We are getting close to wrapping up our full month stay in Happy Trails Resort in Surprise, Arizona. This was the first time we have “sat” for an extended time without health issues. (Luke’s fall and subsequent broken ribs in Yuma and my hospitalization for mononucleosis in PA don’t count. LOL)
WHY HAPPY TRAILS
We have visited Happy Trails (HT) numerous times as stop-overs returning from our time at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Those stays have lasted a few days to maybe a week or two. Our friends Bonnie and Ken Martin have their winter home here in the front portion of the resort, an area known as The Ranch, and have helped us arrange lots in the past.
This Ranch portion of the resort is limited to Class A motorhomes and is easy to negotiate for our 40’ rig, has modern casitas, and plenty of uncovered (open) lots that allow for use of our DirecTV dish. We have a transponder to open the “gates” and do not have to go through the HT Security Gate to get “home”. The park is aging nicely and the place prides itself on activities and volunteerism.
Life in Happy Trails often revolves around facilities located in or near the centrally-located Town Center. There are no merchants here but the area does include the Chuckwagon, Mail Center, Ballroom, craft and hobby rooms, billiards, fitness center, and a general activities office. (More photos at the end of this blog.)
The 18-hole public golf course, Great Eagle, is privately owned and meanders through the entire RV park. Along some of the fairways, nettings protect RVs and patios along the back of owned lots. On our first visit in 2007 we stayed on a rental golf course lot that had actually decorated the patio in a Florida nautical theme of pink flamingos and sea shells with buoys hanging on the nets and docking ropes. The protection was definitely needed as we heard repeated errant golf balls bouncing off the metal roofs of the shade ports and nearby RVs.
A BUSY SOCIAL LIFE
I have had a chance to play 5 rounds of golf with the Ladies Golf Club here. Didn’t play well, but had fun. Many of you know that Luke doesn’t play golf, so getting to play while traveling is a treat for me.
We enjoyed numerous HT breakfasts at the Chuckwagon, the volunteer-run coffee shop where prices run from $1 for a multi-grain/nut 8” pancake to $3.50 for huge, made-to-order omelets. We also attended a traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinner. An English band (hmmm, probably couldn’t find an Irish group) played rock n roll music with plenty of dancing following dinner. There were other opportunities for HT-sponsored entertainment events and dinners, but sell-outs and our schedules did not allow attendance.
Flyers from some of the entertainment evenings at HT.
There were “neighborhood” activities as well. We attended two of the three potlucks that were held this month here in the Ranch section. This week, for example, one couple hosted a rib dinner that spilled over onto three lots. They had six roasters for 75 lbs. of delicious, slow-roasted BBQ ribs and potluck side dishes to feed about 80 attendees.
Above: Chef Tammy shows off one of the six roasters full of ribs. Friend Ken Martin waiting in line for food. Below: some of my golfing partners at the rib dinner.
We also ate out with our friends: Big Buddha Chinese with the Martins, and prime rib (salad for me) at Nick’s Diner with Boomers & HT residents Gloria and Charley Goss. We did one Boomer/Ballooning gathering hosted by Connie and Marshall Shapiro. Turns out they were with us in ABQ at last year’s Balloon Fiesta and they live across the street here in HT from the Gloria & Charley. The “Wicked” pilot team they crewed for at Fiesta, Dave Lopushinsky and Leslie Manion, were also staying in the area with another pilot so we had a definite excuse to get-together.
Now that I think about it, RVers don’t need excuses to get-together for food, fun, and story telling.
Gloria Goss with her redneck wine glass.
SEASON ENDING ACTIVITIES
The “season” is coming to a close in Happy Trails so it has been time for the clubs and activities to wrap things up. (Canadian snowbirds are reluctantly leaving the park heading north before their 6-month limitation time schedule expires.)
While we were getting ready to take our grandson & SIL to a ballgame during their recent visit, the annual Happy Trails Parade started lining up along our street. Golf carts, the normal method of getting around in HT, also doubled as decorated floats in the parade.
On Tuesday, the Lady Golfers ended their “season” with an 18-hole Scramble tournament and their annual awards ceremony. The morning of golf was followed by a pizza party at the gazebo overlooking a large pond near the “Town Center”.
ROY ROGERS & DALE EVANS
Most of my blog reading friends remember these icons from Western movies and television. I bet you even know the names of their horses, side-kick, and even the jeep that appeared in the TV series from 1951-1957.
So why am I writing about them in a blog about Happy Trails?
Apparently, when this RV park was being planned, the developers bought the “endorsement” of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans to use the images and characters from the movies and 100 TV episodes. They never did live in Happy Trails, but the Activities Office has a scrapbook of photos from visits the pair made here. There is also a collection of memorabilia from the promotions of the early days in the park’s history. That history lives on in the street names throughout the park. (These will answer the trivia questions asked earlier.)
LOTS WE DIDN’T DO…
Happy Trails has a lot of activities that we did not take advantage of during our month here. Here are scenes from around Town Center:
We will leave Happy Trails on Monday, but there is still more to write about our time in the Phoenix area.
Until then… “Happy Trails to You” as sung by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. (click the link).
NEXT: CACTI, CHIHULY, & CULTURE