Despite the Crazy World Blessings Abound
I love it when God blesses me with answered prayers. I’ll get to that story in a bit. We left our home in Shingletown, California, a little more than two weeks ago for our Winter 20/21 snowbirds’ road-trip. Getting out of California is a blessing, but we haven’t experienced warm weather yet. We are currently in Cornville, Arizona. Our water froze two days in a row. Despite the afternoons being very pleasant, temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees, the mornings are chilly.
When our water froze the first time, the projected low was 34 degrees, so Tommy didn’t think there was a need for precautions in that area. After it happened, I read the Thousand Trails paperwork. The publication informed campers that the Cottonwood temperatures usually listed on the weather report are always slightly higher than Cornville, where the park actually is. When you look at a listing in any RV app for the Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Park, it says that it is in Cottonwood. An FYI for you fellow RVers, when trying to put the address into Google Maps for directions, Cornville kept popping up, and I thought it was incorrect.
Where Thousand Trails Parks are concerned, Verde Valley has the most spacious sites we’ve ever experienced. I added this park to our itinerary when we decided to leave home a week early, and I am so glad that I did. It is the only dedicated Thousand Trails park in the entire state of Arizona. The other affiliated parks are Encore RV Parks, which aren’t free to stay in with our membership. All you Thousand Trails owners know what a large financial investment it is initially. If you are frugal like me, getting the biggest bang for your buck is essential.
If you are an RVer or a future one that has been considering joining the Thousand Trails family, I’ll briefly explain how the membership works. We have what I believe is called the Elite membership, which gives us access to hundreds of campsites across the country. We upgraded from the basic membership last year because the Elite allows us to stay for 21 days in the parks before moving on. We can go right to another TT location. With the basic membership, we were only allowed to stay for a week, and once we stayed for four days or more, we weren’t allowed to camp in any park in the system for a full seven days.
After making cross-country trips in our motorhome in 2018 and 2019, never staying longer than a week in any one location, we were ready to take a more leisure pace. There are more opportunities to get to know your fellow campers or full-timers in the parks with an extended stay. COVID put the Kibosh on that in 2020. Before this crazy year of lockdowns, face masks, and social distancing, it was common to be walking past a neighboring campsite, say hello, and be invited to sit by the fire and enjoy a beverage with complete strangers. The camaraderie is one of the best parts of RV travel. We miss it terribly.
The beginning of this year’s trip was supposed to include a two-week stay in Sun City, Arizona. I would leave Tommy and Paddy there for one week and join my pal Susie in a Scottsdale Resort. For years, my pal and I have vacationed together for my birthday week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I can’t wear a mask for four hours on a plane, so that trip went out the window. Hence, the Scottsdale plan. It would have been a short flight for Susie from San Jose to Scottsdale, and she’s okay with wearing a mask. But, once California went to Purple or Tier 1 Corona Virus guidelines, Sue wasn’t comfortable making the trip. I didn’t blame her one bit, and I canceled our Scottsdale timeshare reservation.
You may be wondering where the blessing is that I referred to earlier in my post? If you aren’t an RVer, you may not grasp how amazing this is, but I’ll share it with you anyway. Once I knew that we no longer needed to stay in Sun City, an Encore Park that would cost us about $280.00 for our two-week stay, I wanted to stay longer in Verde Valley. With a spacious site and plenty to do in the area, including enjoying hiking trails, I wanted to utilize our 21-day option. Not only was it going to save us money, but it would also save a lot of hassle. We could only stay in an Encore park for two weeks and then we couldn’t camp in another one for a week. We are staying at the Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort in Mesa, Arizona, for the holidays. It’s very close to my mom’s new house in Apache Junction and my brother’s home. We would have had to move three times instead of once. Between the fuel and camping savings and not needing to pack up and move, this would be a win, win.
When we checked in here at Verde Valley, I asked the man at the front gate if we could extend our stay. He didn’t see anything available on the computer. He didn’t think the odds of someone canceling their reservation were good. I prayed fervently that God would provide a way for us to stay. On our first full day here, I walked to the office and once again inquired about a more extended stay. I told the man working the front desk that we would be willing to move to a 30- amp site if necessary. He told me that he didn’t move people from 50 to 30-amp sites and that there wasn’t anything available for a 21-day stay. He did give us three more days, and I was happy to get them. When I apprised him that I would be praying for a cancellation so that we could stay longer, he pretty much told me that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in the Mohave Desert of that happening.
If you know me at all, you know I’m not a quitter, and I don’t give up easily. On our second morning here, I took one of the nature trails, not knowing where it would lead me. Low and behold, I wound up behind the office. I decided to pop in and ask how park employees would recognize that we were hoping for a longer stay if someone canceled. There was a different man in the office. When I explained the situation to him, he told me that he might have to move us to a 30-amp site to accommodate the more extended stay. Apparently, he didn’t have the same rules as the first guy.
To make a long story short, Scott, who just happened to be the park manager, was able to extend our stay until December 20th. Someone had a hold on a site that got dropped, and he was able to do some jockeying around and keep us right where we are. The blessing of staying in the park and not having to move from our beautiful 50-amp site is amazing. We can run our fireplace and small electric heaters when it gets cold and save our propane. There will be no packing up to move, and I am over the moon.
You might think that we just got lucky. I don’t believe that for a minute. I believe that God answered my prayers and arranged for things to go the way they did. I’d accepted the fact that if things didn’t go as I’d hoped, we would have to move. Our lives are in God’s hands. I’m so grateful when my plans line up with His. It doesn’t always work that way. But, I’ve learned that His ways are always better than mine.
I’m enjoying the nature trails. There are plaques identifying plant life and lots of room to roam. We had some great Chinese food and did a little shopping in Cottonwood, a short drive away. There is a winery within walking distance with live music and a barbecue on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. It’s a beautiful setting, and I can’t wait to experience it. We can make a day trip to historic Jerome, sign up for a Jeep or winery tour, and I can even go horseback riding. I’m so grateful for this beautiful place. I plan to share a lot more pictures in the coming days on my Facebook page RV Road Trip with Tom, Cat & Paddy. Be sure to join it if you want to ride along with us on our journey. I share lots of information there that helps fellow travelers.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 Believing and receiving. That’s what I’m doing. How about you? Are you bold enough to ask for what you want? I encourage you to pray often. I pray about everything. I even ask God for a good hair day. He loves hearing from you, and He loves blessing His children. If you haven’t already done so, invite Him into your heart and life and experience His mercy and grace. You will be so glad that you did.
Thanks for hanging out with me. I look forward to sharing more travel tips and stories soon.
God bless, Cat