Monday and Tuesday, February 27 and 28, 2023—Finally, Some Photos

Monday was Arkansas Happy Hour day. We had good times visiting and sharing, though numbers are rapidly dwindling. Afterwards, Kay played pickleball with the neighborhood ladies, and had a really good time.

I finally made it out to take photos on Tuesday morning, traveling southeast about 30 minutes to Picacho Peak State Park to view the wildflowers. The Mexican Gold Poppies and the Lupine were in full bloom.

Mexican Gold Poppies
Mexican Gold Poppy
Mexican Gold Poppy

Given that it was the peak of the wildflower season at the park, I had to wait in due for about half an hour to enter the park, and then there were no readily available parking places at any of the trailheads or picnic areas.

Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP
Pichacho Peak SP

Another winter month has come and gone—much too fast. Many snowbirds will be leaving tomorrow (March 1), returning to their “sticks and bricks” house in colder climates, hoping winter is near over.

Monday through Sunday, February 20-26, 2023—Tournament Time

Monday was Arkansas Happy Hour day, hosted by the Bushees, and again another birthday was celebrated.

On Tuesday morning we had breakfast with Mary Emily and her friend Tim who were traveling from east coast to west and back. Mary Emily and her late husband, Wayne, were Winter Texan friends of hours for several years. Tim was also a recent widower and the two of them are having a great time traveling together.

This week another dinner and dance was held on Tuesday evening to celebrate Mardi Gras. The food was good—shrimp and chicken gumbo was the main course—but the band was too loud and with too much bass and not terribly good. We left after an hour of music, staying way too long! 

Wind has been particularly heavy this week, with speeds consistently over 15 miles per hours and gusts up to 50 miles per hour. In addition, rain Tuesday evening and a good portion of Wednesday, combined with high wind speeds, postponed the start of the Palm Creek Pickleball Club annual tournament until Thursday. Neither Kay nor I played because of injuries, but the action was fast and furious. The metal matches were particularly good, with most finishing with close scores. I also took a Lawn Bowling class on Thursday morning. It is believed that Lawn Bowling was played in Europe during the 12th century. It became very famous in England because in lawn bowling, physical stress is minimum. Since in those days there was always a war with the neighboring countries, the same proved to be a stress reliever. Bowls, also known as lawn bowls or lawn bowling, is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”. It is played on a bowling green, which are usually be flat, and is normally played outdoors., on Thursday I took a lawn bowling class.

We watched practically our club’s pickleball tournament all day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but only a portion on Sunday. Friend Steve Seitz won gold in the competitive 3.5 group. All told, there were 537 participants, all members of the club here at Palm Creek. Kay also played golf Sunday afternoon with the Arkansas group and again won money!

Monday through Sunday, February 6-19, 2023—Party Time

Without pickleball everyday and golf a couple times a week, and with almost daily winds in excess of 15 mph and cooler than usual temperatures, we’re finding it hard to keep busy doing things we like. Photography has definitely suffered! We still enjoy the Arkansas happy hour potlucks on Monday afternoons, Wednesday bridge lessons with the Seitz’s, and Friday pickleball with the Arkansas group. And, Kay plays golf every Sunday afternoon and pickleball with the neighborhood ladies most Monday evenings. Oh, and Kay also plays pickleball almost every Tuesday and volunteers a couple times a week checking people in at the pickleball desk. So, she stays busy—not unusual.

I played pickleball on Wednesday, February 8, and again with the Arkansas folks on Friday, February 10. While there was no aches nor pains while playing, the right shoulder really hurt afterward. Consequently, I decided to not play again as the pain doesn’t seem to go away, and see an orthopedic specialist when we return to Hot Springs Village—a real bummer for this pickleball addict! And, this is probably the last word on the injury.

We did an interesting road trip on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, driving north and east to Globe, Arizona, trying to find the Salt River Canyon Scenic Drive. Though we didn’t find the scenic drive, we did drive up into the mountains to snow level at about 5,000 feet. In fact, there was enough snow on the roads that we turned around. Regrettably, the rain, snow, overcast, and mist did not provide for great photos.

A very rare Crested Saguaro Cactus.

The annual Palm Creek Pickleball Club dinner and dance was Thursday, February 16. We shared a table with the Seitz’s. The theme was “The Roaring Twenties.” The food (a pasta bar) was good and the band was great, maybe the best dance band we’ve experienced at Palm Creek. A good time was had by all.

Steve and Mary Seitz

On Saturday, February 18, we traveled to Bell Bank Park in Mesa to watch the Professional Pickleball Association tournament. Having watched a lot of the players live and on You Tube, it seems as if they are neighbors. The game among the pros (all very young, athletic, and mostly tall) is becoming so fast and physically challenging, that amateurs are emulating their play. The game is evolving so quickly that future play among us minions will appear to be in slow motion and have to be broken down by age group.

Anna Leigh Waters and her mother, Leigh, on the far right. She is rated as the best female player in the world; just turned 16 years old!

Kay played golf with the Arkansas group on Sunday afternoon, and afterwards Ron and Bev Graham hosted a root beer float party at their place. Following root beer float party, the pickleball club hosted “Paddle Day” for trying out most, if not all, the most popular brands of paddles on the market. Neither of us bought a new one!

PS: The blog updates are running behind—mainly because of the lack of photos! If the weather will ever cooperate, then some photo ops should become available!

Wednesday through Sunday, February 1-5, 2023—A Bit Bored

Kay was still experiencing a sore left hamstring, and joined me in seeing the chiropractor on Wednesday; he recommended exercises for her, but did not schedule any further appointments. I continued the TENS treatment at his office, concluding the daily appointments on Thursday.  

Having waited the advised two-day moratorium on pickleball recommended by the ortho clinic, I was off to the pickleball courts on Friday for a  couple of games on the challenge courts. It was obvious the time off had impacted the hand/eye coordination and ability to hit near the lines. I did experience some slight soreness afterwards. Later in the afternoon, two courts of “Arkansas” pickleballers played several games, and Kay was able to finally play after a week’s absence. Significant pain and soreness reappeared in my right shoulder during the evening. Consequently, Saturday was a “down” day with a bit of coach housekeeping on the schedule.

Kay opted to rest her hamstring Sunday, and I departed early and traveled to the Salt River northeast of Phoenix in an attempt to photograph wild horses.

No luck spotting wild horses, but the “mountain” atmosphere in the western part of Tonto National Forest was a welcome respite from the daily grind of hanging around the RV resort.

Even a Phainopepla posed for a photo.

From the Salt River, I drove to the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert to see if any birds were posing for photographs. As with the absence from pickleball, the absence from photography had definitely impacted my ability to make good photos! 

A brief stop was made at Costco to pick up some much needed coffee, Coke, and beer. We attended a dinner/concert in the evening featuring Piano Men: Generations—the Music of Billy Joel and Elton John. Father and son team of Terry and Nick Davies and their incredible band provided an outstanding concert, perhaps the best we’ve seen at any of the winter shows presented at the resort.