They say getting there is half the fun. Sometimes, but not always. On our way through West Texas, the Flying J station that purportedly had dedicated site for motorhomes to park in didn't actually have them, so we ended up driving into the sunset, finally stopping at the last exit in Texas at another Flying J, which did have spaces for us in which to park.
When last we left things, our bedroom slide was back to better than it ever was, and we were headed to the Phoenix area for a month.
But first, a little diversion.
Since we were staying at the Pima County Fairgrounds RV park, we decided to check out one of the various shows and events they host there on a regular basis. One was an animatronic dinosaur show that Jace would have loved to see, but we passed on that. The other was a relatively small (for us, anyway) RV show put on by the local LaMesa RV dealership. Now, we have no intention of upgrading to a newer or different unit, but we're suckers for an RV show.
So we're looking through some bigger diesel motorhomes, most of them Tiffins, and remarking that the prices seemed pretty reasonable, when suddenly we see a sticker on the unit that we're in. It's NOT a new Tiffin diesel motorhome, but a 2018 resale! Then we suddenly realize that ALL the “reasonably” priced diesel models were 2020 or older resales!
Now, the reason we're shocked is that we have always been told that RV's are a depreciating asset. In our history with them, they ALWAYS lose value once they're driven off the lot. No so (apparently) in the topsy-turvy, post-COVID world where everything has been turned upside down. Five year-old motorhomes are worth more than, or at least equal to, the price they were new (including ours, btw). Never thought I'd ever see that.
Now it's time for a month in blessedly warmer weather. Casa Grande, AZ is about 40 minutes south of the Phoenix area; a reasonable drive to see my brother Doug and sister-in-law Tracey, but far enough away to save some money on resort fees. And instead of a “campground”, we get to stay in an actual “resort” for a month.
What's the difference between a campground and a resort, you ask? Usually a pool and a working hot tub. And a 30% increase in cost. But I digress . . .
Casa Grande RV Resort is nestled in the outskirts of the small town of Casa Grande. It's an older, but relatively well-maintained park. The sites are wide enough that you don't feel like you can hear your neighbor showering in the morning (I hear that's a thing), and the staff for the most part goes out of their way to help. Like the front desk person at check-in who insisted I owed $200 LESS than they had quoted me just two days earlier when I made our reservations. Hating surprises, I decided to point out her error rather than take the win, because I knew it would catch up with me later on. And true to it's designation as a “resort”, it has two pools – one for adults only and one for families - and a working hot tub!
They also get high marks for having multiple events to keep their snowbirds happy each day, including a free breakfast every weekday. French toast Monday's were the resident favorite, btw. The other weekdays revolved around pancakes or waffles. You know you're truly retired when your schedule revolves around free or discounted food, like French toast Mondays or getting to the Golden Corral before 5 o'clock for the Senior Special.
Grover got a chance to lose some weight when he accompanied us on long and swift walks around the campground. He had recently been declared “obese” by his vet and put on weight management food. So walking was good for both him and us. He also made many new friends of the human variety and a few of the canine variety at the dog park.
Arizona, like West Texas, has a stark beauty all it's own. It's not only a “Miles and miles of miles and miles” thing, but much of the scenery isn't found anywhere else in the US.
Saguaro National Park is home to one of the densest concentrations of Saguaro Cacti in the US. Some of these can reach as tall as three stories high, and can have a dozen or more arms poking out in any direction. Holes found high up in the cactus are homes drilled out by birds to provide shelter from the heat and desert predators. The drive through the national park is full of dips and rises, but there is no shortage of bike riders getting their exercise in some beautiful scenery. Lot's of pull-overs to stop and view the unique natural beauty of this park.
Our visit in Arizona also brought us to a walking tour of Biosphere II, an experiment to see how long humans could live in an enclosed space without any outside assistance. Created way out in the boonies, Biosphere was an interesting concept that almost worked. Even though it didn't enjoy complete success, it advanced our knowledge of self-sustainable environments and is paving the way for new experiments that will help us learn about Planet Earth on a micro scale. I could never handle living in Biosphere. No meat protein.
In the middle of our Arizona stay, we made a relatively short trip over to Gila Bend to visit with Tiffin friends Joe and Susan Pierce. We met them in Red Bay a while ago while we were both undergoing warranty service on our new coaches. Really nice people. While in Gila Bend, we all visited the Space Age Restaurant for lunch. It's a totally retro place with lots of shiny metal booths, and a pretty good menu of burgers and other sandwiches. While there, I met a new friend . . .
One final place we visited was the Casa Grande Ruins. About 700 years ago, indigenous people inhabited an area about 40 miles southwest of where the city of Casa Grande now stands. These people lived, farmed and built amazing structures – some of which were 3 stories high! – in which to live. Their history is short (they moved away suddenly and without much notice), but they left a legacy that is still being investigated today.
A couple of visits with my brother, Doug, and it was time to head back east.
Next: The interesting trek back to Georgia . . .
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We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.