Monday, February 28, 2011

Downtown Las Vegas

030(Jan) Chuck found a great place for our RV in downtown Las Vegas at the Main Street Casino just two blocks from Fremont Street. Although we were next to the interstate, the parking lot style spaces had FHU, Security and cost just $16. The Main Street Casino Brewery and Hotel, pictured at left, is an elegant place in the true old Las Vegas opulent style with gilded fixtures and tin-type ceilings, amazing balconies overlooking the casino floor and beautiful, massive wood counters & furnishings. Alas, we missed getting pictures 052there. 

We did get quite a few photos of our night on Fremont Street. A huge 1,500 foot long Viva Vision screen covers four blocks of Fremont Street with it’s historic casinos such as Binions, Golden Nugget, 4 Queens and The Plaza. The Light and Music shows happen every hour in the evening. 035We got to experience George Thorogood’s ‘Bad to the Bone’ and Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’. The shows were amazing!  The music throbbed; the light show was incredible! Each show lasted about 10 minutes and the screen overhead is about 5 football fields long. After the music presentation the 12.5 million LED lamps flashed in colored geometric patterns as we walked the street and popped into the casinos and shops that compromise the Fremont Street Experience. It’s kind of like a Street carnival Vegas style with live music, bars, wandering ‘characters’, several stages with dancers and an 800 foot long Zip Line that you can race down 30 feet overhead at up to 30 mph! Can you pick out the riders in the picture at left? Do you recognize any of the characters roaming the streets? And you know that slogan that says, ‘what happens in Vegas…..’, the t-shirt being sold on Fremont Street added a new twist! Click on any of the photos to get an enlarged view.

055 043 038
032 062 057

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bullhead City to Oatman

(Jan) 006Hardyville was a booming mining town before it’s decline and it was reborn as Bullhead City in the ‘50’s when the Davis Dam was constructed.018 It is named for a prominent rock which is a landmark along the Colorado River. Now home to 40,000+, it sits across the Colorado River from the thriving Casinos of Laughlin, Nevada. This was our first visit to the area and we had a nice spot at the Ridgeview RV Resort overlooking the bright lights of the casinos across the river below us. 025Another big reason we stopped in Bullhead City was to visit Oatman, AZ. Oatman is another old mining town that has lived on as a funky little tourist town with shops, taverns, restaurants (one of them whose walls are covered by dollar bills signed by tourists) and wandering burrows, descendants of animals abandoned after they were no longer needed in area gold mines. The famous Route 66 ran right through the middle of Oatman for many years before traffic was diverted to Interstate 40 north of town in 1953. We spent several enjoyable hours wandering through the shops before heading back to Bullhead City on a winding, gravel country road through the old gold mining territory.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ed’s BD Party

(Jan) Betty & Duane grilling hotdogs at Ed's BD PartyEd’s BD Party is a fun tradition with a great story behind it. Betty Anderson has hosted a Birthday Party for Duane for years now and because of a late bakery order the only cake available was one that said ‘Happy Birthday Ed’. It seems that Ed had died and Betty got the cake for half price. And so the annual Ed’s Eating in the Rain - Ed's BD PartyBirthday Party was born!  And to add a little spice to this years event, the weather did not co-operate. LHC received an inch of rain Saturday so the party was postponed to Sunday. However, Mother Nature didn’t co-operate that well on Sunday either and just about the time Betty & Duane put the hotdogs on the grill, we were treated to rain, hail and a couple of loud claps of thunder! But the Boomer group was not deterred fromat Betty & Duane's having a good time….we headed under awnings and umbrellas & into nearby parked cars briefly and then proceeded celebrating ED with hotdogs & buns, lots of salads & side dishes and Ed’s birthday cake.

havasu fireworksWe enjoyed several hikes around the steps this past week to several of the higher hills. We missed getting a picture of the hiking group but thanks to Betty, we have a photo of one of the Pegs & Jokers games we enjoyed. Here’s Bill Pollock, Jan, Duane Peyton, Gisela Pollock and Chuck. Connie & Larry Farquhar also joined us for many games. And, of courses, the main attraction this week-end for many was the Western Pyrotechnics Winter Blast shows on Thursday through Sunday nights. Very Exciting! Awesome! Spectacular! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Steps and SARA Park

the steps

(Jan) We’re back at ‘the Steps’, AZ public lands, south of Lake Havasu City. A group of Escapee Boomers, Solos and Happy Hour - the StepsRoving Rods are gathered here for the Pyrotechnics event this week-end. And if you’re a Boomer, you’re here for Ed’s Birthday Party on Sat. afternoon.  It’s been a fun time so far. The Boomers have enjoyed daily Happy Hours, a potluck Brunch, and a trip to the 038Elks for BBQ Ribs. Other fun activities have included watching remote controlled boat races at LHC, fun nights playing Pegs & Jokers w/Pollocks, Farquhars & Peyton/Andersons and learning how to knit from Connie, Ann & Gisela. (Chuck) Ben Frint organized a volunteer Boomer clean-up. He talked with the local Arizona highway officials and they delivered plastic bags and will pick them up when they are filled. Boomers went through the Steps and cleaned up any trash that they found. We will always leave a site cleaner than we found it.

(Jan) Tuesday we headed over to the SARA (Special Activities & Recreation Area) Park complex south of LHC. 008Our friends Bruce and Dee had hiked there a couple of years ago and their hike to ‘Crack in the Mountain’ in particular caught our attention. 001It’s a 3 hour round trip hike down towards the lake through a a slot canyon. And my, oh my, was it fun! After a mile or so hike over hills & though a wash we entered a canyon where the walls narrowed, the floor dropped down dry water falls and there’s big boulders to scramble over. The most notable dry water fall is a 7 foot drop that you either slide down on your bottom = me or a more controlled descent by bracing yourself on either wall with your arms & legs = Chuck. The slot canyon is a great 300 foot adventure that opens up to another dry wash.  At that point we headed back up on a different trail and headed back to the parking lot. Awesome hike!  So glad we did it.

003
The canyon walls are starting to narrow as we head into the slot canyon. To the right is the 7 foot drop that we went down.
006
012

Boulders 
right in the middle of the canyon and very narrow paths and more big drops to negotiate.
We loved it!!
009

037(Chuck) As we started Tuesdays hike to the Slot Canyon we noticed a group of hikers at the peak of the tallest mountain directly in front of us. It looked like a “too good to be true place”. In the binoculars it looked as if there was a table up there, or something similar. When we finished the Slot Canyon we knew that it would take more energy than we had left, so it was planned to go back today. 020A little research on the web proved that it was a popular hike and there was indeed a picnic table on the top of the mountain. At the table (N 34.43834 W114.27355) the elevation is 1370 feet, which leaves the total climb to be about 850 feet. Most of the elevation gain is quite steep, but on a well marked trail. It was two and one half hours door to door and well worth it. It has to rank up there with our all time favorites. The view was spectacular and the weather perfect for an aggressive hike. The picnic table on Lizard Peak is a winner.

014 015
On Left –Looking up from the trail towards Lizard Peak on the Picnic Table Mountain Trail. Above - Coming up to a level section of the trail after a hard climb
Chuck looking toward the lake on the saddle between peaks018

028On the top looking south

On the top looking north w/the lake and Lake Havasu City in the background030

035
Headed back down the trail on the western slope

Friday, February 11, 2011

Palm Canyon KOFA National Wildlife Refuge

(Jan) KOFA palmsPalm Canyon, on the KOFA NWR, is accessible by 7 miles KOFA Palms 2of gravel road from Hwy 95 at MM85. From the trailhead, it’s an easy half mile hike, 250 feet elevation gain, through Palo Verde and Ironwood trees on rocky terrain. There’s also Barberry bushes and Saguaro cactus and although it is a habitat for Desert Bighorn Sheep, we weren’t fortunate enough to see them. The canyon is cut through a formation of rhyolite, a volcanic rock. Water cutting through the rhyolite formed the main canyon and side canyon where the palms are found. Reportedly he only native palm trees in Arizona, it is believed that the California Fan Palms are the descendants of trees growing in this area during the last period of glaciation. When you get to the end of the trail and look up into the canyon on the north side, you can see the palm trees nestled in their steep side canyon. The lighting was poor while we were there; these file photos will do them justice.

032(Chuck) We have driven past the KOFA Mountains many times and have034 noticed the distinctive formations where Palm Canyon is located. I tried to take a stylized photo with the Cholla Cactus in the frame. And when you mess with a Cholla you risk this. It requires a little work with a needle nose pliers, but it is not terminal. Many people call this the Jumping Cholla, but I have not witnessed one to jump, however I did have one follow me home one day and rest beside the step on our rig.

(Jan) We’re home on the desert at MM95 / BLM Roadrunner. This is a stopover on our way north to Lake Havasu City. It’s quiet and peaceful here. The sun is shining and we’re enjoying our down time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the Road again

(Chuck) In Yuma we had another chance to visit my mother and a whole host of Boomer friends. February is a busy time of year in the winter RV capitol of the USA . We could not get on the 53rd Street lot that we usually call home. While visiting with friends Dan and Jenny Sheppard, they kindly offered a spot on their lot and it became our base for six days. As usual time flies when you are having fun.

Super Bowl Sunday Gas Oven

When we bought our motorhome a year ago we knew that there were a few things we wanted to change. One of those items was to take out the dishwasher and install an oven in its place. The original owners no doubt thought that the dishwasher was essential; however an oven fits our style much better. I also removed the cooktop which sat above the dishwasher. The new oven that we ordered includes the cooktop. It is a 21 inch oven (for you in stick builts, that is the big RV oven!). It has sealed burners and electronic ignition. It fit in the hole without too much alteration. It will be a good addition.

Jan had a girls luncheon at Julianna’s Monday. She says it was the second annual event and she had a delicious meal and a good time with girlfriends.

Julianna's for luncheon Parked at the Q Casino RV Parking.  We are one of 125 rigs; the second rig on the left hand side.002

Tuesday we left Yuma again for several weeks on the road. We will probably only travel 200 miles, but hopefully it will take at least two weeks, maybe three. Two nights at the Q Casino to take advantage of the $10 free play and visit with friends, then it is off to Quartzsite and up to Lake Havasu for Ed’s Birthday Party. We will spend our time at the Steps boondocking with other Boomers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Life goes on after Boomerville

005(Jan) Leaving Boomerville is always a little bit sad but also, fun because you know that your next adventure is right around the corner.  Or in our case only 5 miles down the road! We had ordered a Magne Shade for our windshield from Ken & Mary Ann Watson last week and then decided that we wanted the the Magne Shades to cover the wheels too. The windshield shade is made in North Carolina & will be shipped to us in 3 weeks but Mary Ann makes the wheel shades in their shop right there in Quartzsite. Monday we headed into Quartzsite to have Ken help us install them. They and the windshield shade are held in place with Rare Earth Magnets and are very easy to install & remove. We had pulled our rig in behind their shop for the installation and after that was done we roamed around Quartzsite for awhile picking up a couple of needed items. The weather had definitely changed form the previous balmy 2 1/2 weeks at Boomerville and the wind was howling and the dust was blowing. Ken & Mary Ann006 closed their shop early that day and we had a wonderful time grilling dinner and visiting. We stayed for the night in Quartzsite and joined them across the street for omelets at their favorite breakfast place the next morning.

After fond farewells to these two wonderful friends we headed down to Yuma and Mittry Lakes for one night. Because we want to spend time with Joanne and other friends in town we decided to look for a place in the Foothills. This time of the year that is a tall order! But thanks to Dan & Jenny Sheppard, we have a beautiful spot on their lot on 47th Street where the pictures above were taken. With snow storms & blizzards raging across a large area of the US, the weather here has been cold, too, and very windy. But unlike the below zero readings in the north, our lows are in the 30’s and the winds & dust storms in the open areas should calm down by the week-end. It’s good to be a ‘townie’ for a week or so.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quartzsite - Week 2

The fun continued on the second week and the activities & Boomers multiplied!

  • Walking, 4 Wheel drives, Bike Rides, Hikes and a fireside concert by Sally Banks.001
  • More films were shared at the Pace Theatre – Rose Bowl Parade, Albuquerque Balloonfest, Western Canada & Alaska
  • Eating Events – more pancakes w/Bob & Gretchen Mattison, Dessert Potluck, Chili Cook-off, a Dinner Potluck featuring Trash Can Turkey by Mark Thornton & Judie St. Croix, Wine tasting w/hors d’oeuvrses and a group outing for pizza at Silly Al’s w/Bill & Fran Rayner.
  • Classes for Boondocking, Smartphones, going to Alaska & Mexico, T-shirt braiding, Jewelry Wrapping, Crocheted Necklaces and Spinners.
  • Fun stuff w/friends – Pegs & Jokers w/Jim & Diane Fisher Baker + visiting w/Laurie Brown & Odel King, lunch at Casa Rancho w/Dean & Judy Sheeley and Bruce Richmond, Dinner and P&J at Steve & Pam Ritchies w/Ken & Jo Bloedell, a going away visit w/Dean & Judy and Bruce & Dee, Birthday Party for Elaine Canell, a campfire at Bruce & Nancy Butlers, P&J w/Ron & Sharon Mead and Betty Andersen & Duane Peyton, Beading & visiting w/Connie & Larry Farquhar, Visiting & computer talk w/Dick & Beth Miller,001 Dinner at Bill & Gisela Pollocks w/Chris Christiansen and breakfast at Mick & Ann Meilikes.
  • Going into Quartzsite to the Big Tent, Tyson Wells, Rice Ranch and the QIA Gem Show.
  • Happy Hour each day & a lively New Boomer Skit.
  • And the group continued to work and share together doing trash runs, providing tables for potlucks & classes, sharing citrus fruit brought from home and having a lively free table & book swap. And of course, the CARE auction w/auctioneers Steve Ritchie & Gretchen Mattison.

005One of our major projects each year is to raise funds for CARE. We were presented with a certificate for the $11,000 we had already raised and our auction + a raffle for a Pegs & Jokers Board hand crafted by Loren Webster brought in an additional $2,500+. This year for the auction Chuck & I donated a small vacuum, a gift basket of hand lotions & a service project - trips to town to get water for people’s RVs. We also purchased several items at the auction but were not the final bidders on Steve Ritchie’s Magic Show.  However, our friends, the Pollocks were and they invited us & several other friends to watch the show.  It was held Friday night at our Rig and we had a wonderful time. Steve is a very good illusionist and presented a very entertaining performance!

008











Jan reading off the serial number on a dollar bill that was later presented to the group tucked in an unpeeled lemon!! Steve also dazzled us with many card tricks & numerous illusions. Very Fun!
The Magic Show Group – Chuck & Bill Pollock in front, Jeannie & Nick Schmitz, Gisela Pollock, Jan, Steve & Pam Ritchie, Beth Myers and Chris Christiansen and in back Tom Doerr and Mike Myers.

040

chili cook offChuck and I hosted the Chili Cook-off again this year at Boomerville. There were 17 mouth-watering entries and Gretchen Mattison was awarded the first place Chili Bowl trophy!  Beth Miller was awarded the Traveling Trophy, a signed bookmark from Paul Wimmer, for second place and Bill Pollock’s Texas Red, in third place, garnered the un-opened box for Mexican Mints. This year’s over qualified judges were Carole Schneider, last year’s winner Judy Sheeley, new Boomer Don Wicks, Gisela Pollock, Ken Bloedell and Mick Meilike, who was missing in action for the photo. 

Chili Cook Off 2011 winner Gretchen at right and Chili Judges below.

chili cook off 1
chili cook off 2

 
room reservation in London