Tag Archives: Mesa AZ

3 Best Things About Mesa AZ

A really neat thing about full-time RVing is our ability to live in our RV anywhere on the continent for however long we want (more or less). There are, we think, more places to try than we could sample in thirty-five years or more. In fairness we might need to try and stay a shorter time each place, maybe like Rob and Jan did in their very cool tour of 50 national parks, the original Sprinter Tour.

We do our best and find ourselves sticking down roots for weeks and sometimes months in favorite places. Gosh, before you know it we could up and buy a lot and find a builder and start roughing in utilities even! Nah! Been there, fooled that already. We really do want to keep sampling around and are excited about all the places we haven’t even seen.

Two and one-half years ago we tried TowerPoint Resort in Mesa AZ upon invitation from full-timers Bob and Faith. We knew them from attending WBCCI “Internationals”, airstream annual meetings. We’d had fun with them and accepted their invite to try out this place in Mesa for a month.

A month turned into six weeks so I could compete on the club’s team in the East Valley tennis league. A year later we committed for three months of winter at TowerPoint. Between flying back east for a wedding then a high school reunion then family Christmas we only spent six weeks at TowerPoint.

This year we committed for five months. Wow, that’s a big deal for us. We hadn’t stayed anywhere five months since we started on this odyssey almost five years ago. And we did get itchy feet midway and towed our home into the desert at Quartzsite AZ. Worth it, preserved our sanity and maybe our reputation for being travelers still.

Even after five months stay, we do love Mesa and the resort. We promised to tell the three best things we’ll really miss about the West and why we’ll look forward to getting back there this autumn. The following are not in any particular order, they are the top three favorite things we think about Mesa AZ.

Number 1
We’re still eating avocados, oranges, and grapefruit from Mesa AZ. We had these freely available all winter and they keep well too. Avocados are between $0.33 and $0.88 all the time for nice-sized ones. Oranges and grapefruit were free to us throughout most of March but were between $0.25 and $0.35 each at the stores. We’ve not eaten better ones either.

We’ll look forward to all the fresh produce at Superstition Ranch Produce across from TowerPoint Resort, the fresh veggies, bulk foods and fun lagers at Sprouts Supermarkets, and the general groceries at Fry’s.

Number 2
Our friends. Sure, we are lucky to make friends everywhere we go. We have found true what so many others also learn about resort community life. We share so many activities on daily basis, whether playing tennis or learning a foreign language or just enjoying the weather together.

The always sunny and almost always warm weather has a lot to do with how this works at TowerPoint Resort — we have countless opportunities to meet and greet and talk with our friends and neighbors. We enjoy it and can see in the faces of so many people how much they enjoy it too.

Number 3
Winter tennis in the southwest can’t be beat. There are more opportunities to play than anyone can take advantage of. The weather is incredibly cooperative — one of our sixteen weekly matches was rained out and we rescheduled and played it four days later. Yes, sixteen weeks of matches and we had one rain-out for my team.

Our courts are lit so we can play until 10pm if we want. We have two hundred members in our resort’s tennis club and thousands in our East Valley tennis league. Finding a game is always a cinch. Even easier is finding enjoyable tennis to watch — our club has scheduled team matches every morning Monday through Friday November 10 through March 10.

We try to play tennis year-round. But this is like living at the tennis club — our house, when we’re parked at TowerPoint, is less than 100 yards from the tennis complex. Tennis doesn’t get any more inviting or easy to engage in. We’ll look forward to the nice tennis club, the facilities, and the great people not only in the tennis club but in the entire resort.

There are many more reasons to love living in Mesa AZ. If we told you more than these three reasons then you would want to move there and it might get crowded. Besides, I’m already over 750 words. Good night.

Jim and Deb, the dreamstreamrs
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©2007-2012 Dreamstreamr

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Headin’ east

It’s time for us to turn eastward once again.  Tough to do, we’ll miss our Towerpoint and ham radio friends and all the great tennis and social events.  Duty calls and, hopefully, fair Florida weather will be welcoming too.

Friends from Calgary, JIm and Martha, were on an easterly course for Tallahassee FL from Las Vegas.  They arrived Wednesday afternoon at Towerpoint for a brief visit before they resumed their trip.  They’ll be joining an Airstream caravan about Florida a few days from now.  Our planned departure from Mesa was Thursday morning, a half day behind them.

Our travels have previously been altered by thunderstorms and snowstorms but this is the first time we’ve delayed a departure.  Thursday’s forecast for our trip’s first leg called for 3 to 11 degrees (Fahrenheit) overnight and snow and high temperatures in the high teens.  Our previous trip from Mesa to the east (Dec 2009) was so fast-paced we dedicated ourselves this time to planning an extra two days into the itinerary.  We looked at this weather outlook and dispensed with one of our zero days.  The weather would be better one day later.

We mentioned the weather outlook to Jim and Martha and they decided to wait their departure until Friday morning because the trip’s overnights would be too chilly.  They gained a relaxing Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday in Mesa.  We joined Bob and Faith for a farewell celebration at Organ Stop Pizza .

Organ Stop is a must-see in Mesa, it has the world’s largest Wurlitzer organ complete with 23 ranks and an entire set of 32 feet long wood pipes. Wonderful organists do a wonderful job showcasing the organ by playing several sets of tunes including requests from customers.  We all enjoyed good pizza, salad, and wonderful music at Organ Stop Pizza.

The evening was still young and across the street is Pros Ranch Market, the largest Mexican grocery store we’ve visited.  Panederia, salsa bar, tortilleria, taqueria, cremeria, carniceria, and all sorts of produce we’d never seen are presented in colorful and appealing displays.  The sweet rolls and cookies are really tempting, the fresh tamales are excellent, the salsas are fresh and fantastic, and if we can catch the store with short check-out lines we enjoy sampling treats from Pros Ranch.

Towerpoint Resort’s gate guard welcomed us to a completely and very dark resort.  Colder than usual temperatures greatly increased electrical demand throughout the east valley and wreaked havoc with the local utility’s power distribution plan.  Rolling blackouts ensued and the resort’s power did not successfully reconnect.  People in some sections of the resort spent  several days without power.  Thursday evening everyone apparently was “in the dark” from before 2100 hours until sometime after 0400 hours.

It’s nice to wake up to full power.  And even nicer is our fully self-contained home.  Regardless of local utility power issues our batteries power lights, heat, fans, and  electronics.  Unfortunately for our park model (mobile home) neighbors their lights and heat are completely dependent upon local utility electrical power.  A few have gas furnaces, but their gas furnaces require 110vac to drive the fans and controls, whereas our furnace is battery-powered.

Good news is on the horizon for Towerpoint folks — their weather forecast is for 70 degrees by Super Bowl Sunday.  Wish we were there!  We have had a wonderful winter in Towerpoint with friends on and off the tennis court, and our Mesa weather overall was fabulous.  No matter how cool the temperatures the hot tubs were still steamy hot and it’s never too cold to play tennis.  Several of us gathered for a couple hours of tennis Thursday morning.  The captains had cancelled our inter-resort league match due to cold temperatures.  Our friendly game, an hour later, was very nice in sub-40 degree temperatures.

Our first travel day we left Mesa at 0530 hours caravanning with Jim and Martha.  We arrived almost fourteen hours later in chilly (27F) Fort Stockton TX.  Saturday morning we left at 0630 hours and drove just past Houston — at 545 miles a much shorter drive than Friday.  Houston is much warmer than Fort Stockton, we arrived to 60 degrees.  Sunday and Monday we’ll also have 400 mile drives, weather permitting.  We’re heading for Orlando FL for Hamcation, the best hamfest in the southeast.

We’ve been “out west” since June 2010, it’s time to head east again.  Even as much as we’ll miss everything western, the food, the weather, tennis, and especially friends, we have family and friends and doin’s back east.  And hopefully we can find our way westward later this year.

[Sorry no pictures this time — posting on the road with battery power only, glad to get the alphabet on this post.  Will post pictures of Organ Stop party later.]

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

How much can you stand?

Tennis twice (or more) a day, swimming and ping-pong every day, lots of good walks, and more Vitamin D sunshine than a person deserves. We’re in paradise. Really! We were chilling out for a few minutes this evening, watching the end of a great sunset, and thinking aloud, “we’ll get used to this level of physical activity in another week”.

We are in Mesa, one of a dozen or so “towns” in Phoenix, AZ. Friends Bob and Faith dragged us down here, carefully warning us it might be noisy, polluted, crowded, and hot or cold. And, they have been coming here six or seven years because they like it so much. They clearly were trying to undersell so we would not have our expectations set too high. Okay, we’ve got to try this for ourselves.

The southwest has been enigmatic for us, something we hear about and read about but never experience. Taliesen West (the Frank Lloyd Wright place), Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, and many more names and places have twinkled out there for us. Until now. We’re here and don’t notice the noisy, polluted, crowded, or cold. Well, the grocery store this morning was pretty dangerous with little old ladies on electric shopping carts pushing “go” instead of “stop”. And it is definitely on the hot side. But we’re not counting these things, we so many blessings.

No problems with our level of expectations, this place is pretty great. Today, for example, Jim hit tennis balls against a ball machine an hour, we had breakfast, he played one and one-half hours mixed doubles tennis, we picked up some groceries, had a snack lunch, and walked the short distance to the pools complex.

Sunset over Mesa

Sunset over Mesa

We played in the pool’s cool water a little while, read awhile, played ping-pong, swam laps, sunbathed under cloudy skies, showered and walked home. Have a drink, listen to a little music, watch the sunset and WHOA! Look at that sunrise, aren’t the clouds beautiful and the tall palms swaying very gently as the wind kisses through them? This is our first outstanding Mesa sunset, and we’ll appreciate additional ones if they are anywhere near this.

We don’t need to go anywhere, we’ve done plenty today, but Debbie wants to practice hitting the tennis ball. We walk the short distance to the tennis complex, turn on the court lights, find a bucket of practice balls. Jim tells Debbie where to start dropping balls and hitting them against the fence. Then she practices her forehand and backhand swings toward the net and hits Jim several times as he tosses her balls to hit. This is great stuff!

Back to our home and we watch the temperature drop, two hours after sunset, to 80F degrees from 92F earlier. Debbie fixed us a wonderful dinner of barbecue from Glenn’s in Kannapolis, NC (with Glenn’s bbq sauce, not Texas-style). Darn, this is the end of our North Carolina BBQ and we won’t be home for five or six weeks yet to reload. Oh well, worse things have happened.

But not in Paradise! Yeah, it’s a little warm and pretty dry. We aren’t spending much on electricity because the heat doesn’t really feel bad if we are in the 5-10mph breezes outside our home. We see 75 degrees twice a day, briefly, and see a whole lot more hotter than cooler.

The resort has a wonderful tennis complex with two or three illuminated courts, a huge practice board, ball machines, shaded grandstand, and teaching programs for all levels players. Jim has readily gained acceptance in the tennis crowd. They have recruited him to play number 1 doubles. The first match, against a neighboring resort, is Monday (hopefully they still like him after the match). Debbie has her first lesson Friday and will be playing as frequently very soon.

We’re going on a 5 mile hike Saturday with another couple, both tennis players too. We want to visit the Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) store in Phoenix, Taliesen West, and Arizona State University, and check out the dancing lessons in the resort and locally, just for starters. We’re going to do all this in just two months, somehow. And, we sense, we’ll be back to Mesa again. We think we can stand this and more.

Jim and Debbie
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©2009 Dreamstreamr

©2009 Dreamstreamr

Mesa is hot!

We arrived Mesa yesterday after a week two hours north, in Congress, AZ. Boy is it hot here, too. Today has been 90F degrees since mid-morning when it was 65F. Jim scurried over to the tennis courts at 0730 hrs, he was the first one today. He hit the backboard a little while before a charitable tennis club member suggested Jim might use the ball machine instead. Dale didn’t say it, but probably the backboard is a little too loud at 0730?

They’re going to rank Jim for league tennis play this week by playing him a couple of times and seeing how he does. He hasn’t played in leagues nor had a ranking since 1992, back in Greensboro, NC, so this will be interesting and fun for him. And Dale did a real sales job on Debbie this morning when he visited us.

Dale had talked Debbie, in just a few minutes, into starting playing tennis this Friday. This afternoon we hit the local sports supply store and found her a pair of court shoes, so she’s ready. We laughed afterward, Dale was a very successful salesman in his previous lifetime and doesn’t seem to have lost any of it.

North Ranch Escapees Park

a little oasis for full-timers

Congress, AZ, was an interesting layover. We were there to await Bob S on his way down from chilly, rainy and snowy Boise, Idaho. We had a few days on our own to explore, and didn’t need a single day more. We spent one half-day cruising the hills around Wickenburg and shopping the Safeway grocery store. The only two things to check out are Wickenburg and Congress and, from what we heard, we missed nothing in Congress.

Wickenburg is surrounded by ranch estates, so to speak. We didn’t see much resembling ranches although there were a few. Mostly we saw very high end houses tucked against the hills on about ten or more acres each. Very nice looking, and they must have very very deep wells. Even the cacti look thirsty.

Nothing green about this green area

The green area is all brown

Back to Congress — this is our first Escapees Park to visit and we would be happy to visit again. The rates are low, people are very interesting, and did we mention the rates are low? Campers must be members of Escapees, and willing to camp miles away from anything at all. This park is thirteen miles north of Wickenburg and Wickenburg isn’t much. We met no homeowners who stay year-round in North Ranch Escapees Campground, they mostly stay through the winter months.

Still, there doesn’t seem so much to do here — no tennis, no ping pong, no golf, no swimming pool. Jim asked several homeowners in the development, “What do you do while you stay here?” Several times we heard about panning for gold, four wheeling, beading, quilting, and ham radio. Okay, we like ham radio and traveling. And we really like the folks we met at North Ranch. Maybe we will visit and not stay very long.

So we’re in Mesa — Jim today bought a soft rubber-faced ping pong paddle and played tennis twice, we enjoyed a grilled stuffed chicken breast and salad supper, and we spent an hour at the pools. Yep, pools — four of them. A 25 meter lap pool is maintained at 75F, a conversation pool is 85F, one hot tub is maintained at 98F, and one hot tub is at 104F. We checked out all four pools tonight before hitting the showers then home and getting ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is forecast for 94F — we’ll try to hit the pools much earlier and perhaps for longer. Take a good book and a big ice water, and stay awhile. And work a little on our tennis basics, eh?

See ya later,

Jim and Debbie
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©2009 Dreamstreamr