Celebrating Richard’s Retirement, 3 - 6 Nov 2011 - Slideshow Below Text

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Talk about a whirlwind couple of days!  On Wednesday, 2 November, we returned home from our trip to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to help Ron celebrate his birthday. We had one night at home to regroup and re-stock the Bambi and the next day, Thursday, November 3, we were off again and on the road to Camp Verde, AZ, and the Distant Drums RV Resort to help celebrate our friend Richard’s retirement from the rat race! There certainly wasn’t any moss growing under our wheels between trips this time!

We know Richard through the Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI (Wally Byam Caravan Club International), the Airstream club. He is a past president of our Unit and currently a Region 11 officer. This wasn’t a regular rally of our Airstream club, though. There were some folks coming to the gathering who were not Airstream owners — friends from Richard’s place of work and from his fly-fishing club. Richard’s wife, Jan, arranged the whole event for Richard, working with the good folks at Distant Drums. Terry helped Jan out with some of the communication, distribution of information and RSVP tallying, but it was Jan’s efforts that brought it all together so nicely ...and with a great turnout of over 20 rigs.

The Distant Drums RV Resort is a great place, located in Camp Verde, AZ, just off I-17 on the northern part of town. It’s a Good Sam RV park, with the highest rating possible. It’s easy to understand whe — the grounds are beautifully kept, the sites have cement pads and shade trees, and the clubhouse and amenities are top drawer. It’s a great place for an extended stay to use as a base camp to see the sights in the Verde Valley, or as a stopover on the way to another destination. The staff is very friendly and accommodating as well. It’s on our list of reccommended places to stay while in the area.

It was a fun gathering. Thursday, the first evening, we had an informal meet & greet and happy hour at the clubhouse and patio. Terry’s “close encounter” with the roll bar on Ron’s Jeep while on our Mexico trip had had time to “ripen” and by this time he had a real nice shiner. It looked much worse than it was — we were just glad his head is so hard. Of course, everyone wanted to know what the heck had happened. We told then he’d gotten into a bar fight in Mexico. But somehow they didn’t believe us. (What’s up with that??) “Come on … what really happened?” they’d say. Too bad, too … the bar brawl story was much more interesting than just getting bounced into a roll bar!

As mentioned, the folks at the retirement gathering were a mix of Airstream friends and other friends of Richard & Jan’s from as far away as New Mexico and California. Their Airstreaming friends were well represented, so we knew many of the attendees already, so in some ways it felt much like a 4CU rally. And before long we knew those who weren’t Airstreamers, too. It became one big happy bunch of well-wishers gathered to cheer Richard & Jan on!

After the happy hour a number of us took the free shuttle bus to a nearby casino for dinner. We didn’t know what to expect, but to our delight, the food was really quite good! We’d now stop there just to have dinner if passing by! After dinner some of us stayed to gamble a bit while the rest of us went back to the RV park. We returned to the park since we had the Girls there waiting anxiously for our return.

The party got into full swing on Friday. Folks spent the day sightseeing in the area, relaxing and visiting. That evening we had a happy hour at the clubhouse and patio, complete with the infamous Margarita Ball ...and folks bringing appetizers to share. As is typical with this group, it was more like a full-fledged dinner than just appetizers!

Saturday morning we were treated to coffee and pastries in the clubhouse followed by another day of free time to enjoy catching up with friends or sightseeing. That evening we had appetizers and champagne provided by Richard & Jan, followed by a potluck dinner. More food! Again! Jan had decorated the tables with centerpieces reflecting Richard’s two favorite passions — Airstreams and fly-fishing. She did a great job with the decorations … we all enjoyed her efforts. After dinner several folks made toasts and told stories about Richard … not exactly a “roast” … but close. Then he opened cards and gifts that had piled high on a table. Some of the gifts were gags and others were serious … but all were enjoyed! It was a fun evening celebrating Richard’s retirement and his and Jan’s passage into a new chapter of life … their new retired lifestyle! They were obviously very excited about plans for more extensive Airstream travel that lay ahead.

Sunday we enjoyed coffee and pastries once mmore before folks began packing up to head home. What a great weekend it had been, and what a nice way to send Richard & Jan off into retirement! Thanks, Jan for all your hard work in putting the event together for us all to enjoy. Congratualtions, Richard ...and good luck to you both as your new adventure begins!

After saying our goodbyes, we left Camp Verde ... but rather than heading south on I-17 to Phoenix to pick up I-10 and head tp Tucson, we decided to take Route 260 east from Camp Verde into the mountains. We knew there was snow “in them thar hills” and we thought it might be nice to see some of the white stuff. We knew the roads were clear so we weren’t worried about driving conditions. Besides, we had never driven that stretch of 260 before, and thought this was a great opportunity to do just that. Terry likes to explore new routes shenever we can. We weren’t disappointed. By the time we got into higher altitudes north of Payson, AZ, there was plenty of snow. It was beautiful. We even stopped alongside the road to take some pictures.

Then we proceeded south through Payson, out of the snow and on down into the Valley of the Sun to catch US 60 east and make our way back to Tucson via Florence, AZ. What dramatic changes of climates we had experienced over the last week … from the Tucson desert to the sunny, sandy beaches of Mexico, back to the desert and on to the snowy mountains of central Arizona ... and back to the desert once more — all the while with the Bambi in tow! Gotta love it!

On reflection about the trip we were glad we’d made the trip north to the retirement gathering, even if it was a whirlwind turn-around for us after Mexico. It was worth it … and it was so good to see everyone gathering to wish two of our own the best there is to come.

Enjoy the pictures below. You can click on the button below to return to the 2011 trips list page or the button found at the end of the photo section. See you for the next trip!

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