Im & June's Odyssey - 110217 Hemet, CA
Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
26Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Golden Village Palms RV Resort
While on their way to Yuma, some long-time friends detoured to Hemet for a visit. Lionel & Gloria Campeau, Walter & Lynda Ogordiuk and Harris & Dean Gibeau planned on stopping for a week but quickly changed their minds and decided to stay for a month. We really enjoyed their company!
Additional new friends are Bill/Wendy from Maple Ridge, Dave/Karen from Edmonton, Richard/Orlean from Kindersley, Roger/Marlene from West Bank, Fred/Bonnie from North Saanich, Ken/Anne from Leduc.
In mid March, the resort hosted their first annual Awards Night. It was billed as a gala event so everyone was encouraged to dress "to-the-hilt" (as if we're attending the Acadamey Awards). Some showed up in top hats and tails, others with feather shawls and most ladies wore glitzy/ flashy/ sparkly dresses. Some guys impersonated punk rockers or movie stars and dressed the part - miss matched shoes, bed-head hair, baggy pants, wrinkled shirt, BIG bow ties. HaHa. After walking the red carpet, a professional photographer took your picture, you were interviewed by a reporter and escorted to your table. The catered/served meal was excellent and wine/beer was free. Shortly, most snowbirds will be heading north so there was lots of mingling, toasts, hugs and contact exchanges. Awards were presented for the favorite show (country band Rockin' Ronda), favorite activity (dances), noisiest truck, best kept site (we came in second), best block party, the person to most likely invite you to a happy hour (our friend Bill), most likely to invite themselves to a happy hour, funniest RV'er, most helpful, wild & crazy, most active, friendliest, etc. A Flemenco dance troupe performed with some kids only 4 years old - they were very good. There were several other entertainers throughout the evening inclucing an Elvis impersonator. When he sang, Jim & Bill put on some Elvis masks complete with the hair, glasses and sideburns - everyone wanted a picture! Throughout the ceremony and between dances, there were several prize giveaways including bottles of wine, booze AND four packages of rent-free stays at the resort in the future (a week, two weeks or a month).
One of the more sombre events we witnessed was the funeral of a Cathederal City police officer, Jermaine Gibson - 28 yrs old, 5 week old son. While chasing two felons, his car crashed into a palm tree and caught on fire. We were returning from Palm Springs and entered the freeway just as the procession was approaching. We stayed ahead of the group for 25 miles but exited towards Hemet, CA where the offramp crosses over this freeway. We pulled off, ran to the overpass and watched as the procession approached: There were several cop cars, firetrucks and ambulances already parked there - they saluted the hearst. The cop cars in the procession responded with a blast of the siren, a horn, a claxton to a simple tweet-tweet. It took 9 minutes for 320 cars and 36 California Hwy Patrol motorcycles (in a single line in the fast lane) to pass - each one had ALL of their lights on. A radio station announced that there were 2000 vehicles heading to the enturnment in Riverside, stretching over 25 miles long. Interestingly, the car theives crashed their car into a palm tree a 1/2 mile later but survived.
At the end of March, we went to the NASCAR Sprint Series car race in Fontana, CA (a bucket-list item). The pre-game show and tailgate session was packed with 84,000 people - world's largest grill, huge performers stage, mega-sized overhead screens, dragsters, funny-cars, beer tents, Budweiser girls and everybody wears racing jackets, caps or shirts. Every racer has at least two semi's - one hauls their race cars and another trailer is loaded with all of their promotional/souvenier merchandise. The most popular racer is Danica Patrick (but she wasn't here due to a previous accident). People started arrriving a week before the race, parked their RV's on the infield (and for $7,000 got a pit pass, a spin around the track and a racing jacket), viewed all the practice/qualifying runs from skyboxes and obtained unlimited access to block parties, concerts, stunt shows, driver inductions, BBQ's, autograph sessions, savenger hunts, etc. We paid $120 for $300 seats. There were 43 cars in the race and when the green flag dropped, the ground rumbled - they're so loud that we had to buy headphones. After 200 laps, four yellow flags (no accidendts but two spun out on the grass and two got rubbed out along the wall), and four tire changes... only 36 cars finished. Average speed = 175mph, on the straight-away they got up to 205. The most amazing sight were the pit stops - as the the car skidded to a halt, six guys would jump the barrier, change four tires, wipe the windshield, clean the grill and re-fuel the car in 17 seconds. Interestingly, when the front tires were removed, about a cup of brake dust would fall off the rim. Kyle Busch lead most of the time but in the last 3 laps there were 3 leader changes with local/favorite driver, Kevin Harvick from Bakersfield winning. After a 60 second burnout at the finish line (where he dissappeared in an acrid rubber cloud), it was done. Awesome!
Golden Village Palms Resort has done a supurb job keeping us busy and entertained. There is live music at poolside every day from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM (weather permitting) and the BBQ serves up hotdogs and hamburgers. I was involved in organizing a luncheon and fashion show with proceeds going to the local Hemet Hospice Center. It was a great success with about 180 ladies present. We showed off clothes from Jones New York and their sister company Caspar. It was a lot of work but well worth the time spent. The park had five concerts put on by impersonators - Barbara Streisand, Elvis, The Beatles, Neil Diamond and The Beach Boys. We also had a "Fiesta Night" with Mexican food and local dancers. Saturday night dances remain a real hit especially when retired trucker "Rockin' Rhonda" is playing. Her co-hort "Victoria" is 73 years old and teaches line dancing. From the back you would think she was twenty-one - cute little figure, long blond curly hair, frilly, short skirts etc. but her face looks like she spent too much time in the sun. She never misses a dance all night and has more energy than an eveready battery! Unbelieveable!
My sister Joan came for a holiday for a few weeks. We were busy shopping, golfing, shopping, dancing, laying at the pool etc. We spent a day in Old Town Temecula and were fortunate to hit it right as the town was hosting a Blue Grass festival. Various bands were playing in the streets all day and kept us entertained.
I still can't believe how much cheaper it is to live in California than in Bonnyville. For excample, Green Giant vegetables are 48 cents a can, cheese, eggs and dairy products are about half the cost, chicken is around 68 cents a pound and ribeye steak is $2.99/lb. One of our friends remarked that "you can buy Two Buck Chuck (wine) and a Four Buck Cluck (roasted chicken), therefore you can have a great evening for around six dollars! When the park hosts a dance, you can bring your own booze. I said, "Well I can't drink a whole bottle of wine" to which Jim replied, "Well June, the wine is worth $2.00. At that price you can afford to dump half a bottle". He's right!!!
We'll soon be heading north and I can't believe how quickly the past five months have flown by! I guess it was a good winter to be away from Alberta as they are still shovelling snow. It has been a long one for those unfortunates who had to stay home and work. We count our blessings every day. What's not to like about this lifestyle???? Next week, we'll head for Palm Springs, then north...