After spending a week in Yuma we headed to Tucson, Arizona for a month. We have been here two weeks now with a few more weeks to go. Perhaps we will even stay a week longer as this park has turned out to be pretty neat. Plus, Tucson and the area around it is a great place to explore. Both Yuma and Tucson are known as winter retreats for the snowbirds and the RV parks have lots of amenities. I think we landed at the most mega one in Tucson. With 1100 spaces and around 2,000 people, this park is definitely very large. Most of the people live in what is called “park models” which are trailer homes without wheels, although there are also a number of RV spaces. Mark jokes that we have stayed at towns smaller than Rincon Country West RV Resort.
I think it would be hard to get bored here with so much to do. With dozens of clubs and activities, there seems to be something for everyone. There are all kinds of crafts, some with their own workrooms and machinery such as pottery, woodworking, jewelry making and sewing. You can take classes in drawing, watercolor, pine basket weaving, stained glass, beading, embroidery, woodcarving and conversational Spanish. There are sports such as tennis, pickle ball, bocce ball and dancing. Exercise groups have classes in Tai Chi, Zumba, water aerobics and yoga.
Hiking and birding groups have weekly outings. You can join the chorus, theater group, play in a music, dulcimer or ukulele jam. There are always different card and table games going on. Weekly shuttle trips take people to various events or activities. There is regular entertainment in the auditorium, a Thursday farmer’s market and even food trucks that come by a few times a week. The garden model railroad club has the cutest miniature railroad that is actually quite large and they run the trains a few times a week.
When we first got here I looked through the catalog at all the offerings and noted on a calendar things we might want to try and do. For those that like planned activities, it is a bonanza.
The first week was a nice introduction to some of the amenities. I went to an orientation session for newbies covering things to know about the park and places to visit in the surrounding area. My first activity was a shuttle trip to the Green Valley Farmer’s Market, about 30 minutes south of Tucson, one of the best farmer’s markets I have been to. There were so many great offerings and I came away with a neat hat, mint essential oils, lavender tea, greens, dried fruit, colorful cards to send and a necklace.
The day after the market I went on another shuttle trip to the Tohono O’odham museum and cultural center about an hour and a half south of Tucson. This tribe’s reservation land is the third largest in size in the U.S. The museum is out in the middle of nowhere, small but nice. An interesting thing I learned was that much of the reservation land used to include parts of Mexico. One of the big events each year used to be a trip to gather salt at the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, a right of passage for males and easily done before borders became an issue.
My favorite trip the first week was with the birding group as we drove to Patagonia Lake State Park and a hummingbird center. We saw so many birds that day, including a few I had not seen before. The group has some experienced and knowledgeable birders which is a bonus for me. The humming bird on the sign below is a Violet Crowned hummingbird and this was the first time I had seen one. I did a birding trip to Southeastern Arizona some years ago with my parents and uncle and it was neat to see birds again that we saw on that trip. The birding group goes on trips each week so I am looking forward to going on a few more!
That first week I took a small group pickle ball lesson and found it to be a fun activity. During the lesson we faced challenges as the wind was blowing rather hard and storm clouds gathered. But we stuck it out. Several minutes after the lesson ended and I got back to our trailer it started raining hard and a half hour later we had a good sized hail storm. As the days have passed, I have continued to play with others at the courts as players are rotated in and out, but learning this new sport has reminded me how uncomfortable it can be to be new and inexperienced at something. I have had to rely on the patience and kindness of others as most of the people have been playing for some time.
While we were traveling in Maine, I bought a ukulele at a music store in Portland. I got the idea from our daughter-in-law who also got one while visiting Maine. It seemed like a fun instrument to learn and has the advantage of not taking up much room, perfect for trailer living. So, I was delighted to see a sign for a ukulele group that met weekly. To be honest, I had never played a musical instrument with a group before but it was fun and I enjoyed playing some of the older songs I had not heard in awhile. The group will be playing a song in the park’s talent show the end of this week and I plan to join them. Mark also found some music – a dulcimer group that he joined for a session one day.
One morning Mark and I took a shuffleboard lesson. I had never thought about playing shuffleboard before. When I think of shuffleboard it reminds me of the story my maternal grandmother Emma told of playing while on a cruise in Europe. Unfortunately during a game she broke her hip. It looks relatively easy as all you have to do is push a disc from one end to the other, trying to get it in the right section for points or knock the other person’s disc out. I quickly realized it wasn’t that easy as my disc went every where but where I wanted and I ended up in the “kitchen” several times (which is a bad thing). Although we don’t plan to keep playing with all the other activities, it was interesting to learn how the game was played.
Besides all the outdoor activities, clubs, trips, pie sales and pancake breakfasts there are shows and events each week in the large auditorium. The playcrafters group put on a theater presentation which I went to and the comedy skits brought out laughter from the audience. Perhaps the biggest show of the season, a Beach Boys tribute band was sold out. I would have loved to have heard that music again. Today we attended a performance from the Tucson Symphony Orchestra brass section. It was a great afternoon of music from the talented players and they also provided interesting information about their instruments.
One of my favorite things to do is visit the library and work on puzzles. The library has a nice selection of used books and there are always three or four puzzles that are in progress. The puzzles tend to get finished quickly so there is usually a new one, even if I was just there the day or evening before. It is fun to drop by and put a few pieces in although I usually find it hard to quit once started!
It has been a fun few weeks at Rincon Country West. I need to close and start reading the book that we will be discussing at the book club in a week! Here is a photo of one of the amazing sunsets that we can see outside our trailer. Stay tuned for more posts as we explore Tucson.