Winter in Arizona 2023

Our winter season has been filled with meeting new neighbors and making new friends. In many previous years we have happily enjoyed the company of friends who have come to southern Arizona and stayed. This year, that has happened much less so we have made an effort to become better acquainted with others staying in our park.

Late November and December are times for the Cotton Harvest. Here is one of the fields we would pass as we went to the grocery store.

Judith and I play board games (either Dominion or Wingspan) nearly every evening.

The old red chair in our living room was becoming tattered and frayed, so we bought ourselves a new one. Look who has claimed it!

Of course Judith is still enjoying working with her gourds. In fact she has recently become the leader of the gourding group.  Here are a couple items she has recently made. (The gecko is not a gourd, but can be attached to the surface of a gourd or other item.)

Our time share company offered us a special deal for four nights in Cancun. We had some credits leftover from our Alaska trip so we said, “Why not?” We stayed at the  Westin Lagunamar Cancun, which is absolutely beautiful. This was the view from our room.

There were numerous pools, including an infinity pool.

Of course the beach was beautiful!

There was even a small Mayan ruin adjacent to the property.

And Black Iguanas wandering the grounds.

One evening we walked a couple blocks from the hotel for a delicious seafood dinner. The restaurant was very rustic with open sides and a beach sand floor. There were Ruddy Turnstones wandering on the sand around the edges of the dining area.

I had not previously visited Chichen Itza so we spent a day and took that tour. We knew that it would be a very long bus ride going and coming but the ruins were spectacular. As you entered the grounds you saw the pyramid, the Temple of Kukulcán.

The Mayan ball court was huge. This is the outside.

And this is the inside.

The goals were very high on the walls, and ornately carved.

But the pyramid dominates the area.

The Venus Platform, dedicated to the planet Venus.

The Temple of the Warriors. It is believed that live human sacrifices were held here, removing the beating heart from those being sacrificed. It is also believed that it was a great honor to be chosen for the sacrifice, and often the captain of the winning team from the ball game would be chosen.

Adjacent to the Temple of the Warriors was the Thousand Columns.

The Temple of Kukulcán was very precisely oriented to the cardinal points of the compass, so that the sun’s shadows formed figures on the temple, like the snake going up the steps.

After Chichen Itza we visited a cenote, an underground cavern formed by water dissolving limestone until a large cavern is created. Eventually a portion of the enclosing roof collapses and the cavern becomes visible from above. The water in the cenote is extremely pure, but it is quite a ways underground. The entrance walkway was lovely.

Later in the afternoon we visited the town of Valladolid, founded in 1553. It has a lovely town square with the Cathedral of San Servacio overlooking the square.

We enjoyed an buffet of authentic Yucatan foods at Las Campanas, a nearby restaurant. They had some interesting wall hangings.

The trip was fun but exhausting! Air travel is more challenging than it used to be (or it becomes more challenging as we get older?). But we spent most of one day flying from Phoenix to Houston and on to Cancun; then the return took most of another day from Cancun to Denver and on to Phoenix.

We have spent a fair amount of time discussing what we want our coming years to look like. We greatly enjoy our place in southern Arizona and would not want to spend our winters in the cold and snowy north. We have enjoyed volunteering but are finding it to be more tiring than it once was. We are committed to spending May 2023 at Ottawa NWR just east of Toledo. And have been accepted to volunteer at Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge on Long Island for the summer months. This is in Sag Harbor, right in the middle of the Hamptons – so it should be an interesting experience. We plan to drive to the train station once a week to take a train into the city for museums, theater, etc.


We have decided that pulling a 38 foot, 16,000 pound 5th wheel across the country is adding stress to our lives. So, we have bought a “new to us” smaller 5th wheel for traveling. We will take it to Ohio, on to New York, and back to Ohio where my son lives, and we will park it on his property for the winter. That will allow us to simply drive the truck back and forth across the country.

The new-to-us 5th wheel is a 2011 Open Range Rover. It is just over 30′ long and 11,000#. The layout is quite similar to our current RV and while it is substantially shorter, it does not feel too much smaller. It has a queen size bed and less counter space, but we believe it will be very livable.

Floor Plan
Living Room
Dining Room & Breakfast Bar

Of course we will need a second set of pot and pans, kitchen utensils, etc. etc. etc. We have been giving the MasterCard a good workout! We have ordered a small desk for me to work from and we are very excited!

Another reason that we have decided to make the Cleveland area our base of operations for summers is that both of my kids will now located in that area. And a grandson is on the way!

We are very excited about the coming of the new baby. Nikki has just purchased a house in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, and Michael already lives east of Cleveland in Chardon. So we will be able to see both of my kids and the new grandbaby on a regular basis. Besides, Ohio is beautiful in the SUMMER!

We plan to leave southern Arizona about mid-April, spend a week with friends near Sedona, then make the drive to Ohio and Ottawa. As always, we love to hear from friends and family, and we love to see you whenever we can.

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