November 2014
As November got started, we were "on the road" in search of warmer and drier weather.  We had started out in Michigan on October 30, but it was quite a way into November
before we achieved our goal.  Our first stop was
in Vandalia, IL for a chilly night at "Camp Walmart."  The next night found us at the Downstream Casino west of Joplin, MO..a
regular stop as we travel this route. We were thankful for utility hookups here as it was still pretty cold out.  Next on the list was the Grand Casino in Shawnee, OK, east of
Oklahoma City.  We ended up spending two nights here because of a fierce wind on the morning of our anticipated departure...and again we were thankful for hookups.  From
here we took a new turn on the route and drove south from the Oklahoma City area on I-35 to Exit 1 in Oklahoma, just a short drive north of Dallas.  Here we stayed at the WinStar
World Casino which is operated by the Chickasaw Indians.  Their RV park is great and since it was our first time there, it was free.  The shuttle driver told us that the walk from one
end of the casino to the other is a mile and a half...it did take us quite a while to walk it!  We ended up staying here a second night as well because of an all-day pouring rain.
Once we left Winstar we finally made it to Abilene, TX.  The Big Country RV Park was quite muddy, thanks to several days of rain they had received, but we were happy to be able to
spend a few days visiting our daughter Ann and her family.  We had seen the family in Michigan in July and again at Reid's wedding last month...but it was nice to be able to visit
without a heavily planned agenda.  Our first few days there were somewhat warm and Tom supervised Matt while he was able to hang the outdoor Christmas lights.  Veteran's Day
was our last day there and we bundled up for a stop at the Wylie High School Stadium to attend the Wylie Gold Band performance saluting those who had served in the military.  
Granddaughter Coffey and her fellow band members placed in the top 20 at the Texas State Marching Band Competition several weeks earlier.
After a week in Abilene we were once again rolling down the Interstate.  Our next stop was in Van Horn, TX where the Mountain View RV Park was already all decked out for
Christmas and then it was on to Las Cruces, NM.  In Las Cruces were were excited to park at the home of Mary's cousin, Geoff and his wife Beth.  We had visited Geoff and Beth
several times a few years back, but they had moved to Virginia for several years and then this past summer moved back into their New Mexico home.  We spent three nights
parked in their driveway and thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing visit with time to catch up on all sorts of family events.  Geoff brought out some old family movies that he'd had put on a
DVD and we relived some childhood moments as well.
With Las Cruces behind us, we headed on west towards Arizona.  We encountered more wind that day, so took a travel break for several hours in Deming.  The wind finally died
down and we took to the road once again, finally crossing into Arizona and making it to the Desert Diamond Casino south of Tucson, in Sauharita.  It was warming up a bit, so we
didn't have any major problems without utility hookups here.  From Desert Diamond it was a short drive south to Green Valley, which we made in the car the next morning to visit
with former Palm Creek neighbors, June and Art Nelson.  June recently had knee replacement surgery and was getting along great.  Their daughter Lisa was visiting to help out
around the house, and served us a tasty treat of muffins and pastry to add to a great visit.  We look forward to seeing June and Art again later this winter.
From Green Valley we drove back to the casino and re-connected the car to the RV and made the short drive on to Casa Grande and Palm Creek Golf and RV...our winter home.  It
was great to see all the neighbors once again...and strange being the last ones to arrive in our neighborhood, instead of the first.  We seem to be a little "slower" every year at
getting settled, but we started in on the chores, with the workers arriving on our second morning to wash the vehicles and we started unpacking the basement storage bins and
our shed and rearranging things for the winter stay.  We found the tennis racquets and played in a social tournament and shared a pizza supper with our tennis buddies.  Mary
rejoined the ladies golf league and we had a fantastic round of golf with our buddies Harry and Marilou.  We started our round of doctor checkups and checked out the changes in
the park and in town as we ran errands to get "stocked up" and organized once again.
Thanksgiving Day found us participating in our neighborhood tradition...a potluck on the patio.  There were 22 of us sharing the wonderful dinner...strangely, 6 of us were
Americans and the other 16 were Canadians who had celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.  But, any excuse for a party!!!  And we are all thankful for the opportunity to share
our friendship and this great place to spend the winter together.   We had two delicious turkeys - both cooked by fantastic Canadian chefs - and lots of tasty side dishes.  We
couldn't have asked for better weather as it was 80* and sunny...and the weather continued through the last several days of the month.
Now, we'll continue getting settled and back into our winter activities and look
forward to the Christmas season.
The Quapaw Indians raise buffalo at the Downstream Casino property.
A Chickasaw Indian guards the
entrance to the Winstar Casino.
They knew it was early November, but the weather was good for
hanging the lights.
The Wylie Gold Band gave a moving patriotic performance on Veteran's Day.
The wind farms were working overtime as we drove through Texas.
We had a great time visiting with Beth and Geoff in Las Cruces.
Finally!!  We made it back to Arizona!
It was a fantastic visit in Green Valley with June and Art.
Thanksgiving wasn't a formal affair...but the food was delicious and the
company of friends was fantastic!
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