Friday, December 28, 2007
Lou and Dawn continued on their shopping destinations around Pahrump. I took my shower and checked email. I then started preparing to leave. Dumped and flushed the tanks and filled the water tank. I left the site about 1115. First stop was to get gas. It was $3.03 at Terrible's station out front. Much nicer than in Death Valley ($4.05) or even at home ($3.40). We met at Walmart's for a little grocery shopping then we were off toward Las Vegas. We arrived in Las Vegas about 2:30. We were waiting at the signal at Dean Martin and Tropicanna and looked across the street and saw brother Ernie backing his truck into a space at the Wild Wild West casino/truck stop (WWW). A moment later Ernie called and said he had arrived. Ha Ha, we knew that already. We were headed to the Rio. We planned to park in their lot but when we arrived they had a motocross event in the lot and over sized vehicle parking was prohibited until 1/3. So we headed off to Sam's Town where we'll stay until 1/3. We didn't expect the other casino's would have had room for RV's either during the holiday.
We headed over to the WWW to meet Ernie for dinner. Ernie and Lou had BBQ ribs, Dawn had prime rid and I had a bowl of chowder and shared theirs. We still took home a rack of ribs and most of the prime rib. All was good. We topped off the evening with a look at the show in the shy at the Rio and then called it a day.
The weather seems much warmer since the wind died. As we came over the summit there was a touch of snow on the ground. It's 40 degrees here at 10pm, much warmer than the other night in Pahrump.
Saturday: Ernie came over to Sam's and we had Sam's champagne brunch buffet. Very good. After breakfast, Ernie and I went over to the Wild Wild West (WWW) to work on his truck. He has more sound equipment to install in the dash. We worked all day routing cables and such. He also has a computer stand to install. It requires the removal of the passenger seat to install a base plate. We removed it but didn't get the plate installed. We also have to replace the XM radio antenna which is bad. Noticed after routing the cable through some tight spots.
Dinner was back at Sam's cafe. Lou and I had the blue plate specials, pot roast. Ernie and the soup and salad bar and Dawn had fettuccine which included the soup and salad bar.
Sunday: Up late. Lou was up early to get over to Walmart's to get fixings for dinner. I drained the tank and filled to water. It's so cold we're using the water tank and pump for our showers.
More of the same today Lou and Dawn shopping, Ernie and I working on the truck. We finished replacing Ernie's XM antenna and got the computer mount installed. Then we had lunch at the WWW and checked out some of the machines. Ernie did very well at the machines and at the blackjack table I had no luck, as usual so I didn't try the tables.
We stopped by Walmart's for some Christmas gift getting. We then had Lou's homemade beef stroganoff at the RV. Excellent dinner. For desert we had Dewar's peppermint stick ice milk, a Bakersfield treat.
Monday: Last day of 2007. I got up early and drove the car across town to the Volvo dealer to have the check engine light problem looked at. Lou had called last week to make an appointment and was told no appointment was needed for today because they only had six cars coming in. They wouldn't give her an appointment. Lou managed to talk me into taking the car over so she could work on her dolls. Traffic was light. When I spoke to the service technician he asked if I had an appointment, I didn't . He said he'd try to get it done. I left the car and walked back toward town on Sahara. I called Lou to let her know the status. She called the rep and explained what had happened to no avail. I called Ernie and let him know I was in the near his place at the Wild Wild West and we could have breakfast. We met a half hour later after I'd walked several miles, almost to his place. Ernie drove me back to Sam's Town to the RV.
We had breakfast at their buffet and then Ernie went his way to do laundry. Very shortly thereafter the service rep called to say the car was ready, just a clogged vacuum hose and a little adjustment. Maybe Lou did have influence? Lou and I caught the bus and headed back to the dealer.
The bus ride was very informative. We got lots of information from the locals about the downtown new years party. We also picked up an information sheet on the special bus service tonight. It's wise to not drive on New Year's eve so we're rinding the bus downtown.
We enjoyed most of the evening relaxing at home and about 9pm walked over to catch the bus about two bocks away. The bus service was supposed to be every 30 minutes but we waited more than an hour before the first bus came by. Since Sam's is the turnaround point for the route, and a lot of people were waiting, when the first bus came by heading from down town, we ran across the street and caught it. Before the bus returned to the stop we had been waiting at, the double decker bus was more than full and leaving passengers at the stops.
Most of the passengers had obviously been celebrating for quite some time already. The bus took more than an hour to get downtown because it stopped at every stop where people were waiting and basically no one got on or off the bus. When we arrived downtown, we made a quick pit stop at Bally's on the back side, away from the crowds on the strip.
We met brother Ernie about 11pm in front of the Bellagio fountains. He had an easy walk from his place at the Wild Wild West. Actually, the crowds weren't too bad and we enjoyed the fireworks at midnight easily seeing three of the displays. We all departed shortly thereafter. Ernie plans on leaving in the morning and we just needed to make our way home. We walked out Flamingo Blvd to Terrible's Casino to catch the return bus. After waiting with a large crowd for an hour and a half and not seeing any bus going our direction, we went inside and warmed up, played the machines and had an early breakfast. About 3:30 we tried again and caught a nice bus with lots of room. We topped off the evening with a visit to Walmart's, across the street from Sam's Town for milk and got to bed about 4:30am.
A coupe of observations: Las Vegas doesn't seem to have their act together to handle big crowds. The bus system seemed to be totally incompetent. There were plenty of buses and not much traffic but they just didn't arrive at the bus stops. In our 1.5 hour wait to return home, we saw 12 buses head into town and none come out of town. We were at the location they were supposed to turn around due to the street closure. if they had there would have been no delays. They close down Las Vegas Blvd for the "party". They also close all the pedestrian overpasses presumably to prevent their collapse and or to protect the idiots that might fall off and they put fences down the middle of Las Vegas Blvd to maintain an emergency corridor. The corridor only seemed to have cross access every mile or so if you wanted to get to the other side of the street as we did, it was difficult. Add to that they designed the street with permanent pedestrian barriers at each corner to force pedestrians up onto the now closed overpasses and you can easily imagine the problem presented to pedestrian movement. Obviously, the city planners couldn't. Similar crowds in San Francisco are handled much better.
Despite our adventure, we enjoyed the show though it is likely an addition to our "been there, done that" list.
Ernie woke us in the morning. He needed some assistance putting on new struts on his jeep's rear door hatch. The thing must weigh about 100 lbs with bad or no struts and it takes more than one set of hands to replace them. That done, he packed away some of the stoganoff we had the other night and some of the Dewar's peppermint ice milk and was on his way.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Wednesday: We got up before sunrise and had breakfast at the Mad Greek restaurant. Lou and Dawn had Gyro's and I had a breakfast burrito. All very good.
We then headed North on Highway 127 toward Death Valley. We passed the southern entrance to Death Valley, again mostly a Caltrans sign problem. It doesn't mention Death Valley where Hwy 178 West leaves Hwy 127 it just says Badwater. Well I was driving mapless and didn't relate that Badwater is in Death Valley. I still blame Caltrans. We came in on Hwy 160 into Furnace Creek. We were only on a quick look tour.
We looked around the Furnace Creek Inn. Nice gardens! Stopped at the store and met one of Lou's former students. Small world.
We then continued South on Highway 178 through the valley. We stopped at the deepest point in the US, Badwater. There's that name again. We stopped a couple of other places and enjoyed great views all the way back to Shoshone. We then continued East to Pahrump, Nv.
The wind started to blow a bit getting a bit gusty by the time we arrived in Pahrump. We went to Terrible's RV Park and moved into our site. We plan to be here a couple of nights. We had dinner at the casino at the park. All very good and quite cheap. You know I like that. It's quite chilly here. It will likely be a bit below freezing tonight.
Thursday: Up early. (Anything before 8am is early to me. Anything before 6am is early to Lou) ou and I were out just before 8am. It was still extremely cold, not yet 30 degrees. We went over to the office to register. We're members of Passport America which terribles honors for up to three days so our two day stay was $28+ total. We don't use it as often as we should but using it just three days a year pays for it. One day to go now and 4 days of the year left. We were last here January 4, 2006, almost two years ago.
Lou and I then took a walk around the place. When we returned home, Dawn was ready for breakfast so off we went to Terrible's buffet again. The buffet is so cheap, ordering from the menu doesn't seem worthwhile. Breakfast $3.99, Lunch $4.99, dinner $5.99. There isn't a large variety but there are choices and everything is very good as in no Costco items and all much better than Denny's. There are exceptions. Last night Lou and Dawn shared a prime rid dinner from the menu while i had the buffet. They were more than satisfied and had left overs. There meal was $8.99.
After breakfast, Dawn enjoyed her shower. Lou and I had ours before our walk. Because of the freezing, we're not hooked up to water or drain just electric. Lou was first and had to break the ice in the drain to get it to flow. Our shower drain and holding tanks are exposed under the RV so cold weather bothers us on occasion. I then filled the water tank and drained the holding tank, then put away the water hose and filter and drained the sewer hose so they don't freeze up. The drips from the hose froze into a big chuck of ice on the ground. It was still cold at 10am.
Lou and I left Dawn to entertain herself and went to look and some new homes nearby. Very nice prices and good construction quality and designs. Lou isn't pleased about the cold now and the potential for summers heat. There is also the fact there is no bus system here and that would be a problem for Dawn. Too bad. The mountains are beautiful and it seems to provide all the other amenities a place to live requires. That may be why it's rated number one on the best places to retire in the US.
We learned that there are fish in the lake here at the RV park and fishing is free but it's too cold for any of the fish here to bother to bite so maybe on another visit. They also have paddle boats and kayaks for free use as well. Again too cold now.
Lou and Dawn are out thrifting. Tomorrow we will probably head off to Las Vegas if brother Ernie is near arrival there.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
It rained all morning and we even had a deluge or two on the drive over to Sunnyvale but it then started clearing.
After we got home, we started the final packing and prep to leave. I didn't want to drive during the commute so we waited until a little after 7pm to head out. We had to pick up something for Lou at Dawn's place on the way out of town. Traffic was light and the roads were drying out. We made really good time. Our route out of San Jose on Hwy 101 to Hwy 152 to I5 then Stockdale Hwy into Bakersfield. We arrived at Doug and Helen's about 12:15.
Wednesday: I fixed the Helen's garage light, one of the things that appeared on the todo list before Dawn and I arrived. We all went over to the hospital to see Doug. Helen's son Jay came as well. We all went by the Pantry restaurant for an early dinner.
Thursday: Lou fixed pancakes and sausage for breakfast.
Lou Dawn and I went shopping for some materials for some projects at Helen's. I needed to put a cable through the wall of their bedroom to allow use of their generator if they loose power. Doug needs power for his peritoneal dialysis machine. They lost power a few weeks ago for a lengthy period and have since acquired a generator. Helen is also reorganizing here sewing room and needed some additional wall shelves. And then Lou needs a hook for the bathroom ceiling to hang a doll from.
It's always a thrill to try to find materials for projects now that there aren't any real hardware stores, especially in an unfamiliar area. Neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot had everything we needed for the shelves but between the two, we made do. These aren't fancy shelves just simple wall brackets and vinyl clad boards to fit. Neither store either had all that was needed nor material of adequate condition to be usable. There is usually better quality material at Lou's thrift stores!
Aunt Mary and her daughter Maryjane arrived late in the evening and stopped by the hospital for a visit with Doug on their way into town. Helen was there as well. We all had a late chicken dinner at home.
Friday: Helen and Mary went off to the hospital to pickup Doug. He was released this morning. He had a couple of doctor visits on his way home including a visit to the dialysis center.
Lou Dawn Maryjane and I went to breakfast at Spencer’s restaurant on Rosedale highway. After that we all stopped at a nearby thrift store. It was quite interesting and large. It took a while to get them away from there. They dropped me off at Doug's place.
Lou Dawn` and Maryjane hit more of the thrift store trail.
I installed the outlet strip through the wall for hooking up the generator. I installed shelves in Helen's sewing room. Installed a swag hook in the bathroom for the doll that Lou bought the other day at the thrift shop. It's a cute little porcelain doll that looks like a pixie. It just needed some cleanup and a place to stay.
Doug finally made it home after his appointments late in the day. He doesn't look very good still but much better than he looked at the hospital.
Dinner was leftovers, a favorite.
Saturday: A little shopping and other misc tasks today.
Sunday: Lou, Dawn and I went over to the Ranch Market for breakfast. Lou had a chorizo and eggs burrito, Dawn and I had Torta Cubanos.
Mary and Maryjane headed back home. Dawn is made her vegetable soup for dinner.
Monday: Today was a get it done day. It looks like we'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon of early the next day.
We had a nice bacon and egg breakfast but developed problems during it's preparation. A circuit breaker for the kitchen tripped and that interrupted the toast. When i reset it the breaker failed. It will have to be replaced.
Dawn and i started the day with haircuts. Lou did a little grocery shopping. We all then went over to OSH to get the replacement circuit breaker. When we returned, Dawn andd Lou started some Basque soup (vegetable). Dawn makes good soups. I replaced the bad circuit breaker and setup Doug and Helen's new Honda EU2000i generator by adding oil and gas.
Lou worked on her dolls in the sunshine. it was quite nice today.
Dinner was soup, and it turned out excellent.
Merry Christmas: We had a nice breakfast here at Helen and Doug's. We tinkered around until it was time for dinner. Helen's Son Jay had us all over for prime rib dinner. Very good and Lou' and Dawn's favorite meal. We were back home by 6pm and prepared to leave. The road East had high wind warnings this morning but the Highway Patrol says it's OK now so off we go. Hate to eat and run, but, toddle-do. We wanted to get out while its calm. i took a couple of pictures of dinner which I post later.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday: I took a trip down to San Jose again about noon. The tenant called yesterday afternoon complaining about mice in her kitchen, still. Lou's been working on sealing under the sink but there still leaving little traces around the kitchen. I did some more sealing under the sink. I'm not sure how big the mice are but I couldn't see any way there were getting in around the pipes but caulked or taped over all openings, no matter how tiny.
I then checked under the dishwasher. It had been removed when we installed the new flooring a couple of months ago and I caulked all around the edge and "knew" there were no openings there. Wrong. There was about a one inch mouse hole there. It was quite difficult to seal it off since it was on the back wall and my arm are just about at the max working back there through the 3" space under the dishwasher. I didn't have any flooring compound but did place a metal fender washer in the hole and covered it on top with a PVC cover. I then went under the house and finally found the other side of their route and covered the area with a piece of plywood. Hopefully they give up and leave now.
I also checked the orange tree stump. I had added chemicals to help disolve it. It's too close to the gas meter, and house to grind out.
Thursday: Dawn and I were up too early to head down to San Jose to a pancake breakfast at my former place of "work." We had a nice breakfast of pancakes and sausage and a lot of visiting. The picture above is of the Traffic Operations Center I used to work at. The monitors are new replacing the nine year old previous monitors. i brought my camera but forgot to get any pictures of the breakfast. there was quite a crowd as usual. As I was leaving I snapped the above picture.
We dropped by the San Jose library to pick up some books Dawn had requested through the inter-library link. I picked up some egg rolls at the House Of Eggrolls in Santa Clara on our way home. Dawn stopped by Rasputin's used book store as I picked up a couple of things at Trader Joe's market.
After lunch of the egg rolls, Dawn studied and we both worked on preparation for departure next Tuesday.
Friday and Saturday: I worked on cleaning up the RV. I then decided to do some of the things on the RV ToDo list. I wanted to finalize the load management for when we're on battery power. Because of where the power panel is located, it was more difficult than I would have liked but it's now done. The power panel was split into two sides, inverter loads and non inverter (utility or generator) loads. Its been limited by the inverter input until now and the whole RV was on one circuit. Not the best. I also added a new outlet that is not on the inverter and to be used for the electric heater. I also added a few plug strips for easier individual load shedding.
All went well until the last plugstrip. I then broke the TV installing the plug strip. It can only happen to me, I hope. Oh well, it would have been obsolete next year anyway so now I guess we can get a new HD TV instead. That wont be for a while though so we'll be a single TV RV for a while. It's a tough life.
Sunday: Laundry day, not exciting but necessary. The RV fridge was loaded from the house. Other packing was done. Pretty close to ready to leave.
Dawn and I went downtown to the Palo Alto Cremery for dinner. We both had pot roast. Very good. And for desert we shared a chocolate pecan pie.
Monday: Up very early to take Dawn down to San Jose. She has a final at 11am and I have a dentist appointment in Cupertino at 9am so Dawn had to get to San Jose before I return North to Cupertino. I actually got in about 8:30 and was back in San Jose by 10am, so why the hurry.
When we dropped by for her test, it wasn't ready so we went shopping. At 5:15, she met with her professor and got her test but it's too late to do today so tomorrow morning she will take the test. (The test needs to be enlarged for her to take the test). So, we probably wont get back to Palo Alto until later Tuesday. We then need to do the final prep to leave. We may get out late Tuesday or Wednesday morning?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Wednesday: Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose. Lou went to her doll class and then they went to Dawn's History Club party. I “worked” on the computer. Learning more about Linux, installing programs and otherwise wasting the day. It's cold outside!
Thursday: Dawn went over to Stanford for her last intern day. Not actually, just her last day for credit. She'll return to her intern work there when she returns with us in February after our sojourn to the desert. when we returned, Lou was packed and ready to leave for Bakersfield. She's going down to visit Helen and Doug for a few days.
Friday: Dawn and I went down to her apartment in San Jose about 3:00pm. I drilled some holes in the orange tree stump and added the stump remover pellets. That took care of the work for the day.
We walked over to San Jose State for Dawn to drop off some papers at her professor's office and books at the library.
Then we dropped off Dawn's home made fruitcake at what's known as The Dungeon. Actually a classroom in the Anthropology building. The Anthropology club was having a potluck. There were some interesting items at the potluck.The very green tea cake was possibly the most interesting but Dawn's fruit cake was the best. On the right above, Dawn's opening her gift during the white elephant gift exchange at the potluck.
Saturday: Dawn was off early to the Friends Of The Library book sale. She came back with a couple of bags of treasures. I just “worked” on the computer. It's been so cold and drizzly that it was nice to stay inside. We did finally pull out the corn stalks. Dawn has plans to use some of it with her crafts.
Sunday: A strenuous day watching the Sunday morning political shows and working on the computer. After lunch of my favorite grilled ham, pepper and cheese sandwiches, I decided to actually do a little “work.” I laid most of the bricks on the side yard walkway, the last remaining part of the side yard walk project. Just two edges to finish trimming.
Today the sky was clear and it was quite a bit warmer than the last few days of dreary overcast drippy days.
Dawn and I walked down to Chicago Pizza for dinner. We had our usual “Fridge” pizza (sausage ham, and mushrooms) and a couple of beers. The walk there and back was our exercise.
Monday: The finished brick walkway. This morning it only took about an hour to do the final trim work and sweep in th sand. It doesn't look too bad and should keep us out of the mud.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Success, Lou took me down to the clinic. They require you to show up with your ride or no procedure. We headed off an hour before the hour before arrival time and just as we left, I got a call form the clinic that they could take me in early since someone didn't show up. That got me in 30 minutes early by the time we got there. Everything went smoothly. They did their inspection and trim job and I was good to go for another five years. Just a little woozy.
Of course, the first stop after that was for FOOD. We stopped by the Hometown Buffet since they have lots of food and it's all ready right now. Actually, I wasn't really all that hungry but I just ate to get back in the habit and regain my strength.