Long Time Gone (2)

In December, right after Jesus saved us, we discussed returning to Canyon Vistas RV Resort in Gold Canyon, a bit further east on US 60. It gets really expensive at places down here come January so Andrea checked out their Workamper page. Just posted were two jobs. She called immediately and we had an interview in a day or two.

Christina, the new director of activities, offered Andrea a job at the Activities front desk and me a position in “Tables and Chairs”. What’s that? Well, this place has two ballrooms, an older one in the Canyon Vistas section, and a much larger one built just last year in Superstition Views, in which they hold many events from movie night to dances to big name concerts to free coffee and donuts every Monday morning. The configuration of the folding tables and chairs changes with each event, from seating for 30-40 for Card Bingo, to over 500 for Sha-Na-Na.

Besides the two ballrooms, they have rooms for card playing and other activities from Bible studies to Charades, plus three “social hours” a week where special setup is required for the bands that play at the bar. And, anyone staying in the park can request tables and chairs for their own parties. We once delivered sixteen six foot tables and ninety chairs to a block party. You work your ass off in “tables and chairs”. I mentioned that I had spinal fusion and a replacement hip and wondered if the work would be too much but said I’d give it a shot. Christina was desperate for any body to fill the position. We took the jobs. My legs have noticeably improved in four months. I ditched the cane.

Andrea sold tickets to all the non-free events which included things like New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras, Melissa Manchester, Sha-Na-Na, and an Eagles tribute band at the event of the year, the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock. Canyon Vistas, part of a trio of adjacent parks that also includes Superstition Views and Montessa, is owned by the Cal-Am corporation which owns several other parks in the Mesa area. The activities desk sells tickets to events at their other parks in addition to signing people up for various special equipment exercise classes. They are very busy.

After accepting the jobs, we were assigned Site 98, along the row that all workampers set up shop. This was our view to the west.

We bought tickets to one “off-campus” concert at their Val d’ Oro park, “Go Now”, a Moody Blues Tribute band that absolutely held their own. The Moody Blues were all about sweet vocals so our expectations were a bit low going in, but these guys, fresh off the boat from England, their first gig in the U.S., killed it. Good show, lads.

Woodstock. Now that was just fun. Andrea and I volunteered to work so we could get in free. Andrea worked at the face-painting table while I served twenty-five cent beer. Really? Of course, as we went through each keg, I tried to sample the goods to make sure the quality was ok. What we do to ensure the well being of our customers is often overlooked. I worked hard that night, but after sampling the product enough times, tied one on. In keeping with the spirit of the event, I had purchased some special product of my own from Amazon and gave it away for free.

We were right next to the photo booth where you could don clothing of the day for a few tiny pictures. The line for that booth was long almost all night long. Many of the people on that line did not need any extra adornments. Check out this crew:

Classic, dudes – and dudettes!

I had to get out there with them once in a while and make sure they were all taking care of each other. When some came by the beer booth and read the sign offering the free candy and started laughing, I knew they were of like minds and could tell which ones were stoned. It takes one to know one. I started waving my arms, “Hey dudes, can you see the the tracers?” One girl saw me do that once and couldn’t stop laughing. She was completely ripped. I wanted what she was doing. And she kept coming back and laughed each time. I love her. She totally gets me.

When it got dark and the Eagles tribute band got cranking, I was offered some of the same stuff that many of those folks were getting ripped to. The band turned to a Joe Walsh tune, Rocky Mountain Way, and whoomp, there it is – that massive buzz! Damn, I want to do that again.

That wasn’t even the best thing I did here. (I wrote this part over a few days before we left.) In the January calendar of events I noticed a class titled, “Writing Your Life Story”. Having completed a rough draft a year earlier, I knew I was probably in, but the leader of the group, Coleen, hooked me with the promise of publishing it. That gave me a kick in the ass to organize the mess and get it ready for outside eyes to review and edit. That is a scary step and it is in process. Later for that. A few more months, I think.

Because the RV park is so huge – if you zig-zagged every street in the park, which we have on bikes, you cover 4.7 miles – we rarely left the park to hike. However, on one of our last days, we drove out to the Boyce Arboretum where they have an amazing collection of cacti.

And this kind:

And that kind:

And the trail is very pretty throughout.

About 1.8 miles around.

But sadly, this gig at Canyon Vistas is over. It felt like summer camp, though I never went to summer camp so that might not be right. OK, it was like Breezy Point. When I was a kid we went to Breezy Point, a beach community in Queens, NY, for the summer. Though I worked quite frequently, the whole experience felt like a four month party. We made many acquaintances and some good friends. Hope all you fireside folks have had and are having safe trips.

Wednesday, April 17th:
On the road again. Most of the snowbirds, many from Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, started leaving at the end of March with just a few dozen still around when our service was up this week. We left today for our “home” park in Monument, CO. First stop was Flagstaff, AZ.

Greer’s Pine Shadows RV Park is aptly named. Completely shaded, we let the DirecTv dish spin around enough before it fell down dizzy. Rather than hook up our local broadcast TV antenna or connect our phones that contain seasons of Prime Video downloads, we read and played with our phones. No TV. Can’t remember the last day it wasn’t even turned on. If you can’t get into the Grand Canyon, the next best option is someplace in Williams. Last choice is Flagstaff and the last campground choice is Greer’s. Not our favorite type of park but hell, it was only overnight.

Thursday, April 18, we drove to Monument Valley – the KOA Journey. This new park is just a gravel lot about a mile north of the turn to the Tribal Park, and a 42 foot motorhome with a tow vehicle barely fits in their “large” sites. Having been inside the Tribal Park several times before, we thought we’d just stay put and get some sunset pictures of the tall buttes just north of the RV park. But the moon was 99% full. When we were here in October 2017, the full moon rose between two of the mittens, and then disappeared in a full eclipse. It was pretty spectacular. So, we went in at about 7PM – free, nobody at the gate.

This view from the parking lot still blows me away. The two on the left are supposed to look like mittens.

Luna wanted to get her picture taken. We were there for her namesake.

We thought we were early for the 7:20PM moonrise but, apparently, missed the appropriate viewing angle. It snuck up on us. The shot above has a time stamp of 7:22. When the moon finally climbed above the large butte on the right, it was 7:50.

And on our way out, the sight in a side view mirror stopped me:

Before completely leaving the area Friday morning, we had to pay homage at my favorite photo-op stop in the U.S., about ten miles north of Monument Valley. You can’t miss it because the road is strewn with idiots like me who wander out into the center of the road to get this shot:

Friday, April 19th:
On to Ouray, Colorado. We stopped in Cortez for lunch and, hey, we’re in Colorado, wink-wink, and then took the route through the mountains towards Telluride. We’ve been through Durango and up US 550 a few times. This ride, mostly on CO-145, was beautiful, a great mountain drive, up to 10,200′, though not nearly as challenging as some others. My hands were on the wheel the whole way but Andrea took a few shots in the only white-knuckle section. Check out her Facebook page.


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