They say time flies, but this winter, I think it’s gone at the speed of light! Upon arriving in Yuma, I had every intention of posting a new entry to the blog weekly to illustrate all that we do in Yuma. Now, six months later, we’re at the point of leaving without having created a single posting.

Here’s a quick overview of our winter. If you would like an enlarged view of any picture on the page, left click the picture. After viewing, click the return button on your browser.

We arrived in Yuma October 3, the earliest in the year ever for us. The first sight of Yuma was the young lettuce fields just starting to grow.

We had arrived early to start our new job as Camp Hosts for Cactus Gardens RV Resort. We now spend more months of the year here than in any other location, and when we pull in through the gate, it truly feels as if we’re returning home.

Cactus Gardens has been our winter home for the past 4 years, but this would be our first year to work.

We were given a corner site, in our opinion, the best site in the park.

We are on duty 1 week out of every 3.

Ron’s job entails parking folks in their sites as they arrived, and making sure they were hooked up to the utilities correctly. He has also been on call to run errands for the office.

I work afternoons in the office with the Park Assistant Manager, Lois. It has been really enjoyable working with her.

We were here before a lot of the winter residents arrived. I’ve been assisting with the Library for a couple of years, and spent quite a few hours this year cataloging new books before the Librarian, Bunny, arrived.

THE HOLIDAYS

Many of the residents arrived during November, and Thanksgiving was shared with friends, family style, in the Rec Hall.

Christmas is always a light-hearted time in Cactus Gardens. We decorated our camp host golf cart for the Christmas golf cart parade.

Christmas dinner was enjoyed in the same manner as Thanksgiving. Bernice and I made the centerpieces and napkin rings for the tables.


We had several couples at our table, including a new couple who arrived at the park just as we were eating, and joined us at our invitation.

New’s Year’s Eve found us hiking during the day, and, as in previous years, heralding in the new year with square dance friends.

Friends, Bernice and Hoyt, accompanied us for the guided hike in the nearby Wildlife Refuge.

Our guides, a couple who formerly worked for the Denver Zoo, kept the hike brisk, but informative. She is pictured here on the left. There were 15 or so on the tour.

It was a good way to end the year.

But the year wasn’t quite over, yet. Although our legs were tired, we managed to dance in 2009. The evening started with a huge potluck meal.
One of my projects this season was to create a blog for the Square and Round Dance Association. I’ve taken lots of photos at the dances for that blog (the link to the blog is in the left column of this page, if you’d like a look at it). While I took pictures, Ron took Gerri out for a round dance. (far left in left photo, far right in right photo)

Later in the evening, he could be found dancing with Jan, the caller’s wife.

The afterparty skits are always fun, and the evening ends, literally, with a bang, as the balloons drop and are popped.

JANUARY

A popular event in Cactus Gardens is the annual Ladies Tea. This year’s theme was oriental.

It’s a fun time to dress up, and enjoy tea and finger sandwiches with friends.

Here, Pat demonstrates the proper “pinkie” position for tea.

Local ladies from the park modeled in the fashion show of designs from the local Bon Worth store.

We were really pleased when Hoyt and Bernice decided to take the Beginner Square Dance Class. We “angeled” their class as much as possible, and the four of we were attending Mainstream dances by the end of the season. In the line facing the camera, that’s Bernice on the left, and Hoyt on the right.

Later in January, we organized a demonstration dance for the annual Lettuce Festival on Main Street.
We had five squares, one of the biggest demonstrations in recent years.

We round danced as well.


Steve Porter and wife, Patty, called and cued for us.

A day side trip to El Centro took us past what is left of the “Old Plank Road”. From 1916 through 1926, a road made of board planks made travel across a stretch of the desert dunes easier.

One of the high lights for Ron this season was organizing the first ever Shuffleboard Tournament between the two halves of the park, Cactus Gardens and Desert Paradise. Although the two parks are now one, they still operate basically as two parks, and this tournament went a long way toward uniting the two. The tournament was so successful, they continued to have weekly tournaments throughout the season.
FEBRUARY

Birthdays are always celebrated at Golden Corral, this time for a Sunday morning Brunch. Notice the jackets in contrast to the blooming plant through the window. Yuma is in the desert. Nights can get rather cool, and yet the day can warm surprisingly fast.

February is always a busy month for us, as it brings the annual Square and Round Dance Festival. We worked hard helping to organize the event. Each year, the three day event gathers more than 700 dancers to dance to the national callers and cuers.
The decorations go up on Friday, as the dancing floor in one room goes down.

We’re ready to dance.

The dancers listen to the opening presentation.Its a unique feeling to dance among so many.

Our lamppost became a signboard a few days before the Chili Cookoff. These cooks are serious, even if the displays are not!

MARCH

Much of Ron’s time is occupied with not only playing shuffleboard, but also with the work it takes to keep the courts clean and to run the daily games.

Although I haven’t officially joined the Quilting Guild yet (we’ve always had a Wednesday afternoon dance class), I did take part in the Quilt and Art Show this year, demonstrating how to assemble my reversible quilt.

Another hike was through the Painted Desert.

It’s always amazing how plants can flourish amid the rocks.

Some of the formations cause you to wonder….why….how???

Though some call it barren, we never tire of the desert scenery.

Friday mornings, and some evenings, found us in the pool hall. Here Bill lines up a shot.

I’m still not sure how I got talked into becoming a part of the new Cactus Gardens comedy act, The Hot Flashes, but we had a lot of fun planning a routine that we performed three times, for the Volunteer Dinners in both Cactus Gardens and Desert Paradise, and for Fun Night. Can you spot me?

With costumes put together from the local thrift shops, we were the height of fashion.We were such a hit, we’re already planning a comeback for next season.

For the park’s Fun Night, Ron and I were in a square dance demonstration and a Round Dance Demo. I line danced with our park line dance group. The Hot Flashes made another appearance. Busy night….too busy to take pictures.


A last hike into the nearby foothills provided us with up close views of the spring desert blossoms
The lower rise in the distance is our goal.

Ron adds a stone to the cairn at the summit.

This height affords a great view of Yuma below.

Ron takes a break to call son, Chris, for his birthday.

We decide to forge our own trail going down, and it gets a bit rough.

………
But all good things do come to an end, and before we can comprehend that six months has passed, it’s time for the park’s going away party.

It was a hot day, in the 90’s but residents packed the street.As camp hosts, we helped to serve the meal provided by the park: fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad and ice cream.
Live music was on hand for those brave enough to stay after the meal in the heat.

APRIL

Each passing day now sees more people leaving the park and heading north. We will join the migration ourselves this Friday, the 10th. It’s been a good season, but we’re anxious to see family members again. We plan to take 5 weeks or more to reach Indiana, and will post updates to the blog as often as possible. Check back here often.

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