Monday, April 24, 2017

Cool Friends, Hot Town, Good Times

April 19-23, 2017
Laughlin, Nevada

For the first time since we've been on the road, our "friend worlds" have combined! One of our friends from high school and her hubby are full-timers since January!

It is really cool to have the history of our wonderful hometown, as well as the excitement of this life style in common. Especially with a couple as fun as Dina and Audie :-))) I have yet to remember to get a pic of them!

We have a quick meet up with them in Las Vegas before we all move on to the reunion in Laughlin. And because our homes are on wheels we're able to "move in right next door" when we get here!

Wednesday is another beautiful drive through a very green desert, down a very steep hill, and into our very familiar location - Riverside Casino RV Park. This is our third year here and with FHUs, 50 amp and good water pressure, a level site, plenty of space between sites, and those fun friends across the street, we're happy to be back :-)

We have a tall, skinny tree at the front of our site which blocks our satellite, but since we spend very little time at home, it's not an issue.

Thursday folks start arriving and we spend several hours by the casino pool greeting them and getting caught up.

Every time the sun moves, we tuck in further to the shaded corner.

Jimmy, Kevin and Mike - we visited all of them in our travels, and here we are together again :-)
Thursday night there's already a couple dozen of us.

Cool friends reunited - Jimmy, Coy, Bill, Rennie and Donnie

Stupid doesn't take long.......
6:30 AM comes early on Friday when Jimmy picks Bill up for the first annual golf scramble. I meet some friends for breakfast and then we're off to play in the desert.

Our first stop are the Laughlin Labyrinths, six patterns beautifully laid and well maintained. We each walk one, seeking answers and appreciating the spirit here.

Cheryl, Patty and Dianne
No Sue, we aren't skydiving - but yes, it's very windy!
We had such a fun time.

Our Patty-wind-gauge says it's still blowing......

We get to the golf course as the first team comes in - Donnie, Bill, Jimmy and Harold. Did they win the tourney?

When asked "Who won?" 
In the evening we head to the casino for our meet-and-greet with 200 people - our largest turnout in 15 years! Well organized as always, everyone has a wonderful time getting caught up with classmates, spouses and teachers. Former choir members sing our alma mater with our music teacher, Mr. B. leading us like it was 45 years ago. We get class photos from 1968 to 1979. Our own Maggie Stiles sings and gets the dance floor rockin'. Alcohol and food are consumed. Tessa gets 5000 pets. What a special night!

A gathering of Eagles.

Rhonda was in my class and I haven't seen her or sister Carlene (with her husband) in four decades.

Alumni from our "oldest" class - 1968

Jodee's class - 1973

Bill's class - 1974

Our youngest class (note how much more limber they are!) - Class of 1979

Bill with Mr and Mrs B.
Glad I got to see Jacquie who could only be there the one night.
The answer is yes, this team won the tournament :-) 
Saturday I do something I haven't done in a very long time. In fact, the last time I played Bingo we used cardstock and little colored discs to mark the numbers.....nothing like the fancy "IPads" they use now! I opt for the paper and "dabber" instead, and have a lot of fun with a half dozen friends. Best of all it's smoke-free and very quiet, like the Zen of the casino :-)

Jodee and Diane. None of us won :-(
Bill and I get a nap and head for the Tie Die Booze Cruise. 90 people on a fairly small boat makes for a tight squeeze, but the river is beautiful and the company is the best.



Rennie and Cheryl own the hippie vibe.

What's a hippie?

Anna and Bill

Cruisin' the Colorado River



We had a fun time!!
Some of our high school friends are retiring this year and came up to visit us on Sunday to plan some RV trips together. We've been so excited for them to start traveling too! It's too hot to do much else until dinner.

Yuk!!
I don't get any pics from our final gathering as I'm starting to feel pretty funky. I'm awake most of Sunday night with a hard cough and fever.

Monday morning we decide to stay another day and hopefully I'll feel better.

















Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fun With Friends and a New Place to Play

April 13-18, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada


Thursday is errand day, including Tessa's nearly least favorite (the vet being the very least) which is grooming. While I never tackled learning to clip her myself, when it's just a bath she needs I try to find a self-wash where we can get in and out quickly.

Nothing is close to the RV park, but I find the Soggy Dog in nearby Henderson that has clean facilities with everything we need. Regardless of the amenities, she fails to be impressed.


Bill reaches out to some high school pals who we know aren't going to be at next week's reunion, and Friday we're off to meet them!

First we see Renee who graduated with me and has a part-time home in the area. I think I've only seen her once since graduation and there is a lot of catching up over breakfast at the Bagel Cafe. Which, if you're ever in Summerlin, I highly recommend (lots more than bagels). She's off to Houston the next day so we're especially glad we had the chance to see her.

Bill and Renee
I haven't been to The Strip in ages so we take advantage of our "in between visits" time to make a quick drive through. "Quick" - hahahaha. What a maze of humanity under towering casinos with every inch of space filled in between with shops and eateries and god-knows-what. I nearly break out in hives at the crush that surrounds us.




I know it must be spectacular at night, but after several blocks I bail and head for the highway - whew!

Every high school friend we meet on the road is a special experience. Friday afternoon we meet up with two sisters who are not only high school friends, but were my college roommates. I haven't seen them for years, and Bill has only seen Phyllis once, Judy not at all. What a treat to spend time with these two who were such a huge part of my life for eight years. We will definitely stay in touch, and make plans to see each other again soon.

Judy, Jodee and Phyllis
The temps and spring break crowds continue to increase so Saturday we veg-out at home. 

For three years Lisa and I have read and commented on each other's blogs. Many of the places we've stayed have been based on her helpful reviews. We just missed seeing her and hubby Hans in Tucson, so I'm beyond excited when Hans reaches out on Facebook that they will also be in the area for a few days!!

Plans are made and Sunday afternoon we head to Boulder City for happy hour at their spot. Not surprising it's like meeting old friends - because really, they are :-)) We find a lot in common besides just our love for this traveling life and the time flies by. Too soon we're saying our goodbyes-for-now.

It's getting dark, but I did remember a photo!! Hans, Lisa and Bill.
While at Calico our in-the-door-water from our frig started leaking. Turning off the water to the back of the frig solved the immediate issue but we have an appointment at the Camping World in Henderson Monday morning for a permanent fix.

A lot of folks have had bad experiences with CW, but we've been fortunate that ours have all been positive. Until today :-(  Bill clearly explained what the issue was over the phone, and reiterates all the information at the counter when we drop it off at 8 AM. The tech isn't in yet so we head for breakfast, expecting to kill time for several hours.

Instead I get a call after 45 minutes. The technician explains that they don't have anyone certified to work on residential refrigerators at their facility. What? Then why make the appointment, write up the work order, and send us on our happy way??

Aaaaanyway, we finish our very delicious breakfast of ham and cheese crepes, pick up our un-fixed home and return to our site. We refuse to let it ruin our day, life will continue without cold, filtered water from the front of our frig. Not the perfect life we've gotten used to.....but life nonetheless.  We'll get it fixed down the road.

A small place with a big menu 

Fabulous crepes, wish I could eat it all!
After several days in the big city, we're ready for a nature fix. Tuesday morning we're out early, heading north once again.

Corn Creek Road, off I-95 takes us to the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska - the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

The visitors' center at Corn Creek is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but the trails and restrooms are open. It is a beautiful riparian preserve filled with old growth trees, tall grasses, running water, and an interesting building of endangered fish. We spend over an hour meandering the various trails and enjoying all the birdsong and interesting interpretive signs. There's even a small historic cabin! 

The signage is beautiful and informative throughout the site.

And the views even more so.

Giant trees provide homes for many different birds.

The grass is over eight feet tall and sways gently in the breeze.

At 75 degrees, it is a perfect sunny day to be outside.

The trails are well marked.

This building is actually a pond, recreated to preserve the endangered Pahrump Poolfish. Only 29 remained when their final spring dried up in 1975. They are about the size of guppies and their numbers continue to increase in three preserves throughout Nevada's refuge.

Difficult to see through the green windows, but we do spot a few of the little fish.

This old cabin was built with railroad ties - recycling at it's best, over 100 years ago.

The roof has been rebuilt, but the walls are original - almost no mortar is used between the large ties.

Sparse living.

The lovely sound of Corn Creek keeps us company throughout our walk.

Mulberries are a big surprise.
I love this Medicine Wheel in the walkway near the VC.

This covered courtyard is a wonderful spot to take a break and includes large, clean restrooms and fresh drinking water.
There are two dirt roads within the refuge, both recommend high-clearance vehicles, with the Alamo Road requiring 4-wheel-drive through a dry lake. The Mormon Road goes 49 miles to Highway 93 and through a small mountain pass. Although we're not doing the full 49 miles, we opt for the mountain pass route. 

Washboard and lots of sharp rocks, clearance is not as much an issue as good tires and suspension :-))

Making numerous stops to explore the surrounding desert and to capture the multiple blooms, we spend hours enjoying this magnificent place. After turning off the pavement we only see one other person all day. Perfect.

Just us and a day of Wow!

The views continue to expand as we climb in elevation.

We find dozens of unique rocks in our explorations.

So cool.....
Large bouquets of daisies glow in the sun.
Not surprising given the color of our vehicle, the orange Desert Mallow is a favorite.

New to us are these clusters of barrel cactus - they're everywhere on this route.
They all have these "blooms" which up close look like fungus.
At the top of the pass is a large Joshua Tree forest. The trees aren't large, but there are thousands of them.

This massive uplift is spectacular - the multi-colored layers tell a story millions of years old.

Lining the camera up with the ridge, uses the vegetation to show the steep angle of the lift.

Layers of color and terrain.

It is so quiet up here......
Dark clouds wash the color from the mountains.
Obligatory pink blooms.....they're just so pretty!
What a perfect place to play - next time we'll definitely plan for the full 49 miles to make the loop, but today's trip was great fun. 

Wednesday we're off for our annual reunion in Laughlin where we're expecting the biggest turnout since 2002!