Monday, June 5, 2017

Lake Mead 4.4 - 7

Karla's never been to Lake Mead or the Hoover Dam. We were so close and had time to kill before we needed to be in Montana, so we spent 4 fantastic days right on the shore.

I couldn't believe there was free camping at the waterline, although at the first spot we tried, the popular Government Wash, we couldn't park close enough to the water to kayak. Thankfully the next spot down worked out much better.

Man was it good to get back into the kayaks!! We've found it very tricky to use them, as we don't have an easy way to transport. So if we aren't parked right next to the water, they tend to just stay on top of the trailer. Thankfully we already owned them before we decided to go full time, and it doesn't cost us anything to tow them around with us. Cause we LOVE paddling when we can! Weather was perfect for a day on the water.

Hello Derby! She's great in the kayak. It's helpful that she wants nothing to do with the water, so we don't have to worry about her jumping out!!

Lunch break! Check out the views.

Back on the water

The water was impressively clear. We could see groups of MONSTROUS fish swimming beneath us. Don't fall in!!

These two had had enough of the paddling, time for a tow rope. Best picture of the trip I think!

Next, you can't be up here and not check out Oatman! Great little old mining town that's completely exploded after nearly dying. The gold ran out, almost everyone left, then someone figured out to turn it into a tourist hub. Even better yet it sits on the twistiest part of Route 66 in the whole country.

Another lunch spot with a view. Does life get any better?

Happy family

This one seemed to enjoy the day too!

She adores the bike, always begging for a ride. Goes bananas when we get our gear on and ask, "are you ready?"

Last time I was out here, years ago, I stopped and took the long tour that takes you INSIDE the Hoover Dam. Unbelievable! Always said I wanted to do it again. Well, Karla's not a big fan of enclosed spaces, but I managed to convince her to give it a go. So on our last full day in the area off we went. There were a few times I thought she might kill me for dragging her in there, hopefully someday she'll look back on it fondly. LOL!

Everything is so art deco. It's bizarre and beautiful. Always feel like I've stepped back into an industrialist time.

Rough tunnels heading towards the generators. Feels like we're back at the Yuengling Brewery in PA.

Air conditioners in southern California and Nevada require a lot of power...

Deeper in the dam you come across these incredibly finished hallways. They gave us statistics on the cost of just the marble floor... It was outrageous.

Head down a tiny, round walkway that forces everyone to stoop and get to this window

Here's what you see! From the angle you can tell we're well within the dam now. Don't tell Karla.

Nope. Still wasn't able to cause an earthquake. Damn.

Most of the hallways we explored look like this:

Don't go that way

We were listening to our tour guide at one point, Karla backed up a little to let a gentleman through. Well, her heal dropped into a little divot in the concrete and I believe she might have wet herself. I'm not sure if she thought she was going to fall to her death or the dam was going to fall apart and crush her or what. Knowing her it was something far more imaginative.... LOL

Here is the bottomless pit that almost killed my wife...

In case of emergency you're supposed to take these stairs back to the surface:

We were what, atleast 20 stories down? Yeah pretty sure I'd die of a heart attack way before the dam flooded... Again, don't tell Karla!

You could go down a LOT farther.

Proud of Karla for doing the tour and impressed I escaped with my head! I think her face about sums up her thoughts on the tour....

All in all, we had a great time at Lake Mead!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Las Vegas 4.8 - 9

Ok so I've never done Las Vegas....

Karla's birthday was coming up...

Ok now I've done Las Vegas!!

It was completely overwhelming. You really didn't know where to direct your attention, everything was shouting so loudly for it. Enough to just about make you sick. But then I'd find myself completely enraptured by all these tiny details. The flowers at the Bellagio or the insane marble floor in the lobby of the MGM Grand.

Big thanks to our friend Griz from Phoenix for joining us! She definitely made the experience so much more fun.

Just a few pictures, as I lost most of them when my phone crashed. Bugger.

You can park right behind the strip and stay for free. No joke. There was security too, not like any of it was sketchy. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

Total splurge.... Paris buffet. OMG. I'm used to buffets being awful. Ok, maybe tolerable. Certainly not good. Yeah. Mind blown.

Thanks for making the drive Griz!!

I think the Bellagio was my favorite.

No drinking was involved. For hours. Definitely not.

Which made us laugh at taco advertisements...

Slot machines. They make no sense AT ALL. Seriously. But at least now I can say I've gambled, as previously I'd never even done so much as buy a lottery ticket.

Fun times. I remember most of it. ;) Not sure I'll go back, but glad to have experienced the strip!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Phoenix 2.12 - 4.4

We had a fantastic month in Quartzsite, meeting new folks, getting the rig capable of boondocking for extended periods and really enjoying the desert. It was time to get jobs though! We had employment lined up north of Phoenix. The area is a mecca for MLB spring training and the seasonal work required to support it! Thankfully there was also quite a few boondocking opportunities outside the city, as the RV parks in town were very expensive (lots of snowbirds and retirees). If you can believe it, this would be the first time we'd worked since Amazon!! Although we were really just doing minimum wage work, we had a great time. Texas and Kansas City were based at the stadium we worked, but teams from all over the country came to play. 3/4 of the people I worked with were full timers, probably less than half for Karla. I was the cook in one of the little stadium kitchens, making sandwiches, hot dogs, pretzels, etc. Karla manned one of the registers at the store behind home plate. She had a great view!  Go Rockies!

We stayed at an OHV (off highway vehicle) area north of town, called Boulders. An OHV area is a place setup for dirt bikes, ATVs and side by sides. This one was really big and relatively well developed. There was plenty of nice places to camp plus two pit toilets. It was quiet during the week and busy on the weekends, but folks were for the most part very respectful and we enjoyed the company on the weekends. Lots of families. The weather was spectacular, except for one week of super hot weather. Lots of fun riding right outside our door.

Got to practice our skills on loose, rocky hills

And sand. I still hate sand!

The skies were incredible, all of these were taken from our camping spot.

Full moon rising as the sun set

Another evening

After Quartzsite, Phoenix was insanely green. It felt like we were camping on a golf course!

You could hear the donkeys braying almost every day. Derby and I actually came across a herd of them on one of our walks. Calmly sat down and watched them for a good half hour. These guys were NOTHING like the donkeys in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota or the herd up in Oatman, AZ. All of them were almost house pets. They'd come up begging for food and let you pet them. These guys were VERY wild. Skittish, ornery, loud and curious. What a treat to actually see them.

Took the time to get some bigger projects done. Roof repairs and new coating for Lucy.

New tires on both bikes. 10,000 miles on my rear, it definitely surpassed expectations. Happily went with the same tires again.

Guess what we found in town?? OMG. I died.

We had one week when it rained every day! Very glad to have all new rubber on both bikes.

Karla went out and took some amazing photos one wet morning while I was at work. Cell phone cameras are getting pretty good!

These little guys closed at night and opened during the day, like clockwork.

Hard to believe but the desert got even greener.

Had a super bloom of wildflowers as a result. Yeeessss!!!

That's one of the many offroad trails we enjoyed in the background

Lots of rain means lots of puddles. Weeeeeeee! Let's go riding!!

Even with the rain and short winter days there was plenty of sun, we didn't need to use our generator.
Dog AND battery, charging!

Phoenix was the stomping grounds of Amber and Rick, some RV friends we made in Quartzsite. The four of us got along very well, we were happy when they said they'd be joining us for a bit at the OHV area! What do you do with a group of atleast four good friends?? Bust out Cards Against Humanity!! If you've never heard of it, it's like a dirty Apples to Apples. Never heard of that? Well, there is no help for you...

Found some decent beer at State 48 Brewery, just down the street from the baseball stadium.

So pleased to have my parents visit, it was the first time dad had seen our rig all renovated! Also enjoyed a visit from some local motorcycling friends, Mark and Chris. Glad to finally meet them in person, known Mark on one of my forums for years.

Of course any self respecting motorcyclist, when in this area of Arizona, will introduce his wife to the wonders of 89 into Prescott and 89A into Jerome.

I meant to show her Sedona too but we got distracted at THAT Brewery in Cottonwood...

We spent just over 6 weeks in Phoenix. Work was fun, weather was enjoyable, plenty of great riding. What's next? Stay tuned...