Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Taking it Easy in the Desert

November 29 to November 30

The 29 th was a quiet day — Ed and I worked on the photo slideshow and did some errands. We
decided that we would move to Yuma today and called the RV park where we had a reservation
for December 4 to January 4 to see if they could take us a few days early. Colin and Margaret
were in luck ... their spot was available starting today, ours unfortunately wouldn't be available
till December 1st (toromorrow). The daily rate in Yuma is $32 (the monthly rate is much better)
while the daily rate in Quartzsite was $16. It didn't take Ed long to decide that we would stay
one more night in Quartzsite. Zaph, Ed and I went for walk into town and checked out some of
the flea markets. We're planning on driving back for a day later in December to see what
Quartzsite looks like when the million and a half people are there — the population in the
summer is around 3,500.

Need some rocks?? lots for sale

more large pipe organ cactus


this fake deer spooked zaph, until he sniffed it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Sea of RVs

Quartzsite is a small town in the desert about 125 miles west of Phoenix. This town almost
disappears in the heat of the summer and blossoms in the winter when all of the snow birds
return. The town is full of RV parks and much of the area surrounding the town is controlled by
BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and it allows RVs to park for 14 days for free.

Zaph and I went for our morning walk down the main road into town — we were very happy to
see sidewalks and street lights. As we walked along we saw a lot of RV parks, businesses
associated with RVs (i.e. repair shops, parts, propane etc.RV sales) and a few restaurants and
lots of flea market (the main winter business). Most of the RV parks appeared to be parking lots
as well — makes sense when you remember you are in a desert. Later Ed, Zaph and I went for a
drive around town. The entire town was similar to what Zaph and I saw on our walk. The town
may have about 100 permanent buildings — the rest are portables, mobile homes and trailers.
From one vantage point the town looked like a sea of RVs and the season is only beginning —
there is still room for many more RVs. We eventually found some grass — it was at the ball
diamond with a sign that said "No Dogs".

Zaph and a pipe organ cactus, this one is about 20 feet (6M) tall

RV parks just waiting for the season to start

lots of old things for sale

BLM camping sites are located here

a pair of 1970's vintage phantom jet fighter decorate the local park

the truck side reads "Your #2 is #1 with us"

so what is the street called?

along the desert trails

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Leaving Las Vegas

We were packed and on our way out of town by 10:30am. It was a good time to leave as they
were posting a weather warning at the park — possible freezing temperatures tonight. The plan
had been to go to the Grand Canyon for a couple of days before we headed to the southern end of
Arizona but we decided that we would have to see the Grand Canyon another time --- the
weather forecast for that area was a high of 1C and low of -17C with overnight snow. We are
trying to avoid the cold after all.

They way south took us past Lake Havasu — maybe we should stop here for a couple of days.
We checked the Woodalls RV book and decided that it would be more economical to continue to
Quartzsite and stay there for a week. The drive along Lake Havasu was very pretty.

We drove to the RV park that we had chosen from the Woodalls book. The park was pretty much
a parking lot but as it was going to get dark soon we decided to stay for at least the night.
Lake Havasu

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Packing Up

I've discovered that I have a new allergy or maybe it's an old allergy that's gotten worse. My
legs and back were itchy yesterday and there was a bit of hives. This morning when I got up and
looked in the mirror I had hives that were concentrated in stripes on the back of my legs and on
my back (the skin exposed by my bathing suit). I'm allergic to the vinyl deck chairs that are
around the pool! (I know I'm allergic to bandages but I didn't think I could be allergic to a
chair!). After hot tubbing two days ago, I had laid down on a lounge chair for about a half hour.

After being in Las Vegas for a month packing up isn't going to be as easy as it was when we
moved around regularly but I'm ready to leave. It will be nice to get to smaller cities that will
hopefully be cleaner and have better drivers. The weather has changed and the wind has picked
up ... maybe Las Vegas is ready for us to leave as well.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Swimming at last!

Ed, Zaph and I decided to drive the portion of Northshore Road (in the Mead Lake NP) that we
had done in the dark the previous Sunday. The drive is through the desert but you can see Lake
Mead in the distance. The first stop was Collville Bay .... a very busy marina as it is one of the
few that still have an operating boat launch due to the extremely low water levels in the lake. We
decided that it was too busy to let Zaph swim there. Driving back towards Las Vegas brought us
to Crawdad Wash road, along this dirt road, we saw a small fox who quickly dove into a tunnel.
When we got to the lake we decided that it was too muddy for Zaph to swim there so we headed
back to the main road and continued back towards Las Vegas. The next road was for
Government Wash — this was one of the places where the boat ramp was closed so I expected it
to be very quiet. Was I ever surprised when I saw a least a hundred RV s parked haphazardly in
the area. We drove around till we found a spot with lake access that wasn't too close to anyone
else — didn't need a wet dog going visiting. It was pretty bumpy .... I'm not sure that I would
take my trailer in there! Zaph happily swam around while Ed happily took photos. The last
destination of the day was Lake Las Vegas. This is a resort area that is being built just outside of
Lake Mead National Park boundaries. It is going to be quite the area when it is finished.

As we are leaving Las Vegas on Sunday we decided to have one last buffet. Colin had checked
Main Street Station out and want to go there for the Seafood Buffet. We stood in line for 45
minutes but it was worth it. The food was very good .... lots of yummy crabs legs, peel and eat
shrimp, clams and oysters in black bean sauce and at least a hundred other things. On the way
out we found our favorite Wheel of Fortune slot machines and sat down to see what kind of
damage we could do. The machine was good to me again... not being much of a gambler I
stopped when I had won $20.

Collville Bay harbour on Mead Lake

small bay at Crawdad Wash

Crawdad Wash area

the Government Wash area

Mead lake near Government Wash

Smog over Las Vegas as viewed from Las Vegas Lake area

Las Vegas Lake

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Turkey Day

This year we get to celebrate two Thanksgivings — the Canadian and the American, weather
here was sunny, warm (21C) great day, looked at the Toronto weather, windchill -15C, 7.5 to
15cM of snow and a few hundred fender benders. Happy to be right here!!!

Colin and Margaret bought a large pot to go with their outdoor burner so they could deep fry a
turkey — yes it was deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. The cooking instructions were a
little off — it took twice as long as expected (but then it was just a little bird and it was stuffed)
but it came out looking very pretty and was very tasty and the meat was nice and moist . Zaph
and Splash both got to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner as well but they had to wear party hats
Margaret made them.

It must be cooked by now

yep, it cooked!

look out for the flying dog!!

I hate party hats

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Like that Wheel of Fortune Machine

Yet, another evening visiting the strip. This time we visited the Rio, the Venetian and Frontier casinos. We drove out to the Rio (it is on Flamingo Road a couple of minutes by car west of the strip) as they advertised a free show that sounded interesting “Masquerade: Show in the Sky”. When we arrived we found a sign that indicated that show was not on from November 14th to November 24th .... oh well. We put a couple of bucks into the machines and headed for the Venetian. The area behind the Venetian is a little confusing (we went in circles) but Colin did manage to direct Ed to the Venetian parking garage (Ok there was a little help from the backseat). The section with shops and restaurants is done up to look like Venice complete with a canal, gondolas and singing gondoliers that will take you for a ride. Margaret liked the casino there as she put $2 into a machine and on her first try got $20.

Colin and I really liked The Frontier. After finding $2 margaritas (there were twice as big as the ones we had the previous night) we each put a couple of dollars into wheel of fortune slot machines and both had the wheel of fortune symbols come up. Colin won $16 and I won $25!

Venetian's gondolas and singing gondoliers

One of the inner courtyards, giving the impression of being outside in daylight (while it really was night time outside)

Another building on the Strip

It's interesting, call girls can't put up bill boards, but they can have trucks driving up and down the strip with their phone number on the side, as well as people handing out the girls card's on the street.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More Casinos

Another evening visiting the strip. Margaret had a bad migraine and opted to stay at the trailer so it was just Ed, Colin and myself. This time we visited the Flamingo, Treasure Island, Mirage and Caesar’s Palace. Colin drove and he decided to park his Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup truck in the parking garage at the Flamingo. He fit under the clearance chains hanging at the entrance of the garage but he was a little nervous going under the concrete beams especially the ones with scrape marks on them. I think crouching over the steering wheel to avoid hitting his head helped at lot. The traffic behind him encouraged him along by honking their horns. When we left the garage he was passed by a couple of cars — people just don’t have patience these days.

We toured around the Flamingo like a train — I led the way followed by Colin and Ed. Everywhere I went they followed — Colin did stop when he realized I was walking in a circle around a group of slot machines! Out on the strip Colin noticed a sign for $1 Margaritas — had to stop and get one of those. Treasure Island has a free outdoor show that you can watch from the sidewalk in front of the casino. We arrived about 25 minutes early and there were already lots of people there but we were able to get spot right up front. By time the show started the entire area was jammed with people. The show was called Sirens of the TI and involved a pirate ship and a ship with Sirens (mythical women who could control the sea and the weather with their songs). The show was good but I’m not sure that I would want to be in that crush of people again. After a tour around the Treasure Island casino we headed to the Mirage for the volcano eruption. The front of the Mirage is a beautiful garden with a large pond with waterfalls. The “volcano” erupts from the top of the waterfall with . Luckily, this show is more frequent so we didn’t experience a crush of people again. We toured around the Mirage casino then headed for Caesar’s Palace. Now this is one big place — it has two casinos and countless shops and restaurants. We wandered around for a while and finally found the exit.

Colin had skipped dinner (Margaret and Colin had gone to a buffet for lunch) so he was getting hungry. We decided to stop at the Nevada palace (just up the road from the RV park) for their $1.99 breakfast served from 11pm to 9 am and as it was after 11pm. we stopped in. What a deal as it also included coffee!
Elvis sighting....

Treasure Island siren's ship

attempted boarding

ship on fire!!

Mirage's volcano

The lobby of Caesar’s Palace

Monday, November 21, 2005

Time to Check out the Strip

With less than a week to go before we leave Las Vegas we decided we better get on with checking out more of the strip. Tonight we visited Tropicana, MGM, Paris and Bally’s. We arrived at the Tropicana in time to see their free show “Airplay”. It consisted of 3 acts over the main casino floor. The first act was a young woman who could make hula hoops do anything — I think she had six hula hoops going at once, three on her waist, one on a leg and two on one arm. The next act was a young woman and man who did some pretty amazing acrobatic moves. The last act was 2 young men who did some pretty amazing moves suspended from straps on the ceiling. At the MGM we saw the three young lions and two men playing with balls — very cute (I think the men were there to keep the lions active). The wall behind the front desk in the lobby in the MGM hotel was a fish tank — I bet they get fewer irate customers! They also had a beautiful garden just off the lobby. The Paris casino is easily found as it has a replica of the Eiffel Tower that can be seen from quite far away. The inside of the casino is made to look like Paris — does this mean I can check Paris off my list of places to visit? (Sorry Ed, nope). At Bally’s we stopped for a few minutes to enjoy some live entertainment.

The young woman with many hoops, Air Play at the Tropicana

An act from "air play" at the Tropicana

Another act of "Air Play"

nice kitty...

another one of the MGM's lion cubs

Outside of MGM is the large lion, the symbol of MGM

Dropped by Emeril's at the MGM famous for his cooking shows

New York, New York on the Strip

People mover at Bally's

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More Rocks!

November 19 to November 20

Saturday the 19 th. was a pretty quiet day — did a few errands, took Zaph to the dog park and worked on the computer. On Sunday we headed to the Valley of Fire — a state park about 50 miles north east of Vegas. As the name suggests this is a valley with lots of red rocks. Actually, the park is very nice with some outstanding rock structures and Indian Petroglyphs. Zaph and Splash had a great time climbing the rocks and hiking through the sand. This park had one of the most interesting campgrounds we have ever seen — the sites are tucked into the rocks and the picnic tables were under roofs to give you some shade from the sun. I bet it gets pretty hot in the summer! If we ever get back to this area I would like to stay in this park for a couple of nights. We decided to drive the scenic way back to Las Vegas so we drove the “Northshore Road”. This road went through Lake Mead National Park and we did get some great views of the lake. As the sun set shortly after we started the drive we didn’t stop at the lake.
Valley of Fire

more red rocks

and more red rocks

this is at the "Bee Hive"

I though we had left the arches in Utah, this one followed us

some of the many petroglyphs

Zaphod finds a nice spot

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mandalay Bay

Chris, Tina and David had booked their timeshare Friday to Friday but flew Saturday to
Saturday, so they needed to stay one night in a hotel. Mandalay Bay was the lucky hotel. We
headed down to the Strip to meet them for dinner and check out the hotel. The hotel was very
nice.... the view was wonderful — they were on the 11th floor overlooking the Strip (would you
believe Ed didn't bring a camera?)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Yumm...Burgers and Corn on the Cob

It was show day for Chris, Tina and David. They saw a magic show in the afternoon and Chris
went to a show later in the evening. Between shows they came out to the trailer for a barbeque. It
had been fairly warm all day so we decided to eat outside. As luck would have it, the
temperature started to drop when the sun went down and the wind picked up, however, it was
still comfortable enough to eat outside. I can't complain — we wouldn't have even thought
about eating outside in Ontario in the middle of November!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Atomic Testing

November 15 to November 16

Chris, Tina and David drove to Zion on the 15th so Ed and I had a quiet day at the trailer. On the
16th, Ed and David (who's almost 12) headed to the Atomic Testing Museum, Chris and Tina
went searching for good deals at an outlet mall and Zaph and I hung around the trailer. Ed and
David really enjoyed the museum, they pretty much had it all to themselves — that makes the
interactive items a lot more accessible. When everyone was back from their adventures we
headed down to the Strip where we enjoyed a (still another) buffet dinner. Tonight we visited the
Belagio Casino, New York New York Casino and the Monte Carlo. Outside the Belagio we saw
the water show — illuminated fountains that "dance" to music. Inside the lobby had an
incredible fall theme display. I liked the New York, New York Casino but that's probably
because I love New York City and they did a good job creating the city inside the casino.

another view of the Strip

the ceiling, lobby of the Bellagio

more of the Bellagio

the water fountain display

water fountains dance to the music

The casino floor

Monday, November 14, 2005

Wild Burros

November 13 to November 14

Monday (the 14th) was a busy day. Ed and I got up early, did the usual stuff and then headed
over to the timeshare where Chris, Tina and David are staying — nice unit. Our destination was
Red Rock Canyon just to the west of Las Vegas. There is, of course lots of red rock there hence
the name. The 13 mile scenic drive was great, with some very outstanding views. Just before we
reached the park exit, we saw wild burros on the side of the road and stopped to take pictures. A
couple of burros were very brave (or we were just in their path) and walked up to our car ... those
teeth were very big!

Next stop wasOld Nevada Bonnie Springs .... a tourist trap started in the early 1950's, located just outside of
Red Rock Canyon. Nevada City is a western town with horse back riding, a train, hangings,
shootout, and much more. Unfortunately, Monday seemed to be a very quiet day and we didn't
get to see any of the "events".

Red Rock Canyon

more of Red Rock

Calico rocks at red rock canyon

Ancient Pictographs of hands on rocks

Wild Burros roam freely in the park

and some want to go for car rides

Chris and David check out the railroad train

Frances does a little riding

Guess who

Chris and David check out the aquarium at the Silverton Casino/Bass Pro Shop

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Friends From Home

Today was a “get ready for company day”. As usual Zaph and I went for our walk and upon my return to the trailer it was off to the hot tub. Cleaning and shopping were next on the agenda ... one of the nice things about the trailer is that it only takes about an hour to clean it. Chris, Tina and David (old neighbours and very good friends) arrived in Las Vegas this afternoon and are staying in a time share for a week. Once they settled in, they drove over for dinner and a visit. Boy is was nice seeing them ..... I know it’s only been 5 months but it’s still nice.

Friday, November 11, 2005

We Were in a Parade!

I decided that I really wanted to see Death Valley while we were here .... I’m sure that there were subliminal messages from all those westerns I watched as a kid. It’s about a 2 hour and 40 minute drive from Las Vegas but it was worth it. As we were nearing the information centre in the park and lunch stop (it was after 1pm) we came to a halt! There was a wagon train ahead of us — yup covered wagons being pulled by teams of horses. People and vehicles lined each side of the road as they watched the wagon train go by. When we were finally allowed to proceed the people remained and started waving and cheering at the traffic — they encouraged the people in the vehicles to wave and honk horns. It turned out that it was 49er Day — a celebration of the 1849 gold rush through Death Valley (one of the people on the 1849 wagon train uttered the statement “good bye death valley” as they left the valley and the name Death Valley stuck). Anyway we managed to park the trucks and borrow the picnic table at a campsite nearby to eat our lunch.

Death Valley is a huge National Park. We managed to see a very small part of it but the part we saw was amazing. Another place to add to my list of “Must Sees”.

The wagon train.

Sand dunes

The sand dunes with the mountains behind them.

This was referred to as a "forest".

The sun was beginning set.

A borax wagon that was pulled by a 20 mule team.

The mountains here are red and green.

The moon is up and the sun is setting.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Time is Just Flying By

November 6 to November 10

I look at the calendar and try to remember what we did as I know we were busy. Ed did spend a lot of time working on the slide show and I did review all of the photos as I hadn’t seen them yet.

Colin, Margaret and Splash returned from Ontario late Monday evening so we toddled over to the hot tub to catch up. Another day Splash and Zaph along with their mommies headed to the leash free dog park — Zaph got right into chasing the ball where Splash spent a long time sniffing first. Margaret and I also did some power shopping at Big Lots (a discount store), the 99cent store and Suzies Deals (everything is $5.00 unless it’s 2 for $5.00) — what a blast. The last exciting thing was a trip to the strip one evening. The three country bumpkins (Ed, Colin; both with cameras hanging from from their necks, and Frances) drove down Tropicana Road and parked at the Tropicana Casino. We then wandered through the Excalibur, the Luxor and Mandalay Bay. The guys like the cocktail waitresses outfits at Mandalay Bay the best. These casinos make the ones on Freemont Street look small and dumpy (though I didn’t think they were). When we were in the Luxor we road the inclinator to the 24th floor so we could look down over the lobby. The Luxor is a giant pyramid so the higher you go the smaller the floors — pretty amazing.

The Luxor Casino at night. The lights outline the pyramid. We can see the light beaming from the top at the RV park.

Looking across the center opening of the Luxor from the 24th floor.

Looking down at the entertainment floor (2nd floor)

Excalibur Casino.

Looking up Las Vegas Blvd.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Zaph decided he needed a trip to the leash free park and being well trained owners we loaded him into the truck and drove to the park. We were surprised to see a lot of booths and people in the park. It turned out that it was “Strut your Mutt Day” and for two dollars a person you could enter — no admission fee for dogs. First stop was one of the fenced in runs were we played fetch the ball. Once Zaph was tired and thus better behaved we headed over to the exhibits area. There were contests like “which dog has the best smile”, “best dressed”, “best trick with props”and many more. Zaph had a lot of fun meeting other dogs and their owners. On our way out of the park we decided to head into one of the fenced areas so Zaph could get a drink out of one of the many water buckets. Zaph thought this was great as there was a young boy (8 or 9 I think) who liked to throw balls for dogs and actually ran around with the dogs. We left when Zaph stopped chasing the balls — the little boy was still running around!

The exhibits

Now this is one cool dude.

I wonder if Splash would like an outfit like this.

Running with the bulls ..... ooops dogs.

Lots of dogs of every size and shape.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Life Goes On

November 1 to November 4

It’s been a pretty quiet four days. Ed drove Colin, Margaret and Splash to the airport Tuesday evening as they were flying to Ontario for a week — Splash gets to go “carry-on” as her dog carrier will fit under the seat. For the most part, Ed has been working on the photos and I’ve been cleaning — the outside of the trailer was really gross as it was covered in bugs. We did find a leash free park for Zaph less than a five minute drive from the RV park. I think they must use the park for dog shows as it is huge with about 5 separate football field size areas.

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