Returning to Pickleball Paradise

October 24, 2018 – April 1, 2019

Yep this one covers a lot of time 🙂 but you’ll soon understand why.

We were worn out after our busy summer (two trips to the Northwest from the Southwest, nine national parks, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and a jaunt to Kansas). So during October we called to bump up our arrival at Palm Creek to December. Not long after that we called again and bumped it to the beginning of November. So in true Palm Creek fashion (ask anyone who’s stayed there and they’ll confirm this is the norm), this year we planned to stay three months and ended up there for five. Last year we planned to stay one month and stayed three so I guess we’re right on track. 

Lost Dutchman

Before arriving in Casa Grande, we spent a week at Lost Dutchman State Park soaking in the cactus views. Unlike our stay here in October 2017 (https://wordpress.com/post/kenneysseeamerica.com/4678), the weather was warm but not hot, so our spacious spot in the no hook-up loop was perfect.

We mostly enjoyed lazy days taking in the views from our lounge chairs, but one afternoon our daughter, who moved to the area last May, came out to visit with her boyfriend and puppy. We grilled up fajitas for a yummy feast.

The changing light on the the Superstition Mountains in the evenings was especially beautiful. 

Palm Creek

We weren’t sure what to expect arriving in November at Palm Creek. The park was fairly empty but we enjoyed the quiet, slower pace and the weather was perfect. Most folks come here to escape the winter back home, but for us coming here felt a bit like coming home. When you are constantly moving it feels good to return to a place where you know what to expect, can shop at a familiar grocery store, and drive in a town you don’t need a GPS to navigate.

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We were welcomed back by a spectacular sunset.

We soon relaxed into days centered around friends and pickleball. Chuck volunteered to  coach a few of the round robins and mentor some of the beginning players. We appreciated the help we received last year and he thought he’d pay it forward. Soon he was spending 4-5 hours a day down at the courts coaching, playing and putting in extra practice. His game quickly improved and he moved up a level. I tried to ease into things but before long I was playing 5 days a week too. Although Chuck said he was going to play golf this year and I thought I’d maybe try pottery or silversmithing, we both got too busy with pickleball to do much else, but I did volunteer again at the local school.

Like the rest of the country we had a wetter and colder winter which often cancelled pickleball and limited outdoor gatherings. We celebrated Thanksgiving by hosting a couple at our trailer, went to our daughter’s for Christmas, and managed to squeeze two other couples inside our trailer for New Year’s.

By January the park was filling up and pickleball kicked into high gear in preparation for the club tournament the first week of February.

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Laurie and I playing in the members tournament.

My parents came to watch and we enjoyed cheering on friends. I even managed to pick up another medal with my talented partner, Laurie, a fellow Washingtonian we met last year. 

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Palm Creek always has something going on and we enjoyed all the gatherings in the park.

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Buying ducks at one of the parties in the park.

The big Cancer Awareness Weekend brought duck races in the canal and a parade around the park.

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The volunteers fishing out the ducks before they get in the pond.
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The local high school marching band led the parade.
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Decorated golf carts carried cancer survivors.
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Cancer Awareness Weekend culminated with a hot air balloon glow at Palm Park.

New this year were several food truck nights. I had my first taste of Pupusas and grilled plantains. Yum!

Similar to last year, once we got settled in we didn’t head out to explore the area much. We made it to the Queen Creek Olive Mill for a yummy meal and bought some rosemary olive oil and fig balsamic reduction that were amazing! Too bad it was an hour’s drive away or perhaps that was a good thing. After a nice lunch with out daughter at the Big House Cafe, we discovered these murals in downtown Casa Grande depicting the town’s history. 

Mostly we just hung around Palm Creek playing pickleball and enjoying friends and several visits with our daughter.

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Hanging out with pickleball friends.

Wow, five months seemed to fly by. This is the longest we’ve been in one spot since we hit the road nearly 3 years ago.

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We looked at a few of the houses here, but neither of us is ready to give up our adventurous life. We’ve still got so much to see, including plans to head to Alaska this summer. But we did book five months again for next winter. Hmmm wonder if that means we’ll stay for seven. 😉

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We had so many amazing sunsets!

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