Tag Archives: golf

There’s no cypress in Cypress Hills!

We’ve been in Cypress Hills a couple of days. The weather has been just glorious, if a little cool. And then we had rain, off and on, early this morning. It didn’t seem like a lot until I pulled out our street side awning over the windows. Captured water washed over me, wetting my shirt and splashing a little into my shoes. Apparently the rain was more than we had realized. No problems, and we’re glad to sun dry the awning periodically.

Tall lodgepole pines overshadow us

Tall lodgepole pines overshadow us

We don’t need any sun shades for our RV in Warlodge, our camping loop of Cypress Hills Provincial Park. We are at the base of hundreds of mature lodgepole pines, the predominant tree in the Park. The sun peaks through the dense stand of tall tree trunks just enough to brighten our trailer’s interior. It seems the sunlight might not often be enough to dry the ground, though.

A few words about Cypress Hills Provincial Park are in order. First (and most surprising) there are No Cypress Trees, it was a mistake a very long time ago. This is a full-service campus. I played golf on the very nice 3,600 yard nine-hole course. Debbie and I found the tennis courts, riding stables, and baseball diamond nearby.

On another walk we encountered a very nice amphitheater, swimming pool, interpretive center, mini-golf, laundry, propane and petrol station, crafts hall (a young woman was teaching origami), lake with boat rentals and swimming beach, pizza stand, cafe, restaurant, and hotel. And, free firewood is delivered to every campsite, already split. This all is much more than we expected from a “campground” over 100 kilometers from the nearest city.

Our previous day was much cooler here, the high temperature was in the low 60s (15 celsius). We heard we could find internet wifi service in the cafe or in the hotel lobby. The cafe wifi worked for almost four minutes then stopped. So we walked up the hill to the nearby hotel. We joined a group of ten people, sitting in the hotel’s comfortable lobby. A restaurant was 20 meters behind us. The lobby looked out through large glass windows onto a pretty outdoor deck with birdfeeders doing a brisk trade.

Outdoors temperature was 58F, we were warmer inside. Four children were building dominoes towers (and, of course, noisily crashing them down). One gentleman, sitting by the window, was reading the paper. Two younger men were slowing our wifi internet connection considerably. Debbie was catching up on reading her Readers Digests. A couple of moms were playing with the children. And everyone seemed perfectly content to be indoors, for now. The only thing I thought missing was a nice crackling fire.

Lots of space per camping site

Lots of space per camping site

Cypress Hills has six camping loops, not counting the group camping, Bible Camp, and other special camp areas. Among the six camping loops appear to be almost four hundred campsites. Our campsite was large, with easily over 100 feet distance to the next campsites on any side. This Park does not afford campers the high degree of campsite privacy we find in some Canada camping parks.

But the distance between campsites creates another kind of privacy, like having just the right volume of music in a well-attended restaurant. You may not notice the music is loud but it somehow keeps you from paying attention to conversations at nearby tables. So it seems here — unless we walk over to talk, we don’t really pay much attention to other campsites.

We met a nice family from Leder, over an hour north of Maple Creek. Ed and Dolores have annually summer camped in this park nearly forty years. They started in a tent, then a tent camper, then a cabin trailer, and now a petite fifth wheel (twenty-two feet long). They farmed and Ed did some other work over the years. They brought their children every year with them. And now three of their four grown children are also camping in the park during their holiday. Jim played golf with them. Afterward we both enjoyed a drink with them and getting to know them at their campsite just up the street from ours.

The weather on our arrival Sunday was perfectly awful, gusty, foggy, rainy, and cold. The truck and trailer both looked as though they had been taken dripping wet through a sandstorm. Jim cleaned them up a little in hopes we would enjoy some fairer weather on our next drive. And Thursday morning, while cool, was a beautiful driving day.

We drove through Red Cliff then to Medicine Hat, where we found great parking near a Tim Horton’s restaurant. Big surprise, eh? We needed a washroom break, and had skipped breakfast. And maybe we could find internet too? Well, the doughnut and coffee were really just what the doctor wouldn’t have ordered but would have enjoyed anyway, had he been there. And we did enjoy the break. This was a long driving day, at 280 miles, to Calgary, Alberta.

Is there wifi in this one?

Is there wifi in this one?

We’ve done well to keep our driving days to under 200 miles. Our four day stay at Cypress Hills Provincial Park was two days longer than planned. So the following drives, instead of two 140 or 150 mile days with a break between, became a stretch distance to make up for the days spent. Cypress Hills was well worth the extra days. But we had planned on only two days. We’re glad we had the flexibility to stay longer, and to keep our September arrival date in Vancouver we are minding our calendar a little.

And with the gorgeous weather and wonderful smooth and straight roads between Maple Creek and Calgary, and the nice Tim Horton’s stop in Medicine Hat, this was a very easy driving day.

Jim and Debbie
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Golfing in chilly Minnesota

It is 53 degrees outside our trailer this morning! Jim’s looking forward to a morning golf came after the park’s Coffee and Rolls get-together this morning. Brrrr!

We arrived early yesterday afternoon in Clear Lake, Minnesota to the Minnesota Airstream Park. We were greeted at the gate by Beth and Mac, who run the Park’s office. They have been looking out for us for the past two weeks and asking people as they walked in, “Jim and Debbie?” They thought we were to arrive July 5 — we weren’t specific, we didn’t want to be tied down to a date while we explored Wisconsin.

Jim had asked several weeks ago, by email, if we could have a Camping World package sent here and held for our arrival. They graciously agreed and asked when we would arrive. We hadn’t meant to mislead them but we thought we might arrive the week of July 5. We then decided to take our time in Wisconsin and are really glad we did. Well, the package is here and Jim’s pretty excited about it.

Our wonderful Airstream is equipped, as are many RVs, with 110vac to 12vdc converter with a single stage battery charger. This charger constantly applies 13.6 or 13.8 volts to the RV’s batteries, regardless of the batteries’ usage or depletion. When the batteries are fully charged, a good charger should taper off or shut down. Good chargers adapt to this condition with a “float” charge rate. But not ours.

Our Magnetek/Parallax converter-charger will, if not monitored carefully, boil the batteries dry. It applies a constant voltage (and low amperage) to the batteries, regardless of their condition. We know, we’ve seen it happen to previous batteries and have heard countless other people who had the same experience. For the past two years Jim has manually switched the converter-charger on only when needed. Our solar panels provide almost all the 12vdc power we need and occasionally he would use the converter-charger, mostly first thing in the mornings to power the ham radio at 100 watts for long distance chatting.

Our Camping World package is a Progressive Dynamics Intellipower 9260, the most advanced (maybe I should qualify, “and affordable”) converter charger we could find. Great thanks to Beth and Matt Hackney from Georgia for their recommendation of the 9200 series instead of the 9100 series — the 9200 incorporates features you pay extra for in the 9100. This should be a fine improvement to our home, once Jim installs it.

No sooner had we pulled into our site, with friendly and capable help from Mac, than our neighbors walked over to welcome us. Jim and Lois Ryan have been Airstreaming over thirty-five years and spend summers here. Jim invited Jim (that’s right, they can both easily remember each other’s names) to join him for a round of golf on the park’s golf course and offered Jim use of his second pull cart.

We finished leveling and then connecting the utilities and she fixed us a wonderful lunch. Soon the Jims walked to the nine hole short course and met two of Jim Ryan’s buddies at the first tee. The golf course is nice and very compact with all but two fairways straight as an arrow and lengths varying from 84 yards to 223 yards. This is a relaxing way to play golf!

Jim has at least two big projects for our stay in Minnesota Airstream Park. Hopefully golf will allow him enough time to get these done too.

What’s better than a perfect day watching PGA golf?

We went today to Charlotte’s own grand PGA golfing event, the Quail Hollow Championship. My brother, Chuck, and stepfather, Dow, and I spent today at this PGA event at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Country Club.

We watched several groups teeing off from number 4 tee. I was impressed by the accuracy of these professional golfers on their drives. These guys were driving almost three hundred yards, and 2/3 of the shots were landing the same spot on the left corner of the fairway. This gave them the best shot to turn the corner to the green. I could hit the ball all day and, even if I could hit so far (which I surely cannot), I would never find the accuracy they can hit with most of their shots.

I’d show you a picture but the tournament operators prohibit private cameras during the competition rounds. Let me describe my impression for you. I’ve played golf courses all over North Carolina and in Georgia, Florida, and Colorado. Quail Hollow Country Club, at least on day 1 of this Championship, is unquestionably the most beautiful golf course I have ever seen. I wonder what it would look like (other than a lot shorter distances) from my tee boxes than the ones the professionals were using today.

We left the fourth tee box and watched the golfers coming in to the third green. We enjoyed seeing the golfers hitting their second shots at the green from around 130-150 yards out. Most of them hit the green, and a few put the ball within one putt from the hole. We watched two groups here and left to search for the signature par 3, number 17.

This par 3 is 217 yards across water and the green has water on the left and sand on the right. We saw one of six golfers land in the water and none in the sand. Again, this is pretty amazing accuracy for a 217 yard shot. At 217 yards I will hit the ball straight, or left, or right. It might go 217 yards but probably will go 100, or 150, or 175, or 200. But it might go 217 yards. Then it may roll away and still find water.

These golfers, though, hit the green and the ball stopped on the green. Makes me wonder what club they were hitting. Maybe a de-lofted five iron? Oh well, never mind. I’m de-rating all my clubs anyway. The longer I hit, the more trouble I can find. Straight is good. How did we start talking about pro golf club distances? I thought we were talking about the 2009 Quail Hollow Championship.

The day was beautiful, the players well-dressed, the crowds were well-behaved, and my beer was $6.75. No telling how much a bottle of water would have cost. And the day was fantastic. We enjoyed traipsing around between the spots and crossing several fairways (under the Marshalls’ supervision). At each green and tee location we easily found shade. And yes, we even saw Tiger Woods as he was leaving the ninth green. The only thing better than a perfect day to watch would be a good day playing golf.

Thunderstorms Lead to Calming Weather

Yesterday started with me trying to check in to the RV Service 40 meter Net at 0730 hours. Band conditions and a terrific local thunderstorm made this doubly challenging so I waited until almost 0830 hours and checked in through a helping, or relay, station. I reported on the number of units at this WBCCI Region 3 Rally (80) and the weather conditions (skies clearing nicely and temperatures at 60 degrees) for Perry, Georgia yesterday morning.

Debbie and I walked to the meeting hall for pastry, fruit cup, and coffee and morning visiting with other Airstreamers. Ken and Ruth Dorn had room at their table so we joined them and enjoyed talking with them and with Dottie McElvine, Ruth’s mom. It turns out Ruth’s parents were Airstreamers 25 years ago and Ruth and Ken also had an Airstream. Ruth and Ken have recently purchased their first Airstream in many time, joined the Carolinas Unit of NC, and are attending their first rally in over twenty years.

We drove to Warner Robins Air Force Base to the Museum of Aviation. The first building required almost three hours for us to browse the first two floors. As we walked outside to attend to other exhibit halls we realized our tour time was expended and we needed to return to the rally campus. We were due to present a brief seminar on full-timing in less than one hour.

So we returned, ate a fresh tomato sandwich, and walked up to the meeting hall to greet all four attendees of our small seminar. No problem, we moved to a nice round table. We presented our perspectives on full-timing for almost an hour and facilitated another half-hour of discussion on full-timing issues. We enjoyed this and think the attendees did too. This was easier with only four people and is good practice for us. We’ll be presenting to ten times as many people in Madison, WI, in two months.

Enjoyed a cookout with some friends before we walked to the meeting hall for rally announcements, merit awards, entertainment, door prizes, and nightly ice cream. Entertainment last night was fabulous, a quartet from Columbus, GA, called Wynnbrook Quartet. We enjoyed them tremendously.

Two previous nights were cooler than last night. We opened our windows a little wider and put less covers on the bed. I was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep before a golf game in the morning.

No lightning and thunder, no rain, and no strong winds buffeted us this morning. We woke up to a beautiful orange sunrise and what seems like our first calm weather. This is a welcome change, even with the likelihood of warmer temperatures and more bugs. Jim has a golf outing and Debbie will join friends sightseeing.

Earl Leggett Olympic Games in St Augustine

This morning’s rally breakfast was omelets in a bag. If you haven’t done this, we highly recommend this clean way to cook. We sometimes microwave an egg for sandwiches or salad garnish, using a small Tupperware rock’n’serve. It’s a no-mess way to rapidly (33 seconds per egg) cook a poached egg and doesn’t mess up any cookware. The rock’n’serve Tupperware wipes out clean very readily. Whatever you do, be sure the eggs are covered well in the microwave — they pop and explode wildly in their container.

Omelets in a bag is even less mess. Break and shake two eggs in a zip-loc freezer bag. Add chopped fresh veggies, some grated cheese, some herbs and spices and gently shake again. Express all the air from the zip-loc and seal it tightly. Put your name on your creation and drop it in boiling water for eleven minutes. Voila! One gently cooked omelet with zero clean-up. Just open the zip-loc and slide the omelet onto your plate. Nothing easier, and tastes great. Works great for large crowds, just have two large stockpots of water and run them approximately five minutes apart so you don’t have to manage all the baggies at once.

St Augustine weather has been really fine this week. We have a 10 knot breeze plus strong gusts, partly cloudy skies, and low 80s temperatures daytime. Our two roof fans are exhausting the warm air and pulling less warm air in from outside. Our awning and end sunscreen were keeping the sun off the south side of the Airstream until the gusts convinced me to reef the awning. The wind gusts seemed strong enough to wrap the awning completely around the trailer if I didn’t bring it in first. No other chores for today, Life Is GOOD!

Today seems like a recovery day — We’ve been hard at sightseeing since Monday and have pretty well seen what we wanted to this week. People wander about from one Airstream to another to sit a spell and visit, then move along. We had visitors after lunch, good friends who had not seen inside our 2005 International. The guys sat outside under the awning shooting the bull. The gals were inside talking up a storm, it seemed. I don’t know who had it better but everyone seemed satisfied with the arrangement. Otherwise the day has been very quiet.
Bunch of diaper butts at "The Games"

We are relaxing in our rally site after the fierce mid-morning competitive Earl Leggett Olympic Games. The events included the following: bowling, aqua relay, javelin, discus, golf, shot put, basketball, and extinguishing the flame. All events were, of course, senior-safe. And I think no one was injured in the testing or marketing of these games. My event was javelin throw — I didn’t hear the distance but it was a bit shy of Czechoslaviakian Jan Zelezny’s 1996 World Record of 98.48 metres. I think my drinking straw, I mean my javelin, went a bit over 3 metres. This was a respectable throw, as the winner couldn’t have been over 4 metres. Debbie was a team captain, responsible for more than 13 big babies, so her hands were quite full.

Lynn prepares to drive from first tee

Lynn prepares to drive from first tee

Tonight we will hear the results. Some of the event tabulations may be quite difficult. Golf, for instance, is judged upon not only stroke count, but also the time required to “hole” the Idaho potato on five greens (0.5 metre circles chalk-marked upon the concrete). Aqua relay measures the quantity of water transferred, by spoon, from one end of the course to the other and the time required for the four members, in turn, to transport the water and return. The normally very solemn ceremony of extinguishing the flame was rather more exciting and suspenseful. Some teams’ marksmen barely managed to douse their candle’s flame with their water pistol, while a few others (most notably Larry Strong) easily cruised to a Gold Medal in one or two efficient squirts.

Group photo of Debbie's team

Group photo of Debbie's team

Oh, speaking of squirts, here is a group picture of Debbie’s team members. As I said, they were just a bunch of big babies. They cried, “Protest”, at every turn and couldn’t be mollified by even the most patient judges. Our team, on the other hand, showed great maturity, dignity, and poise. A few, though, seemed a bit proud of their assets. Their “pride” might have rapidly deflated in several instances.

Vic in a striking pose for Green Team

Vic in a striking pose for Green Team

Everyone had a good time, no one was much injured (at least not physically), and we simply will have to wait until this evening to learn the winning teams’ identity. The prize? I suspect their reward may be more than just bragging rights, they may also earn first place in the desserts line after tonight’s entertainment. Gosh, I hope my team is not first — dessert tastes much better when you’re the last one to finish.

Today has been wonderful. And Debbie and I can hardly wait to learn if our respective teams placed in The Games today. We’ll let you know another time, okay? We’re on our way to the Awards Ceremony.

Last Dance

Yesterday we had our last dance class of the season. Ancient Oaks RV Resort offers a lot of volunteer opportunities and, fortunately for us, someone volunteered to organize dance classes. Al and Darlene use video tapes and dvds with dance instructions on them, and we all watch and try to repeat what the instructors did.

One couple might seize upon the correct dance steps first, and everyone says, “Hey! They got it, we’ll watch them.” Debbie and I have learned the waltz, sixteen step polka (our best), and cha-cha. We’re not really competent in any of these and only through a lot of practice might we even be brave enough to display our new talent.

A month ago we might have had up to eight couples in dance class. Things are slowing down a little; today we were three couples. The decline in dance class attendance is representative of what’s happening across the resort. People are heading north.

Tonight was the annual golf banquet, celebrating a dozen weeks of matches and awarding prizes to the top six duos. My partner and I won fifth place and only one point separated each of the places, fifth through first. Only a few golfers were absent from this celebration. But we heard many stating they were leaving next week.

After all, if there’s no golf league activity, why would folks stay? Hmm, how about tennis, shuffleboard, horseshoes, line dancing, aerobics, card-playing and great socializing, among other activities? We’ll stay a little longer, thank you.