2012 Travels travel blog

Carpe overlooks Lake Mead from her campsite

Lake Mead fills Carpe's windshield

Climbing hill outside Laughlin
Nevada 163 climbs from 600' to 3,000'

We once again drove through Searchlight
Nevada's best known speed trap (and home...

Our Teddy Bears take in the view...

Lake Mead at sunset
This is the view from our "premium" site

Carpe Diem faces Lake Mead
The panarama thru the windshield is fantastic!

Lake Mead at Sunrise
This is the view from our RV site

Carpe Diem & Carpe Dinkum at Sunrise

We walked on the new bypass bridge
This was dedicated in 2010 and...

Hoover Dam as seen from the bypass bridge

We then walked the dam

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam with bypass bridge

Power lines form a mosaic

The Dam's Art Deco heritage
This happens to be the women's loo

Lake Mead as viewed from the dam

Turbine part arrives at the dam
This is a special treat. Turbine starts...

Turbine continues its trip to the powerhouse
The arrow points out the turbine...

Turbine now at diversion building

Turbine is almost at the powerhouse

Bob works on his retirement
Don't try this at home youngsters...

We got an afternoon visitor
This Road Runner checks out Dinkum just a...

We got on the air while at Lake Mead

Sun, 15 Apr: A short drive today, just over ninety miles from Laughlin to Lake Mead, NV. We bade farewell to Ray & Cathie and drove across the Colorado to Sam's Club in Bullhead City, AZ to top off Carpe's tank. We didn't really need fuel, but we knew diesel was considerably less money in Arizona than Nevada, so we added 36 gallons to "fill 'er up" (we even topped off Dinkum's tank...)

Once filled, we hooked up Dinkum and headed north. We took Nevada 163 up to US 95. "Up" is the operative word as it is a long uphill grind from the Colorado River Valley (about 600' above sea level) to the US 95 junction (2,900' ASL). Carpe's Cummins and its 1,250 ft lbs of torque made it seem easy.

Once on US 95 it was an easy 55 mile drive to US 93 east of Henderson, NV. We got to drive through the two-bit town of Searchlight, best known as the hometown of Harry Reid and one of Nevada's worst speed traps. Bob drove along the 25 mph main street at about 15 mph.

Once on US 93 we continued east a few miles to Boulder City, NV and then exited to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. We pulled into Lake Mead RV Resort where we had reserved a premium space overlooking Lake Mead. We rarely splurge for special RV sites, but we thought we'd treat ourselves to a relaxing week in a nice place. We are parked so the lake is visible through the windshield, which is a very special treat (see pix).

We'll be here for a week and look forward to some sightseeing and visiting sights and sites in the Las Vegas area.

Wed, 18 Apr: A busy few days here in "Vegas". Actually we're not in Las Vegas, rather we're at Lake Mead National Recreation Area's RV park overlooking Lake Mead. So, what happens in Vegas will, most likey, happen without us knowing about it...

That said, we did spend a good portion of Monday in Vegas. We drove to the area west of The Strip to visit AES HAM radio supply. We looked around the showroom for a bit and had a very informative conversation with "Bill" the counterman. We ended up buying a few things (> $200 worth of "few things").

From there we headed to Fry's Electronics where Sandi bought a camera backpack. We also picked up some wire protective harness to replace the deteriorating harness on our towbar. Then to Trader Joe's for some soup and other items only they seem to carry.

Then to the Sunset Mall area for a quick visit to Ritz Camera. Sandi's big camera bag is beginning to show signs of wear, but alas they no longer carry that particular bag. Then to Hooter's for lunch. Guess what? Sandi had their 911-flavored wings!

Finally a Camping World visit to pick up a spare fresh water pump. Our pump is working just fine thank you, but Ray Bailey suggested having a spare for this summer's Alaska trip wouldn't be a bad idea. Good idea Ray! We also bought the 2012 copy of Woodalls so we'll have the latest campground info for Canada and Alaska.

Then back to the coach to sit outside watching the boats and ever-changing play of light on Lake Mead. We are enjoying our stay here, except for the out-of-control barking dogs that just moved in next to us.

On Tuesday we called the park's office to complain about the dogs. They barked on and off most of the nite and are at it again. Found out that the two ladies in the Holiday Rambler will be leaving Wednesday, but the camp host did leave a warning. It helped some...

Following breakfast we sat down and went thru our taxes one last time and wrote two large checks. We got them sealed up and headed for the Boulder City post office to mail them off. Of all life's chores paying taxes is the one we hate the most—especially knowing our dollars will be so well spent...

After the post office we drove to Hoover Dam to check out photo angles, parking, etc. We drove over the dam and learned that the road dead ends on the Arizona side so we had to cross back over the dam. We then crossed the new US 93 bridge to Arizona only to learn you cannot see the dam from the bridge except from the pedestrian walkway. We'll head back one morning with our cameras and plan to spend some time on foot. Possibly we'll also take the tour.

Then back to the coach for a very laid back afternoon—the majority of which was spent outside enjoying the balmy (high 70s) weather,gentle breezes, and spectacular lake view. This retirement is rough, but we think we've got a handle on it.

Thu, 19 Apr: We played tourist this morning. We got up at dawn (about six) and took a few pix of Lake Mead in the early morning. We then jumped in Dinkum and drove to Hoover Dam to take some pix while the light was good.

Our first stop was at the new Bridge Walk. This is an opportunity to walk along the new Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The bridge now carries US 93 traffic by bypassing Hoover Dam. It was conceived in mid 2001, and became a security necessity following the September 2001 attacks.

It was an easy climb from the parking lot to the bridge and we walked its entire (1,905 feet) length and took several pix of the dam. The bridge is 280 feet higher than the dam so it affords an excellent vantage point (see pix).

We next drove to the dam itself and spent several hours taking pictures and reading all the plaques. As the sun rose higher and higher and we enjoyed re-shooting the same scenes with different sun angles.

While on the dam we had a special treat, the delivery of a large turbine part for the powerhouse. There is a permanent traveling crane that spans the canyon from a dedicated truck parking area on the Nevada side. We found it fascinating to watch this huge part (about the size of a jumbo jet engine) drop almost 700'. We took many pix of its descent. This is not a common event, so we really enjoyed the event.

After we were "dammed out" our next stop was the Boulder City Post Office where we picked up our mail. Our excellent mailing service, America's Mailbox, shipped it out Tuesday per our instructions and we picked it up at General Delivery.

Then a stop for victuals at the local Albertson and finally home a bit before noon. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying our stay at Lake Mead. While sitting outside the coach mid-afternoon we were visited by a seemingly fearless Road Runner who came within a few feet of us.

Sat, 21 Apr: Friday was a Costco day (be still our beating hearts...) We left with sufficient time to stop at WalMart in Henderson on the way to stock up on some groceries, and then Costco for lunch.

Following lunch we finished our shopping list and also "sprung" for a JVC Camcorder. We'd been musing about taking a video camera with us to Alaska so we looked at Costco's offerings and decided to splurge on a unit they had in stock and with a $50 discount. We'll see how it works out. To upload some videos to this Trip Journal requires some file manipulation with which we're unfamiliar. So, we've got to do some learning. Stay tuned...

During the afternoon we set up our High Frequency HAM antenna and made some contacts around the U.S. (Texas, South Dakota, Ohio, Oregon). We tried to make contact with Ray Bailey in Laughlin on 40 meters but we were probably too close as he reported our signal was weak. It was fun to listen in on the traffic.

Tomorrow will be a travel day as our time here at Lake Mead is finished. Our plans are to visit Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. It is about 300 miles so we'll most likely overnight at the Elks Lodge in St. George, Utah, roughly half way.

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