October 13th, 2021
After picking up Josh from the airport, we returned to the BlueGreen to drop off his stuff and then walked over to the MGM to Fat Tuesdays to get mudslides – unfortunately they don’t have that flavour anymore. We chose other flavours and then walked around some before once again returning to our suite as Josh had a zoom Cub Meeting at 3:15.
After that we went for a hot tub and then ordered a pizza for dinner. As Serena and Kurt were coming in late and we wanted to go out for a drink together, the 3 of us went for a nap until 9:30. We picked them up around 10:45 and it turned out they didn’t feel up to late drinks out so we just went back to the resort and had a couple drinks catching up before bed.
Thursday morning, we were up by 7:30, and left the room around 9 to take a walk before going over to TopGolf for some fun games. Doug and I had never been but Kurt had and Serena said it looked like fun. You pay by the hour for a “bay” and you shoot golf balls out at large circular targets for points.
After we played a round of that we switched to Angry Birds – way more fun so we played two rounds! We enjoyed a few morning “drinks” and had a great deal of fun.
Serena’s birthday was a month ago so we went out for her birthday to her choice – the Rainforest Café at Planet Hollywood for a very filling lunch. The waiters came by and sang at the end to totally embarrass her!
We walked around the casino for about an hour after getting another Fat Tuesday’s and then Kurt had to head to the airport to catch his flight back. As he started a new job a few months ago he has no time off and his days off this week were Wednesday Thursday so he only joined us for one night.
Serena, Josh and us walked the strip more seeing if we could decide on a show we’d like to see (didn’t see anything) then spent about an hour at the Piano Bar at Harrah’s listening to an Elvis impersonator and sharing a bucket of beers before heading back. Both on our way there and on the way back we stopped at the Bellagio to watch the fountains.
Doug felt the “need” to buy a 12 pack of Bud from a guy out in front of the fountains and he and Josh had a few; well Josh had a few too many and was giddy the rest of the night. He couldn’t stop laughing while we had a hot tub at the hotel – it was hilarious – wish we’d brought a camera to video him. Lucky he’s young: no hangover the next morning! We had a quiet night in the room as everyone was quite tired from the late night on Wednesday.
Although COVID is still around, and Vegas is open (indoor mask rules in effect), we are somewhat anxious to do things where there are a great deal of people. We wanted to go see Penn & Teller but tickets although not overly pricey, become so online as they are currently not selling at the box office so each tickets gets an extra $25+ added to the cost and of course, there’s the crowd factor. There are signs at all indoor venues, casinos, shops and the like, that require masks but that doesn’t mean people are complying and of course, if you’re drinking or smoking, you’re not wearing it.
A staple on these adult family Vegas trips is the High Roller at the Linq – doing the happy hour option. Although when we considered it, we knew it was about 30 people in a small closed space drinking so not very safe or smart. We’ll have to do twice next time – ha ha ha.
Friday morning we left for Death Valley National Park in California by 8 am as planned. We drove through Pahrump for cheaper gas ($3.18 vs 3.89 in Vegas) and entered the park at the east entrance to head to the most northern spot we wanted to take the kids.
Enroute we stopped at Zabriskie Point:
Stopped in Furnace Creek to see their outrageous gas price:
Made a short stop at the Borax Works:
Another photo op at the Devil’s cornfield and the dunes:
Had lunch at the Ubehebe Crater lookout:
Then made our way 42 km / 27 miles down the dirt road towards “The Racetrack” with one quick photo stop at Tea Kettle Junction:
Doug and I had been to the Racetrack for his 50th birthday and at that time saw the evidence of the “moving rocks” on the playa. While the scenery here is spectacular: the playa with the “Grandstand” in the middle,
we saw only a faint line of a path at one rock:
We returned via the same road to the main park highway and made our way to Beatty in Nevada for the night.
At the Death Valley Inn in this small town we got two adjoining rooms and were visited by the local burros
And then enjoyed a soak in the outdoor hot tub all to ourselves.
We looked for a saloon to have dinner but none were open that had vegetarian options so we ended up at the local VFW which did!
First thing Saturday we started the day getting Serena some brekkie at the Subway inside what is claimed to be Nevada’s largest candy store.
Then it was back towards the park with a stop enroute at the Rhyolite ghost town and outdoor art gallery:
We took the beautiful Titus Canyon Road (our third time in a year!) into the park and we had it all to ourselves except for one car less than half way through. We passed him and were all alone.
We then took the short Mustard Canyon Road which was supposed to have been used in Star Wars – Josh is a hug fan. Doug and I were not sure if we’d ever driven it on our many trips to this park.
Then it was on the main and most popular sites in Death Valley:
Devils’ Golf Course:
Bad Water – the lowest point in North America:
Artist’s Palette Drive:
20 Mule Train Canyon
And finally: Dante’s View
Here we had a lunch of various leftovers and enjoyed a beer. It was considerably cooler up here – around 20C / 71F whereas down the valley today, it was around 30C / 87 F.
We returned to Vegas via Pahrump again to gas up again and stopped at our trailer at the BlueGreen – they have allowed it to park it here for our time in the city before we go to a campground on Monday after the kids leave. We could only book two nights here so we are moving for the next two nights.
We restocked what we needed for the next two nights and dropped off other things before going to the Marriott Springhill for the rest of the family trip. Here we have a two queen bed suite with a trundle bed. We had booked for the 5 of us in case Kurt came along but it worked out fine with four.
After settling in, we got in the truck and drove over to the Rio to check on Penn and Teller’s box office just in case but were told the ticket prices were almost the same as online. We played a few slots and today Serena was the big winner with a $5 jackpot on the penny slots. (Doug was the big winner on Thursday at $16 and Fran won $9 later on that day.)
We then decided to check out Fremont Street to find a place to eat and it’s always better at night anyway. After walking it one direction in the crowds, we’d all had enough of that and went into the new Circa hotel and found a quiet deli for some dinner. Serena and Josh went out to get us alcoholic drinks to go with it and we called it a night as everything was too crowded to feel safe.
Serena didn’t feel well Sunday morning (not alcohol related) and Fran chilled with her for the day keeping her company. Doug and Josh went out in the afternoon for a bit on their own going to the Strat and Circus Circus .
In the late afternoon, Josh had to check into his hotel for the trade show so Doug went with him and helped him go grocery shopping and they took it all up to the fancy shmancy suite at the Elara where Josh will stay all week with his coworkers. Since he had a room in a four bedroom suite there, after a light dinner and some tv, we said our goodbyes and he Ubered over there.
Monday Serena felt almost back to normal and after we all enjoyed the Marriott’s hot breakfast, we checked out of the hotel, stopped at the Virgin Casino to play the slots one more time and then took her to the airport for her short flight back to Reno. We then went food shopping, hitched up the trailer and got ourselves set up at Kings Row Campground for at least a few weeks. At $118 a week all in, it had all the services we need even if it’s not the fanciest. It gives us an address for a few weeks as well to have things shipped to. We asked for a spot near the Rec Hall as there is Wi-Fi there but it took five days before it began working and lasted about two hours! Thank goodness for Fran’s TMobile SIM from Barnaby!
It was super windy today and much cooler than it’s been the past few days and in the middle of the afternoon we had a two minute sprinkle but Tuesday it was sunny and clear with no wind and the temps are beginning to rise again.
We got some several “around the house” chores done today and took it rather easy. We have a list of things to get done here while in the “big city” and we’ll chip at that over the next couple or three weeks. We really have not decided how long to stay here but do have plans to head to Reno for American Thanksgiving weekend with Kurt & Serena; after looking at various options and the weather we have decided to fly in on a Saturday and return Monday night. Serena gets Sunday/ Mondays off for her weekend and Kurt only works till one if he works those days. As they only have a one bedroom place, we found a hotel about a mile away so that will work fine and they can lend us a car while we’re there. (They each have a car, Kurt also has a scooter and plans to sell his car and they just jointly bought a jeep to have some fun in.)
Josh reached out from his trade show and told us he could probably get us passes if we wanted to come over on Thursday so we said sure.
On Wednesday, on her walk, Fran had a fight with the sidewalk and lost – she wasn’t sure what she tripped over but ended up face first on her right side; damaged her glasses (glad she’s got a pair on order!), cut her nose slightly in four places, a couple of small cuts around her right eye and a fat lip.
She was felt quite hurt and was very upset and in pain. She called Doug to come get her and it took a while for her to settle down; she tried to blow her nose and then the whole underside of her right eye puffed out too.
Josh got us the passes for Thursday but Fran passed on going due to her throbbing head and the bright bruises and swelling on her cheek. Doug walked over and spent a few hours scouting the competition’s booths for Josh’s company.
It was our warmest day so far in Vegas – mid 20’s / high 70’s F – about perfect and even better with the fact it cools nicely at night.
That evening we went to see the new Bond movie: No time to die – it was nearly three hours long but we both really enjoyed it and the theatre was quite empty which was a bonus.
Friday saw us take advantage of a Groupon for dental cleaning/checkup. Cost us $54 to get full exams, brief exam and cleanings. Not bad for American prices! We had a quiet weekend, getting takeout pizza and hanging around the campground other than for our walks and shopping. Fran received the call that her glasses were ready but will leave it to Monday to pick them up as we have a few other things in that area to do, some of which we cannot do on a Sunday and mostly because crowds will be smaller on Monday.
Sunday was a mostly cloudy and cooler day with rain in the forecast for late afternoon the next day. The right side of Fran’s face was now multi coloured with lots of yellow so it was coming around slowly but she’s had some headaches in the past few days. We did sit and celebrate the one year anniversary of our Tundra at happy hour though. It’s gone by quicker than expected and it has over 19K on it already!
On Monday, Doug went for his “long” walk and Fran ran a bunch of errands – the “to do” list for the city is getting smaller. By late afternoon we got some on and off rain showers but it was enough to create a few puddles around.
Tuesday saw us complete two more tasks, one being getting our flu shots. We enquired about getting COVID boosters and it seems we can be eligible but we think we’ll wait a bit. We are still trying to figure out what to do after Christmas and much of that is dependent on receiving our renewed passports. It has been over six months since we got our second shots but waiting two more months could be wise. We also need our second Shingles shot in the next couple of months so 2021 has become the “Year of the Shots”!
Wednesday, Doug washed the trailer from the roof down and after our brunch, we decided to hit the strip since we figured Wednesday would be a quieter day that on the weekend. We drove to the Venetian which still offers free strip parking and wandered around the shops (Fran had her Na Hoku earrings adjusted) before enjoying the outside scenery of this resort – always a favourite of ours.
Then we had our Fat Tuesday cups filled for a walk up to the Resort World resort – the newest on the strip and we’d not been as yet. It’s further up the Strip past Treasure Island but before Circus Circus.
There is still an empty lot between the TI and this new one. It’s bright and shiny but nothing really grabbed our attention except this large spinning sphere inside:
We walked around looking to play slots but found nothing to our liking. While wandering we saw these two “cars”
Liberace’s Phantom Rolls:
and a Piano car!:
We returned to the Strip and headed back south entering the Encore to find some penny slots. The ones we enjoy are getting harder and harder to find; so many say “1¢” but really have a minimum bet of 25, 50, 88 and upwards so they are not “penny slots” as we know them. We found a couple and played a while and then decided to go bigger and played some larger bet ones (get this Mike P – 30¢ bets) and had fun while enjoying a free drink at the Wynn.
We returned to the strip to go inside the Palazzo enroute to the Venetian and again played some higher penny machines before playing some final ones in the Venetian casino. We returned to the truck and made our way home for dinner; a very pleasant afternoon celebrating the one year anniversary of owning our “home”. Yes we’ve been living in our trailer for a year now but still haven’t come up with a good name for it or the truck that we can both agree on. The temperatures are quite comfy in the low 20’s C / mid 70’s F.
Friday we took a day/road trip. We went to visit Cathedral Grove State Park – it had been on our list for at least a year but it’s kinda out of the way. It’s near the Nevada/Utah border quite a bit north of the I15– not near anything else with not a lot of route options.
It’s about 273 km / 170 miles so about a three hour drive with just the truck or probably 4.5 towing the trailer. We figured since it was a small park a day trip would be enough time. The weather today was perfect for it, sunny and not too hot. It did in fact take us about three hours to get there. We arrived mid-morning and spent till early afternoon.
There is a state park info/visitors centre right near the entrance and we paid our $10 out of state vehicle fee and drove to the first parking area. This park is like a little Bryce Canyon with the same sort of rock formations – just not as vivid in colour. There are however, lots of slots and canyons to walk into and that was really cool.
We explored a few slots before walking into the “Moon Caves” area – larger slot canyons with higher walls.
Then we moved on to the area called Slot Canyons and checked out a few more.
Afterward we parked at the day use area and did the Miller Point overlook hike. This took us through a wash area then into a dead end canyon where we climbed stairs to the overlook. On the end of the last bridge we saw a snake!
As we’ve mentioned gas is pricey in this state and when we’d left Pahrump about ten days ago, we’d filled our two 20 l / 5 gallon Jerry cans at a much lower price, so before we ate lunch, Doug dumped them both into the tank so we didn’t have to stop for gas on the way back.
We enjoyed our packed lunch in a cute little area with our own table, bbq and garbage receptacle – away from the main picnic area.
We then explored the Cathedral Slots at the day use area before beginning the drive home around one o’clock. We did look at some brochures from a few other nearby state parks but nothing struck our fancy. We arrived back in Vegas around 4, stopped at Costco to fill up then made our way to Dairy Queen for a treat (reminiscent of our day trips in Yuma last winter!) and then got a truck wash. There is chain of car washes here in Vegas where you can get a basic wash for $3 so we like having a clean truck.
We returned to the RV Park and the trailer was hot inside! As the sun now low in the sky around 5, we turned on the AC and blew out the hot air and it was quite comfortable with just a fan until bedtime. It’s supposed to be even hotter this weekend – hitting 28/29C so we’ll see how we fare.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty warm but with keeping sun out of the windows/door, we managed to stay cool enough using just our portable 12V Fantastic Fan – what a great purchase that has been. Fran did use her new battery operated fan that night that she has hung from the ceiling over the bed.