Another Visit to the Botanical Cactus Garden

Tuesday January 21st 2020

The weather people called today partly cloudy, but it really depended on when you looked. The day started out partly cloudy with only a little bit of blue. This was followed by increasing sunshine reaching the ground and more blue appearing in the sky. The pendulum swung and a sky full of clouds very similar to yesterday was the dominant feature for a couple of hours. The daylight hours ended with the clouds giving way to the most sunshine and blue sky of the day. All of this allowed the temperature to reach the low sixties.

On my way back to the RV park from running a few errands, I stopped at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Cactus Gardens. This was my first visit to the garden since it was fully decorated for Christmas. The Christmas decorations and lights have been replaced by decorations and lights for Valentines day. The reindeer have been replaced by unicorns and the lights are all shades of red and white. The night time presentation formally begins on February 1st.

My daytime visit to the garden showed many of the cactus starting to display their spring blossoms. Some of the ground cover bushes and plants were in full blossom. It was nice to see some natural color in the landscape. As the season gets closer the garden will only get prettier. I’ll be back to see the garden lite for Valentines day and again before I leave the area to see the blossoms during the day.

Cloudy Day means a Lazy Day

Monday January 20th 2020

I woke up this morning to find a very cloudy day. It was still a warm day, by comparison to the normal high temperature for the day. The temperature peaked just above sixty. Near the end of the day some indicators of sunlight were visible to the north, but it was still cloudy and gloomy in the other directions.

The combination of the gloomy day and the possibility that I may be fighting off the onset of a cold, resulted in a very relaxed day. Other than a brief errand out of the park, I spent most of the day watching TV and napping. It was a very poor day for blog fodder. Even the number of walks around the RV park was reduced to one as the sunset.

At sunset some bright sky was visible to the north.

Watching Football Got in the Way Once Again

Sunday January 19th 2020

The temperature reached the mid sixties today. Combined with high sparse clouds most of the day, it made for a very nice day. As the day went by the cloud cover got thicker, but it didn’t impact the quality of the day.

High clouds moving in to hide the blue sky.

I got caught up watching football again today. That’s probably the last time I’ll use that excuse for inactivity until fall. Between each half and between games I got a three walks in around the RV park. There were many noisy fans for the Chiefs, the 49ers and the Packers. I didn’t here or see any fans of the Titans even at RVs with Tennessee license plates. The Chiefs and the Packer fans were the most vocal, but I heard one woman screaming for the Packers. She was inside her trailer with the doors and windows closed, but I could still here her cheering for Aaron Rodgers. A big Green Bay flag flew above the trailer. I’m glad I wasn’t around when they lost the game.

It wasn’t all football watching today. I got a few other tasks accomplished while the games were on. During the second game I even managed to cook another big pot of beef stew. It will provide a few meals this week, even though the warmer temperatures predicted might be better served with less cold weather food.

Another Day of Little Tasks

Saturday January 18th 2020

It was a warmer day. It was a cloudier day. Overall, it was another beautiful day. The temperature peaked in the high fifties a little below the expected sixties high.

Blossom of the Day

My day was similar to yesterday. It was filled with little tasks that need to be done, but only reach the top of the to do list when you start looking for them. A lot of today’s tasks involved throwing stuff away. While I try not to keep things that aren’t useful, they still seem to accumulate. Everything I can get rid of reduces the clutter and saves weight. I need to spend some more time reducing my excess stuff before I start this years travel at the end of February.

During my walks around the RV park I noticed that the park was close to full again. It had been loosing residents all week, but there were many new arrivals today. I don’t think it’s for the holiday weekend. Many of the new arrivals are from out of state. What drives occupancy in RV parks is a mystery to me.

A Lots of Little Things Day

Friday January 17th 2020

The wind howled overnight and a little rain fell as the cold front moved through the area. It wasn’t much compared with areas to the north. Northern Nevada and Utah got several feet of snow. Today had some thin clouds and a little more wind than the last few days, but the temperature still made it into the upper fifties.

I never really got motivated today. During the early part of the day I did lots of little disjoint tasks. For example, I finally got frustrated enough with the TV remote that I found some new batteries to put in the darn thing. Then I fought with my cell phone to get it charged. The socket that accepts the charging cable is very loose. If I’m not careful it discharges the battery rather than charge it. Which is what happened last night. I hoped to wait until March before buying a new cell phone, but I may not make it. Once my phone was charged, I managed to off load more pictures from yesterday’s visit to the Bellagio Casino Conservatory. The pictures in this blog entry are from that visit.

This afternoon I got back into summer travel planning mode. I was able to book four more reservations. Between now and July 21st I only have two empty blocks. The first unbooked block is a single night when I leave here at the end of February. I’m holding off booking that one to give me a little flexibility in case of bad weather or heavy winds. The other block is a week in early June. I want to stay at a Utah State Park. The reservation window doesn’t open until early next month for that location. Looking out further, I have a little time to book most of the weeks, but I need to make a decision about Labor Day soon.

Year of the Rat

Thursday January 16th 2020

It was another beautiful day. The temperature peaked in the high fifties with a sunny sky. A smog haze has developed over the valley muting the bright blue a little. A cold front with strong winds is do overnight. Tomorrow will be a little cooler, a lot windier and hopefully clearer with less haze in the air.

I went back up to the Las Vegas Strip today. The Christmas decorations have been replaced by Chinese New Year Decorations. This is the Year of the Rat. Stylish gold and jewel adorned Rats are featured in the decorations. As usual the Bellagio is over the top, but some of the others were good too.

My visit to the strip started at Harrahs where the shuttle from Sam’s Town delivered its passengers. I walked through several central strip casinos, but focused my picture taking at the Bellagio, Flamingo’s wildlife sanctuary, the Palazzo and the Wynn. Here are some pictures from each.

Bellagio

Flamingo Wildlife Sanctuary

Palazzo

Wynn Las Vegas

Birds and Laundry

Wednesday January 15th 2020

The weather was a clone of the last couple of days. There was bright sunshine, a gentle breeze and a high temperature in the mid fifties. It was another great weather day.

The relaxing part of the day was spent at the Wetlands Park visiting the ducks, coots and turtles. Some of them even posed for a picture or two. It was a nice quiet time at the park.

The work part of the day was finally getting most of my laundry done. I’ve tried a couple of times in the last week plus, but always found all of the machines busy. Today I just dragged my laundry bag of dirty clothes over to the facility and waited for the next available machine. I waited about ten minutes for a washing machine, but it didn’t take all of my laundry. The second machine took another fifteen minutes to become available. The wash time took thirty one minutes according to the count down timer, except I timed the one minute display. It took five minutes for the one to go to zero. I’d say it took about an hour before everything was in a dryer. I walked back to my RV home during the fifty plus minutes the laundry was in the dryer. Overall, it took about two and a half hours from the time I left my RV home with the dirty laundry until I got back with the clean clothes. Of course, I already have half a hamper full of dirty clothes and the bed sheets to wash. That’s a task for another day.

Travel Planning and Photo Review

Tuesday January 14th 2020

Next winter I want to stay in Florida State Parks most of the time. That means I have to make reservations as soon as I possibly can to guaranty I have a site. Reservations opened for the two week period starting December 14th this morning at 8AM eastern time. I didn’t get a very good rest last night waiting for the 4:45AM alarm, so I could join the competition for the few available sites. It was worth it. I had a good site by 5:10AM and was back in bed shortly after that.

I paid the price for the poor nights sleep all day. Breakfast started around 9:30 and dragged on until almost noon. I wasn’t just eating and drinking. I was also back to archiving pictures. It takes half an hour or more to copy most year’s pictures to a USB drive. Last year I took the second most pictures of the four years. It took over an hour and a half to backup. The biggest year, 2017, requires a bigger USB drive. I haven’t started that one yet, but anticipate a much longer transfer time.

This afternoon the pictures sucked me in. I started to review and remember each image. While that’s what the pictures are for, it wasn’t my intent during my current task. I’ve got a lot of nice pictures, and a few great pictures. Most of the time the lighting wasn’t quite right and a few it was down right poor. I generally know how to compose a good shot, but often take pictures just to capture an image. When I do compose a nice picture, it is often the wrong day or time of day. Cloudy days don’t help make the scenery pop and I need to take more time to get great pictures.

Taken this afternoon in the Mystic Falls Park at the casino. The blossom isn’t in focus, so I guess I didn’t really learn anything from my photo review.

Late this afternoon I needed to get out of the RV for a while. I took a trip to Sam’s Town Casino for the Young at Heart senior day. The drawing was a bust as usual, but I managed to leave the casino with ten dollars more than I came in with this time.

Groceries and Computer Work

Monday January 13th 2020

Once again I don’t have the magic decoder ring for the local TV weather forecasts. I sure thought they said today was going to be cooler and windier than Sunday, but today was a little better overall. The temperature peaked a couple of degrees warmer than Sunday. I’m now interpreting the TV weather forecast as improving until Wednesday night, then a complete turn with the potential of rain in the valley and snow in the mountains. I think rain is so infrequent that they over sell it out here.

Other than a few short walks, I didn’t really get to enjoy the weather. The big event for the day was grocery shopping. I needed to restock the refrigerator. Before and after the grocery run I was busy with computer tasks.

I’ve been writing a daily blog for almost four years. Early on I learned that a picture is worth a lot of words and they are fun to take. Over the years I’ve taken around 33,500 pictures. That is about 177GB of data. They’ve been regularly backed up with all the data on my Computer. Some of the images have been uploaded to the cloud, but poor bandwidth makes it difficult to upload all of them. Today’s task was sorting, culling and archiving pictures.

On a nightly basis I delete the out of focus pictures and the clear duplicates. The pictures I choose to include in the blog get some additional processing. I reduce the resolution to make them easier to load and I add a “Rob’s Rambling Road Trip” watermark. Sometimes I will also crop an image to eliminate noise and make the subject bigger. Most of the pictures of flower blossoms are for breaking up long blog posts. It’s very unlikely that I’ll ever want to view and use those pictures again. Once I know they are archived, I will be deleting them from my computer hard drive. Lately, I’ve been taking sunset pictures for a similar purpose, but many of those pictures are gorgeous. I won’t be deleting those from the active hard drive until I’m running out of space.

Each years pictures are getting stored on two different memory sticks. One will be stored in the RV and the other in my car. That’s about as far “off site” as I can easily accomplish. I take a similar approach with other backups, but the encrypted cloud is my storage location for the few files that loosing would be more catastrophic.

Haze to the east reflecting the setting sun.

I’ve only started to make a dent going through all the pictures. I’ll be doing it off and on for the next few days. After that I plan to investigate changing the format of my blog pages.

Relaxing with Football and Airplanes

Sunday January 12th 2020

Today was an average weather day for this time of year. The sun was bright in the sky, the wind was gentle and the temperature reached the mid fifties. The average daily high temperature is fifty eight. It was an overall nice day.

Beautiful blue sky

Today was a lazy day. I spent the whole day relaxing around the RV park after making half an effort to do the laundry. For some reason Sundays are very popular at the park laundry. I notice this once before this winter, but still made the walk over to the laundry building only to find all of the machines in use with a bit of a waiting line. I planned to return later. Of course, I never did.

Blossom of the day.

Three sites beside my RV home were vacant at one time this morning. Two neighbors left this morning and the other departed Saturday. The two sites furthest away were filled by two fifth wheel trailers traveling together. The site immediately beside me is still empty tonight.

I took advantage of the extra open space in front of my door to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. Without another RV twelve feet away, I felt comfortable watching football on my outside TV and generally enjoying the day. I didn’t get as excited about the Chiefs vs. Texans game as the folks a few sites down the road. They have a big Kansas City Chiefs Flag flying and cheered, hoot and hollered every time something good happened. I think they were happy with the outcome of the game.

The neighbors didn’t bother me, but I got fixated on the airplanes passing overhead. There’s nothing new about the air traffic. It has been passing overhead the whole time I’ve been here, but today I started timing the interval between planes. It averages about three minutes separation at the busy times. That’s a lot of people leaving Las Vegas. The arrival pattern a few miles south is just as busy.

Tonight’s sunset.

Today’s exercise included two walks around the park in addition to my walk over to the laundry and back. I discovered one lonely plant that still had a few red blossoms. I took a picture for this blog entry along with another nice sunset picture.