When we have traveled on our own in the past, getting settled in was a simple as getting the grill started chairs out and a bottle of wine open. Settling in to RV life full time has taken a bit more time but making the space feel like our own has been fun.
Now that we have settled in, it is time to join the community. It really is a community here. People have been coming for years. Its kind of like Steamboat and the Yampa Valley curse. Once people find this place, they continue to feel the draw to come back.
There are lots of snowbirds, many from Canada, the northern states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana, and those full-timers with no home base and travel all the rest of the year, but they all come back here for the winter. The snowbirds start arriving on October (some now just stay here all year, despite the heat) and most stay through March before hitting the road again. We have been warmly welcomed and have our new name badges identifying us from Colorado.
Every Monday morning there is a “Donuts and Info” meeting in the rec hall. This is where new arrivals (those who have arrived in the last week – whether they have been here before or not) introduce themselves, and announcements are made.
The park is owned by Pericles Wyatt, a Brit turned RV park owner and he is the master informant. It is here we learned that our water was going to be turned off overnight by the city of Tucson for repairs, that someone was poaching our free ice (apparently there is a homeless guy who has been coming in and filling up an ice chest – we need to get his license number), and about the Thanksgiving and Christmas potluck dinners.
There is a calendar of events for the month that outlines all the activities – more than any one person could possibly do, since some of them overlap. This is a VERY ACTIVE park. There are mountain biking and road biking clubs, desert hiking and mountain hiking clubs (did I mention that Tucson is SURROUNDED by mountains), yoga classes, pool exercise, quilting, sewing, knitting and gourding classes, a book club, regular scrabble, Blongo balls, horseshoes and bocce ball sessions, Bingo night, games night (including dominoes, poker, Hand and Foot – a card game like Canasta, and pinochle, and that is just a start. If someone wants to teach something, they can. I have joined the photography club to learn how to take pictures for this blog. It meets each week to learn tips and tricks but also takes field trips to cool places to take pictures.
One of the neatest things is the free live entertainment we have twice a week. Pericles researches local bands and entertainers, some internationally famous, and invites them to play for us. They seem to love coming because of the warm and engaging reception they get here. Last week we heard an internationally famous and fabulous classical guitarist, Gabriel Ayala, a member of the local Pascua Yaqui tribe. He thanked the audience for helping his tribe buy back their land (his tribe owns the casino only a few miles from us). Everyone laughed.
A few days earlier, we had a visit from John C Fremont, portrayed by a character actor, Steve, who is staying here in the park. In costume, he told us all about the explorations of Fremont to map the western part of the country, his colorful and rather rebellious career, his court-martial and subsequent appointment as governor of Arizona by Lincoln, and more. This explains why there are so many places named Fremont across the country. Extremely interesting and something I would know nothing about without this presentation.