The day began with a wake-up call at that was apparently made for the wrong room. We tried to return to our slumber which much difficulty, and finally broke out of bed at after Dean had his shower. I packed up my golf gear, and dean and I left for breakfast at McDonalds.
McDonalds Golf Course:
It was a short drive to the golf course that was tucked away at the end of a residential street. We parked in the lot where I put on my golf shoes, gathered up what I’d need to play and we trudged off the to clubhouse for a course named (funnily enough) Ken McDonald’s! We entered the pro shop, and asked about who we were meeting for my , and were approached from behind by Wayne (59), who would be my cart-mate. He was soon followed by Art (76) and Jerry (64 I think), and Dean left me to my new friends. We paid for our tee times and carts, and set off to load the carts and head for the nearby putting green. Nice tightly mowed hard greens, that seemed like they could be lightning fast down hill, but were as yet a little wet. I felt cool in my shorts and polo shirt, as all the locals were in long pants and jackets.
We had about 4 groups in front of us, and finally teed off around . The fairways were fairly generous, and the terrain fairly flat, but it was enjoyable to see the different trees with the occasional palm, and the yellow-brown dormant rough, which was fairly nappy and short, and not much of a hazard. There was water to contend with on 8 of the holes, and a few fairway traps. I was throwing drives and approaches right and left for a bit, with the odd good shot, and didn’t get warmed up until about the 6th hole. It was chilly for the first few holes mostly when driving our electric golf carts and making a breeze. I was plenty warm by hole 5.
I ended the front nine with a disappointing 55, but perhaps not too bad as I hadn’t played since August! 20 putts didn’t help either, with 4 "3 putts" adding to the score. We saw quite a variety of birds along the way to include an egret, male grackle (blue-black) and female grackle (black and brown), coots, mallards, Canadian geese, cormorant.
We rounded our way over the water culvert back past the clubhouse to the 10th hole, and continued on the back nine where I fared a bit better with a 50, and a closest-to-the-pin of about 15 feet on the 165 yard par 3 14th hole with my 9 wood. I also won that honor on 17, where we all missed the green on the 175 yard par 3 over water. I was lucky to run out of the first bunker on the right with my 7 wood, and into a second bunker which saved me from running down over the back into the drink behind. My pitching wedge out of the sand I thought I hit to hard and close to the ball, but it flew high, right at the pin and stopped immediately with a generous amount of backspin.
I pushed my drive right on the par 4 18th that had water all along the right side. I dropped down before the water and scooted my 5 wood up the rough line, where it bounced towards the water again, but finally came to rest about half way down the embankment. A 7 wood right on line to the pin, but short left me a chip and an ugly 3 putt. We had had a great time, and I ended up with $3 from my two par 3 victories! I ended up with a 105 with 40 putts, and said my goodbyes, as Dean picked me up in the lounge.
We went back to the hotel where they were able to save the room for me to grab a quick shower before we packed our suitcases (this time tied to the roof racks) and headed off across town for our afternoon repast at about .
Lunch at Wildflower:
We stopped in a mall that contained the restaurant Wildflower Bread Company. I ordered a fresh tomato, basil, pesto and feta sandwich which came with a bread salad that was marinated in gazpacho. Iced Tea washed it all down, and I finished with a double-tall cappuccino that was dusted with shaved chocolate, mmmm!
Next we went across the mall to Trader Joe’s to get some beer, water, and a few other snacks for the road.
Drive through Mesa to Apache Trail:
We headed north out of town through Mesa, which contained a lot of low lying homes along the highway, with the occasional strip joint and repair shop, as well as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, A&W restaurants and the like. We soon, however, left the main strip for the “Apache Trail” which wound up into the mountains through beautiful terrain with severe cliff drop offs all the way. We stopped in a small village (if you can call it that) called Tortilla Flats which was an old building with a saloon and gift shop, and ‘motel.’
We continued on up the mountain as the sun set, and had to continue on in the dark. We stopped in Rye to try and get dinner, but the restaurant closed at 8. Right next door was a bicycle junkyard that was a half acre fenced in lot just littered with bicycles, motorcycles and the odd car.
So we continued to Payson, which is about the size of Rockland, and stopped at the Mexican restaurant La Rancho.I got a combination platter which was quite hefty with two burritos (one bean, one shredded beef), a taco, an enchilada rice and beans, and a dessert. We had salted margaritas on the rocks which were huge and mui delicioso! When we were done we were overly stuffed, and still had to take food home with us!
After the restaurant we got gas (duh) and headed on to the house. The rest of the evening was cleaning up and getting on to bed, after meeting Kitah, the sister of Jill’s cat in Belfast.