Friday, April 22, 2011

4/22/11 Yes, we are finally having some warm weather here at Park Sierra. Not as warm as usual, but much better than the past few weeks. It was great that it started in time for Stagecoach Daze, which is the major fundraiser, with the money going to the social part of the park called Sierra Oaks. It funds the various breakfasts, lunches and dinners as well as other special events which occur here all year long.
Before it started, Bill and Gisela Pollock were here, as I mentioned in my last post. Just before they left, last Monday they had us over for a delicious dinner in their lovely rig. Here is a picture of the 4 happy eaters:

They splurged and served beef tenderloin steaks, which had been grilled perfectly and were fork tender. We paired them with one of the delicious red wines we had bought the day before on the Madera wine trail.
The next day there was a big lunch picnic gathering at the pole barn for the unveiling of the newly refurbished stage coach. Many of the members had been working on repairing the stagecoach for months, and also building a new covering for it. The many woodpeckers here in the park had done quite a thorough job on it, and it was riddled with holes. Now the new covering structure has netting all around it to keep the critters out. Here is a picture of the new stagecoach:

Some people even dressed up for the occasion, such as our friends Ken & Carolyn Kimpton:

After some speeches recognizing people who were founding park members, they hooked up the stagecoach to a tow vehicle and a parade of golf carts and people formed behind it. Some park members acted as the "horses":

It was hauled down the hill to the spot near the clubhouse where the new enclosure was built for it, and now it is elegantly parked there for all to see as they enter our park.
Throughout the next few days a lot of entertainment was presented. After the first dinner, our neighbor, Jeanne Taylor, acted as the "bag lady" in this skit about 2 ladies trying to outdo each other at a bus stop. It was hilarious.

And here is a picture of Elaine with Rich and Mary Baumann, our across the street neighbors, at one of the meals:

Our Boomer friend, Betty Prange arrived after the first day and was able to join us for the Social Hour on Thursday. Here she is in between Mary & Dave Fountain:

Two other couples of gals are also park members here, and they have become our good friends. In this picture they are (left to right) Elleen and Glenda, Vicky & Jan.

There was also a casino night where we played poker all evening, although there were other options.

A prize was given at the end of the night for the person with the most money, but I only came in third. When I was whining about it on the way out of the clubhouse, the sheriff put me in jail:

Betty joined us for dinner on Saturday night, so here we are together at the table.

There were lots of raffle prizes, door prizes, and 50-50 drawings during all of the Stagecoach Daze events, but we didn't win any of them!!!! Oh well, the event made over $10,000 for Sierra Oaks, which is just wonderful.
Now I have to get ready for the Friday night social, and later Elaine and I are going over to Chukchansi Casino for a performance by Journey Unauthorized. They gave us free tickets, so of course, we will go. Hopefully, these free tickets won't cost us a lot as we pass by the gaming tables and the slot machines!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

4/10/11 Hi from sunny Park Sierra, although it still isn't really very warm here yet. In fact, 2 days ago we woke up to about 2-3 inches of snow all over everything, with more big, wet flakes falling! Here is a picture of our rig and car on our lot:

From our living room slide we could see all the trees in the greenbelt next to us covered with snow.

Here is a picture of Elaine on our snowy patio:

But by mid afternoon, the sun was out and most of the snow had melted:

Two days before all this snow and cold, we had a Happy Hour gathering at our lot in honor of Gary & Cecile Thompson, who were giving up their lot at the park. It was so nice that people were sitting outside in their shirtsleeves! Here is a picture of June and Stan Dean, with our next-door neighbor Alan Rodely, and our friend Carolyn Kimpton:

And here is Elaine with Gary Thompson, and his neighbors Gloria and Marvin Taylor:

Our Boomer friends Bill and Gisela Pollock had arrived on Tuesday, and we advised them to go to Yosemite National Park on Wednesday because we had heard there was going to be a big change in the weather. Also, if there was a government shut down, the park would be closed. So they went on Wednesday and had a beautiful day there. We have been having fun social times with them ever since they arrived. Here is a picture of the 4 of us together at the Park Sierra social gathering on Friday:

Other good friends, Judy Farrow & Lou Stoetzer, and Mary & Dave Fountain shared our table with us:

Yesterday we went to two of the wineries on the Madera Wine Trail with Bill and Gisela. Our favorite is Birdstone, which has wonderful wines and a charming tasting room:

Additionally, the owners and winemakers, Kim and Tony Kirk, are warm and welcoming. We met them last year and shared a few glasses of wine at the Isle Hour winery event in Oakhurst last summer. It was great to see Kim again when we were at their winery yesterday. Here is a picture of the 4 of us with Kim at the tasting room:

Our second stop was at Chateau Lasgoity, where the wines were also good and we enjoyed chatting with the owner, John Lasgoity. He told us that he has established a connection with Chinese wine merchants and had an interesting visit to China last year where he observed a lot of their growing and wine making techniques. The Chinese now buy all his wine which is left over at the end of the season.
Bill and Gisela are having us over for dinner tomorrow and then leaving on Tuesday. Too bad they can't stay because the biggest event of the year at Park Sierra starts Wednesday. It is Stagecoach Daze, and it will be 4 days of meals, auctions, craft shows, craft classes, games, raffles, a casino night, a melodrama, and stagecoach rides. We will be helping with some of these events, and enjoying all of them, I'm sure.
In any spare time we have, we are still working on slimming down before our May cruises, and also getting our paperwork in order for future travels. I also managed to get our taxes done, and we got our shed cleaned up a bit. By the time we leave Park Sierra on May 4, it will be our longest stay here (5 weeks) since we became lot holders in 2002!!!