Monday though Wednesday, April 18-20, 2022—Muddy Golf and Rain

Rain Sunday made for muddy golf on Monday. Our group played Ponce de Leon Golf Course, which is the wettest golf course in the Village, and today it was soaked. The course was cart path only, and what with hitting every shot from the wet fairways, putting on freshly punched and sanded greens, and applying Friday’s lesson made for a really bad game, score wise. The good news is that it can only get better.

Kay played pickleball a good portion of the day on Tuesday. First, she played with a group of women at the Hot Springs Village pickleball courts, had lunch with the neighborhood ladies, and then returned to the pickleball courts for drills facilitated by Laurie Furney, a really good 4.0 player. I played golf with our church scramble group on Magellan Golf Course, Much to our surprise, it wasn’t too bad and was 90° on all holes but one; it sure made a difference in my game as I played pretty well, at least for a scramble.

It rained practically all Tuesday night and Wednesday. Dan came over for coffee and he and I shot the bull for a while as Kay did some baking.

There were no photos taken this week, but here are some throwback photos from our RV trip to the Yukon and Alaska in 2009. These are of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.

Lake Louise, AB
Moraine Lake as seen from the shoreline (near Lake Louise, AB)

Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, 2022—Easter Weekend

Another “acceptable” weather day for photographs came on Saturday, despite wet conditions and misty rain. Cedar Creek Trail in Hot Springs Village is the “go to” place right now for wildflowers, and the target today was the Lily. However, it’s way too late for that bloom, but there were lots of Dwarf Crested Irises along some sections of the trail. They are such pretty blooms!

Other wildflowers and blooms made for good photographs as well.

Easter Sunday began with light rain. I really didn’t want to go to church, but Kay’s “gentle” urgings changed my mind (I was concerned about crowds and COVID, or at least that’s what I told myself). As usual, our pastor Sieg Johnson gave a great sermon. He is such a great teaching pastor! We drove from church directly to Karyn’s for lunch with Kay’s family—great visit, great food—and returned home about mid afternoon. In the photos below, Ridge and Aker are grandkids, Ron is Kay’s son, Karyn is Kay’s daughter, and Cheryl is Ron’s wife.

Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2022—The Book Club Meets Again

Kay, Pam, Jackie, and Martha drove to North Little Rock Thursday morning to the monthly “The Book Club” meeting; it was an all day affair, and all the members were present for the first time in a long while. I was scheduled to play golf, but course conditions were wet and it was cart path only. But, the sun was shining and conditions were right for a few flowers to be blooming and some bugs flying—in other words, great conditions for photography.

I waited until after lunch to allow time for butterflies to warm up, and drove to Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area. A few butterflies landed, but most just flittered by.

Even the dragonflies were skittish, or hungry. And, a few wildflowers presented themselves for photographs.

Good Friday was a relatively quiet day for us. I did fit in a golf lesson with Mike Socha, our favorite golf pro. He is so good at analyzing one’s swing and immediately suggest fixes that work! I was off balance, gripping too tight with the right hand, had the ball position wrong in the stance, etc.—just MINOR issues. I felt good about the lesson, but putting the fixes into action may be another story.

Saturday through Wednesday, April 9-13, 2022—Rain

As you will note from the following paragraphs, we had a pretty dull existence the early part of this week, almost to the point that it is not worth reporting. Rain was forecast practically everyday this reporting period, though Ridge did get in a soccer game on Saturday. He plays his heart out but there are some weak teammates, so each game is difficult. He is well respected by his team, and gets involved in every up and down field action. Close games and losses may be character building, but not too much fun! Anyway, Kay and I were there to cheer him on as were another granddad, Uncle Ron and Aunt Cheryl, and of course his parents. Photos courtesy of Karyn.

After the game, Kay and I shopped at Costco, the first time in several weeks. And then, it was back home again. Later in the afternoon I visited Middle Fork Barrens Natural Area for the first time this year, and despite the wind was able to photograph a few wildflowers.

Sunday was truly a day of rest for us. On Monday, Kay had her semi-annual dental cleaning and checkup; golf for me was cancelled because of wet conditions! And, it hailed in the evening.

Kay played pickleball on Tuesday at the HSV pickleball courts, and I played golf at Granada, despite last night’s hail storm. Kay had a great time, and held her own score wise. The golf scramble for the church group was fun, but our team did not fair so well.

Storms on Wednesday kept us practically housebound all day. The area received about an inch of rain. Trees have almost all leafed out, Dogwood trees are blooming, and shrubs are beginning to grow.

Wednesday through Friday, April 6-8, 2022—Finally, More Photographs

Kay played golf Wednesday morning, and I forced myself to walk Cedar Creek Trail in Hot Springs Village to photograph a few flowers. Unfortunately, Kay played golf at the Coronado Golf Course on rain-soaked fairways, making for a “sloppy” game. I had been waiting for the perfect day to take photographs since returning from Arizona in mid-March. And, of course, the perfect day doesn’t come often; we have been beset with wind, rain, and/or cold since returning. Today was no exception as was windy and overcast—but overcast is good. My target bloom today was specifically the Trout Lily, but I had waited a bit too late. However, upon entering the trail, a Fire Pink stood to the side beckoning for a photograph. It is one of my favorites.

And several Rue Anemones and Violets were blooming.

It is difficult to capture the detail in yellow wildflowers, but they were too beautiful to ignore.

And Wild Cherry trees were still in bloom, and the first Dogwood tree bloom of the season appeared, hidden off the side of the trail.

The forest floor was carpeted with Mayapple plants, and upon close examination, a bloom exposed itself, facing the good earth rather than the overcast skies. I couldn’t refuse.

And this spring beauty appeared, perhaps a Violet?

After the long walk, photographs were downloaded and Kay and I met Ron and Cheryl for dinner at the Copper Mule in Bryant, catching up after a long winter absence.

On Thursday, Kay played pickleball at Diamante and I played golf—very badly—at Isabella Golf Course.

Friday was haircut day for me, and it was so good having Melissa do a trim. She is such a good “barber” and stylist. She was able to fix the horrible haircut I got in Arizona in early January when the stylist practically did a buzz cut—and I don’t have that much hai

Saturday through Tuesday, April 2-5, 2022—Up and Back Down

Saturday was not a fun day at the Dunn household. My fever continued to rise during the night and early morning, finally peaking at 3° above base temperature. I remained in bed most of the morning as aches, headache, and fever declined to near normal. We played bridge with the Morrises in the evening.

By Sunday, the effects of the COVID booster has dissipated. We attended church, and played pickleball at Diamante in the afternoon; there were 16 players for two courts meaning a lot of waiting and not much playing.

Sunday afternoon pickleball at Diamante Country Club

Late afternoon we participated in a potluck for the HSV crowd at Palm Creek hosted by the Starrs. It was so much fun seeing everyone together again, including the Seitz’s who had just returned from Arizona. 

Monday was mostly about church business, with a little pickleball and some golf at Desoto Golf Course thrown in; our play is so inconsistent.

Heavy rain early Tuesday morning shut down all outdoor activities, and I used the time to catch up on computer “stuff” while Kay attended a monthly PEO meeting. Late Tuesday afternoon and into the evening, we participated in a Seder ritual at church. The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder is the traditional Passover meal that includes reading, drinking 4 cups of wine, telling stories, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions. It is held on the first night of Passover (and the second night if you live outside of Israel), the anniversary of Israel’s  miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago. During the course of the evening we had:

  • four cups of wine
  • veggies dipped in saltwater
  • flat, dry cracker-like bread called matzah
  • bitter herbs, often horseradish (without additives), dipped into charoset (a paste of nuts, apples, pears and wine)
  • a meal that included grilled chicken with mushroom sauce, roasted vegetables, rice, and peach cobbler 

The Seder ritual is one of our favorite and most meaningful celebrations.

Since I’ve made few photos in the last five weeks, here are some throwback photos from a trip we made to the Southwest USA in 2008; these are from Mesa Verde National Park in New Mexico, a magnificent exhibition of Native American ruins.

Friday, April 1, 2022—This Makes Me Sick!

During the early morning hours, I awoke feeling achy, stuffy, and feverish reaction to the COVID booster. Thus far, I’ve had four COVID vaccinations, and four reactions. The ill effects last about 48 hours and generally consist of the symptoms described above. Nevertheless, Kay drove us to Memphis to visit with Jenny, Linc, and Sutton, and to attend Grandparents’ Day at Harper’s school, First Assembly Christian School. We sure enjoyed seeing everyone, but the kids are growing like bean stalks. Harper is such a beautiful young lady, dimples and all! The short program allowed us to return home, where I immediately went to bed.

Sunday through Thursday, March 20-31, 2022—Completing Repairs from Winter in Arizona

Kay and I squeezed in nine holes of golf, walking at Coronada Golf Course Sunday afternoon after church. She’s scored pretty well, and is getting so good, I hesitate to play with her! We had loads of fun. And, in the evening we resurrected our Sunday night bridge game with Jim and Jackie; Jackie was the big winner.

Golf at Coronada Golf Course

On Monday morning, the 2011 Honda CR V went in to Class Action Paint & Body just outside Hot Springs Village for repairs to damage suffered in early January at Palm Creek in Arizona. (A guy backed out of his carport and into the passenger side of the car.)

Our “baby” has a booboo

Fortunately, all the parts were available, and it should be repaired in a few days. After dropping off the car, I attended a Church Council meeting and Kay played pickleball at Diamante. I joined the guys for golf in the afternoon at Ponce de Leon Golf Course and despite playing pretty badly, had a great time.

Rain on Tuesday foreclosed all outdoor activities, and provided time for both of us to catch up on chores. I played pickleball at Balboa Baptist Church on Wednesday, and Kay attended the Duffers (ladies’ golf organization here in Hot Springs Village) Spring luncheon. Pickleball and golf were on the calendar again Thursday.

Balboa Baptist Church indoor pickleball courts

The “old” Honda CR V collision repairs were finished on Thursday, and we picked it up. They did such a great job (see in the photo below), even polishing the dull headlights. The motorhome was driven to Cummins Sales and Service in North Little Rock on Friday for generator repairs. That wiped out all of the morning for me; Kay did some household chores and then played golf in the afternoon.

Cummins Sales and Service in North Little Rock

An unexpected visit from the Adams family was a great delight on Saturday; we had a blast. Karyn, Matt, and Ridge enjoyed an introduction to pickleball and loved the game—warms my heart!  We all seemed to have a great time playing together.  While they were all naturals, Ridge was especially good, and like his mother, loves outdoor sports.

Aker wanted to hang out and fish so Kay stayed home with her, and they played and fished—quality granddaughter/grandmother time. Back together again, they all enjoyed kayaking Lake Estrella. Ridge has outgrown his “sit on” kayak!  Aker will inherit it, and then our younger Memphis kiddos. We love our grandkids to the moon and beyond…just sayin’.

Though Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, we attended church, played pickleball, and then played bridge. Life is a hoot. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were somewhat back to normal, if there is any such thing. We played pickleball, golf, and took care of “look pretty” appointments.

As the month of March ended on Thursday, we picked up the motorhome from Cummins in North Little Rock, paying a small fortune for the generator repair (replacement of the “board”). This wrapped up our major maintenance/repair items from almost four months spent in Arizona. Back at the Village, East Gate Pharmacy had the newly approved booster vaccine. Since we will be traveling internationally in a few weeks, we took advantage of the “not too long” waiting line and got our fourth COVID vaccination, and our second booster, and are now up to date. That made for a tiring day, and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening lounging about.

As an aside, here are some photos of Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park in New Mexico made during a trip in late September and early October 2008. Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in North America, has over 150 individual rooms and more than 20 kivas (rooms for religious rituals). Crafted of sandstone, wooden beams and mortar, the Cliff Palace has been remarkably well preserved from the elements for the past 700 years.

Friday through Saturday, March 11-19—Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Unpacking from a winter away is a required and time consuming chore. Not only do clothes have to be washed and cleaned, but pantry items have to be resolved, and refrigerator/freezer items relocated. And then there are the “toys” and their maintenance. 

We awoke Friday morning to winter weather advisories being issued for the entire state of Arkansas continuing through Saturday morning. An arctic front quickly moved into the Hot Springs Village area, is already moving through western Arkansas, replacing the comfortable temperatures enjoyed the last few days. Temperatures did hit the low to mid-50s before the boundary arrived. And then  the temperatures plummeted into the 30s with gusty north and northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph. Precipitation started as rain, but changed to light snow before going to all snow in the late afternoon and evening. Kay multitasked washing, drying, and folding clothes while moving and sorting food in the refrigerator/freezer. In addition, she made a grocery list of food for home.

Saturday was for visiting Karyn, Matt, Ridge, and Aker. Though it had only been a month since I had seen them, seems like they grew a couple of inches! We heard all about Ridge’s soccer exploits and saw Aker in glasses for the first time—cute kids. As we were about to leave, the car wouldn’t start—dead battery—and, we got a boost (jump) from Matt’s truck. Since the battery was apparently fried, we were off to Costco for a replacement—leaving the car running while we shopped—only to find they do not install batteries. Nevertheless, we bought a new one, and I installed it when we got home.

On Sunday, after church, the power washer was retrieved from the crawlspace/basement, and I used it to wash both our bicycles and her push golf cart. The dust from Arizona had worked its way into all the nooks and crannies of these toys. And, while the power washer was out, I washed the rugs from the motorhome and spread them out to dry in the sun. We’re getting there…

Taking a break from household chores, we both played pickleball at Balboa Baptist Church Monday morning (March 14). It was fun, but most of the players are bangers, and either do not know how, or choose not to do drop shots and dinks. Kay held her own quite well; she has improved so much over the winter. If not careful, she’ll advance to the next level for competitive play. After pickleball, I played golf with the HSV guys at DeSoto golf course. It wasn’t a pretty game, but it sure was fun.

It rained all night, and continued through Tuesday morning; golf was canceled. I used the time to work on photos, write blog posts, and do genealogy research. 

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were filled with completing unpacking winter items from the motorhome, re-familiarizing ourselves with the house, playing a bit of pickleball, and playing golf. Recall work was done on the Honda Pilot, the house’s HVAC unit was cleaned and inspected, and Kay attended a pickleball clinic at Diamante.

Wednesday and Thursday, March 9-10, 2022—Enroute to Arkansas, Two Long Driving Days

The goal Wednesday was to continue southeast through El Paso, then east to Monahan Sandhills State Park in Monahan, Texas, to overnight; I had stopped there in November 2020 and November 2021 on the way from Arkansas to Arizona. This would be a relative short and easy driving day. Upon arrival, the office advised that they had no vacancies—it was impossible to reach them via phone! Consequently, we made the camping loop so Kay could see the dunes.

We then continued eastward to Coffee Creek RV Resort in Santo, Texas, just west of Weatherford. This resulted in a 600-mile travel day! We arrived before dark even with a time zone change, and fortunately, not too worse for wear.

Our 600-mile day trip

Thursday, the drive took us east towards Dallas, then northeast to home, a total of over 400+ miles. The trip was uneventful, though we did stop at Buc-ee’s fulfilling a bucket list item for Kay.

Homeward bound

We arrived safe and sound at the Hot Springs Village RV park about 5 PM. Kay took the old Honda CR V home as it was packed to the brim. Meanwhile, I began the process of setting up, so that the arduous task of unpacking the RV could take place. Kay returned with my car, and after filling it with stuff, we drove home to find Kay’s car’s battery dead. We began the overnight process of charging it, unpacked most of the stuff in the car, took hot showers, and enjoyed sleeping in the house bed (the motorhome bed is identical).