Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No well-dressed guys robbing casinos

We spent most of yesterday on the Las Vegas “Strip”-- the four-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that has most of the area’s big casinos. Per Wikipedia, 15 of the world’s 25 largest (room-wise) hotels are on the strip.  The hotels are big; every time we went inside one we pretty much has no idea where we were and exited only by accident.  I thought the plot behind that ploy is to keep you gambling, but it seemed the casinos actually offer more shopping than slots.

We walked by or in Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Flamingo, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn, Treasure Island, Mirage, Caesars Palace, Bellagio and a bunch more.  We had lunch in some sort of shopping/restaurant causeway between the Venetian and the Palazzo.  We shared a burger and fries and paid $80; we also had two drinks each and one dessert, but still. 

Jim’s only previous trip to Vegas was three years ago when we drove the rig home after purchasing it in California.  I wanted to visit the Strip.  Jim said he’d drive by but didn’t want to stop because he wasn’t dressed appropriately.  I couldn't talk him out of that opinion even though I pointed out two two shirtless guys on the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd wearing only cutoffs and beer guts. It's not all "Oceans 11".

Neither of us gamble or like crowds, so the Strip is not our cup of tea (or glass of IPA, in Jim’s case.) But we do like to see interesting places, and the Strip certainly is that.

Flowers and lights somewhere in the Venetian or the Palazzo (I'm not sure; I was lost.)
The Bellagio fountains.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Beautiful desolation

Jim’s cold came back, so yesterday all we did was walk around the RV park at Nellis Air Force Base and make a trip to the Base Exchange to buy a drugstore full of NyQuil, DayQuil, Vicks and Halls lozenges.  Today Jim felt better, so we did a hundred-mile round trip to Valley of Fire State Park, northeast of Las Vegas.

[Side note: As we started to leave in the tow car this morning, we saw a cable we connect between tow car and rig sitting on the tow car hood.  Apparently, we had disconnected the cable, left it on the hood, and then drove the several miles from our campsite to the Exchange and back without it falling off.]

Anyway, to get Valley of Fire, we drove through part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead is the 112-mile long reservoir created on the Colorado River when Hoover Dam was completed in 1936.  We saw glimpses of Lake Mead along the way, plus rocks formations in every color of brown and gray, plus apricot, white, and yellow.

Valley of Fire features red sandstone formations resembling the backs of stegosaurus (stegosauri? stegosaurs?), huge loaves of pull-apart bread, and mushrooms dropped into a gray/brown lunar landscape. 

Valley of Fire Sate Park, about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
This Valley of Fire formation is called Elephant Rock.
Red rocks in the middle of the lunar-looking landscape.
Jim and Cooper near the top of a short hike we took.
Reminder to self:  You already know that your "hiking" sandals are a poor choice in rocky areas because small stones get stuck under your feet.  So don't wear them on desert trails.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the road: The Fall 2012 Adventure

We left Salt Lake City yesterday about 11 a.m. Originally, we were going to drive west through Nevada to California. But Jim says we stayed in SLC a week too long weather wise; our Nevada stops were projected to have night time lows in the 20s which is pretty chilly in a motor home.

So instead, we headed south and did what, for us, is a pretty long one-day drive:  about 300 miles to Quail Creek State Park in Hurricane, Utah, just north of St. George.  We stayed overnight in a pull-through site, so we didn’t even unhook our tow car.  No water, electric or sewer, but still a bargain at $15 a night. I took a short hike around the park and Jim -- who rarely gets sick but has a bad cold -- snoozed and read.

Today Jim feels better and we drove to the Desert Eagle RV Park in Las Vegas’ Nellis Air Force Base.  After hooking up the rig, Jim is now happily ensconced in the back “lounge”  watching college football and may be on the look out for a sports bar tonight so he can watch the Oregon State BeaversI’m reading a very good memoir called “The Tender Bar.” Tomorrow we’ll figure out what we want to do/see in Las Vegas, a town Jim has only been to once before and his only experience with “The Strip” was to drive it.  We'll stay here anywhere from two days to a week.

Meanwhile, back home, we’d had problems with our downstairs bathroom before we left; today our SIL texted to say there was a “substantial flood." Plus, the day before we left, our furnace started making a knocking noise.  SIL said he’d take care of it, for which we are grateful.
Our campsite at Quail Creek State Park in Hurricane, UT.  We had a great view of the reservoir and red rocks. Per the park brochure, Quail Creek has “some of the warmest waters in the state” where people boat and fish year round" and people were water skiing.  
Our rig at our home in the Fam Camp at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.  The park has ten circles with anywhere from 8 to 25 RV spots each; we’re in one of the smaller circles.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Time to go

Our rig parked on our street last Friday.
Our rig in the same spot this morning, this time with a dusting of snow.
And our rig -- this time parked directly in front of our house -- just a few minutes agoThere's been some thunder and the "dusting" is getting more serious.  We're going south, starting tomorrow.