May 2011
By May 1 the population at Palm Creek was almost invisible...and we liked it!  As of that day the golf course pro shop was closed and play on the course was priced just!  Tom and three buddies were at the first tee by 6:00 each morning and had their 18 holes played by about 8:30...just about the time the temperatures started
getting hot.  Mary's group played tennis on Tuesdays and Thursdays and golf the other days, but they were a little slower to get going and gathered at 7.  The population
being what it was, we could play at our own pace and when they drained the creek and ponds for a little maintenance there was time to gather golf balls from along the banks.
Let us know if you need any - we have all sorts of brands and colors :-)
We went in search of adventure one day and drove to Yuma, AZ and then across into California and south to the Mexico border.  We parked the car in the large lot operated
by the local Indian tribe and walked across into Los Algodones, Baja California.  This is a popular destination for snowbirds.  Friends who had been here during the past
several months had told of really crowded streets and shops and hours-long lines at Customs to return to the US.  If you wait till May, it's "good news- bad news" - there are
absolutely no lines --  but you are the prime targets for all the vendors!  Our main objective was a dental check-up with a dentist recommended by several of our Palm Creek
neighbors.  That was accomplished easily and we plan to return in October for Mary to have some "preventive maintenance" work completed at about 1/3 the cost of the
estimate we were given in Casa Grande.
The Palm Creek kitchen staff prepared and served a wonderful Mother's Day dinner.  We were among about 100 people who enjoyed a tasty Chicken cordon-bleu meal with
all the trimmings.  Each of the Moms was given a rose and a card as well.  We are always amazed that at a gathering like this that we can be seated with a group of people we
don't remember seeing and have never met but we have all been coming to the park for several years.  Guess that's what happens in such a big place.  Our dinner
companions were a great group and the conversation was lively. One was even familiar with our son Reid's big project in West Virginia!   We'll be on the lookout for our new
friends next season.
Those few of us that were left in the neighborhood continued to work on our checklists of "things to do before we leave."  By doing a few little things each day, it wasn't a
difficult project.  As we cleaned out closets, cupboards, bins and boxes in the RV and in our shed, we made frequent trips to the dumpsters and to donate to the Salvation
Army.  Small repairs were made.  We had the carpets cleaned.  Fluids and pressures were checked.  Parts and seals were cleaned and lubed.  We enjoyed a "last supper"
with our good friends the Spencers on May 1, Shafers on May 11, and Wells' on May 13 the night before their departures.  Mary worked on a few last projects for the
activities office and they are now closed up for the summer.  Our "section" of the park has about 250 units and we think about 10 of them were now occupied!  One thing we
did notice this spring is that more and more people are leaving their RVs stored on a site for the summer, rather than taking it up north with them.
Our checklist finally was completed and all but two or three of our closer buddies had departed, so on Tuesday, May 17 we pulled the plugs, stowed our cables and hoses
and after one last free round of golf and a tennis match...we were on the road once again!   This year we seem to be retracing part of our route from 2008.  We really miss our
stop in Las Cruces, NM as Mary's cousin no longer lives in that beautiful area, but we headed out on I-10 east to I-25 and up to Albuquerque where we enjoyed the
hospitality of the Hard Rock Casino.  As we departed the east side of Albuquerque, we were greeted with large white fluffy stuff on the windshield....snowflakes!!!   Luckily
they didn't last long as we descended from the mountain elevation to the flats of the Midwest plains.  From there we travelled on I-40 across into Texas and Oklahoma.  We
could probably call this our "casino tour" as we took advantage of free RV parking at the Fire Lake Grand Casino in Shawnee, just east of Oklahoma City, the Downstream
Casino on the west side of Joplin, MO (where we decided against an extra night's stay and departed just a couple of hours before the tragic tornado hit  --  whew!), Harrah's
Casino in St. Louis (where the storm caught up with us) and the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI.  In OKC and Joplin we even had electric and water hookups.  We truly
appreciate the hospitality of these casinos and their large open parking lots.  We used our extra day in the travel schedule in Michigan and did a tour of the outlet mall just
west of us in Michigan City, IN.
Everybody always asks about the weather in Arizona in May.  It was wonderful this year.  Its a shame that most people leave around April 1, because that's when the weather
is the best.  The nights are cool and the days bright and sunny.  We didn't run our A/C much (hope our final power bill reflects that!) and we had the windows open at night
and a good part of the day.  It really is a "dry heat," folks...the humidity was 2% for several days, then went up to about 10%.  So, when the temperature is up in the 90s, it is
bad only if you are out working hard in the sun....and as retired folks we try not to do that!  
We parked our car in the lot on the right and walked across this
not so impressive border crossing into Mexico.  The unfinished
construction is on the Mexico side.
The US Border Patrol was using mirrors to look on the
under-side of vehicles leaving the US.
A colorful table was set and the food was delicious for our Mother's
Day dinner with LaVon, Gary, Linda, Willie and Sharon.
One last happy hour before Alice and Dick headed to Washington
and Dennis and Connie left for Texas and Arkansas.
Boy, was there a lot of sand collected on the wheel covers...just one
of our chores before hitting the road.
The peacock strutted up around lots of houses and across
the golf course throughout the park.
Mama Duck and her eight or so little ones stayed closer
to water..I didn't have the camera when they swam past
us one day.
The usual wildlife within Palm Creek consists of rabbits, doves, roadrunners and some fish in our ponds.  The rabbits eat lots of flowers.  The doves leave a mess and will
make a nest anywhere.  The roadrunners are fun to watch (and difficult to photograph as they move so fast).  But during our last week at Palm Creek we came across
some new and rather unusual "residents" within the park.....a  colorful peacock and a family of ducks.  We're not certain where they came from or how long they will stay,
but it was fun to see them.
On Wednesday, May 25 we moved from New Buffalo to the Berrien Springs Youth Fairgrounds, a little less than an hour away and connected with our good friends, Kathy
and Dennie Dew who had driven their motorhome up from our old hometown area of Toledo, OH.  They are fairly new RVers and we invited them to attend the Great Lakes
Area Spring Spree (GLASS) Rally of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).  We had attended this rally, which is always in Berrien Springs over Memorial Day Weekend,
many times over the years and always found it to be great fun and definitely informative so we thought Kathy and Dennie might enjoy it as well.  We had scheduled our
coordinated arrival so that we would be parked together at the fairgrounds and also so that we could attend a really great seminar on our first afternoon.  However, we were
greeted at the gate with a giant thunderstorm, the gate was closed down and parking was delayed about two hours.  We were eventually parked in what turned out to be a
great place in the fairgrounds, but missed our first seminar.
Our five nights at the Rally turned out to be just as we expected  -- and more!  Even though we'd been to many of the seminars in the past, we managed to pick up new and
updated information on various topics.  We surfed through the vendor buildings several times and managed to come away with a few purchases.  We ran into quite a few old
RVing friends that we had met through the years, but hadn't seen in a while.  The evening entertainment was great.  We had some wonderful meals and discussions about
RV topics with our good friends, who also picked up a lot of useful information.  The Memorial Day ceremony was a moving tribute to our Veterans!    But, then there was the
weather!    From the time we had arrived in Michigan till we left the rally a week later, we had not seen the sun.  We had faithfully worn our rubber raincoats the entire week
because we really needed them.  Each day the rains came and made life miserable for us all.  Luckily the temperature was fairly decent and sitting in the open but covered
grandstand in the evening wasn't too bad if you were dressed properly.  Then on Sunday afternoon all of the RVs were evacuated by shuttles to the nearby Middle School as
storm watches turned into tornado warnings.  We actually rode out the evacuation in another brick building where we just happened to be attending a seminar.  Luckily all
we got was heavy rain and wind.  Leaving the fairgrounds on Memorial Day many people had to be towed from their parking spots, but we had been parked parallel to a nice
paved road and were able to get out easily.  Using the dump station, however, was another story.  We were proud of ourselves for having gone a week without needing to
empty our holding tanks, but we had to join a slow moving line that inched its way through some nasty sludge.  Sadly, the FMCA had turned the beautiful Berrien County
Youth Fair into a rutted mud pit.
Leaving Berrien Springs on Memorial Day, we headed east to Jackson, MI to visit Mary's mother.  Along the way we noticed an area that had been badly hit by Sunday's storm
- with fallen and uprooted trees across a wide path.  According to news reports there were still a number of Michigan residents without power.  We once again had escaped
the wrath of some really nasty weather.  Arriving in Jackson, we took our usual spot at the curb in Mom's condo neighborhood and waved to all the neighbors who have
come to know us by our big green bus.  As we write this, we have cleaned a little of the mud off our vehicles, caught up on some laundry, tackled a few chores for Mom and
are enjoying our visit.  By the end of the week we'll be moving on to Ohio and beyond.  Stay tuned!
At the G.L.A.S.S. Rally we enjoyed a variety of
entertainment starting with "Three Men and a Tenor" a
fun quartet who had started out in Michigan.  They made
a lot of jokes about their tenor - the short one on the right!
"The Redhead Express" started out in Alaska as "The
Walker Family," but now calls Nashville home...Mom,
Dad and seven kids are extremely talented singers and
instrumentalists...a fun show!
The Bobby Bowen Family Ministries entertained us
Sunday morning.  Three of their five kids also
participate in their great performances.  They came
in their RV from Tennessee.
Ann Stewart and a quartet of Dixieland musicians came
from Chicago to play some great music for us as well.
We took this photo of the Dew's and our rig during a "dry spell" of
the week...the puddles were low.
We enjoyed the annual spaghetti dinner with our good friends
Kathy and Dennie Dew, Jacques Everhart and Jo Gettys
We've been going to FMCA rallies for
12 yrs.  Jacques finally won a door
prize--a bag of Minute Rice,
measuring spoons,pencils and
Meanwhile - in San Diego -
Dew's son Darin and our son
Reid were having a reunion on
the beach.  They hadn't seen
each other in several years.
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The sun appeared just in time for the
Memorial Day Ceremony at the end
of the rally.  The school band led a
parade of Veterans/RVers to attend a
flag ceremony and  tribute.