This journey started with a sense of surprise at how many people we knew on our flight to Phoenix.

I fly a lot. It is not uncommon to run into a friend or associate at the airport or even on the flight from time to time.

But the numbers of people either I or Ron knew was usual. Even at the Loews Ventana Resort in Tucson Ron ran into someone he knew well.

Ron flew back to Winnipeg on the Sunday night Westjet flight while I checked into the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa to begin the second portion of this golf adventure.

On Sunday evening I went to a friends home for dinner. Like many he winters here from November to April, returning only for the holidays and special events.

In Winnipeg I golf every Wednesday with a group of about 20-30 guys usually in 4-6 foursomes per week.

We never have everyone out for any given Wednesday because of busy schedules etc.

Yesterday four of us from our Wednesday group golfed together at the Superstitious Springs Golf Club.

Another of our Wednesday group is in the area while two others were here a week ago and left back for home for the holidays.

Canadians own a lot of residential real estate in this area, and any number of subdivisions are loaded with Canucks.

It was great to see these guys who other than here in the Phoenix area I would not see but for this trip.

Back to my reason for being here in the first place.

I am one of two Canadians on a media familiarization trip that includes 2 Germans, 2 from France, 2 from China, 2 Brits, 1 Brazilian, 1 Mexican, and 2 American writers, all of us who write golf stories about destinations we have had the opportunity to travel to and experience some of their tracks.

Last night we gathered for a bit of a welcoming cocktail party and were treated to a spectacular light show that the Westin Kierland puts on for its guests every holiday season.

It is worth staying here for that alone, especially if you have children.

It is short, at only about 7 minutes, but it is quite spectacular. In 3D the graphics cover the entire back of the building. Elves wonder across the room windows, Santa flies in with his sleigh, presents float out towards you and glitter flies across the wall like a mega screen.

This morning we will golf at the Lookout Mountain course at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs.

After that we have an afternoon of activities planned with an early dinner so everyone can get an early night so as to wake up refreshed for the morning balloon ride across the desert.

It has been hot and I have been wearing my Tilley hat each and every day and have been happy I have been. It  is much warmer than I expected here during the days.

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Safe Journeys,

Ron Pradinuk