2019 Travels May thru December travel blog

Tahiti Village

Tahiti Village

Tahiti Village

Tahiti Village

Vegas Date Night

Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas Temple

JC, Daisy, Me, Chris Bronx Wanderers

Gene Cornish

Tony Roma's Steak & Lobster

Da Car Is FULL

Steak and Shake

Me @ Steak n Shake

Nellis Entrance & Mountains

Nellis Billeting

JC, me, Tanny & Mom @ Sam's Town buffet

Us @ Sam's Town with Tanny

Me, Julieann, Jeanne , James, Jessica, Lisa

Chang family @ Aria Buffet

We’ve started week 3 of our 28 week trip. Week one, as you may remember, was our adventure of getting from Hawaii to Travis AFB, California and visiting old friends and relatives. Week 2 was attending the (maybe) final run of Rolling Thunder in Washington D.C and again seeing old friends. Week 3 has us stomping around Las Vegas for 12 days and visiting a very dear friend who is always the first to welcome us to Vegas.

We finished our Week 2 by emptying our storage unit of all the leftover motor home “stuff”, along with our mini-prepper stuff, loading it all into a Penske 16” rental truck, driving it all to Las Vegas to be dumped into another storage unit. Friend Al Calise who lives in Sacramento (friends since the Pentagon assignment in 1968) came through again and helped us pick up the truck. We’ve saving 50% on the cost of storage California vs Nevada so that’s good. On the way to the Storage Unit we stopped off at the Tahiti Village Resort in Las Vegas we’ll be staying to drop off the four suitcases we brought with us for the 28 week trip, plus an additional 3 suitcases we had in storage that are full of clothes. Julieann decided that she wants to go through ALL the suitcases and wash all the clothes and then decide if there are any clothes that she wants to donate to someone/someplace.

We then picked up our rental car. I’m trying out a new company I had not previously even heard of by the name of “Turo”. It’s like Airbnb for cars and trucks. Not new cars, but those in fair condition. No lines to stand in since the owner meets you wherever and whenever y’all decided to meet and hands you the keys. I won’t see him again until we meet at the airport for me to hand him back his keys. The cost is at least 25% less than all the other rental companies I’ve tried. The car he gave me is a 2008 Suzuki Forenza. Very clean, economical and in excellent shape at $15.00 a day.

We then proceeded to the Tahiti Village Resort & Spa. This is a Time Share place that we have stayed at before, but without the extra cost of being Time Share members/owners. This is the very best deal I believe you can find anywhere. You can see by the photos I attached that this a very nice place with numerous amenities. BUT, here’s the “catch” – a good catch for us: The usual price for a room here starts at around $289 a NIGHT. By using Armed Forces Vacations Club (AFVClub.com) we got this one bedroom, living room, dining area, full kitchen with all appliances, dishes, etc., full double sink bathroom with a shower AND a Jacuzzi, two TVs, DVD player, clothes washer & dryer “apartment” for only $299.00 for a WEEK. The amenities include a spa, a pool & hot tub, a lazy river, a fitness center, gift store, coffee shop, restaurant/bar, a Denny’s on site and FREE transportation to numerous locations. With most of the casinos doing what the airlines are doing and adding to their bottom line by charging for what use to be free, like parking, having free transportation to the strip, downtown and even shopping areas is a big plus.

Now, you’re asking yourselves, how much does it cost to join AFVC? Nothing – Nada. The criteria to join? All current, veterans, and retired members of the United States military, National Guard, Reserves (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard), Gold Star families, Civilian employees of the DoD (appropriated, non-appropriated, or retired), Immediate families of all the above (spouses, parents, and/or children). That just about covers everyone, eh? We highly encourage you all to check it out. We’ve been using them for years and haven’t been disappointed, usually. You don’t always get what you want at the price you want to pay, but if you can be a little flexible you can score some GREAT vacations.

So last night (3 June) was Las Vegas Date Night for us. We went to see a group called The Tenors Of Rock, a very good show for the price. We’ve already spent a small fortune on the big names over the years such as Celine, Cher, Donnie & Marie, etc. so it’s time to check out the smaller fish. Actually, in a lounge show I visited many, many years ago is where I first saw The Captain and Tennille on their way up (you youngsters can Google them). Didn’t have a clue who they were, but glad I got to see them then.

After the show we took our time walking back to the bus pickup place, stopped to have some expensive ice cream and just enjoyed the views and lights of the strip, along with all the “nuts” that occupy the area. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of girls dressed in different “show girl” costumes walking around trying to get folks to pay for photos with them. Two years ago we only saw a few; now they seem to be on every corner.

Today (Wednesday) I took Julieann to visit the Las Vegas Mormon Temple. As usual, the temple itself, like most of the Mormon temples, is totally beautiful. A big plus is the terrific view of Las Vegas from the temple grounds. I wanted to stop by and visit Julieann’s sister and brother-in-law who live directly across from the temple, but they were out. Definitely have to visit their beautiful home before we leave next week.

Tonight friends treated us to dinner and a Las Vegas show, The Bronx Wanderers. Very good show on the same level as The Jersey Boys, but a bit cheaper.

Also, for those keeping up with our Itinerary, we have canceled our Mediterranean cruise for October and November. Just couldn't get everything done that we wanted to do.

I was really looking forward to last night. The Golden Nugget has been sponsoring a “Friday” show that usually brought back/forward some of the old groups. Tonight was to be “The Young Rascals”. Knowing that the group has disbanded and reformed a few times I checked to see who was actually performing. Why? Back in 1956 and 1957 I was in two school musical plays. The first was The Wizard of Oz where I played the scarecrow (see photo) and the second was a “Musical Variety Show” where I was Tab Hunter. I was somewhere around 12 years old at the time. My co-actor in the Lion’s costume was also a singer named Gene Cornish who played Elvis in the Variety Show (he could also play the guitar) went on to be a member of the Young Rascals and had hits such as Groovy, How Can I Be Sure, Good Lovin’ and A Beautiful Morning. From 1965–70, the band recorded eight albums and had thirteen singles that reached Billboard's Top 40 chart. In 1997, as a founding member of The Rascals, Cornish was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Gene in over 60 years. I was really looking forward to seeing him and presenting him with a photo of us on stage in 1956 that my mother had taken. But, in talking with his manager that night I found out that Gene was back in New Jersey (reason unknown) and wouldn’t be performing that night. I was really disappointed, but at least got to hear some of those great songs. And, so he wasn’t totally forgotten, his picture where he was playing his guitar, harmonica or just singing popped up on the display screens for every song where he was a contributor. His manager gave Gene my phone number and sent him a copy of the photo, but I don’t expect someone who hasn’t connected in 60 years to make much of an effort. Don’t care – I’m still a fan.

After the show we “tried” to exit the casino onto Fremont Street (my most favorite place in Las Vegas) and you can see by the video Julieann made that the crowd of thousands were blocking the way and this was at 10PM. So we decided on a late dinner (after seeing the ad from Tony Roma for the steak and lobster dinner for only $12.00). After dinner we walked around Fremont Street for awhile before heading back to our resort for the final night. There were a number of “performers” doing various things, but you’ll see in one video where a performer was playing a violin and someone passing by really got into the beat and started dancing. Everyone around him gave him all the room that he needed because what he needed more than dance lessons was a hot BATH. The dude stunk to high heaven. Then we have the gals “learning” the Texas 2 step. Well, at least it kept them away from buffets for a little while. (NOTE: I mentioned attached videos, but they didn't make it to this page due to their size. You can still see them on my FaceBook page dated 8 June 2019).

The following day, Saturday, we checked out of the resort and moved to billeting on Nellis Air Force Base for the next four days. I wish I had taken some photos of other people who were also checking out when they saw our four very large suitcases, four smaller suitcases/bags, two back packs and a number of paper/vinyl bags containing food and drinks. Some asked if we were moving to Nevada and I had to explain that we were in week four of a 28 week trip so we needed clothes for all seasons. Many comments followed, but most indicated that they were just jealous ;-)

Knowing our room at Nellis would not be ready for a couple of hours we decided to have lunch at Steak and Shake, one of our most favorite hamburger/milk shake places (which, of course, we do NOT have in Hawaii). They also have “happy hour” where their shakes are only $2.00, but we couldn’t wait for happy hour. Besides, the regular price is only less than $5.00 and it is a REAL milk shake like “back in the day”. Their burgers are thin, but delicious. We then checked into our room at Nellis. Surprisingly (NOT) our luggage barely fit into the room. Once moved in Julieann had to take a nap and I had to write for our Journal.

Sunday – Took Julieann to church while I tried to catch up with some “things” at the room. Contacted by our very favorite Vegas girl, Tanny, who invited us to join her and her Mom for a casino visit and lunch buffet. I got Julieann back from the church just in time to get picked up by Tanny. Her and her Mom treating us to a casino buffet, some gambling and even a show or two while playing chauffeur for us has become a tradition each time we are in town and something we always look forward to. Love that gal !!

We ate the usual fantastic buffet and then watched the automated animal show with a beaver, a squirrel, an eagle, a mountain lion, a wolf (da boss of the show) and a bear (the wolf’s bodyguard). By the time Tanny got us back to the room we were ready for a nap.

(Monday) Julieann's sister and "da clan" took us to dinner to a Korean BBQ restaurant. Happy we finally got to visit with them with their very busy schedule. Thank you for taking the time. So whatcha got here in this photo is me, Julieann, Jeanne (Julieann's sister), James (Jeanne's husband), Lisa (Jeanne & James' granddaughter) and Lisa (Jeanne & James' daughter). (whew! Do I get a cookie now?)

(Tuesday) Our niece and nephew from Hawaii were in town to celebrate their son’s 18th birthday and invited us to join them at the Aira Buffett. Another VERY fancy hotel and casino that we wouldn’t normally visit, but our “rich” relatives and friends make us go (yeah, right – “make” us). We had a great visit and I gained another 50 pounds.

Today we left for Portland. See you there.

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