Our Southwest Snowbird Tour – The Last Week

Snow on the hills, BLM near Cottonwood, Az
Snow on the hills, BLM near Cottonwood, Az
Our escape through the mud from the BLM boondocking area near Cottonwood, Arizona was timely, another couple of hours and we may have been stuck for days. Our overnight stop at Cliff Castle Casino was quiet except for occasional rain, no semis traveling in and out through the night as can be the case at some casinos.
We woke to low clouds, fog and 40F temperatures, brrrrrrrrrr. Not accustomed to the cold after many weeks of warmth. That’s the desert during winter and spring, one day you’re baking the next you’re freezing.
Our destination today is Sunflower RV Resort in Surprise, Az on the out skirts of Phoenix. A well-appointed resort with all the amenities and entertainment one could want.
Sunflower RV Resort Surprise AZ.
Sunflower RV Resort Surprise AZ.
Spending a week or two in Sunflower Resort is a great way to end our spring Snowbird tour. The temperature by the end of March is in the upper 80’s perfect for lounging around the pool, golf, pickle ball, major league baseball spring training or patio dinners, it’s that summer time feeling.
January through March is prime time for the southwest, all the RV resorts are booked. We made our reservation several weeks prior and lucky to find a spot.
A week in Sunflower costs around $350 or $1000 for a month during peak season, about $33 per night. This is the only money we will spend on our Snowbird tour this spring.
Boondocking is relatively free compared to the cost of staying in an RV resort. Even though there is a cost to set up your rig, such as solar panels, back up generator power, water bladder for transporting fresh water, and portable sewer tank.
A few weeks or even a month in an RV Resort would be maximum for Lynda and I. It’s not that we don’t like people, but after an extended stay in an RV resort we seek out more space and privacy.
The drive from Cliff Castle Casino to Sunflower RV Resort was uneventful, the best kind of drive. We left the casino early in anticipation of arriving early, setting up, having a long hot shower and doing laundry.
As we descended into the Pheonix Valley the morning mist dissipated and the temperature climbed into the 80’s. By 10:30 we arrived at Sunflower and checked in. Unfortunately, Mike and Kris’s RV spot was not close to us they ended up two streets away.
Our week in Sunflower was very enjoyable. Golfing, enjoying several dinners out, pickle ball, swimming and relaxing around the pools.
Sunflower RV Resort Pool
Sunflower RV Resort Pool, Surprise Arizona
The weather couldn’t have been better. The Tiki Bar near the pool was a hit, we spent several evenings enjoying the music and dancing to the latest oldies group.
The whole experience was special for Kris and Mike, this was their first Snowbird tour. I think they fell in love with the concept, especially the great weather of the southwest.
Mike with Kris & Lynda enjoying March weather in Arizona
Mike with Kris & Lynda enjoying March weather in Arizona
Our last week in Arizona flew by and soon we were planning the trip home. I usually like to travel during the week, weekend traffic can be heavy near the major centers.
Our route will take us north on highway 60, then highway 93 and 95 back to 93, through Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and back into BC.
The drive home takes about 24 hours, 3 1/2 days is about right, 6 to 7 hrs per day. Our first trips south were not as relaxing, it was hell bent for leather down and the same back. A great way to make time, the problem is, by the time we arrive we’re bushed and need a couple of days to recoup.
The three nights on the way home are usually free, one night at Walmart, one night at a casino and one night at a wildlife refuge. We arrived home April 6 to cool temperatures, clouds, and showers.

The Bucket List Trip

Now that we are home and settled it’s time to continue planning our next trip. This is a trip I’ve day dreamed of my entire adult life. It is definitely a trip of the bucket list variety.
I first sprung the idea on Lynda and the rest of the group a couple of years ago. The reception was cool but no one was totally against the idea. Their reaction was encouraging, they listened attentively as I described my plan.
My first hurdle was to convince Lynda, it took her a while to wrap her head around it, but once she did there was no turning back.
Convincing the rest of the group, however was not as easy, the two other couples, Ralph & Lois, Henry & Allyson, voiced concerns about the length of the trip, elderly parents, grandchildren, the cost, vehicle issues, RV concerns, negotiating unfamiliar highways through the largest cities in North America. A never ending list.
We all had many concerns that needed to be addressed before everyone would be onboard and happy to travel for an extended period of time.
During the next couple of years, the group had many discussions about the bucket list trip. Finally about a year ago everyone gave a tentative go ahead for me to start planning. Planning a trip of this scope is difficult for one couple, planning for three couples is a monumental task.
One of the major hurdles was the length of time we would be away and apart from our families and Christmas was of special concern.
The solution, before Christmas, pause the trip, store the rigs and fly home. This solution was acceptable, one major hurdle out of the way and much more to be worked out.
I believed all concerns could be solved, my greatest concern was the unforeseen problems that may crop up prior to departure such as family problems or health issues either within the group or a family member.
As time wore on solutions for most concerns and issues were worked out, but there was still an underlying uncertainty, especially with Henry and Allyson.
They are blessed with a large close family and many grand children and a great grand child. As with all of us being away from our children and grand children yanks at our heart.
Ralph, Lois, Lynda and I came to grips with the concerns, many months before departure. Henry and Allyson took much longer, in fact, it appeared for a time they would bow out.
Lynda maintained from the outset, ‘this is a once in a lifetime trip, no other trip will be as long.’
For Lynda and I the decision to take this trip and leave our family behind was somewhat easier, all of our grandchildren except for the youngest have school, jobs, and friends and little time for us.
The evolution of our family from us being the center of our grand children’s universe to migrating to the back burner was a hard pill to swallow. I assume most grand parents will need to endure the same change.
When I look back for a defining moment of the trip I think of the death of our close friend, Ken. He passed after a brief illness at 67 years. It stunned our group bringing our mortality to the forefront of our minds.
Our days are numbered, no one will live forever, time is wasting away, he who hesitates is lost, you only live once, you’re a long time dead, travel while you have your health………..and so on, comes to mind.
After Ken’s passing Ralph, Lois, Lynda and I were determined to make the trip. Henry and Allyson, actually Henry mostly had reservations, he voiced many concerns.
The group was concerned but no one wanted to pressure Henry for fear he would cave and be disgruntled if something went sideways during the trip.
Finally, two months before we hit the road they announced they were in. Everyone was relieved, we have a great traveling group and with one couple missing the experience would be lacking.
Our Group in San Fransico, Henry, Gord, Lynda, Ralph, Lois and Allyson
Our Group in San Fransico, Henry, Gord, Lynda, Ralph, Lois and Allyson
I am writing this article on the eve of our departure. I know I am teasing, but if you want to follow us on our bucket list trip check back.
Thanks for visiting
Gord B.

 

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