A Warming Trend Begins

Thursday October 31st 2019

The weather is improving. The temperature reached the low sixties today and the wind was practically nonexistent. Each of the next few days is forecast to be a few degrees warmer. By the weekend it may even be above normal. Now maybe the TV news and weather people will stop talking about the cold temperature.

The rose bushes in the RV park were not impacted by the cold weathers.

I don’t know why, but I really bought into the idea that it was cold. Last year at this time I was in New England. The temperature was colder and it was often raining. I survived fine. It has to be much colder and last longer before I really feel the cold. Even so, my behavior has been influenced by all the talk about cold weather.

When I bought groceries on Tuesday, I got the ingredients for Beef Stew. Today was the day to make the stew. I dug the slow cooker out of the back of the cabinet and loaded it up with browned stew beef, onions, carrots and seasoning. The cooker is too small to take much more. I cooked the diced potatoes later on the stove in a stew pot. Once the potatoes were ready, I added the contents of the slow cooker to the potatoes and I had a few gallons of stew. It made a hardy supper and will be repeated a few times over the next few days.

With all the domestic action, I didn’t leave the RV park today. I managed to get in a couple of walks around the park for exercise. The RV park is filling up. It appears the park staff has started to combine RVs in storage on sites to produce more usable sites for active guests. When I was here two years ago, November was the busiest month, but I don’t recall it being anywhere near as busy. It will be interesting to see the activity level as the winter continues.

The residents of this park didn’t go overboard for Halloween. On my walks through the park I’ve seen a few pumpkins, an orange light or two but only a couple of sites that went all out. I did pass a guy in a golf cart giving out candy this afternoon during one of my walks. He was disappointed when I only took one piece of candy, but I’ve always been picky about candy. No point taking it if I’m not going to eat it.

Twenty Degrees Colder Than Normal

Wednesday October 30th 2019

Tuesday nights wind was horrible. It howled and blew from shortly after nightfall to one or two in the morning. Gusts in excess of fifty miles and hour brought trees and branches down across the Las Vegas valley. Today’s high temperature was twenty degrees below the average for the day. The temperature peaked in the low fifties this afternoon.

The overnight forecast is for freezing temperatures which don’t occur that often in Las Vegas. The TV news casts are telling people how to take care of plants, exposed pipes and themselves. I was surprised to listen to a lesson on dressing in layers to stay warm and avoid hypothermia. The concept of wind chill is getting explained in great detail. For me this is nothing. I’ve already experienced colder temperatures three times this fall in the Reno area. I expect to experience more cold nights while I’m in Las Vegas this winter, although there were only a few during my stay two years ago.

This afternoon I stopped at Sam’s Town Casino. I wanted to see the laser and fountain show in the indoor Mine Falls Park before it gets converted to the Christmas version. I probably should have waited until after dark, but I wanted to get to the casino in time for the senior’s day drawing. Wednesday is the current “50+ Young at Heart” day. They have various discounts and events for qualified players club members. One is a drawing for $250 dollars of merchandise credit or free slot play. I didn’t win, but it’s fun to watch the action at the drawing with a slight chance of winning. I’ll likely take advantage of the discount at the buffet a few times this winter, but tonight I got discouraged by the length of the line.

The fountain show was nice, but you really need darkness to see all of the laser action. It was nice to see the animated stuffed animals were in better shape than they have been. The bear in particular looked a lot more lifelike than it did in the past. The wolf and mountain lion looked about the same. For the Christmas version of the show they will probably have Santa hats or some other anthropomorphic nuance on the stuffed animals. The music will also change from western stampede to Christmas music.

Blossom of the day

Cactus Garden Visit

Tuesday October 29th 2019

It was a few degrees warmer today than yesterday. The mercury peaked in the low sixties almost ten degrees below the normal temperature. Shortly after sunset the wind began to howl from the north. It was like a mysterious switch was thrown from calm to storm force winds with gusts even higher. Tomorrow and Thursday are forecast to have highs in the fifties with overnight lows near to below freezing.

Today while I was out and about I stopped at the Ethel M Cactus Garden. I wanted to check out the garden before they were decorated for Christmas, but it wasn’t to be. The garden was already decorated. The formal lighting and opening for the holiday season is a week from today. Many of the lights were lit and all of the blow up figures were inflated.

I walked through the garden enjoying all of the brightly colored blossoms on many of the plants. I went a little crazy taking pictures of blossoms and Christmas decorations. It was nice to see the blossoms in the sun light. They won’t be visible next time I visit at night to see the Christmas lights.

Some of the Christmas decorations waiting for nightfall to really stand out.

Colorful blossoms on many of the bushes in the garden.

Establishing Routines

Monday October 28th 2019

Some cool to cold weather has arrived in the Las Vegas valley. The high temperature today was in the high fifties. Considering that parts of the area were in the mid to upper eighties on Saturday, it was a dramatic change. Still, it was very comfortable outside with full sunshine and not much wind. The forecast gives us a few degrees of temperature reprieve tomorrow, but tomorrow night and Wednesday are expected to be much cooler. They are talking about freeze warnings in the area.

View across the valley floor toward Henderson.

One of the things about this lifestyle that is hard to get used to is the lack of “routine”. When you move on every few days or weeks it is hard to establish patterns. Simple things like the time favorite TV programs are shown, or where and when to buy groceries change with every new location. One of the nice things about being in one location for a long period of time is the ability to form those “routines’. To know without much thought the when, where and what for everyday life things makes lots of things easier. Returning to a familiar area that I’ve spent a lot of time in gives me a step up in establishing routines. It also gives me time to break bad habits like staying up late watching TV and sleeping in until after 9am. I’d like to be able to get up have breakfast and take a morning walk around the RV park before getting started with the day sometime before noon. Today, I didn’t leave the inside of my RV home until around 2PM. With the changing of the clocks back one hour this weekend, I may get some help with this change.

A pair of American Coots

When I did leave my RV home, I drove about four miles to the Clark County Wetlands Park. I found this nature park with walking and bicycle trails through woodlands and around ponds near the Las Vegas wash on my last stay here. I visited the park once or twice a week two years ago. Resuming that routine, perhaps even more frequently, is on my list for this winter. Today I only walked around a small portion of the park, but I managed to see a few water birds, a turtle or two and lots of nice desert scenery.

This turtle was taking the sun long enough to dry out the top of his/her shell.

Once I got back to the park it was time for my evening walk around the park. This is one routine that I had no problem resuming. I’ve walked around the park just before dark every night since I arrived on Friday. It is interesting to note that the park has been mostly full every night.

A Little Touring and a Little Football

Sunday October 27th 2019

What a difference in the weather a day makes. Today was ten to fifteen degrees cooler than yesterday with a strong breeze out of the north and east. Today’s high temperature was just above seventy. The downward trend is forecast to continue tomorrow.

I managed to finish breakfast before the football games started on TV. Not having eating to occupy my hands and mouth while watching the TV, I didn’t get as hooked by the games when they started. I wasn’t a captive audience long enough. Shortly after noon I left the RV resort to checkout the area. I was rapidly reminded of the heavy traffic in Las Vegas, and I’m not anywhere near the tourist areas. There is some new construction in this area, but for the most part it’s the same as it was two years ago.

Toward the end of my drive, I decided to stop into Sam’s Town casino to see if the Patriots vs. Browns game was on TV. The local stations are carrying the Raiders vs. Texans game. The Raiders don’t move to town until next year, but the local population seems to have committed to the team. I found one small TV with the Pat’s game. It was below a bigger TV with the Raider’s game. In front of the TV all of the available seats and standing room was filled with cheering Raider’s fans. I could only get close enough to recognize the teams playing on the smaller TV. There was no chance of actually watching the game. I found half a dozen other TVs all with the Raider’s game.

I returned to my RV home and watched the NASCAR race from Virginia. The wreckfest at the small oval in Martinsville was fun to watch. I kept track of the Patriot score on my phone. Sometime before dark I also managed to take walk around the RV park for exercise. I did a couple of laps around the perimeter and a few of the side streets. One of the things I do on the walk is observe the origin of RVs by their license plates. The furthest away I spotted today was Maine. My fellow Florida tagged vehicles may be next, but most of us are probably full timers.

Getting Settled in for the Winter

Saturday October 26th 2019

The Las Vegas area welcomed me with a warmer than normal day. The temperature for the bright sunny day peaked in the mid eighties almost ten degrees above the mid seventies norm. Tomorrow is forecast to be windy with much lower temperatures. All of next week has predicted highs in the sixties with a couple of days high temperature as low as the upper fifties.

Bright blue sky obstructed only by an occasional jet plane.

Today’s mission was to finish setting up for a long stay and generally settle in to living mode. In addition to the normal day after arrival tasks like taking the bike off the car, I need to do a few other things to protect the RV from the long term exposure to the desert sun. Today I put the covers on the tires and windshield wipers to block some of the UV radiation from the rubber. I know some people cover the wipers and tires at every stop. I’m sure it helps, but I rarely cover things up for a short stay.

Covering the tires for the winter.

Inside the RV I setup a TV Tray table as a side table by the couch and I removed most of the paper towels used as rattle suppressors in the dish cabinet. It’s nice to be able to see the dishes in the cabinet again. Other things will come out over the next few days as I continue to settle in.

Walking around the campground today I was surprised at how full the park appears. There aren’t as many open spaces as I recall from two years ago. It’s possible that the level of occupancy will go down as the winter continues, but in general things appear very busy. There seem to be many residents here from Alberta and British Columbia Canada. Many US states are represented as well. At my last two long stops in the Reno area and Pahrump, Nevada residents out numbered visitors from other states and provinces. Here Nevada has the plurality but not the majority. To me that means this park has more snowbirds, full time travelers and general RV tourists.

Travel Day to Las Vegas

Friday October 25th 2019

I was up early to get ready for my final travel day of the year. By a little after ten I was just about ready to hit the road for Las Vegas. That is when the first of day’s challenges arrived. I needed to find a spot to hook the car to the motorhome.

During the majority of my stay I was in a quiet part of the campground with little traffic on the road. The Nevada Day holiday weekend changed the quiet corner into a hub of activity. There was too much activity to block the road just to hook up my car. Instead I moved my car to the Casino parking lot. There was plenty of space in the lot to hook up the car. After walking back to my site, I had to wait for the garbage truck to load the dumpster before I could pull the RV out. Getting back to the casino parking lot, I found the space I had intended to use blocked by a single pickup truck. A little scrambling and I had a suitable place on the other side of the parking lot to complete the task.

The next challenge was getting my propane tank filled before stopping for the winter. The gas station at the Casino in front of the RV park has a bulk propane tank. I had to maneuver around one delivery truck to get to the tank, then immediately got blocked by another delivery truck. It took about fifteen minutes to find someone to fill the tank and pay the bill. I was still blocked by the second delivery truck when I was ready to go. It was another half an hour before I could pull out.

The third challenge was a little more routine. Having to deal with road construction is normal, but his construction was at a particularly annoying location. They are working to widen the road over the pass in the Spring Mountains. All the way up to the pass and down the other side the road was a narrow Jersey barrier constrained lane. Every time traffic had to slow down or stop for equipment my RV was back in low gear trying to get back up to speed. Normally on climbs momentum is my friend, here was hard to maintain and when I did it was the enemy to slowing down again.

The last challenge would have been worse if I wasn’t familiar with alternative routes in Las Vegas. Following the road signs I got on I-15 north expecting to get off at the next exit for I-215 around the southern side of the city. The only problem was the off-ramp for I-215 started before I got onto I-15 and I couldn’t get off. Knowing the area a little I was able to circle back around to I-215.

Site 217 at the Las Vegas RV Resort.

I arrived at the Las Vegas RV Resort around 1PM. I have the same site I had during the winter of 2017-2018. I was here for three months that winter. This time around I plan to be here for four months.