. I spoke with his son upon our return in early February, and he said his sisters and he had plans to sell both the lot and the 5th wheel. It seems that both sales have now been accomplished, with another neighbor in the homeowners’ section of the resort buying the lot. It will be interesting to see whether he develops the lot, rents it or perhaps even re-sells it. Our view (see our motorhome on the right) is now changed with no RV on the lot.


Our second surprise is the Agave (aka Century Plant) in our front yard is working on a fast-growing, tall stalk. We were only gone 2 1/2 weeks, and there was no stalk when we left. The stalk will eventually flower at the top, then the entire plant will die. This picture was taken two days ago.


Here’s today’s pic, with the stalk about a foot taller.


When the plant dies, we will be far away on our travels to the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada. So we’ll hire a maintenance person in the park to haul away the carcass.

Three packages were delivered by UPS while we attended the final Escapees RV Club area luncheon of the season yesterday.


Don carefully cut the box open with a short knife, aware of the warning!


We assembled all the parts on the patio.


Then we laid out a tarp to inflate the boat.


Don started using the manual pump with his hand to inflate one side.


Then he decided it was easier to use his foot. (We also bought the electric pump that will make this job *much* easier.)


We decided last summer to buy the Sea Eagle inflatable boat for two people, because that will allow me to take pictures while Don does most of the paddling, and I won’t have to struggle to keep up with him. We purchased from Tim & Crystal Ryerson at Inflatable Boats 4 Less, based on Nick Russell’s recommendation. Tim spent a lot of time with Don by phone to discuss our boating style and the various options they offer. We chose the Sea Eagle FastTrack 385, and got a great price! Crystal arranged for a delay in the delivery to arrive after we returned to Benson, while booking the sale before the end of March to take advantage of the sale price. We can whole-heartedly recommend these folks for their good business practices.


Now that we know how to put it together, we need to find the time and a day of nice weather to put it in the water, probably in nearby Lake Patagonia.

Another benefit of the inflatable boat is that it will fit in the back of our car, so we won’t have the wind resistance of the two boats on the roof, which seems to affect the fuel mileage of both the car and the motorhome. However, we no longer have help finding our car in parking lots the way the blue kayaks did!

Does anyone want to buy two used kayaks?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Escapees Chapter 21 Spring Rally

We had a really good rally close to ‘home’ for most of the members of this chapter, at the Lazydays KOA in Tucson. I’m not usually fond of KOA parks, but this one is nicely laid out with mostly pull-through sites, and the staff were great to work with. They also have good meeting facilities and food service. We didn’t try out the pool and hot tub, but I heard they’re nice.

Before leaving North Ranch, during our last evening Dennis & Carol Hill came over to our patio area to chat until after dark. It sure was good seeing them again. We bought their Honda 2000 watt generator which they had bought from Jan Mains’ sister Sherry. (Keeping it in the ‘family.’) It served the Hills as a power source while on their lot in North Ranch which didn’t have utilities. They decided to sell the lot, so didn’t need the generator anymore. We’ll use it when we’re boondocking and don’t want to fire up our big (and slightly noisy) built-in 10,000 watt generator. We liked the quieter 8000 watt genset that was in our 36’ Phaeton much better.



After leaving North Ranch, we stayed two nights in Casa Grande then went on to Tucson with Jan & Bill following in their 5th wheel. The rally started on April 1, but we didn’t have any April Fool’s jokes. Jean Holloway-Burkhart and Marti Moehlau did a great job of planning and hosting this rally. Here’s Jean leading one of the many fun games.


And Marti shows off the special cake served at the end of our luncheon on Friday.


For more details on the rally, go to Jan’s blog as she wrote great reviews of every day, and included lots of pictures including a few of Don and me. Here’s one of us with Jan & Bill in Sabino Canyon on Thursday.


Sabino Canyon has an interesting history that you can read about by clicking HERE. Because this year has been so dry, the waterfall was almost non-existent. In fact, I’ll bet you can’t find it in this picture.


Our tour guide pointed out this Saguaro as being the “armiest” in the canyon with 27 (I think) arms. Saguaros typically grow for some 80 years before they start to sprout the first arm. Other arms follow soon after, and the number of arms is usually a good indication of the age of the plant.


We all brought our lunch and gathered at stop #1 after riding to the top (stop #9) of the round-trip ride on the tram. There were two large picnic tables, just enough room for our crew of almost 20 people.


We were entertained by a Cardinal who was attracted to the good smells of our sandwiches and other goodies.


I didn’t get a picture of the female who hovered in the background. But it seems like this guy was faithfully re-created by some of the woodcarvers the week before.


In the visitors’ center I spotted this picture of a couple enjoying the canyon in 1904. Can you imagine climbing on those rocks in a long skirt or a vest and tie? We sure dress differently today, 110 years later. I wonder what people will be wearing in another 100 years?


On Friday, our chapter’s delayed election of officers took place. We managed to get a candidate for each vacant office, and Bill Mains, acting as a volunteer club representative (VCR) installed the three new officers. L-R Stu Dutcher, VP and Wagonmaster, Don Del Rosario, President, and Ann Meilicke, Treasurer. Betty Dawson, seated, continues as Secretary.


Don has been acting as President since the resignation of the previous Prez in November, and agreed to be nominated for the office, leaving the office of VP open. Elections are normally held during the winter rally in January, but we had no candidates for the other two offices, and attendance at the rally was very low, so the election was postponed.

Since Don and I will be traveling far from this area beginning in late April until next February, it was even more important to have all the offices filled. I’m sure these capable people will do their part to keep the club activities going. And we already have volunteers for hosting 3 upcoming rallies in the Fall, Winter and next Spring!

On the final day of the rally, we went to Anthony’s Diner and the Gaslight Theatre. It was a really fun time, as you can see from these pictures. (Not allowed to take any during the show.) I highly recommend you find time to attend the theatre the next time you’re in Tucson!