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! 


  1. The refuge is wonderful! Thanks for sharing your adventure. It doesn't take much to get me excited...giant trees and creeks always make my heart beat faster...

    Lisa and Hans are awesome!

    1. The preserve is a wonderful oasis in the middle of the desert - we loved it!

  2. Ahhhh...nothing like a wet dog smell heated up by a blow dryer. "Ma, are you done yet?" 😀

    1. Now you know that she always smells like posies, even wet!

  3. Such a fun evening with you two! I'm so glad our paths finally crossed.

    That wildlife refuge looks awesome! Aren't the pink blooms dotting the hillsides wonderful?

    It's a shame that your CW visit was a bust...fingers crossed for the next attempt.

    1. We had a great time! That area had the most blooms of anywhere we've seen so far - such a treat :-)

  4. Enjoy the reunion--isn't it strange how some people such as you and Bill plus the Cowboy remain close to high school friends then there is me--I've been to one reunion since graduating in 1973. Tessa doesn't look happy--Emmi is the same way, she has started running to Mike as if he can save her!

    1. It seems the smaller the school the more in touch people stay. Yay class of '73 - we're the best :-)

      Tessa tried to get the shop owner to save her :-)))))

  5. We've never visited the Preserve. Looks wonderful. Great idea to "recycle" the railroad ties! Love, love all the beautiful flowers.

    Have great fun at the reunion!! I do believe you have personally visited every member of the high school:)

    1. As we're up to 62 people outside the reunions, I imagine we've visited more than anyone else!! There were no trailheads along the road as far as we traveled, but for a Jeep day it's a perfectly wonderful place to explore.

  6. That wildlife refuge looks wonderful—your photos of the landscape and wildflowers are beautiful! We definitely need to go there. Plus, I really must see the Pahrump Poolfish. :-)) So fun that you met up with Lisa and Hans. Good people meeting good people. :-)

    1. I guess since they don't know they're in a building it's a good thing for them, but it's pretty strange to encounter a "fish house"! You can't see them elsewhere so you'll definitely have to come :-))

      Your names always come up among the good peoples!

  7. Love the views of the refuge. What a gorgeous place to visit.

  8. The reserve looks amazing. From a distance you'd never know that there's so much hidden beauty.

    1. So true! Many places we've been to are "just over the ridge" from the interstate, and completely hidden. And completely amazing.

  9. Renee looks like a miniature person next to Bill. Some height difference. I’ve never been to Vegas and it’s not on my list even more after seeing your pics and reading your inmpressions. What fun to meet up with your roommates and Hans and Lisa. Banner days. Great pictures both. I suspect that the person you talked to at CW didn’t pay attention to the “residential” part of refrigerator. What a waste of time for you guys. Had never heard of Desert NWR and had no idea it was the largest outside of Alaska. I was shocked to see a tall grass prairie. “So cool” is right. Love that stone and envious of your jeep to get you out into the back of beyond. Wonderful flowers, wonderful landscape. Thanks for showing it to me.

    1. Thanks for coming along! We don't need to stay in Las Vegas again, but so many beautiful areas are nearby that we'll be back "close by". The grasses are wonderful, and such a surprise.

  10. Tessa is so patient. Unlike me when it comes to the Vegas strip, no way. My one experience with CW saved me a lot of money when the tech said I didn't need new slide seals. Good thing at their labor prices. A delightful refuge I didn't know about. Yet I learned this winter that refuges are less visited and just as nice as parks. Have a great time at the reunion. Nice that you all come to one place especially after all the visits you've made along your travels.

    1. Tessa's patience is being tested among 200+ of our school mates, but she's hanging in being the belle of the ball :-) We are going to look for more refuges moving forward, this one is beautiful.

  11. Tessa is one good looking dog. Wait should I call her a dog? Maybe she thinks she is a person. Sorry, Tess.

    1. I think she knows she's a dog, and feels sorry for us because we aren't :-)))