Winter 2017 to April 2018

Winter 2017 to April 2018
Arrived at On Top Of World condo on November 2 after a Halloween stop in Virginia. Had new kitchen installed in November.
Katie and Davis visited for a week at the end of November and Tom and family met us in Orlando for fun at Seaworld and Disney and then a few days at Clearwater Beach.
Peter and Marianne Raps from Haarlem, The Netherlands visited for a few days in December.
Don and I volunteered at the Canadian Junior Golf Association Tournament at Innisbrook Golf Course in Palm Harbour in December.

Mirek and Dianne Sip joined us for 2 weeks in January. Enjoyed local sightseeing and especially seeing the many manatees floating around the Apollo Power Station south of Tampa enjoying warm waters.  

From February 13 to 20th, Mary visited Tom Brudnicki, Bruce and Barb Bellchambers and Barb’s sister Mary in Casa Grande, Arizona. Barb, Bruce, the 2 Marys and friend Bill Redtke spent 2 nights at a Wyndam Timeshare Resort in Sedona, Arizona enjoying the fantastic scenery there. On the way to Sedona, north of Phoenix, we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle. Southern Sinagua farmers built this 5 storey 20 room dwelling sometime between 1100 and 1300. It occupies a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley. Our next stop was the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built to a twin pinnacled spur, about 250 feet high, jutting out a thousand foot rock wall, “solid as the rock of Peter” the building of the Chapel was completed in April 1956. The chapel was inspired and commissioned by local rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who had been inspired in 1932 by the newly constructed Empire State Building to build such a church. After an attempt to do so in Budapest, Hungary (with the help of Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright) was aborted due to the outbreak of World War II, she decided to build the church in her native region. Built as a Roman Catholic Chapel, it is open to all.
As part of the deal at the Wynham Resort, on the morning of the second day we had a 90 minute tour around Sedona which included a scenic stop at the Sedona Airport.  Bruce and Barbara did a 90 minute Wynham timeshare presentation and Bill and I went on a hike close to the resort in a creek valley – only got a little lost and were rescued by a friendly Hispanic landscaper in his truck.
In the afternoon we ventured out of Sedona to the little artistic town of Jerome. Jerome, Arizona is a ghost town alive and well. From wickedly wild to wildly artistic. Located high atop Cleopatra Hill between Sedona and Prescott, this historic copper and gold mining town founded in 1876. When gold was discovered in Jerome, miners, gamblers and bad boys of the old west flocked here. Saloons and bawdy houses were the entertainment after a hard days work. At one time, Jerome was the fourth largest town in the Arizona Territory with a rowdy population that reached over 15,000.
We enjoyed touring the Douglas Museum – former home of a mining baron and the home became a museum and state park in 1965. We visited the Nellie Bly Kaleidoscope Shop and other artistic shops and then drove straight up to the Jerome Grand Hotel and Asylum Restaurant – Arizona’s Mile High Historic Landmark for afternoon tea /dessert.
On Day 3 we toured downton Sedona and spent time at the Sedona Heritage Museum. The Sedona Heritage Museum was once a homestead for the Jordan Family (who had a large apple orchard business) and is now, along with the Sedona Historical Society, working with the community to preserve the ever-growing history of Sedona. After our picnic lunch we headed south to Phoenix and stopped at the V Bar V Ranch to view the Petroglyphs carved into rock by the Southern Sinagua Indians.
Back in Casa Grande to enjoy time with our host Tom and dog Dotty. Saw the annual O’Odham Tash (Cowboy/Indian) Parade, hiked on a trail of Picacho Peak State Park with
Bill, dropped in on a quilt show at a huge RV Resort and toured St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery out in the desert land by Florence Arizona with Barb and Bill.
During the Arizona time, we watched 3 current movies – “The Shape of Water”, “Wonder” and the remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” thanks to son Tom’s Air Video connection.

Mary flew back to Don in Clearwater. Our good friend Sina from Zwolle, The Netherlands arrived the next day and we spent many happy hours touring around on our bicycles, working out at the OTOW exercise classes, and relaxing with good wine and food.
Sina and Mary spent a lovely day with Brian and Thery
King touring the Henry B. Plant Museum in the old Tampa Hotel, which is now part of the University of Tampa. The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad resort that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant. Followed by lunch at the Oxford Exchange nearby.
Mary flew back to Ontario for 2 weeks in March to be with Katie and family to assist during a sudden illness and returned to pack up at the end of March to start the journey north.
Easter Sunday was the start of a 3 day Wynham Resort getaway in North Myrtle Beach which they shared with Diana, Jacob, Hannah and Benjamin as the kiddies were on Easter school break.
Travelling north to Chesapeake Virginia, Oma and Opa spent 4 days looking after the 3 kiddies as Diana and Tom escaped to Cancun for some much deserved R&R.

Back to Ontario on April 11 but the weather didn’t realize it was spring so we still had an April snow/ice storm to endure.


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