Rain in the Valley

Wednesday November 20th 2019

The predicted rain arrived in a big way. The normal rain fall in Las Vegas for the entire month of November is around a third of an inch. The evening news reported that over half an inch of rain fell in the last twenty four hours. It was new record for the date. While it was mostly dry during the afternoon hours, a few passing heavy showers have passed through this evening. One was even accompanied by thunder.

Puddles to dodge.

I spent the morning inside keeping dry. The usual TV programs were all preempted by the Political Theater from the capital. Thank goodness for Hallmark Christmas movies and the Game Show Network. I got a lot of reading accomplished. It didn’t take long after the rain stopped for outside activity to resume. People took their morning walks in the early afternoon and the parade of dogs heading for the dog walking area seemed never ending. I got out for a walk around the park too. A little bit of puddle dodging was required and I was well dressed for the twenty degree cooler temperature.

Black clouds, blue sky and fluffy white clouds. The sky didn’t know what to do.

Toward the end of the afternoon I make the short drive to Sam’s Town Casino to participate in the Young at Heart (Seniors) drawing. I didn’t win, but was surprised by the large number of people participating in today’s drawing. There were a lot more people in attendance than the last three weeks. It only took eleven selections to satisfy the ten winners. Last week it took more than twenty.

Blossom of the day.

I didn’t hang around after the drawing. Killing time in a casino usually means spending money. I got back home just before one of the passing cloud bursts wet down the area once again. Rain was definitely at the center of life in the Las Vegas valley today.

Watching Fish Behind Glass

Tuesday November 19th 2019

The temperature in the Las Vegas valley set a new record high at eighty degrees today, but it wasn’t that good a weather day. It started cloudy, improved a little at mid day, then went down hill fast. The wind picked up and really rattled the palm fronds in the trees as night approach. During my end of day walk around the RV park, I got rained as I hurried back to my RV home. This evening the wind continues to blow and rain falls on the roof more often than not. Heavier rain is expected overnight into tomorrow and the forecast high temperature is only sixty tomorrow.

Fountain in front of the Silverton Casino. The sun has already lost the battle with the clouds and the wind is blowing the fountain water.

This afternoon I drove to the southwestern part of the valley. My destination was the Bass Pro Shop at the Silverton Casino. Traffic cooperated getting there, but the trip home was late enough that I caught a lot of commuter traffic.

All Bass Pro and Cabelas stores are decorated with stuffed wildlife, aquariums and occasionally even live wildlife. The primary focus at this Bass Pro shop is the big aquariums. There is even one in the attached Silverton Casino. I spent a few minutes watching the big fish in one of the aquariums, before I found a throw blanket to use as a cover for my sofa. When I was in Reno, I saw a similar throw blanket at Cabelas, so I made the trip its big brother Bass Pro Shop in search of the throw. It is a little softer than I wanted, but it’s worth a try.

Aquarium in the Silverton Casino had pumpkins in with the fish. I didn’t see any Mermaids today.

Of course, I had to check out the Silverton Casino before I returned home. I got away after only contributing $5 from the entertainment fund. Not bad considering the throw blanket was on sale for $10 under the normal price.

Yet Another Walk in the Wetlands Park

Monday November 18th 2019

I took advantage of one of the last warm and sunny days of the year to make another visit to the Clark County Wetlands Park. The forecast calls for clouds tomorrow with the possibility of rain late in the day. The temperature may still be above normal like today, but the down turn has begun. Wednesday and Thursday are forecast to be rainy with high temperatures in the low sixties. From the sounds of things today’s high seventies temperature is the last of the seventies for the year.

Reflections in one of the ponds

Today’s walk in the Wetlands Park covered some old ground and some new. The park is big enough that I’ve found new areas to explore on each of my visits this year and there is still more to explore. At one of the ponds near the parking lot I saw a turtle that I know I’ve seen before and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the American Coots were also repeat sightings. Unfortunately, one coot looks like another to me. The new animal sighting today was a little rabbit. It came out of the grass on the side of the path intent on crossing until it saw me and headed back to the safety of the tall grass. Its U-turn was so quick I couldn’t get a picture.

A familiar turtle.

At the pedestrian bridge over the Las Vegas Wash lots of birds were visible. Some were standing on rocks in the moving water and others were swimming where the current wasn’t as strong. Among the birds was a Great Blue Heron. I think this is a different bird from the one I saw last week. This one didn’t seem to have as much color. I wonder if experienced bird watchers can identify individuals.

After about two hours walking around the Wetlands Park I came back to the RV park to take another walk as the sun was setting. A surprising number of people departed today including many that were here when I arrived more than three weeks ago. Another observation on my walk was the gradual increase in Christmas lights. The RV Park still hasn’t turned on the lights they put up last week, but about a dozen RVs scattered around the park have Christmas lights turned on. It will probably be another week or two before most of us turn on the Christmas lights.

Another Slow Sunday

Sunday November 17th 2019

Today was a little cooler than Saturday. The temperature peaked in the mid to upper seventies. It was still above normal for this time of year, but didn’t feel as hot as Saturday. That is probably because I wasn’t outside on a concrete aircraft parking area under the bright sun. I spent the day recovering from my trip to Aviation Nation on Saturday.

I am going to share some more pictures from the air show in this blog entry. These pictures are mostly of the aircraft on the ground. I took these pictures with my little Canon Powershot camera. Yesterday’s pictures were taken with my Sony Mirrorless camera with a long lens. I was doing a real juggling exercise with the cameras at times. It wasn’t easy to capture any of the fast moving jets. The static aircraft on the ground were a piece of cake to photograph if you didn’t care about getting strangers in the shot.

Aviation Nation 2019

Saturday November 16th 2019

Once I decided to spend the winter in Las Vegas, one of the things I was looking forward to was the Aviation Nation air show at Nellis Air Force Base. I went to the last one in November of 2017. Today was the first day of this years show.

I actually set an alarm to get up early enough to have a good breakfast before heading out. I left the RV Park at 8:30am to head north twelve miles to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Police, Airmen and hired security direct the parking at the speedway followed by security screening before riding a bus about five miles back to the flight line on the base. There was a delay getting through security and onto the bus, but I arrived just as the American flag arrived via parachute to the singing of the National Anthem. I wandered through the static displays and watched the continuous action in the air over the flight line.

This show has better and more elaborate demonstrations than regional shows around the country. Nellis is the home base of the Air Force Thunderbird F16 demonstration squadron as well as other Air Force units. They have many different aircraft to use as part of the demonstration. Naval and Marine units in the region also get in on the show.

The home base of the Thunderbird squadron also works against the smooth flow of the show. A Thunderbird show always has a big ground show element, but at Nellis it is even longer. It’s a celebration with families present for the team. More people get introduced and they use part of the time to swear in a new set of airmen to the Air Force. It is great that they do that, but it really slows the pace of the show down. It isn’t possible to see what’s going on in front of the Thunderbird jets, so you need to find other things to see and do for close to forty five minutes. I used the time to work my way back toward the bus loading area. I loaded onto a bus about midway through the flying part of the Thunderbird demonstration and made it back to my car before the mass exodus at the end of the show.

I took more than three hundred pictures. Here are some of the better ones.

An Ordinary Day

Friday November 15th 2019

I managed to beat yesterday’s start to the day by more than two hours this morning. It was another nice day in the Las Vegas valley. Yesterday’s clouds were gone and the temperature got back into the mid to upper seventies. Tomorrow is forecast to be a little warmer yet.

These Roses are enjoying the November warmth. It is all forecast to change next week.

Walking around the RV park I’m starting to see signs of Christmas decorating. The office club house building has been adorned with lights and several RVs have added Christmas colored outdoor lights. In the greater community the Cactus Garden Christmas lights have officially been turned on. I’ll visit some evening in the next few weeks. The massive drive through Glittering lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is up and running. The pictures and description are interesting, but the price isn’t. Twenty dollars per car for a weekday evening drive through the lights is expensive for a single rider car. The weekend price and the days nearer Christmas are even more expensive. I’m not even sure what percentage (if any) of the proceeds go to charity. I will stick to other Christmas displays for now.

This “urban dove” pigeon has some pretty brown color with a little green thrown in for good measure.

Two years ago when I spent the winter here I got very frustrated with the traffic. This year it hasn’t gotten me down yet, but it’s trying. It is not unusual to have to wait two light cycles to get through an intersection. The combination of multiple directions of travel and a high number of pedestrians results in a lot of competition for the right of way. Today I experienced the next level of delay when a school bus and a crossing guard were thrown into the mix. It’s a good thing I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere out here.

A Cloudy Day in the Desert

Thursday November 14th 2019

The weather had a new twist today. It was cloudy most of the day which is a big change from the last few weeks. The temperature peaked in the low to mid seventies.

During the early afternoon the blue sky tried to win the battle for the sky, but the clouds returned soon after.

I got a very slow start to the day. I woke up just before eight, but chose to rollover and go back to sleep. The next thing I knew it was after ten. I didn’t finish breakfast until after the start of the lunch hour. My plan to have a free breakfast at the casino didn’t happen.

The only other important task on today’s agenda was getting groceries. Based on last weeks experience at the Walmart Supercenter a mile from my RV home I decided to try the Walmart Supercenter 5.5 miles away in Henderson. It’s a little bigger, but I still didn’t find some of the products I usually find. It may be a regional food preference thing, but I don’t remember experiencing this issue two years ago. Next week I’ll try the Walmart Supercenter 8 miles away. If that doesn’t work I’ll try some of the other Walmarts in the valley. There is always Smiths or Albertsons grocery stores, but I’ll have to sign up for a rewards card to get decent prices.

After grocery shopping it was time to cook the second meal of the day. It wasn’t lunch or supper with my strangely skewed day, but it was time to eat. By the time I finished cooking and eating my pork chop it was starting to get dark. The long evening of TV watching began. Let’s see if I can get a better start to tomorrow.

A Little Casino Time

Wednesday November 13th 2019

When I turned the TV on this morning I was greeted by continuous coverage of the Political Theater going on at the US Capitol. Neither “side” was really trying to find out information, they were trying to get the witnesses to say what they’d already said in closed sessions. This was a show for the benefit, amusement or disgust of the American people. I like to hear facts and reach my own conclusions. Being told what I should think by a politician or a newscaster isn’t the way it should work. Anyway; without the regular morning programming I had a hard time knowing what time it was.

I spent most of the day at home catching up on chores. Around 3:30, I headed over to Sam’s Town Casino to get my entries in for the Young at Heart (read Senior) drawing at 4:30. I didn’t win anything, but it’s fun watching the people. There are ten winners overall and you must respond with in 3 minutes to claim your prize. After 3 minutes new names are drawn for the unclaimed prizes. It took four of five redraws to fill in the ten winters today.

The late afternoon wasn’t a total loss. I left the casino with the money I entered with and I put in enough slot play to have a voucher for breakfast at the buffet tomorrow morning. Now I just have to get up in time. The laser and fountain show started as I was on my way back to the car. I stopped and watched the show. It will be changing to a Christmas theme later this month.

A Walk in the Park and Laundry

Tuesday November 12th 2019

Today’s weather was a repeat of Monday. It was a nice sunny day with a good breeze. The high temperature was in the mid seventies. This area on the west side of the national deep freeze is a little above normal for this time of year. The weather pattern is not forecast to change until next week.

This was another slow morning lingering over breakfast while catching up on my internet reading with the TV on in the background. It is around noon or shortly after before I’m ready to start the day. This is a very unproductive pattern that I’m going to have to change.

For exercise today, I returned to the Clark County Wetlands park for some walking and picture taking. Today’s photography subjects were the turtles and coots in the ponds. Taking lots of random pictures keeps me entertained along the way, so I walk more. Other than the usual compliment of school kids on a field trip, the park wasn’t as busy today. The area I was in today was very quiet.

Turtle Rock for a little sun bathing. The rock wasn’t big enough for all the turtles. There is another one with only its head out of the water behind the big one.

This afternoon, after my walk in the park, it was time to do the laundry. This park has two laundry rooms with six washers and dryers in each. The price is reasonable at $1.50 per wash and $1.25 per dryer cycle. The problem is the competition for the machines. I managed to get two washing machines, but there was only one dryer available when the time came. Cramming everything into one dryer load result in not everything getting dry. Semi dry laundry is draped all around the inside of my RV home tonight. Laundry day can be so much fun.

A Slow Day Thinking About My Surroundings

Monday November 11th 2019

Thank you to all the veterans on this Veterans Day.

It was another great weather day, but the trend may have turned. There was a good breeze out of the northeast added to the warm sunshine today. The forecast through the end of the week is still good, just not as good as the last few days.

This RV park is pretty much full with only a little turnover every day. The majority of the park is filled with people like myself here for a few months during the winter. There are also a number of people that call this park home full time. The third group of residents are the travelers that come in for a few days to a couple of weeks to visit the Las Vegas area.

On week days many of the non-retired residents are gone during the day or cloistered in their RVs. The residents of the fifth wheel trailer across the road from me are gone during the day and return every day around 4:30pm. They are clearly long term residents with jobs in the area. The business truck they show up in from time to time is additional proof. My drivers side neighbors seem to be working winter residents. During the week, they make rare appearances outside their RV before late afternoon. When they do come outside it’s to talk on the phone or sit in their truck with a laptop computer on the dashboard. It’s pretty clear they are working while traveling. With good internet connectivity it is possible to do all kinds of jobs on the road.

Another observation about my fellow residents of the RV park is the high percentage of dog owners. It seems like just before dark the dog runs in the middle of the RV park get very busy. Most of the dogs don’t even have to walk to the dog area. The dog owners drive them to the dog area in cars and trucks. Others, particularly the little ones, are transported in strollers. Very few dogs get walked to the dog area. In the middle of the hot season, that’s probably a good thing for their paws. The pavement could easily burn the pads on there paws in the hot sun, but this time of year let them have some exercise.