Saturday, December 20, 2008

Interesting Statistics

Hello everyone!

I haven't updated this site (obviously) in quite a while...mainly because everyone seems to be here now and I primarily keep the site up to date while you're all away during the summer. This morning, however, I logged on just to take a look at the counter and was totally surprised at the number of hits received every day....even now. I'm guessing perhaps some of you may be telling friends about the site and the audience is thus growing. At any rate, I now feel guilty for not posting in so long. I'll have to get back to the routine.

Thank you one and all for the positive feedback. It is such a pleasure to meet the "readers" and hear how pleased they are to see photos and news of Palm Creek. I've met some of you while I sell tickets at Bingo and more while just attending some special happy hours. Your kind comments keep me motivated.

Enjoy your holidays............I'll be back.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome Back

Sunday was the annual Welcome Home party for Palm Creek residents and visitors. What a great event! Volunteers from every club and social activity set up a table advertising their activities so we could all walk around and visit with each group to learn about their events. It was so nice to learn more about some of the activities that we normally wouldn't come across. The weather was nice and warm but windy so it was a challenge to keep displays in place. A hearty congratulations goes to all those who participated.

There was another display area that stole my heart. They brought samples of all the critters indiginous to Arizona including several snakes, lizards, scorpions, tarantulas.....and the star of the attraction was a desert tortoise. I was astonished when I got a close up of this guy.....as it appears to have been hit by a car at one time. His shell has been plastered back and he has an "artificial limb" where he lost a leg. He travels all over the lawn munching fresh grass and seems to get along just fine. How awesome!!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flower Time!


The park planted flowers this week…..by the truck load!! That’s a sure sign that cooler temps are here or just around the corner and it’s time to spruce up the place for our winter visitors. It’s so much fun to greet returning friendly faces and hear about exciting summer events during happy hour.

I went to Target today and bought some fresh flowers to freshen up our own landscaping around the house. It’s still weird for me to plant flowers in the fall…it seems like the exact opposite we would do back East. Autumn in southern Arizona is like a fresh awakening after being shut in during the hot summer months.

In and Out Burger opened this week so I smiled in awe as I saw the long lines at their drive through window today. I’ve heard so much talk about the place so will be anxious to try it one of these days. As I hear from avid fans of the place….there is a very limited menu but the food is fresh and delicious.

There will be plenty of restaurants for folks to try this season. Ah-So Steak and Sushi, Olive Garden, Mimis, In & Out Burger, and Eva’s Mexican Restaurant. Be sure to check out Eva’s. I hear the d├ęcor is lovely and the food is pretty good too.
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

October

October has arrived and the triple digits are pretty much out of the forecast. Hallelujah!! I still won’t trade an Arizona summer for a Wisconsin winter…but it’s still a relief to see the heat leave us for the season. Whew!

The resort is getting all spruced up for the snowbird season….landscaping is pruned… lines on the streets are freshly painted…the “Welcome Home” sign at the entrance went up this week…the tennis and pickleball courts boast a proud coat of new paint…and the RVs are starting to roll in. I see familiar faces reappearing every day.

The few returning friends I’ve talked with so far are amazed and pleased with the new stores and restaurants in town. You’ll all enjoy the new sights.

See ya soon!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dust Storm Makes National News

It was a DANDY dust storm!!! If you were watching any of the national news channels tonight, you no doubt heard about the super dust storm that swept across Phoenix. I’m sure there will be more news tomorrow describing the aftermath.

Jan Waters (currently up in Show Low) called us about 6:00 asking how we were weathering the storm. At that point, we said “what storm??” We hurriedly turned on the TV and were awestruck at the size of the dust cloud reaching over 60 miles wide and 5,000 feet high into the sky. Awesome!! No rain….just good old desert dirt. Wow!!

The radar showed that we would be on the trailing edge so we ran outdoors to search the sky. Sure enough…there it was on the horizon. All the neighbors came outside to watch the cloud approach. Then came the wind and dirt. Ya gotta love Arizona for all the adventure it provides! It is now about 7:30 and the brunt of the cloud is past us. We didn’t get much of it but it was a good sampling of what must have hit Phoenix in full force. I’ll venture out tomorrow to see if there was any damage in the park. At this point, I don’t think there will be.

Our son, Anton, is here visiting while he waits for his furniture to arrive at his new apartment here in Casa Grande. This was his first dust storm so he donned a face mask and had to stand outside for the experience. He was quite impressed!

P.S. Thank you, Jan, for calling us!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Update

Monsoon season is still rumbling around on a nightly basis. The last few nights have brought some awesome sky scenes. One part of the sky will be full of dark menacing threatening clouds with waves of lightning and constant rumble of thunder while if you turn and gaze in the opposite direction, you’ll see a lovely sunset or fluffy white whimsical clouds. It’s really strange and so mesmerizing. Don and I spend lots of evening time just sitting on the patio watching the lightning shows. Rain remains very sparse for us, however. We get a slight shower now and then but we’re still missing all the moisture.

We thank the park for all the fun summer activities this year. We’ll celebrate Labor Day by bringing our favorite hot or cold pasta dish for a park pasta pot luck. Plus we have a dessert & coffee night coming up, an ice cream social, a movie night, a salad night, plus (my favorite) another night of bingo.

A September newsletter brought information about the on-going construction and maintenance that’s happening in preparation for the upcoming season. Projects include refinishing the main spa and redoing the tile, painting the deck around both swimming pools, turning the pickleball courts on the west side and painting the poles at the pickleball/tennis courts, finishing the electric at the north pavilion, working on south tennis courts asphalt, street repairs and striping, replacing cables, and upgrading the phone system. Not to mention trimming every single palm tree within the resort! Whew!

Alice in Activities is also reminding everyone to turn in their favorite recipes so she can start working on our Palm Creek cook book.

Olive Garden is open and thriving!! The food is awesome! We drove past a couple times and opted to avoid the crowds but this weekend we decided it might be worth the wait. Glad we stopped because we got in quite fast. The place is much bigger on the inside than it looks. Had a lovely evening. Service was understandably a bit slow due to so many new employees, but the food was outstanding. It will be a very popular spot when all you snowbirds return.

LA Fitness in front of Palm Creek is open too. Haven’t stopped in yet to get a tour but there seem to be a good number of cars there when I drive past. Ha! Looking at all that exercise equipment doesn’t rank very high on my priority list.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monsoon Storm Damage

The monsoon storms are finally upon us! We’ve had some fantastic lightning shows with some good rain the last two nights. Last night was the strongest by far as we had 33+ mph winds from the straight north. Don, Anton, and I were outside watching the storm from the shelter of our patio. Mist from the heavy wind would occasionally blow in at us but then suddenly a HUGE gust of wind came out of nowhere . We ran for the front door but by the time we ran those few steps, we were absolutely soaking wet. The rain blow in under our awning all the way to the front door and we were drenched. I didn’t know you could get hit with a tidal wave during a rain storm.

This morning the park crews were out in force cleaning up the aftermath of aluminum that blew off awnings and roofs. I hopped in the golf cart with camera in hand to survey the damage. Neighborhood friends will be relieved to hear there was no damage in our immediate area.


There was roof and skirting damage at Site 1412 plus an electrical box was knocked over....either from the wind or from blowing debris. It left the north section of the park without electricity as I could hear generators running from the few RVs in the area. Will Updyke (our Maintenance Manager) was a busy beaver directing clean up crews and electrical repairmen.


The houses facing the softball field received the most damage...near Sites 25 - 30. Their patios face the open field where a wind sheer blew through.
Either the wind itself...or flying debris from the houses even knocked down the cinder block wall surrounding the pump station across the street.





We didn't have enough rain to flood the golf course but what rain we did have certainly came down in a hurry. Today the sky is clear, the sun is shining, the temperature is rising (again) and we're all safe. PLUS....we have some excitement to talk about. It's a good day.


Friday, August 08, 2008

08-08-08 Update

Friends say I should write on the blog more often as they like to read what’s new here in the park. Hmmmm….there’s hardly anybody here….it’s HOT….we haven’t had any rain to speak of in months….all the storms miss us….no monsoons….the doves are still mating….there are almost more rabbits than there are doves….and they’re still mating! That about sums it up. Oh…..did I mention that it’s HOT???

I had to write something though so I could date it as : 08-08-08

Have a great day!

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Books

We received a very pleasant surprise and generous donation to our Palm Creek library today. Phyllis and Mel Heckman shipped me four huge boxes of beautiful mint condition hardback novels. I lugged them up to the library tonight so they are now proudly on display waiting for our readers to turn their pages and enjoy some leisure reading hours. All you Nora Roberts and Nickolas Sparks fans can scurry up to the library for some great reading!! That was an awesome donation, Phyllis. Thank you very much from all of us bookworms at PC.

Our weather remains the same day after day, week after week this summer. HOT and sunny. We still haven’t had a good old monsoon worth mentioning and we’re getting desperate for rain.

The Fry’s Marketplace is quite awesome! I could never do regular grocery shopping there though because there’s too much to look at and I’d be way too distracted. I haven’t been up at that end of town in quite a while and was amazed at all the new construction. We may be in a housing recession, but retail stores are springing up all over the place. I’ll also mention how much we ALL appreciate having the Harkins Theatre in town. We’ve seen more shows this summer than we have in the last two years. Fun entertainment.

No other big news to report right now. Hope you’re enjoying your summer.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weather Report

You may have heard on the national weather report that Arizona (Phoenix) has had one heck of a monsoon rain this week. It’s very true. Tempe got a good 3 inches and just north of Florence got 4 inches of the wet stuff that occasionally falls from the desert sky. They had some filled up washes and a few flooded roads which is typical around here. We had a little rain here at the park too, but not even an inch total. No real “storm” for us so you don’t need to be concerned about your winter paradise. The wet weather has raised our humidity level to 46% though…..and we don’t like that! We’re not used to humidity. The temps are lower though….back under the triple digits so we take the good with the bad. Overall…..I still love it here.

The new Fry’s Marketplace is scheduled to open this week on north Pinal Ave. The paper says the store will feature a butcher shop, expanded wine shop, garden center, pool and patio, home fashions and furnishings, electronics and entertainment center, Nature’s Market nutrition center, Starbucks Coffee bar, service meat and seafood departments in addition to full grocery. I’ll have to take a trip over there once the mad rush is over.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A visit from Kevin

We had a wonderful surprise this past week when son, Kevin, came to visit us for a couple days. He is an over-the-road truck driver and was lucky to catch a delivery in Phoenix. Sure hope his company finds more loads in this area so we can see him more often. Kevin hadn’t seen our Wii games yet so we played for hours while he was here. He and Don played so long that Don finally quit because his arm and wrist were too sore.

We went to a couple movies at the Harkins Theatre and, of course, had to take Kevin to the Ah-So Steak & Sushi restaurant. We had a great time there. I dragged Kevin through a couple of the new mall stores, but his favorite was Best Buy where he could stock up on some new computer stuff. It’s great now that Casa Grande has much more to offer for entertainment and shopping.

Monsoon season is upon us so we get some cloudy sky once in a while plus a few drops of rain but no storms to report thus far. The temperatures have been HOT. I believe we’ve had 18 days of over 110 in the past month. It will be interesting to see what our electric bill hits. Ouch.

I think the baby owls have flown off to new nesting grounds as I’ve only seen Mom and Dad near the entrance hole for the past week or so. Time marches on.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Update

Monsoons
It’s official. Monsoon season is upon us. We had two days in a row of cloudy sky and a few brief minutes of rain. The first day brought some wind and cooler temps which were definitely appreciated. That night dropped down to low 70s so there were lots of us outside soaking in the cool air and breezes. It was a welcome relief after a long 11 day spell of over 110. Maybe it’s just psychological, but 101-105 seems bearable…but when the needle gets over 110…..it’s HOT. The brief storms weren’t anything to worry about. Don and I sat out on the patio to watch the lightning and enjoy Mother Nature’s theatrical act in the sky while we sipped on a couple of icy cold Amber Bocks.

Print and Pack Express
My boss, Vicki Stonebraker who owns Print and Pack Express where I work, is on “vacation” this week with her husband, Jack, and a handful of friends. I use the term vacation rather loosely as it certainly won’t be a restful time off. They’re flying to Tanzania Africa to hike up Mount Kilamanjaro. They’ve been working out every day for the last couple months to get themselves in shape for the expedition. More power to them I say. It’s certainly not my cup of tea but they’re really off to an exciting adventure. If you’d like to see some spectacular scenery, I’ll direct you to a website full of photographs after they return. At any rate, while they’re gone, I’m working full time to cover the store while they’re away. Whew! That makes for some long days….but I’ll have extra funds to spend at the casino when it’s all over!

Casa Grande Construction
This morning’s Dispatch announced that Olive Garden starts hiring July 1 and is scheduled to open August 4. Yahoo! The new manager is a woman who has been managing an Olive Garden in Tucson. Can’t wait for those delicious salads and breadsticks! Yum.

Our state legislature and the governor have okayed the construction of a huge amusement park to be built in Eloy. It should be completed by 2010 and will be themed as a Rock and Roll park….similar to a Six Flags type of thing. Maybe that’s why Casa Grande is building so many hotels. The Luxury Suites (extended stay) is opening 480 rooms plus a LaQuinta Inn wants to build over behind the Dairy Queen by Hiway 10. There is a huge Walgreen’s store under construction in front of Mission Royale across from the Promenade and they’re putting in the underground works for another 3-4 retail pads while they’re at it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bingo!

We had a nice turn out for our first summer activities this week. Many thanks to Diane Gaines and park management for hosting these events for us “year rounders” who aren’t scared away by the heat of the desert sun.

Sunday’s ice cream social provided a pleasant “social hour” to get together with neighbors and meet new friends. The only thing we had to bring was our favorite topping. With all those choices on the table, we built some delicious Sundaes! Yum!

Monday was Bingo!! A special “Thank You” goes to Flo Fillipi for hosting the event. I think I could write a whole article about Bingo and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Bingo is actually one of the biggest events held at Palm Creek as it occurs every Monday during season and involves several hundred people each week.

Palm Creek must obtain a special license to provide bingo on the premises and along with a license comes volumes of rules and the red tape of paperwork. Lori, a past Activities Director, went to the City Council to apply for the park's first bingo license many moons ago. As the park grew, Flo went back to the council for a second license. Did you know there is actually a State Department of Revenue—Bingo Division? They have the power to yea or nay a bingo license and they take in about 2.5% of the gross income generated from the games. What will bureaucracy think of next? Anyway….Flo takes care of all the paperwork and the reports that are required plus makes sure the licenses are renewed each year. She is the heartbeat of our bingo success.

Flo studies the official bingo rule book to make sure Palm Creek is in compliance and never comes in danger of license revocation. As the park grew and a second license was obtained, we were lucky to find another volunteer to head up that second license. A thank you also goes to Jackie Johnson (and hubby, Don who sometimes serves as supervisor on game nights or staffs the caller’s box). Flo and Jackie are responsible to make sure the “official” bingo rules are read at the beginning of each game. That’s why you will always hear them pleading for people to be quiet long enough for the “reading of the rules”. Our licenses dictate that the maximum we can award is $1,000 in one game and total for evening can not exceed $3,000. That is why sometimes we have to offer more chances to win jackpots because we can't exceed giving more than a $1,000 in a game. Flo did write a check once for $1,000 to a VERY lucky winner



Jackie (left), Flo (right), Linda (seated)

Flo and Jackie must round up enough volunteers to assist with each game. The ticket sellers, money handlers, and the caller must all be signed up on each license. That fat rule book specifically lists the duties of each position. That’s why you see the call back people who read off the numbers on a bingo card plus a separate person to hand out the prize money. A call back person can’t handle the cash. A bingo supervisor who sits at the back table as “judge” and counts the sale money can’t actually participate or play the game. I was really surprised to learn how many people it takes to make our bingo events a success. AND…..don’t forget those wonderful, generous, friendly folks who staff the kitchen each week. This year we were very fortunate to have Ted and Donna join our park. They staffed the kitchen EVERY week this past season.

Again…..a sincere thank you to Flo and Jackie plus their roster of volunteers who stage our bingo games. You folks provide laughter, entertainment, camaraderie, and FUN to hundreds of people week after week….year after year. I as an avid Bingo fan salute you.



Don Johnson.....Bingo Caller

P.S. Yes.....you must wear your name tag to bingo every time you play. Please don't ask to be excused from that rule as it applies to everyone. As the population of Palm Creek continues to grow, it is a very good idea to wear that name tag to ALL events.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Activities!

We have ACTIVITIES this summer at Palm Creek! This Sunday at 1:30 will be an ice cream social and Monday, June 16, is BINGO! We’re going to give it a try and see how many people turn out for the events. The Memorial Day picnic was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance. Those who attended were very pleased with the event and asked for more summer time activities.

Ice cream socials will be held at 1:30 on Sundays: June 15 and July 13.
Movie nights will be at 6:30 on June 25, July 23, August 18, and September 17.

Other events include:
July 4, 11:00 – Picnic Lunch
August 6, 4:30 -- Happy Hour
August 28, 6:30 – Desserts and Coffee

It’s really nice to have some “official” social events planned.

Other Palm Creek news involves some personnel changes. Pool rumors have it that Carolyn Jackson (Activities Director), Carrie (Park Model Sales), and Desiree (front reception desk) are no longer on staff. No announcements yet as to any replacements.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ah-So Steak and Sushi Bar

I extend a hearty welcome to the Ah-So Steak and Sushi Bar at the Promenade Mall. The place is awesome!!! We went there Saturday night with Bob and Bev Carte and had a wonderful time. You enter through the front door into a sports bar area and then have a choice to eat from the kitchen menu or the teppan menu.

Choose TEPPAN!! That’s where the chef cooks your meal over a huge grill at the center of your table. He puts on a very entertaining show during the process too. He can flip knives and spatulas like a juggler and entertains with the food and fire as he cooks. When he first oils the grill, he ignites the oil and flames shoot all the way to the ceiling. Awesome!

He fries the rice and vegetables and then cuts up the steak, chicken, shrimp, or lobster…whatever you order. Bev and I had steak and lobster and loved every morsel. The hot grill, spices, soy sauce, etc. really add a great flavor.

The sports bar by itself seems to be popular as we visited there again tonight after attending the Indiana Jones movie. It is a great location for dinner and a movie…..or in our case….movie and dinner. The place is a wonderful addition to Casa Grande. Be sure to add it to your “to do” list when you get back to town. (Next time I’ll take my camera.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Library News

WOW…our Palm Creek library hit paydirt today! I went up to do my nightly library chores (I seem to have volunteered to be the one and only summer librarian) and found that someone very kindly donated a whole arm load of great like-new hard back books. It was a great collection of authors too…..quite a few James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum, etc. Wish I knew who donated the books so I could send them a big thank you. Maybe they’ll read this blog and know how much we avid readers appreciate their generosity.

I think I’ll write this entire blog entry about our library and try to give credit to the list of volunteers who donate their time to keep the library neat and tidy. Every day someone comes in to return borrowed books to their proper place on the shelves plus check in the new donations. It sounds minor, but if it weren’t for their time, the place would be in shambles.

Our new Head Librarian is Pat Schurr. Pat has organized libraries at previous campgrounds and RV resorts along her RVing path and brought her expertise to Palm Creek. Pat, along with her “staff” of volunteers, made some great improvements to the bookshelves. The biggest task they tackled was putting new round labels on the spines of all the books. That was quite a chore! You’ll notice that the books all have the round label about an inch from the bottom of the book and contain the first three letters of the author’s last name. This really helps when you’re looking for a particular author or if you’re returning a book to its proper place on the shelf.



The library also received a new magazine rack this year. Why throw a good magazine away? Bring it to the library to share with other browsers. It’s fun to look through the varied collection of interests.

We’ve also accumulated a nice collection of audio books and large print books. I think I’ll check out an audio book for our next long car ride to Mexico to help pass the time.

With our library being a true “lending” library (meaning folks are asked to return the books when they’re done reading them), we have gathered a nice assortment of great reading material. I’m also amazed at the jigsaw puzzle fans in our resort. There is a huge collection of puzzles and there is usually at least one under construction at all times. Folks come in and work at the puzzle for a while. Then they leave and someone else fills in. Pretty soon the puzzle is complete and the next day there will be a new one started.

I’m surprised at how active the library is when the park seems so “empty” this summer. I kept a log of the activity this past week. I reshelved 58 books that had been returned and logged in 78 newly donated ones. That’s not counting the 32 new books that were donated yesterday! There may not be many people left in the park, but they sure are active readers.

Best Selling Authors to be found in our library: How many have you read???????

James Patterson Carl Hiaase Jonathan Kellerman Dean Koontz
Nora Roberts Patricia Cornwell Janet Evanovich Dick Francis
John Sandford JK Rowling Robert Ludlum Louie Lamour
John Grisham Larry McMurtry Tom Clancy Dale Brown
Clive Cussler Danielle Steel Ann Rule

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby Owls

I tried to get a photo of the three baby owls this morning but couldn't seem to hold the camera steady enough for a good shot with the telephoto lens. I would take a tripod, but I'm sure I'd get squashed by the oncoming traffic in the process. Of course, Mama Owl won't let us get very close before she herds the kids down the tunnel so this is my best shot. Sorry for the blurr.







Thursday, May 22, 2008

Weird Weather

What a difference a day makes!! Isn’t there a song about that?? Look at this temperature switch! From 108 yesterday at this time to 56 today. Weird weather….but we love it. It RAINED today!! Our first rain since early February! It smells wonderful. I even took off work early this afternoon so I could hurry home and sit on the patio to watch it rain….thunder and lightning and everything. Great stuff.

My other BIG news is that our owls have babies!! I've seen Mom, Dad, and three little fluffy critters outside the nest these last few days. Awesome! If I get a chance this weekend, I'll try to get a photo without getting too close.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Already?

May 19 marks our first day of triple digits for this year. The summer-like temperature just sprang up on the horizon without much warning but the weather man says it will drop back to normal by the weekend. I think this calls for a celebration and a trip to the swimming pool tonight.
We had a great fun-filled weekend as Donna and Larry Kraft came by for a short visit from their home in Sun City. They were certainly surprised to see all the new construction in Casa Grande so it was fun to tour them through the Promenade Mall area including a stop for lunch at Mimis.

After a few hours of golf, tennis, softball, and bowling at our Wii station, we settled down at the kitchen table for some serious Pegs and Jokers. I never saw anyone be as lucky at a game as Larry was that evening. The turkey would count how many spaces he needed to land me back to square one and then he would draw exactly that card. UGH!! And he did that time after time that night. Even though I was ready to throw something at him any moment, it provided for a fun and memorable evening. The girls managed to win the final playoff game so that’s all that really counts. Right??

I’m upset that I didn’t get out the camera for some nice reunion photos, but I did get a couple shots of our Wii tournament in the afternoon. For those who haven’t experienced a Wii station yet, it is really fun and gets all of us out of our chairs and into some action. Here are a couple pics of Don and Donna during their tennis match. With Donna’s tennis background, she proved to be a tough adversary.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Algodones Mexico

Don and I made a trip to Algodones Mexico yesterday for dentist appointments. Poor Don has an infected wisdom tooth that must come out and I want to get a couple crowns before I start having trouble. Based on our past history, we’re more than willing to make the long trip and save hundreds of dollars even considering the price of gas to get there. We have had great success stories from our past history with Dr. Ramos and can highly recommend him if anyone needs dental work while you’re here.

Neil and Rae Carr joined us for the excursion as they wanted new glasses and hadn’t been to Algodones before. It turned out to be a fun day. We took care of business first by seeing Dr. Ramos and making arrangements for upcoming appointments while Neil and Rae got their eye exams and picked out new frames. The easy part was getting the eye exam. The frustrating part was being patient with Rae while she tried on pair after pair of frames to find just the ones she liked. It was fun to join her in the hunt. Several of the Best Optical stores are related so you can exchange some of the frames between stores. We kept the clerks in both stores quite entertained as we bounced back and forth trying to make up our minds which pair Rae should pick. WE did a good job as her new frames look great on her.

Next, we had to peruse the many shops and stores along the strip and barter for a few jewelry pieces neither of us needed but it’s always fun to haggle for a good price. Now that most of the snowbirds are gone, the crowd was very thin and the merchants were eager to bargain.

The next stop was, of course, the cantina for lunch, margaritas, and some icy cold drinks. Our favorite stop is that little open cantina in the square where the music is loud, the waiters are buoyant, and the food (drinks) are pretty good. It was the perfect way to end our excursion……and there wasn’t even a line at customs upon departure! The last time we were there in February, the line was several blocks long waiting to exit. (Remember to take your passport with you.)

EXCITING NEWS!!! By this time next year, a huge new casino will be waiting for you! What a perfect location. They’re building a huge Quechan Casino right at the Algodones exit so it’s the perfect place to stop before and after doing your shopping. The sign says it will be done by spring of ’09 so it must be a big project. I’ll get some photos on our next trip…which will be this coming Wednesday for those dreaded dentist appointments. Woe is me. Wish us well.


Rae & Neil Carr (Notice how the size of Rae's drinks progress through these pictures.)












Monday, May 12, 2008

Merry Month of May

No exciting news, but just a few notes from us “year rounders”.

The weather continues to be wonderful although afternoons can hit high 90s. By that time of day though, we’re worn out from morning activities and it’s a good excuse to relax in the cool house before going out again when the sun slides down into the western sky. Nights still cool down to 60s for some awesome sleeping with the windows wide open. As we sat on the patio last night, well past dark, we commented on the fact that we’d never be able to do that back east because of mosquitoes. There aren’t very many annoying mosquitoes in our arid desert…at least at this time of year and away from the golf course with its freshly watered grass.

The Promenade Mall will always be in the news because there are new stores opening weekly. This weekend we explored the new World Market with all the goodies it brings our way. How exciting!

I really enjoy riding my bike around the park so I can observe the pretty cactus and various plants in bloom at this time of year. With the promise of the upcoming summer heat, the landscape crew has pulled all the pretty flowers at the entrance and at the four way stop by the rose garden. It’s always sad to see them go but we know they’d never survive the summer sun. I guess it’s like watching the last of the colorful autumn leaves as they fall from the trees. We just wait until the next season.

Speaking of pretty flowers, I must comment on RV Site 1614. I’m sure everyone who reads this will know which site I refer to as it certainly is the nicest spot in the park. I stopped to chat with Pam and Bud as they were preparing to leave for the summer. Pam was up on a ladder trimming the oleander trees at the time. I took a few pictures to show you what I mean by “the nicest spot”. Pam is very dedicated to her flowers and tends to them with great care. They respond by showing their best. Thank you Pam (and Bud) for adding to the appearance of the park. With your spot being right on Cole Circle, many folks pass by and enjoy the view.







Monday, April 21, 2008

April 2008

Ahhhhh….Spring time in Arizona. 80s by day, 50s by night and LOTS of sunshine. I love it here and April is the best month of the whole year.

The resort has really emptied out as snowbirds head for distant places or scurry on home. The organized activities have all but ceased. Still there are folks up in the card rooms at night and the courts are still active during the day but the big crowds are definitely gone.

Spring time brings the cactus plants into blossom … especially the famous Argentine cactus with its huge 8” diameter flowers. Attached is a photo from Jan Waters’ “little guy” plant that is in its first year of bloom. This little plant is quite a show off for its size! Seven blossoms! Congratulations, Jan and George.
My big news! Don and I went to the Ak-Chin casino Sunday to check out their rebuilt Bingotainment center. The building was shut down all season due to a fire and just reopened last week. Since Bingo is done here at the park for the season, I was eager to hit the casino. Lo and Behold….I got to yell BINGO and I won $1,000 jackpot!! Yahoo!!! I am still sooooo excited.

The Promenade Mall is still prospering and opening new stores. This week’s Casa Grande Dispatch lists the following to open in May: Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, Tilly’s, and Victoria’s Secret. Fashion Bug, Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, Famous Footwear, Cost Plus World Market, Ah-So Steak & Sushi. Aeropostale is a specialty retailer selling casual apparel for young people. Tilly’s sells surf, skate and motocross clothing. Red Brick Pizza will likely have a summer opening and Olive Garden is well under construction but an opening date hasn’t been announced yet. You can monitor progress of the stores at this website: http://www.promenadeatcasagrande.com/.

Since this site is now linked to the Palm Creek blog, I will try to keep my personal happenings on another link called “Sue's Journal”. Friends and family can check there for “Hepler” news and I’ll keep this site strictly for any summer Palm Creek updates. I’ll be sure to have my camera battery charged and ready for the summer storms to come. Hope you’re having safe and happy travels. For those of you who haven’t yet heard about the Palm Creek blogspot, be sure to check it out. There are some great photos from this past season’s events. http://www.palmcreek.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

On the Road Again

Our park is slowly emptying out as folks head home or on the road to their next adventure. Every year we question "why" they leave so soon because April seems to be the best month to be in Arizona. The weather is just perfect! 80 by day and cool 50s at night. Awesome! I've already heard from one friend who made it back to Wisconsin just in time for a spring snow storm. Ha!!

Rapid progress is being made for the new LA Fitness Center being built in the once open field on Florence Boulevard in front of Palm Creek. Since I happen to work at a very busy printing company here in Casa Grande, I get to see blueprints for almost all the new structures coming to town. The Fitness Center will host 45,000 square feet of space! That's big. Plans are to have it completed by October. The contractor is also completing underground work for other potential occupants in that area. The plans look like there could be about 5-6 other buildings. No one has announced any plans yet, but the sewer, drainage, etc. will be in place for other stores or businesses should they decide to move in.

The new Sports Authority store opened in the promenade mall this week. They had some great bargains and there was a $25 coupon in the weekend newspaper. Don was among those that hurried down there, coupon in hand, and bought some new golf irons. We'll add that store to our favorite "toy" purchasing list. On Sunday, Sports Authority invited one of the Phoenix Suns basketball players to be present for autograph signing. WOW!! We drove by and saw hundreds of people lined up along the street just waiting for that autograph. The line stretched from Sports Authority....all the way down and around the corner to Bed Bath & Beyond. For those who don't know the layout of the mall.....that's the equivalent of several city blocks. Quite a turnout!

Many of you have noticed the big yellow "zoning" signs that are posted across the street from our Palm Creek entrance on Henness Road. Plans are in place for a developer to build a 400 unit senior care center there. I believe about 200 units will be independent living units, another section for assisted living, and a separate alzheimer's unit. The drawings look like it will be a very attractive building.

The part I'm most interested in......is watching out for the burrowing owls that currently reside on that acreage. I've been in touch with the Wild At Heart agency that will probably be contracted to move the owls. They assure me they will notify me when "moving day" occurs so I can be present with camera in hand to witness the capture. I promise to keep everyone posted on the outcome. I have links to some great websites that show how the owls are moved and how the new nest sites are built for the owls. Just scroll down through my previous blog updates to view them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Verde Canyon Railroad

Hello Again!

It has been a fun-filled action-packed season. Everyone I talk to “complains” about how busy they are and how hard it is to schedule so many activities and events. Of course, they’re “complaining” with big smiles on their faces.

I opened the Palm Creek Happenings newsletter this week and read about the tour group going on the Verde Canyon Railroad ride. I’ve wanted to do that tour since I first read about it in Arizona Highways magazine several years ago. On impulse, I called Marilyn at Gallagher’s tours and was happy to find a few seats still available.

On Thursday, March 6, Don and I boarded a very nice tour bus at Mission Royale at 9:00 a.m. There were other “Creekers” present also and we were soon chatting and joking as good friends looking forward to the adventures of the day. The three hour bus ride was very pleasant and comfortable. Don really seemed to enjoy reclining back in his chair while someone else did the driving for a change. We made a quick stop north of Phoenix at a shopping plaza for coffee and Marilyn treated all of us to fresh donuts once we got back on board.

We arrived at the Clarkdale train station where we teamed up with quite a few other tour buses of passengers. I was glad we were with a tour at this point so we didn’t have to battle the long lines at the lunch counter. We just followed behind Marilyn and she lead us to our car where all the reserved seats were held for our group. As soon as we got seated, she handed out our yummy sack lunches.

The train itself is old but in good condition. We soon learned that luxury seats aren’t necessary as most of us immediately headed out to the open air viewing cars and spent most of the trip there. We were lucky to have such a beautiful spring day so all we needed was a light jacket and a strong battery in our cameras. The ride is through some of Arizona’s finest wilderness area. No towns or city sights came into view. There were just miles of beautiful hills, red rock, rambling streams, and high cliffs with an occasional bald eagle thrown in for accent. The train traveled at a leisurely 10-15 miles per hour so we could easily enjoy the beautiful scenery. It is a two hour trip to the ghost ranch of Perkinsville where the train switched track and brought us back again.

We had dinner at the Sizzler Steakhouse in Cottonwood and then boarded our bus for the ride home. Since it was too dark to enjoy the scenery on the way back, we were treated to a movie on the coach tv system. It was a great day! I can now cross off another item on my “Bucket List”.