29 February 2008 We left Las Vegas on Monday and headed NW to Pahrump for a few weeks. While we did not get to do all the things we had in mind, our primary purpose for being in Las Vegas was to spend time with our daughter. I am glad to say that was very successful and we had a great time visiting. Katie is now living in a three bedroom home without roommates and this has been likely made possible by the poor housing market gripping the country. To our surprise she has actually started to cook and we spent very pleasant evenings just visiting at her home.
Nellis Air Force Base was hosting a “Red Flag” during our stay, which is an international air training program involving air craft from many countries that come and participate in this air combat training. The good thing about that this is the ability to see the many aircraft taking part in the event. The bad thing is to hear the many aircraft taking part in the event. The noise, at times, was deafening. As always, you have to think of it as the sound of freedom, assuming you can think at all in all that thunder.
Since Anneke is still limping around, I broke down and used the military senior officer “handicap” parking spot for shopping on base. Normally I do not do so, saving those spots for the active duty folks.
We are now settled in the Charleston Peak RV Resort and winery, which obviously has some attraction for us. The weather is proving to be marvelous and many folks are in the pool. Looks like spring is well on the way here.
We finally made it to the strip and visited the Bellagio gardens, which currently is celebrating the Chinese New Year. It was still drawing large crowds and displayed many varieties of plants and flowers along with other displays. We walked a few of the shops and picked out some fancy high calorie deserts for the evening meal. They still have the chocolate fountain display which is a good fifteen feet high.
I could not pass up the poster for the in house nightclub which sums up the attitude in Las Vegas perfectly.
We then headed to New York, New York for a short stroll and a beer at the Nine Men Irish pub. Then Anneke played some video poker but quickly became bored with it and turned it over to Katie with $1.25 left on the $1.00 she had put in. In very short order Katie ran it up to over 40 dollars and cashed out. This made it a very cheap afternoon on the strip.
After that exercise, Anneke’s ankle needed a rest, so we made it a short day on the strip.
Yesterday, Katie and her friend Brent took us to the Marrakech restaurant, which serves an authentic Moroccan meal complete with belly dancer. Once you enter the restaurant, you feel like you have entered a nomadic tent in the desert. The six course meal is served sans silverware and was very good. Since I have spent time in that part of the world, it also brought back some memories of travels long completed.
We ate until we were more than full and then enjoyed the entertainment.
It appears that Las Vegas will be a good time, even if we do not get a lot of sightseeing in on foot.
We arrived in Las Vegas last Thursday after an overnight near Quartzsite, Az. During the overnight stop we visited the Quartzsite rock and gem show during its waning days. No rocks or gems were acquired, but we did manage to pick up a flagpole for the motorhome that has been on the list for awhile.
In Las Vegas, we set up in the campground of Nellis Air Force base, where are daughter Katie is stationed. Like our other children, Katie is a real pet lover and we soon met the latest addition to the family, a beagle named Halley.
Since Anneke is still not fully recovered from the ankle injury, we continue to look for things to do that do not require a lot of walking. Katie suggested a trip up Kyle Canyon to Mount Charleston in the Spring Mountains for lunch at the lodge near the summit. As we drove higher in the mountains, the snow started to get deeper and deeper. We soon saw cars parked all along the road with families looking for the best place to enjoy sledding or just hiking in the snow. It apparently was a good respite from the seventy degree weather in the city.
Once again, the views were wonderful and driving thu the few small villages gave a hint as to what it might have been like on the mountain in years gone by. Today there are also a number of very large new houses being built on the mountain slopes. The lunch was very tasty and we had a good start to our Las Vegas stop over.
6 February, 2008 Our last day in Casa Grande proved to be very interesting. We were invited to Anneke’s cousin Adriana’s birthday party in the evening but had the day free. On the spur of the moment in the early afternoon, we decided to head up into the mountains to have a not to close look at some of the reported 27 inches of snow that had fallen in the last front passing thru the area. We ended up taking a drive thru the Tonto National Forest and the Roosevelt recreation area including the lake and dam.
After taking in some beautiful scenic views, we decided that AZ highway 88 was the shortest way back, as time one was now getting short. If we had taken the time to read our scenic highway book, we would have discovered that this road is one of the best in Arizona, and perhaps the country for raw beauty. We would have also found out that it is a rugged 22 mile narrow dirt road carved out of the very edge of Superstition Mountain. It was recommended that you allow most if not all of a day for the trip –with a full tank of fuel.
It proved not to be an overly difficult trip, but was exceeding slow due to the narrow road, steep climbs and descends, areas washed out by the storms, several washes which still had swift moving water across the road and most important the need to stop and admired the fantastic views. Unfortunately, since this was planned as just a short hop, we only had our simplest of cameras with us and the setting sun restricted some opportunities. Never the less it was worth the effort and we will have to return some day better prepared.
We did make it to the party only 15 minutes late and had a great time enjoying the company and the great food. Happy Birthday-Adriana!