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Friendship Break, Health break, Vegas break

March 28, 2010

We managed eleven more, very enjoyable nights at Kelso Dunes. It seems to hit the entire family just right. It was more of what we wanted, time to school/play/hike&run. We also dug out four vehicles (three RVs), stuck in the deep sand. Some left with origami art, some left wine. A shovel is a real handy tool for these gigs. Just so happens, we recently discovered that we’d left ours somewhere and had just replaced it before heading back out. Funny timing. About the time resources were getting low and tanks getting full, we headed north to Las Vegas. Yes, it was hard to believe we were doing it. Our dear friends The Steens, road tripping all the way from Bozeman, were on their way to Disneyland in San Diego and we were their cousin Eddie in the RV. Thanks to the Steens and Vegas’ cheap luring prices, we stayed two nights at the famed Stratosphere. We were all giddy with excitement from being together in such a surreal setting. We spent a day hiking around Red Rock Canyon west of Vegas, we took in some strip sights(more than we care to acknowledge actually), the volcano show at Treasure Island, the water show at The Bellagio, and the view and thrill rides high atop the Stratosphere. The Big Shot is the worlds tallest thrill ride, and it literally feels like something grabs you by your ass and throws you hundreds of feet, hallow and helpless, straight up into the dark night. We loved it and Mazie Jane said she thought she was going to die. She barely cleared the height requirement and all the workers said she was the smallest they’d ever seen ride it. She says now that she wouldn’t do it again, but feels big having done a ride the big kids did. We also ate the nastiest, obscenely longest, hot dogs any of us had ever had at Circus Circus. I wonder now if someone wasn’t filming our reactions to these freakish objects, like some old Candid Camera episode. Seriously, they must have been fourteen to sixteen inches long, smothered in runny, stale yellow, liquid cheese and a puny inadequate bun. Nasty. I only ate half. Unfortunately, I was starving.

As soon as the Steens left us in the parking lot after the second night, I collapsed into the bedroom of the camper, succumbing to the exhaustion and sore throat I’d been swearing off since our arrival. Turns out, I had a severe case of strep throat. I spent the next four days in misery, unable to eat or drink due to swelling and pain. Thank goodness for Cam, and also Connie McFarland, a family friend from Montana who now lives in Vegas. Connie enthusiastically entertained our kids as only an adopted grandmother could for five days straight, even a sleep over one night. Bless her. She took Cam and the kids on boat rides, then took the kids fishing, took them to the shark aquarium at the Bellagio where they spent an hour with a wildlife biologist exploring sting-rays.  Took them to the Tiger and Dolphin show at The Bellagio, took them out for pizza, had movies and popcorn, did crafts and read books.  The kids had an absolute blast and “CC” made a lasting impression. It will be a wonderful reunion when we see her again in Montana this summer.

So, at this point we’re in Las Vegas at least five more days than we’d planned. We still have some mail to wait for, we need laundry and showers to wash the sick away, and our water pump is going out, so we decide to hit an RV park. Believe it or not, there’s not a lot of them in Vegas but there happens to be one just off the strip at Circus Circus. I couldn’t wait for another hot dog. We spent two nights there, changing a water pump, cleansing away the sickness, swimming, showering, visiting the conservatorium at The Belagio. It served as a good place to hit the restart button on our camper life.

Loads of international travelers come through in rented RVs on their southwestern US tour. In one of the best “I’m glad that’s not me” incidents, I watched two German ladies inadvertently dump their entire gray tank onto the pavement as they were trying to hook up their sewer. They jumped and danced on tiptoes until they turned flat footed, doubled over in laughter and embarrassment and the water finished its fall. Good thing it wasn’t the black tank, I thought. We also had a couple give us about $70-$100 worth of food as it was the end of their trip. We figured that paid for our stay at the RV park.

Despite none of us being city people, or enjoying gambling, we were surprisingly impressed with Las Vegas as  a city.  It’s not bad for getting around, has great diversity of population, world-class entertainment, plenty of opportunity and things to do for free, lots of quiet and serene pockets, pretty hiking nearby, and an official proclivity to overlook short-term camping  in their city parks.  What more could you want?  And the Strip itself is the only place you find porn at childs’-eye level like candy machines on the street, so again, what’s not to like?  There’s an interesting attitude there, and it seems to be… cosmopolitan?  Like Connie said, almost no one is FROM Las Vegas – they’re all imports – and being a tossed salad, there seems to be quite a live-and-let-live attitude there.

We’re still waiting for mail to arrive in Las Vegas so we landed at Lake Meade, just east of the city for a couple days. We may head west, the only road doing so just happens to skirt Mojave Preserve and Kelso Dunes, so if the weathers right, we’ll stay a while, again.

Hi mom.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. MomE permalink
    March 29, 2010 1:28 am

    Okay, I feel better!

  2. Ann permalink
    March 29, 2010 6:01 pm

    Glad you finally blogged again!! I miss them! I just love reading about your adventures. Love to all, Ann

  3. March 31, 2010 4:34 am

    Loved your post about your time in Las Vegas. We lived there for 2 1/2 years while stationed at Nellis AFB in 197-1977. We have been back a couple of times and really enjoy all the people watching we get to do while there.

    Isn’t Lake Mead beautiful. That is one of the first places my hubby took me after we met.

    Glad you are feeling better. It is definitely not any fun to travel when you don’t feel well.

  4. bill trebing permalink
    April 1, 2010 11:44 pm

    Good to catch up to you guys.
    Several years back, we went to LV and stayed at the Stratosphere (got a cheap trip). Rented a car and went to Red Rock and Hoover Dam and Williams,AZ , where it was snowing. This was at Easter also. Took the train to the Grand Canyon. All fun.
    Will tell you about Nedra and the craps table guys later.
    Hope you feel better fast.
    Our Monday night folks always ask about you.

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