Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Vegas delight

May 19-21, Las Vegas, Nevada

Woo-hoo. Our trip to Vegas from Zion National Park took on a whole new possibility when we discovered friends we met at a campground in Florida were going to be there at the same time. John and Sharon are the only other couple we have become friends with on this journey who are also full-time RVers. A special bond inherently exists in this world, but we discovered we share many similar views and aspirations, so spending time with them again is a real treat.
John and Sharon at the fabulous Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort
Our sole intention in coming to Vegas was to tour the Hoover Dam. Neither of us had much interest in hanging out in the big city lights on the strip or spending time in the casinos. Vegas just happened to be on the route from Utah to Los Angeles, our longer-term destination for spending time with kids and grandkids. We had originally planned to spend one night just outside Vegas but when we learned that Mr. and Mrs. Heyduke, their blogger names, were staying at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, we decided to join them. And what a resort this is—just a few miles from the strip with an adjoining hotel, a lovely saltwater pool and spa surrounded by palm trees, and a state of the art fitness facility—all for the discounted Passport America price of $22 a night for a back-in site.

We pulled in late in the afternoon on Friday, got set up, and joined John and Sharon at the saltwater pool. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, the pool was a good choice. After swimming, we had the pleasure of being invited to their motorhome for homemade pizza, lava cake, and red wine—a winning combination but nothing compared to our joy in reconnecting and sharing our most recent adventures with one another.
Jetta made fast friends with Sharon
Our plans for Saturday were a trip to the Hoover Dam, hang out by the pool, and play tourist in the old downtown area of Vegas to watch the Fremont Street light show. The Hoover Dam was not a must-do for me, but it ranked pretty high on Vic’s list so off we went—about a thirty-minute drive from Vegas. There are four options for touring the dam: 1) walk around on your own for free; 2) pay $7 for a ticket to the visitor center; 3) pay $11 for a tour of the power plant which includes the visitor center, a movie, and an "underground" view of the hydroelectric generators at work; 4) pay $30 for the works which includes an inside look of the operation of the dam itself along with everything else. My original plan was to just do the walking tour and museum for $7, but for an additional $4 I was able to see the movie and the power plant. Vic went for the whole enchilada. We saw the movie and power plant together, then he went off for another thirty minutes to see the underworkings of the dam. I have to say the power plant tour was something I could have done without. There are signs warning people who have claustrophobia not to do this tour. I am not in many situations where my proclivity toward feeling claustrophobic is tested, so I thought I would be fine. First of all you take a 1000 ft.descent in an elevator where your ears pop, then when you exit the elevator it looks like you are in a cave. Not for me. You do eventually get to some open areas to see the generators at work, but I also am not a big fan of getting up close and personal with massive kilowatts of electricity. I  kept looking at my watch to psyche myself into believing this thirty-minute tour was almost over.

Vic joined me in the cafĂ© about thirty minutes later. He was really glad he did the whole tour, although he said there were a few places where his acrophobia prevented him from taking advantage of the full views of the dam. Tourists can also take a walk over the newly constructed arch bridge, the Mike O’Callaghan Pat Tillman Memorial (opened in 2010), which spans the dam at 840 ft. above the Colorado River. Aside from the temperatures rising to almost a 100 degrees that day, Vic said he would only consider walking the bridge if he could be in the middle of it—which would put him in a line of traffic on US 93—not much of a better option.
The bridge we didn't cross--second highest in the United States
Lake Mead, largest reservoir in the United States
We made it back to our lovely RV park (which I forgot to take pictures of) with time to spend poolside. We thought about sneaking in a couple beers and discovered when we got there, that many “campers” just brought their whole coolers in. I guess it’s the Vegas factor.

For our last night there, we got together with John and Sharon for a light meal and then headed out to see the light show on Fremont St. The temperature at 9 p.m. was 89 degrees! We enjoyed the lively ambiance of the street with all the casinos, live bands, and, perhaps, most of all, the eccentric displays of humanity. The Viva Vision canopy and light show was amazing;  the $70 million canopy has more than 12 million LED lights extending the length of five football fields. Every hour on the hour from dusk to midnight the canopy lights up, music blares, and thousands of visitors watch and listen to images and songs paying tribute to different bands on the world’s largest screen. We happened to catch the show featuring Queen which included “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions”—hard not to get pumped up in this Vegas party atmosphere. They have also recently added a zipline under parts of the canopy where you can soar 800 ft. down Fremont at speeds up to 30 mph for a $15 ticket. (I have always wanted to do a zipline, but my vision is to do one in the backtrails of someplace like Costa Rica with monkeys cheering me on. I guess you could think of this as a wildlife experience as there seemed to be plenty of untamed characters wandering the street.)
Canopy with zipline platform in background
Look closely to see zipliner in middle of photo

Neon Country--the band we liked the best on Fremont
Barbarella of Fremont
Cupid, who actually propositioned our friend
Pee Wee Herman amongst the revelers
My personal favorite

A talented sculptor who makes creepy masks

Monday morning came too soon and we had to bid adieu once again to our friends. The good part is we have plans to see them in Oregon in a month or so as we will both be touring the West Coast this summer. One distinctive aspect of this lifestyle is the opportunity to meet up with people you met in one place and see them again in totally new environments—something you might only do once or twice in a lifetime with friends from your hometown. In either case, there is something unique that happens when you share travel adventures with others. Perhaps this quotation from the Italian poet, Cesare Pavese, captures it best:

Traveling forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. – Cesare Pavese

The road is our oyster. Ciao.


  1. Surely enjoyed our time together and counting the days til we meet again down the road, my friend!

  2. My favorite artisan bread recipe: http://www.famousfrenchdesserts.com/whole-wheat-french-bread-recipes.html

  3. Quick Pizza Dough

    * 3 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    * 2 tablespoons canola oil
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1 tablespoon white sugar
    * 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) - 1 minute in microwave

    1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Spread out on a large pizza pan. Top as desired.
    2. Bake at 375 degrees C (190 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes convection lower rack

  4. Hi Pam, I wanted to thank you for your comment on my blog. It would appear that we are from the same tribe. I agree that you were in the wild lands there in Vegas and I also agree with your "favorite" of the "costumes". :-) Cupid was pretty amazing too. I'd love to ask these folks what their day job is.


  5. Glad to have found the blog of a fellow-Phaeton owner; looking forward to following along on your adventures. A little bit of Vegas goes a long way for me, but seeing as how it's been a long, long time since the last time we were there, we'll stop for a peek when we eventually get back west.

    1. Thanks for connecting. I took a look at your amazing photos on the blog and feel a bit sheepish. Glad to learn about the Safe T Plus steering control. We had some serious crosswinds on our trip westward.--Pam


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