We left St. George, Utah on Saturday morning and went to the Valley of Fire State Park about an hour east of Vegas; a beautiful oasis of red rock in the middle of the barren lands north east of Lake Mead. We did a couple of hikes in the searing heat and then decided to drive through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area instead of on the freeway to find a place to camp before getting to Vegas on Sunday.
Our camping app pointed us to a free campsite on the Lake about 1.5 miles off the main road through the NRA but as Lake Mead is also suffering the drought, it was actually more than 2.5 miles down a dirt road to the lake shore!
There were three other vehicles there and we found a level spot and decided to try out our inflatable kayaks. They blew up nicely and quickly and we spent about an hour on the lake quite content. The wind began to come up as the afternoon wore on and we packed it in. It was fun and we were happy to know they were seaworthy (or should we say “lake worthy”).
It was a hot night and even though there was a breeze it was NOT pleasant for sleeping.
Sunday we made it the rest of the way to Vegas running some errands as we went. It was 39C/102F today but it is a nice dry heat. We decided to check into a hotel so we could sleep better as Doug’s flight for work in Newark was early in the morning. We went for a walk on the strip and checked out the A/C in a few casinos!
Monday morning Doug went to the airport and managed to get himself bumped from the morning flight and was rewarded with $700, meal vouchers and a lounge pass! He did not have to be on the job till Tuesday morning so it worked out well. Fran checked into a campground that night about 4 miles from Fremont Street and enjoyed having power to run the A/C there while getting laundry and the like done – only $18 a night with hook ups. Next day she parked Tigger at a hotel lot that allows airport parking and spent the night at a different hotel near the airport.
Doug worked the week and got back to Vegas on Friday andstayed at the same campground Fran was at earlier.
Fran got to Vancouver Wednesday afternoon, met her sister Sandra at the ferry and they went over to Victoria together. Their younger sister, Cynthia, was already at their mother’s and they all went out for a farewell dinner for their mother. She is moving to assisted living near Cynthia’s in Kingston, Ontario. This is a huge change for an 83 year old woman and she’s naturally anxious, confused and uncertain what lies ahead. Fran and her sisters feel she can no longer live alone and she’s not quite ready for a nursing home. Sandra and Fran also got a chance to got out to Sooke one day to see their dad’s memorial bench at Whiffen Spit.
Fran’s mom and youngest sister flew to Kingston on Thursday, the 13th, and Fran and Sandra stayed behind to pack, see the movers off, list the condo, clean, get rid of what she wasn’t taking, stage the condo and deal with various things that have to be done when a person moves. Cynthia and her husband suggested their Mom moving there and are troopers for taking this on. They have found a nice assisted living home for her and she will stay with them until her things arrive.
Since the packing/moving/cleaning did not take as long as anticipated (due to movers showing up a couple of days early!), Fran spent her last two nights in BC back on the mainland at her sister’s part time apartment in North Vancouver. She took advantage and spent a day in the city including a morning walking around the wonderful Stanley Park.
Upon Fran’s return to Vegas, we checked into Caesar’s Palace Hotel on the strip. Friends of ours, (thanks Bruno & Maria) gave us a couple of two free night coupons. Unfortunately, Tigger is too tall to park in their lot so we parked it behind the new Linq hotel (used to be the Imperial Palace) where the new High Roller Ferris wheel is located. So it was a bit of hike to get to the hotel but it’s Vegas – everything is a long walk! They now have a lovely little shopping/restaurant alley between the Linq and the Flamingo so it was not too bad as, for those of you who are not familiar with Vegas, the Flamingo is right across the street from Caesar’s.
We had a huge two bed hotel room with a three room bathroom (the middle section was bigger than ALL the space we have in Tigger!). We had a lovely room on the 25th floor overlooking the pool area below. There are about nine pools at this resort and NO umbrellas. Guess that keeps you from spending time burning up so you’ll go inside and play inside at the casino ;). We took advantage of the pool area and of course, walked a great deal along the Strip. Friday night we took in the XComedy Show at the Flamingo and it was good, not clean, fun.
While Fran was away, Doug arranged to have her bed/the couch in Tigger reupholstered as it was quite lumpy – it is ten years old. The fellow did a good job and as he offers a mobile service, came took the two pieces of the couch and brought it back without any downtime for the rig. Doug had several nights alone in the campground while Fran was in Victoria so the bed was not needed. We’ll see how Fran sleeps tonight. We are spending the weekend in the campground before our second two nights at Caesar’s beginning on Sunday (naturally these types of coupons do not allow Friday/Saturday night stays).
The heat in Vegas continues – every day at least 42c/106F! We were glad to have power to run the AC at the campground. Fran’ new bed is working out well.
We took in the movie Inside Out (very good) at the Boulder Station Casino (near campground) and then played some slots. We always play penny slots and after a few decent hits, Doug actually won $30 on a penny bet! On Saturday, we enjoyed the campground’s pool. Sunday saw us back at the Caesar’s after spending a few hours up on Fremont Street. We decided to splurge and went to see Cirque de Soleil’s Beatle’s Love and it was fantastic; highly recommend.
Monday we spent the day hanging out, going to check out more resorts/casinos and taking at dip in the pool. This time our room at Caesar’s had a better view of the Strip so it was nice to see all the neon lights without being in the crowds. After checking out Tuesday, we went down to the Mandalay Bay Hotel at the south end of the strip and enjoyed several hours visiting with Fran’s cousin, Mike and his wife, Renee, who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. Always so nice to see them.
Earlier that day, we got a message from a couple of overlanders that they were parked right beside Tigger and if we were still in town, could we reach out and meet? Well that was very cool and we did that. We met Taisa and Ernesto, from Seattle, who began their journey last month and are headed down through Central and South America like we are. We spent a very pleasant four hours getting to know them and chatting about set ups, safety, travel tips and suggestions. This is the second couple we’ve met doing this and it is so fun to meet and learn of the experiences of others. Hopefully, we’ll meet up again in Mexico.
We spent the final night in Vegas back at the campground to get power for AC and began heading south. This trip to Vegas, we came out even, well, actually $5 ahead cause Fran found $5 just before leaving the last casino. Our $20 of gambling money lasted for several days and included tipping the waitresses for the free drinks.
Our final night in Nevada, we spent in Laughlin at a campground as the afternoon temp reached 108F/43C. We enjoyed a loooooong dip in the pool before making a late dinner.
Arizona, here we come!