Our first week in Yuma

Trip Start Sep 06, 2012
Trip End Mar 06, 2013

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Where I stayed
The Palms RV Resort Yuma
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, November 22, 2012

This RV park really is like a resort. It's a gated community with 24 hour security at the gate. It has 2 swimming pools; 2 hot tubs; a billiard room with 10 pool tables and a table shuffleboard; a cards room; craft room; tennis courts; volleyball court; library; grand ballroom; and a café. Of the 453 sites, 220 are owned, that is, someone has paid between $89,000 and $125,000 for the lot. Then the owners can continue to park their RV on it or they can build a dwelling on it. There’s one lot with a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom 'cottage’ that is for sale for $239,000. I can see the attraction to anyone who has decided to stay here permanently. Greg and I aren’t ready for that yet but the cloudless days and warm temperatures are very appealing.

I would say that 85% of the people here are Canadians. Most of the license plates are BC and Alberta, with a few from Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. So far we are the only ones here east of Quebec. Everyone, visitors and staff, are very friendly.

When we first arrived we bought our groceries at Wal-Mart and also did some shopping at the flea markets that we visited with John and Bertha last week. Since then our friends have told us the 99 cents stores and Fry’s are the places to go for groceries so we’ll have to try them for our next grocery list. They also told us that the drug stores have the lowest liquor prices! So different than home.

ur first weekend here, Yuma hosted the balloon festival and the date festival. We went to both. The hot air balloon festival started before sunrise, at 6am. We were there. I was a crew volunteer for one of the 25 balloons. I helped place the balloon on the field and also had the important job of standing on the tarp so it wouldn’t blow away during the filling of the balloon. It was all very exciting. The first balloon, carrying an American flag, ascended while the anthem was played. Then the other 24 balloons rose up. Wow. The evening events were held on a baseball diamond. Sixteen hot air balloons were on the field, and whenever the crowd counted down, all the balloons would fire their propane heaters, lighting up the interior of the balloons. Spectacular! Then after about an hour of doing this, the balloons were deflated and the fireworks began.

So the balloon festival was during the early morning and the early evening. The date festival was held during the day. We started with a free breakfast of a date muffin and hot chocolate. Then we boarded a bus that took us to a date packing plant called DatePac, located not too far away from town. This plant is a co-op and is the largest packer of medjool dates in the US, and probably in the world, supplying every major store in North America. The packing process is very labor intensive; not too much automation here. Then back to downtown to the date festival. There were quite a few booths set up selling various date products – plain, filled, rolled, and the local favorite: date shake. We sampled quite a few dates and shared a date shake. It was more like a Dairy Queen blizzard with thick vanilla ice cream and bits of date. I found it very sweet. We also watched a date recipe contest and a chef competition. There were a lot of entries and I don’t know how the panel of judges was able to sample them all. Some of the entries looked really appetizing and others not so much. The prize was $1000 for the ‘amateur’ recipe and $2500 for the chef recipe so it’s not surprising that there were so many entries. There were also food booths set up so for lunch we had fish tacos and pulled pork tacos. Someone in California had told us to try the fish tacos while we are in the south. I can’t say it’s something I would get again. Another demonstration we watched was the Yuma High School Color Guard. This was a group of about 20 students doing a choreographed routine with flags and then with imitation rifles. They did a fantastic job twirling and throwing accompanied by music. It was quite an amazing day.

On Sunday we spent the afternoon with Bev and Rick, neighbours of Laura and Will in Cold Lake who have a permanent site in an RV park a few kilometers east of us. They’ve been coming to Yuma for quite a few years and decided this is where they want to be during the cold weather months. They built an 899 square foot cottage on their lot, complete with shed and gazebo, and are very comfortable. We really enjoyed our visit with them and will be seeing them again while we are here.

We were getting a loud screeching noise form the front end of the Fiesta whenever Greg applied the brakes. So on Monday Greg took it to the Ford dealer near us to have it checked out. It turns out that there was a rock between the calipers and the brake spring. So they fixed that, gave the Fiesta a ‘check-up’, and then they cleaned the car inside and out. The car is still under warranty so there was no charge to us. Nice!

But the big news is that while our car was being attended to, Laura gave birth to a beautiful girl, 7 pounds 14 ounces. They’ve named her Amelia Grace. We are so pleased that everyone is doing well, though Laura and Will sounded pretty tired.

After a flurry of phone calls and emails, Greg and I went on a bike ride around our RV park. Next to the park is a large area that is ready to be developed; the gas lines and curbs are in place, the outside walls have been constructed. The developer decided to stop the product when the American economy experienced a downturn a few years ago, so the property sits idle. It’s just amazing to see this land ready and waiting for development. The security guard told us that the Palms owns 6 acres near this that the Palms will be developing at some point. We rode farther along on a desert road until we reached the canal. We’ve seen a number of canals in southern California and Arizona. They are 12 feet wide with concrete bottom and sides and run for miles and miles in the desert. But the best thing is that there are hard packed trails on either side of them, great for biking and because they go for miles, they are an easy route to do some exploring.

This week we leaned how to shuffle. Not dancing, shuffleboard. There are about 10 shuffleboard courts here and it’s very popular. Getting the discs to a counting position on the court takes a lot of practice. Greg and I will be attending a clinic on Friday, hopefully it will improve our game. There aren’t any horseshoe pits here and we haven’t seen anyone playing washer toss.

I also started aqua zumba, another popular activity here. It is very similar to the aquatic exercise programs I have attended before. The big attraction for me is doing the program in an outdoor setting. Because we are in the pool, the zumba moves are not nearly as fast as on a floor, but it still requires a high energy level to keep up with the instructor.

Today is Thanksgiving and we’ll be going to the dinner/dance. It’s an organized pot luck with the resort supplying the turkey and gravy. A table seats 20 people and each couple brings their own place setting and a dish for the table. We are bringing cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes; others are bringing vegetables, salads, and desserts. I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m writing this while the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade is on TV. Everyone’s bundled up while here we are enjoying another sunny 22C day. We are not missing the cold!
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Barb Samson on

Glad to see you are both still enjoying your new surroundings, Glad Laura had her baby, and all are well, Congratulations Laura & Bill.

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