I don't know how two old retired folks with nothing but time on their hands can be so busy that we don't even have time to catch everyone up on where we are and what we have been up to. But that is the case. So I will try to catch up as best as I can and hope this doesn't get too long.
After leaving the Grand Canyon area, we stopped over at a Coast to Coast park first in Lake Havasu City and then in Bullhead City, AZ, across the Colorado River from Laughlin, NV. The day we arrived in Lake Havasu City the park was having a roast pork dinner, so we partook and it was delicious. Sat next to a couple from Colorado who were on their way to Yuma to spend the winter and enjoyed our conversation with them. The park in Bullhead City was almost full and everyday more folks were arriving from parts North to spend the winter there. The area is really growing and crawling with winter visitors, but it is very much a desert town and I'm not sure I would like spending the whole winter there. We did a little gambling at the casinos in Laughlin. I should say we contributed to the revenues of the casinos. We did have one surprise there, which was we met up with Ed and Gerlinde Selinski from West Branch, who just happened to be out there too and had dinner with them. That was a special treat for us.
We left Bullhead City and drove northwest to Pahrump, NV and stayed at another Coast to Coast park. Pahrump is another desert town halfway between Las Vegas and Death Valley. That turned out to be a great location for us as we met Kristine in Vegas and then were able to tour Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, and the Las Vegas area. We had a great time and were so happy that she was able to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with us. We hadn't seen her in almost a year and it was good to be able to eyeball her face to face and give her a hug. (BTW, she looks great and was happy to see us too.)
We picked her up at the airport in Vegas and then walked around the Strip, had a Thanksgiving dinner at a buffet at one of the casinos, and then drove downtown to take in the Fremont Street Experience. Kristine had never been there before so it was fun to experience it all again through her eyes. Fremont Street is really a fun place with lots of people, bright lights, entertainment on the street, zip-lining down the middle of the street, lots of characters to people-watch and, of course, the gambling. We watched the awesome light show, drank frozen daquiris strolling down the street and were headed back to Pahrump by 9:00 p.m. (Yah, we really know how to party - as long as it is before bedtime!)
The next day we drove into Death Valley National Park and spent the day oohing and aahing over the beautiful scenery. If you have never been to Death Valley you should put it on your bucket list. It is spectacular with such a diverse landscape but just gorgeous. Everything from towering mountains to below sea level desert floor, to unusual and colorful rock formations, to huge salt flats, to something they call the Devil's Golf Course, which is like nothing you have ever seen before. I wouldn't advise going in the summer (because it is too hot), or Thanksgiving weekend (because there are too many people). We were enjoying it all and then the car started acting up. The check oil light came on and alarms sounded. We pulled over as soon as we could and Ed checked the oil thingy and it showed less than 1/16 on the dip stick. We couldn't figure out why all the oil would be gone as we had just had the oil changed before we left West Branch, but didn't want to drive any further with no oil and risk ruining the engine, so started flagging down cars to see if anyone had a can of oil they would sell us. We finally found someone who helped us out and then drove to the only gas station in the park which was about 25 miles away. Ed bought 4 quarts and a funnel and filled the reservoir.
By now it was about 1 1/2 hours before sunset and we had at least that to drive to get back to Pahrump. We sure didn't want to get stranded in Death Valley in the dark, or on the way home as it is a very isolated area with no services available, including phone service. So we cut our visit a little short and headed back with the oil light thingy coming on and alarm ringing every so often. Plus now the low-tire alert went on. It was a bit tense on the ride back but we made it and all breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled up behind the RV. First thing the next morning Ed took the car to an oil change place where they informed him that there was nothing wrong with the car, except when the light comes on and the alarm goes off it means we are 1 quart low and we were now 4 quarts overfilled. And by morning we had a flat tire. So after an oil change and buying a new tire, we were good to go. Whew!
So the next day, we were ready to head back into Vegas to have some fun. We didn't need any more stressful situations. We stopped first at Red Rock Canyon, which is just 20 miles from Las Vegas, to do some sightseeing and a little hiking. If you haven't been to Red Rock Canyon, you need to put that on your bucket list too. A 13 mile driving loop takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see. Stunning. The Visitor's Center is one of the best we have ever been too. Very well done. However, once again, avoid Thanksgiving weekend, unless you like crowds.
We got to the Strip just as all the lights were coming on and we commented that we had seen God-made glitz and now man-made glitz. We enjoyed both. We walked all around the Strip checking out the casinos and all the glamor each resort had to offer. We watched the water/light show at the Bellagio, saw the talking statues at Caesar's Palace, took the elevator ride up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris (Kristine was the only one brave enough to do that), saw the 3-story crystal chandelier at the Cosmopolitan, tried to avoid all the beggars and guys handing out girlie cards, and some of us were even successful at the slots. (Poor Ed)
Time went by all too fast, and now Kristine has gone back to Boise and we are headed into California and on our way to San Diego to spend some time with Corinne. It is raining today, the first we have seen since we left Oklahoma. I miss my sunshine and blue skies. I'm sure there are a lot of you that are missing blue skies and sunshine. I hear it has been unseasonably cold back home and lots of snow for this early in the season.
I remember distinctly several years ago, on December 9th, we were getting ready to leave for the winter and we had had a big snowfall several days before and the night before we left, Ed was on top of the motorhome shoveling off 22 inches of compacted snow off the roof and he declared "We are never doing this again! We are not going to winterize the RV again as we will be leaving before this happens!" So we leave in late September or early October and sometimes that hasn't been early enough to avoid running into snow. Thank goodness we are only dealing with rain today and tomorrow the sun is suppose to be back.
Hope you have sunshine back in your life too. We feel blessed to experience sunshine, natural beauty, man-made beauty, shared experiences with friends and family and being able to share all this with you. God bless you all.