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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What’s the point?

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, we started to look at our upcoming itinerary and it just wasn’t working for us. We had just finished a FaceTime call with Richard’s brother Norm, and his lovely wife Jo, who had reminded us that we were retired after all and maybe we should take our time to get to Florida, rather than try to kill ourselves to arrive before Christmas.

One of the big things about getting to Plant City, Florida where our home is located before Christmas, is being able to unload Newman and then put him in secure storage in Zephyr Hills, which is about 15 minutes north of Plant City. The timing of arriving before Christmas and unloading Newman and getting him into storage was very much dependent upon when and what time we arrived in Plant City. I wasn’t feeling comfortable with our plan to try and get to Plant City by December 23rd or 24th, and I certainly didn’t enjoy driving all day like we did yesterday, with only a 15 minute stop for a fill up of fuel. With the route that we had planned from tomorrow until Thursday or Friday, we would have had 5 or 6 days of the same length of driving day as yesterday. And then what? We arrive in Plant City after 6 days straight of driving, exhausted and feeling like crap? So I said, “We are not doing it!” Let’s spend Christmas somewhere on the road, and take our time to enjoy this trip, and not just drive like crazy for days on end. Its not like there is a Christmas dinner waiting for us when we arrive in Plant City, so lets go slower and take a more relaxed approach to the rest of the trip.

I started playing around in RV Trip Wizard to shorten our driving days and to find RV parks that I could book online along the route, that matched up with our shorter driving days. Having RV parks with full hook ups will allow us to do laundry along the way, as well as enjoy having showers, without having to take ‘navy’ showers and try to conserve our water, and we won’t be looking for places to fill up with water either, if we have full hook ups.

When we were speaking with Norm and Jo, Jo mentioned that she had friends who had stayed in Destin, Florida and there is apparently beautiful white sand beaches in Destin and its a very nice place to visit. I decided to see what I could book for us for 3 nights in Destin, over Christmas, and I was able to find an RV resort that had an RV site almost on the water and that has beach access. We will be able to walk to Destin as well from our RV Resort, so I booked Destin for 3 nights from December 24 and then worked backwards from Destin, on the rest of the routing. I was up quite late booking the RV sites, but I think we’ve got a good balance of different kinds of spots, with one loose end still in one of the towns we are going to overnight in, but I’m sure we can figure that out before we get there, perhaps with a Harvest Host location, which I will call tomorrow.

When I woke up this morning I showed Richard what I had booked and he was pretty excited about the change of plans and the places that are booked for the rest of our journey. Sometimes its good to step back and ask yourself ”What’s the point of what we are trying to do?” Why are we not taking our time to enjoy the journey, rather than race to Plant City, and miss some spots we may never see again. We’re glad we are both flexible enough to realize, we didn’t really like the full day of driving yesterday and with the shortest day of the year coming up next week, we will have less daylight available to us for driving, so its better to get off the road sooner, do less driving, and try and relax along the way.

Today we were going to play a City owned golf course in Tucson called ‘Fred Enke Golf Course’. My friend Sarah-Anne from Dunnville, Ontario who lives in Tucson during the winter months, had invited Richard and me to play with her and her friend John. Richard booked us a Lyft last evening to pick us up at our RV park and take us the 17 minutes to the East side of Tucson, where the golf course is located.

On our trip to the golf course our Lyft driver took us right by the Pima Air & Space Museum. We didn’t have the time for a visit today, but we did see the tails of some planes from the car.

Pima AIr and Space museum in Tucson.

As we were chatting with our Lyft driver today he mentioned that he played the saxophone and that he had a number of albums that had been released, so we asked for his name so we could give him a listen. Isaac Frantz was our driver and his music is located under phosphoro music. Its really interesting to learn who drives for Lyft and the reasons why they drive. Isaac had an electric Nissan Leaf he was driving and the car was very spacious and fit our golf clubs in the trunk, no problem, which was great.

The clubhouse at Fred Enke Golf Course in Tucson. The course opened in 1983 and is a true desert golf course, with grass only on the tees, fairways and greens. This should be interesting! And at $35 each, the course was a deal too! The cactus in the picture are called ‘saguaro’ cactus that can grow to be over 40 feet tall. These cactus have a very long lifespan, often exceeding 150 years. They may only grow their first side arm around 75-100 years of age, but some never grow any arms. The saguaro cactus is the largest cactus in the United States.

As we were waiting to tee off on the first hole a little visitor walked by us.

A coyote was watching us tee off, just off the tee box of the first hole at Fred Ernie Golf Course. The coyotes are used to people and if i approached him, he just ran away.

The golf course was very challenging today, especially if you missed the fairway! There were a lot of ‘washout areas’ and areas where there was no grass and we had to hit off gravel or hard pan dirt.

John hitting the ball a ton today. He finished at 2 under and could have been lower!!

Richard showing how big the saguaro cactus is compared to him.

The temperature reached 17C today, but there was a 90 minute frost delay at the golf course today and our tee time was delayed about 20 minutes this morning. As the day wore on, the down vest had to go back on to keep my core warm, as there is still an ‘edge’ in the air, in the desert.

Another coyote on the 12th tee. Just watching us to see how we are playing!

Nice and sunny and lots of blue sky today on the golf course!

True desert golf. Mountains, cactus, fairway and desert. Hit the fairway or else!

Short again, but a good pitch into the green.

John and Sarah-Anne waiting for Richard to hit off the tee.

Sarah-Anne was hosting us for dinner at her RV Park at Tucson Meadows after golf, so we all piled into her pick up truck for the very quick ride back to her place.

What a view of the mountains from Tucson Meadows!

The December Full Moon, called a ‘Micromoon’. That term means the the full moon is at its farthest point from Earth or 252,000 miles from Earth! It is also called the ‘Cold Moon’ - a Mohawk name that conveys the frigid conditions of this time of year, when cold weather truly begins its grip on us. We can’t wait to get to Florida for some warmer weather. I really want to be able to golf in a sleeveless golf shirt and skort instead of being all bundled up to golf!

Richard enjoying John’s homemade salsa which he wouldn’t give me the recipe for. It was so good, Sarah-Anne had to refill the salsa container 3 times for us! Sarah-Anne made a delicious spatchcocked chicken on the BBQ with an amazing rub, mashed potatoes and my favorite, green beans! I had made a chocolate cake last night and made butter cream chocolate frosting this morning for the cake, so we ate and drank until we were stuffed! It was really nice to see Sarah-Anne again and finally meet her friend John. When John was in Canada last summer, after the border opened, we just couldn’t find the time to get a round of golf with them both. Next year we will for sure return the hospitality and have them over to Bridgewater for a round of golf!

We’re happy we stopped in Tucson for 2 nights to be able to golf with Sarah-Anne and to meet John. And we are also very happy with our change of itinerary to be able to take our time to Florida and enjoy Destin and maybe some beach time in Florida - something we don’t usually do. We both agreed that we are glad we stopped to ask ourselves “What’s the point?” of driving like mad for the next 5-6 days, only to end up at our place in Florida exhausted. We’re going to enjoy this drive more with a shorter itinerary each day and hopefully finding some cool spots to explore along the way. I think we’ll be glad we changed our plans!

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