Saturday December 30th 2017
The day started with the temperature in the high 40s. As the sun warmed things up it got into the mid sixties before the clouds started to move in. Tomorrow is forecast to be a cloudy day with temperatures a little lower than today.
Las Vegas Wash passing through the Wetlands Park.
I stayed home today. The idea of fighting the crowds at any of the tourist areas was not appealing. I probably should have picked up some groceries, but that idea didn’t get me moving either. The pictures in this blog entry are from Friday’s visit to the Wetlands Park.
Wetlands Park scene with desert in the foreground, wetland in the middle and mountains in the distant background.
The RV park is filling up. The snowbirds that left the north right after Christmas have been arriving the last couple of days. I think there are only a couple of sites left open tonight. Most of the sites are filled with full time RVers or snowbirds. These weekend there are some rigs from Arizona and California in the sites that get used most often for shorter term stays. I suspect these are people that are in town for the New Years Eve excitement.
Overflow canal along the Las Vegas Wash in the Wetlands Park.
I have no desire to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Las Vegas strip or on Fremont street. At least the folks on Fremont street will have entertainment. Most of the people on the strip just mill around, drink and wait for the fireworks at midnight. With all the security concerns even going in and out of the casinos is going to be a problem. It sounds like New York City will have stronger security but in light of the October 1st shootings here in Las Vegas security will be much greater than previous years. I will watch the events on television. I don’t think I can see the eight minutes of fireworks on the strip from here and driving among the potentially impaired doesn’t strike me as a good idea.
I spent the day reading, watching TV and getting a few tasks done.
Friday December 29th 2017
If it wasn’t for my clock with the day of the week display, I wouldn’t have known today was Friday. The TV had sports from ten in the morning forward and it just generally acted like a weekend day. The weather was terrific with the high temperature in the mid sixties. The weather forecasters on TV seem to be starting to complain about the record period without rain and the higher than normal temperatures. I think they should just be thankful they aren’t experiencing the snow and bone chilling cold of the north and east.
Las Vegas Wash in the Wetlands Park with the Las Vegas strip in the background.
This area had more ducks than coots.
For exercise today, I went to for a long walk in another part of the Wetlands Park. Today I walked in the Las Vegas Wash area of the park. The wash in this area looks like a river, complete with rapids and mini waterfalls. There were also many more people in the park today including a Cub Scout Pack on a nature exploration hike. I still experienced large areas without seeing people, but in the wash area there were lots of people taking advantage of the good weather.
The bird life in the wash area was different than the other areas of the park I have explored. There were more ducks in this area than the American Coots I was misidentifying in the other area. I also saw a couple of Blue Herons coming in for a landing on the banks of the wash. I tried to get pictures of the herons landing with only limited success.
Blue Heron starting its decent.
Blue Heron on the final glide for landing.
Overall I took a much longer walk and spent a lot more time in the park today. I continue to enjoy this oasis in the desert. It would be interesting to see what the area is like in the spring. To bad that I didn’t know it was here during my visit to the area this past April. I need to keep the Wetlands Park in mind for future visits to Las Vegas. I don’t think that will happen until 2019 or 2020.
American Coot looking for lunch. It just returned to the surface from a dive. Water drops can be seen on its back.
Turtle taking the sun.
This turtle kept its head moving.
Another Coot swimming away.
Thursday December 28th 2017
Today’s weather was bright and sunny with the mercury peaking in the mid sixties. After yesterday’s encounter with the traffic on the roads and the people at the outlet mall I didn’t have any ambition for a repeat performance. I remained at my RV home doing various chores and tasks today.
Sunset didn’t have a lot to reflect light off. It was a very clear day today and a similar forecast is in place for tomorrow.
I also read through many of this years blog entries to get ready for a year end summary. I’ll probably publish that on New Years Eve if I can get the backlog pictures uploaded to the “cloud”. Internet access is driving me crazy the last couple of days. The RV Park’s WiFi isn’t the fastest in the world, but it has been adequate until recently. Microsoft in its omnipotence has seen fit to download a major update for my computer. Not only did that take internet bandwidth, it also seems to be making my computer slower. If they are force downloading updates for other people in the RV park, the continued slow access might be explained.
I could switch my internet connection from the RV parks system to my 4g cellular data connection. It would be faster, but I have a cap on my monthly data usage. Unused data roles over to the next month. Since I will be on the road next month, I want all the role over data I can get. I’m sticking with the slower RV park WiFi for now.
A little later that the last sunset photo, this one captured the sun reflecting off a jet.
For exercise I took three walks around the RV park. There are still many RVs in waiting mode. Most are from cold northern locations. I imagine the occupants have flown back to places like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada as well as the north US states of Montana, Washington and Minnesota. These are representative of the license plates on many of the empty RVs. After the new year I suspect this place will show a little more evidence of life.
Wednesday December 27th 2017
Today’s temperature reached the low sixties which is about ten degrees higher than normal. There has been almost no wind the last two days causing a different type of problem. The air is filled with dust making breathing difficult for some people. It also reduces visibility considerably. The wind will return by the weekend, but the temperature will continue warmer than normal through New Years day.
My Christmas Cactus continues to bloom. There are now about eight open blossoms with an equal number of unopened buds.
I resumed some of the shopping I had put off during the Christmas rush today. It was a few days to soon. The South Las Vegas Premium Outlet Mall was jam packed. It seemed to be about equally split between residents and tourists. I consider the families with lots of kids almost definitely in the locals camp and the people speaking strange languages or heavily accented English almost definitely in the tourist camp. Others groups are harder to be sure, but somehow I think I can tell.
I am shoe shopping to find a good hiking or walking shoe with a thick sole. The tread on the walking shoes I started off the year with has worn almost smooth and the cheap hiking shoes I bought in September are almost in the same shape. The cheap price must have been associated with a softer rubber compound in the soles. They seemed to have worn down after the first hike.
The outlet mall had plenty of shoe stores. There were name brand outlet stores and stores selling multiple brands. All of them were offering the same sale. It was a buy one get one at half price sale. To achieve any real savings you need to buy two pairs. I don’t want two pairs of shoes. My storage space is limited and I already have types of shoes I don’t wear. I also wasn’t impressed with the current styles of shoes for men. Some of the shoes I was seeing today would make a rainbow envious. I don’t want red shoes with florescent green accents or blue with yellow stripes. Finding the black walking shoes was a challenge. In the end I left without buying anything. Maybe a better sale will start in the new year.
Traffic in the Las Vegas valley continues to challenge my patience. Today I saw two more fender benders. It is rare to travel the roads around here without seeing an accident or two. I think the odds of getting into an accident increase every day you stay here. Another reason to move on soon.
Tuesday December 26th 2017
The first half of the day was cloudy and cool. During the afternoon the clouds started to clear and the sun warmed the air into the high fifties. The cloudy start to the day heavily influenced my day. My motivation to leave the RV park was hidden with the sun. I stayed home all day.
Sunset this evening at the Las Vegas RV Resort.
Other residents of the RV park weren’t similarly influenced. A number of residents checked out and resumed their travels today. I’m not sure leaving the day after Christmas was a good idea. The TV was showing video of the backup on the highway leaving town. Many other residents haven’t returned from their holiday travels so the quiet relaxed atmosphere at the RV park continues.
I only have three weeks remaining before I start my journey back to the east. The east bound journey should be slower than my west bound trip last February. I came from Florida to Arizona in eight days. I have about thirty days from the time I leave Las Vegas to my first reservation in Florida for my east bound trip. My west bound trip included many three hundred mile plus days in a row. I may have a few long driving days going east, but I’ll be staying at many stops for more than a single night. My first stop after leaving Las Vegas will be in the Parker Arizona area for three nights. I’ll take two days to get to the Benson Arizona area next. My stop in Benson will be for a few days to tour the Tombstone AZ area. After that I’m still working with Google Maps, campground listings and the calendar to figure out my plans. One big goal is to go through Houston TX on a Sunday. Tuscon, El Paso and San Antonio are also complications, but I’ll deal with them if I can minimize Houston. I want to make reservations for a few of the nights in February. I’m worried about Mardi Gras on the thirteenth and Presidents day on the eighteenth.
The east bound travel window shrunk when I decided, over the weekend, to attend the Passport America Rally in Fort Walton Beach Florida starting on the 19th of February. It’s on the way and sounded like fun so I made a reservation. That will be the first of two rallies I will be attending in 2018. I’ve already committed to attend the Escapees Escapade in Sedalia Missouri the last week in May. I’m not going to plan my travel to attend these events, but when they are scheduled in the areas I’m traveling through I’ll consider attending.
Another view of sunset at the Las Vegas RV Resort.
Monday December 25th 2017
Merry Christmas everyone.
The day started cool and cloudy. By afternoon the sun was peaking through the clouds and warming things up nicely. The temperature peaked in the mid sixties. That’s about ten degrees warmer than the average.
The last two years I’ve been in Florida for Christmas. The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico played a part in the Christmas day activities. Here in Las Vegas the relative humidity is under 20 percent and there are no nearby oceans, so I settled for a casino. This afternoon I went to the nearby Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall for dinner and entertainment.
The casino buffets are a big draw for holiday meals. It is fairly economic way to feed a large group when the fast food places are taking the day off. Families from all over the valley visit the casinos for their holiday meal. I was in line behind a group with six or seven kids and with about five adults. The staff had to reconfigure a large section of the dinning area and find six booster chairs. Unfortunately, it was at the time of a shift change so it was a really slow line to get in to the dinning area.
The food was good, but the selection was odd. For the meat portion of the meal a choice of turkey, ham or roast beef was available. I had some turkey and some ham. They’re fairly traditional food for Christmas. It was the things they had to go with it that was odd. Similar to my experience at Thanksgiving, the vegetables were in short supply. Except for the stir fry in the Asian area, the only vegetable I found was a green bean casserole. I didn’t even find mashed potatoes. There were baked potatoes, steak fries, stuffing and onion rings. I had plenty of good food to eat, but a dietician wouldn’t call it balanced. For desert I over did it a little with apple pie, a yellow cup cake and a cream puff. Hey! I was sitting right in front of the desert bar.
Las Vegas’s version of snow and it’s inside.
After dinner I pumped some money through the machines while I watched the activity around the casino. It was a busy place. Many of the patrons were dressed for the holiday in Christmas sweaters, Santa hats or red velvet. All of the popular slot and video poker machines were in high demand. A couple of people were even winning. I saw two different jackpots paid out. To bad it wasn’t paid to me.
I finished my visit to Sam’s Town by watching the Christmas Laser and Fountain show in the Mystic Falls Park atrium.
Sunday December 24th 2017
This Christmas Eve day was not quite as gloomy as yesterday. It only had about a three quarter cloud cover so it was brighter and a little warmer. The temperature got to the middle fifties today.
For those reading this on Christmas day. Merry Christmas.
When I got up this morning I had an email from Amazon. Some of the items I order last weekend and expected next week had been delivered yesterday. Another package was due to arrived today. Amazon has a fulfillment center in North Las Vegas and uses its own drivers to deliver many items to valley residents. Packages are dropped off at the RV Resort office. I hung around my RV home until I got notified that the package had arrived at the office. I’ll write more about my gifts to myself and the motorhome in another blog entry.
By two in the afternoon I was free to leave the RV. The packages had been delivered and the first round of NFL games was over. I went to the Wetlands Park for some exercise and to visit the birds. Other people had similar ideas. There were more people walking in the park than I’ve seen on my visits during the week. I kept crossing paths with one family with young children. A walk in nature seems like a good way to distract the kids from tomorrows activities.
View to the east of the Wetlands park of the Sunrise mountains.
View to the west showing the clouds that covered the Las Vegas valley most of the day.
The birds swimming in the ponds were as entertaining as ever. Since my last visit I have learned that the birds I was calling “ducks” are actually American Coots. This seems to be a major faux pas on my part. I didn’t mean to offend the Coots, the ducks or the bird aficionados on the internet. So if you’re an American Coot reading this blog entry, I officially apologize. I’m also including a picture of a pair of Mallard Ducks to give them equal time in my blog.
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard duck.
An American Coot. There are many more of these birds around than there are ducks.
On each visit to the Wetlands park the landscape changes. The reeds and grasses are turning brown and falling down. More of the wetlands are becoming visible. I think it will take more sever weather to completely knock down the reeds. I am enjoying the changes, but I’m not sure I want the bad weather it will take to complete the job.
The slow and lazy atmosphere here at the RV Park continues. I am convinced many of the RVs are empty while the residents are off visiting for the holiday. Others were gone from dawn (at least from the time I got up) until dusk today. Were they doing last minute shopping? Tomorrow I’ll go to one of the casinos for dinner and some gambling entertainment. It sounds a little depressing, but it isn’t. I’ll be surrounded by people having fun and enjoying the day.
Saturday December 23rd 2017
It is starting to look a lot like winter here in Las Vegas. It isn’t snowing, but it has become cloudy and cool. The temperature peaked around 55 degrees today. There hasn’t been any recorded precipitation in Las Vegas in over 100 days. If it makes it past Christmas without rain or snow, as it is forecast to, a new record for longest dry spell will be set.
After yesterday’s encounter with traffic around the shopping areas, I wasn’t going to venture very far on the roads today. My solution was to take the shuttle downtown from the nearby Sam’s Town casino. I caught the 1PM shuttle which is actually a full size tour bus for the five and a half to six mile ride. You could tell it was a weekend in Las Vegas, there were already a couple of well lubricated riders. They weren’t disruptive, but they had a very loud creative vocabulary on the three quarter full bus.
Is this the Grinch?
The raindeer head was moving back and forth.
A gold Father Christmas.
The Freemont Street Experience area of downtown was loaded with tourists. All of the buskers and general weirdos looking to make money off the tourists were out. The showgirls had their fake furs on to keep warm and the almost naked people were in body suits. One of the strangest was the woman dressed as a leather clad dominatrix complete with a whip and a Santa hat on her head. They were all getting plenty of picture taking business. Not from me thank you.
I wandered around looking for signs of Christmas. The big outside tree was uninspiring during the daylight hours. I hope it is more impressive at night. The only hotel and casino I found with any sense of the holiday was the Golden Nugget. It had many holiday scenes around the indoor pool area. They were hard to take pictures of with the bright background of the pool area.
As I visited each casino I paid my toll in the slot machines. The goal was not to spend more than forty dollars. It was tough going. I was down under ten dollars when my fortune turned around a little. By the time I headed out to catch the shuttle back I was up thirty five dollars. I think this is the first day since October that I haven’t left a casino with less money than I started with. It’s a good thing I don’t go to the casinos every day. That’s another way this stay in Las Vegas is so much different than a vacation.
I caught the four thirty shuttle back to Sam’s Town. This one also had a couple of inebriated souls in the back of the bus. Once I arrived back at Sam’s it was only a few minutes before I was back in my RV home at the RV park. I had fun walking around the downtown area but I doubt I’ll be back before I leave Las Vegas next month. Downtown continues to be edgier and more in your face than the strip. I think it is best taken in small doses.
Friday December 22nd 2017
The temperature crossed the thirty mark going in the wrong direction last night. My indoor outdoor thermometer read twenty nine a little before seven this morning. The inside temperature was at forty eight. I turned on the heat and went back to bed. Overall the day was a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday peaking just above sixty this afternoon.
Saguaro cactus in red lights at the Ethel M Chocolate Cactus Garden
I’m not sure if it is the cooler temperatures or the season, but the RV park was very quiet and relaxed today. I met fewer people on my walks around the park. There also seemed to be less traffic on the park roads. Clearly some people are gone for the holidays and others may be busy with last minute shopping.
There were plenty of people out shopping. I made the mistake of going to Walmart for my grocery run. I prefer shopping there, but today would have been a good day to go to a regular grocery store. Getting in and around the parking lot was a nightmare. I parked near the end of a row a long way from the store entrance. The only problem with that was dodging the cars crossing the parking lot. I even managed to see one fender bender on my trek in the parking lot.
Inside the store, in the grocery area, it was congested, but manageable. I have no idea what it was like in the rest of the store. I was afraid to venture into that area. The grocery area had plenty of bewildered and distracted shoppers. Shoppers watching the shelves while pushing their cart into the people in front of them was a recurring theme. I ended up leaving the cart in one area and walking to other areas of the grocery section. I saw one guy with a variation on this approach. He would stop at the end of an aisle and send his granddaughter(?) down the row to get the desired stuff. Of course she didn’t always come back with what he wanted. All of the checkouts were staffed, so paying for my groceries didn’t take as long as I feared.
I need to avoid going near any of the shopping areas until after Christmas. That means I’ll probably be spending money in the casinos or walking in the parks this weekend. Probably I’ll do both, unless I come up with another idea.
Thursday December 21st 2017
Yesterday’s wind continued all night and throughout most of the day today. Sleeping last night was a challenge. Each line of gusts shook the RV and made enough noise to wake the comatose if not the dead. The temperature on the first day of winter was paying attention to the calendar. The high for the day was right around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight is forecast to get down into the twenties in some areas of the Las Vegas valley.
The wind was down enough that I got a chance to use my new gas grill this afternoon. I grilled a nice hunk of steak in the middle of the afternoon. Let’s call it a late lunch early dinner. The grill did a good job of searing and cooking the meat. I cooked a baked potato in the microwave to go with the steak. It was a big enough cut that I had leftovers for another meal.
O-grill 500 with a piece of steak cooking.
Late this afternoon I went in search of Christmas light displays. I went to the District shopping area at Green Valley Ranch. The road through the area of upscale shops was well decorated, but the over the top draw I’d been lead to believe I’d find wasn’t there. The Green Valley Ranch casino got a few bucks of my money instead. I managed to see a few light displays on my way home from a distance. Traffic and gated communities make seeing the lights by driving around a difficult task.
Christmas tree at the District shopping area in Green Valley Ranch.
This blog entry is going to be short. I don’t know if it’s the recent Microsoft Windows automatic update or my internet connection, but competing this entry has been a challenge.