Doing it yourself

This blog is for all the ladies out there (and some of the men) that do not like helping hook up and drive when it is time to move. I have made it a point to make sure I know how to do everything I can related to the RV. I hooked up the whole jeep by myself a few weeks ago and I have hooked up our sewer, water, and power as well. I have been sharing the driving and making sure I am comfortable with all the ins and outs.

The reason I want to mention it today is because today I had to do it all by myself. Bill is sick. We feel certain it has to do with a bad drug reaction for a new medication his doctor put him on. He is weak and tired and doing anything wears him down pretty quickly. This morning he went out and unhooked the sewer and the water and by the time he was done with that he was out. I had to make sure the whole checklist got done without him. The propane had to be turned off. The satellite had to be retracted. The slides had to be put in. The Jeep had to be hooked up. The jacks had to be raised. Everything we normally split had to be done and I was the only one to do it. I had some friends that offered to help but I knew Bill and I had a system and I should be able to do it all by myself, and so I did.

Bill does so much. I do not appreciate how much he does on a regular basis. He knows I am willing to help with the sewer but he just takes care of it. He takes care of most of the sewer and water and power hook ups. I usually take care of the slides and jacks and we share the Jeep hookup. Doing it all myself this morning really made me appreciate how much he does. I was very proud of myself for being able to do everything on my own and knowing I could do it.

I hope all of the folks out there who’s spouses take care of a lot of things for them can make sure they know how to do things. It is so important to be able to take charge and do things if your spouse is down and out.

As for Bill, we are hoping that not taking the medication will remedy many of his issues this evening and by tomorrow morning he will be just fine.

Thank goodness we only moved an hour south today. It would have been a lot more difficult to do everything and have to drive 4-5 hours in the rain. I admire the people that RV on their own. They are so strong and independent.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all!

Christmas in the RV

What does Christmas mean to you? Many people feel like you have to be a specific place or with specific people. Some people I have known really didn’t care who they were with as long as they got the gift they expected. Oy!

To me Christmas was one of the few traditions we had when I was growing up. Santa stopped by my grandma’s house before setting out across the world because he knew we had Christmas on Christmas Eve so the Aunts and Uncles could spend Christmas Day with their spouses families. So every Christmas Eve my parents and us kids would head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Each year may be different depending on who else showed up but it was always me, my 2 brothers, my parents, my grandparents, my aunt Kathy and my uncle Henry. We would have dinner and after the kids washed all the china and put it back in the china cabinet we would sit down and my aunt would pass out the presents. Once we were older there were too many children for gifts so we started doing “Joke Chirstmas”. Joke Christmas entailed getting together and each person would get a gift or two, generally homemade, that reminded us of something funny that happened during the year. One year my grandpa was watering flowers at my aunt’s plant nursery and when he went to pick a dead blossom off a plant he stuck the hose in his pocket running full blast, that year for Christmas he got an attachment for the end of the hose that had a switch to turn it on and off. In the mid-80s I had a little obsession with earrings, the longer the better, so my aunt and 2 cousins got together and twisted and tied fishing lures, paper clips, beads, and goodness knows what else making me a pair that was about 5 feet long. That year my cousin was at the store and started talking to a mannequin thinking it was a sales person, so for Christmas she got a Barbie doll so she would never be lonely. As we got older my older brother and I would ditch out on all the political chat and head over to see the newest action flick Die Hard, or Lethal Weapon many of the years. These are some of the things I remember most about Christmas. The last 3 years Bill and I have had a very traditional Christmas in the house with all the kids and family. I would cook half the day and we would have stockings and presents on Christmas morning. Last year we even did some Hanukkah traditions from the kids’ and Bill’s past.

This week we sat down to work out where we might be for Christmas. We are still not entirely sure but are thinking it may be Phoenix this year. It will be a very different Christmas but I am happy with where we are going and it has been so much fun so far. We bought a blow up Snoopy on his house decorated for Christmas

and a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree complete with Linus’ blanket that has no chance of losing its needles. Heh

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Maybe next year we will be back with my grandma who I haven’t seen for Christmas is 7 years.  Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday wherever you choose to be and whomever you choose to be with. For me we will be celebrating with some new friends and some old friends here in Phoenix and our new holiday tradition… Margaritas! Grin. Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

Our new Holiday decor

From London to Burros

We are currently residing in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. We had a pretty easy drive here from Pahrump the other day, but once we got here we had to take care of our hot water issue yet again. I think (and hope) we got it fixed so that it lasts now.

Yesterday we spent the day exploring the area. Lake Havasu was established in 1964 by Robert McCulloch as a planned community. In 1967 McCulloch purchased the London Bridge from the City of London and moved it to Lake Havasu as a tourist attraction. Well I guess it worked according to Wikipedia the London Bridge is the second most visited attraction in Arizona behind the Grand Canyon. The stones on the bridge were numbered, taken apart and shipped over to the Lake Havasu City where the bridge was re-assembled on dry land between the city and a peninsula that jutted out into the lake. Once the bridge was completed the land under the bridge was dredged out turning the peninsula into an island. We spent time at the bridge and the area around it and then drove out on to island. The drive around the island was nice and we saw a couple of the miniature lighthouse replicas that have been built. As the day progressed the wind picked up quite a bit due to the storm that was coming into the area. I did get to fly a kite for a few minutes although I was a bit worried that I would be carried away.

London Bridge Lake Havasu AZ

Replica of the Ohio Lighthouse on Lake Erie - Lake Havasu AZ

Today we headed out to rectify an omission from our Route 66 road trip of a few years ago. At the time we lived in the Seattle area and were going to attend a glass convention in Las Vegas. Well of course the best way to get from Seattle to Vegas is by way of Amarillo, TX along Route 66. Since we needed to get to Vegas we drove on Route 66 from Amarillo, TX to Kingman, AZ then went up to Vegas then back down to Barstow, CA after Vegas to continue our travels on Route 66. Well we missed one of the longest stretches of the old Route 66 and the town of Oatman, AZ.
Oatman is a former mining town that according to the 2000 census had a population of 126. Oatman is famous for being on Route 66 and the wild burros that wonder up and down the main street. One does need to be careful of where they step in Oatman.

Burros on Main St Oatman AZ

Lucky (born spring 2010) with his mother

In December Oatman has a Christmas Bush festival. Since there are not many (or any) evergreen trees in the area – the business and residents of Oatman decorate the bushes along the road into town.

Oatman Christmas Bush

Oatman Christmas Bush

We spent a few hours in Oatman feeding the burros and wandering thru the shops and then headed out the other side of town following Route 66 thru some beautiful scenery back to Kingman.

Bill and Leslie a bit confused after spending time in Oatman AZ

Along Rt 66 from Oatman to Kingman

So in the last two days we have visited a small piece of London and feed burros – what could top the day off? Why a nice sunset of course.

Sunset along Rt 40 in Az

Over the Hump from Pahrump

We have been based at the Escapees RV Park in Pahrump NV since Tuesday. Pahrump is an interesting little town located about 55 miles to the west and slightly north of Las Vegas.  In 2000 Pahrump had a population of around 24,000 and it is estimated to have grown to around 65,000 in 2010. Pahrump has a number of casinos, various fast food establishments including a Sonic and a small super Wal*Mart, however, it has no movie theater. To go to a movie or shop at a Costco, Best Buy or such, residents of Pahrump head into to Las Vegas. 

Pahrump sits in a valley at about 2600 feet and Las Vegas in another valley at about 2000 feet. However  to get from one to another one takes Nevada State Route 160 which goes over the Mountain Springs Summit at 5500 feet. Hence one goes over the hump to get from Pahrump to Las Vegas. 

Saturday we went over the hump from Pahrump to Las Vegas. We started the day at the Ethel M Chocolate factory in Henderson (a suburb of Las Vegas). Even though it was Saturday they were making the Chocolapolitan Cocktail chocolate. Ethel M’s makes some wonderful chocolates including a set of cocktail flavors.  We were given a few samples and then had to purchase some for us and gifts. The grounds of the factory are home to the Ethel M’s Chocolate Botanical Cactus Garden. The garden is Nevada’s largest and one of the world’s largest collections of cactus. 

Ethel Ms Chocolates

Ethel Ms Cactus Gardens

After the chocolate and cactus we were hungry for lunch so we headed to the Mirage Casino on the Las Vegas Strip to eat at BLT Burger. BLT Burger was featured on Food Networks Chiefs vs. City a bit over a year ago. Last year when we went to Vegas for my daughters 21st birthday we ate at BLT Burger a few times and loved it.  How can one beat a 100% Angus Beef burger topped with Blue Cheese, Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms? By adding the Toasted Marshmallow shake. Sorry Lex, wish you were there.

After our wonderful lunch we wondered around and walked thru Harrah’s Casino. It was interested to see some changes here and there from when we stayed there back in August of 2009.  As we wandered around the sun went down and we were able to start getting some night shots of the lights – I knew there was a reason I was carrying the tripod.  In the past I took a number of night shoots but many were blurred due to the shutter times needed. We eventually made our way down to the Luxor Casino for a stop at Tacos and Tequila for some margaritas and a snack. 

Excalibur at Night

Paris at Night

After our drinks and snack we walked part way down the strip to the M&M store. A visit to the M&M store was a primary reason for our trip into Vegas. Where else can you find 4 floors of everything M&M? Right next door to the M&M store is the Coke store for the ultimate sugar rush. On the second floor of the Coke store there is a soda fountain that sells flavors from around the world. They have a “Tastes of the World” sampler that includes 16 international flavors. We agree that Smart Watermelon is still our favorite (we had it at the Coke pavilion at Epcot). Although the Smart Apple is a close second (needed to be a bit tarter), and the Sunfill Backcurrant from the Mauritius was very good also. On the other hand they sell a drink in Italy called Beverly. All I will say is that if anyone ever offers you a taste – do not walk, run away. 

Tastes of the World - 16 International Flavors

We continued our trek down the Las Vegas Boulevard towards the Bellagio for one of the other reasons we went over the hump – the fountains and gardens. We have never been to Vegas at Christmas time so the songs and fountain shows were all new to us. As always the Bellagio Gardens were beautiful. 

Fountains of Bellagio

Bellagio Gardens

Here is a video of the Bellagio Fountains – Winter Wonderland (the video is about 139 meg)

We had a wonderful time in Las Vegas – but we still had an hour ride back over the hump to Pahrump and it was getting late.

I hate using such a cliche but.. Viva Las Vegas

Several years ago Bill wanted to go to Las Vegas for a Bead and Jewelry making convention, we talked about going together but I was hesitant. Everything I had heard about Las Vegas made me think I wouldn’t like it. I am not a gambler. I hate slots. I just don’t get it. I love card games but more with friends than against strangers. I just didn’t see what Vegas would have that I would enjoy. However, I knew Bill really wanted to go to the convention and figured we could have SOME fun doing something. That first trip I became a believer. I had a spa day, we watched the Bellagio fountains, and of course we went to the M&M store. We had some great food and the environment was so bright and exciting.

So many years before Bill and I met, his daughter and he went to a Cirque du Soleil and afterward were having a conversation about how the best ones were in Vegas. Then Lex throws out the question, “So will you take me to Las Vegas for my 21st Birthday?” Bill thinking she would NEVER remember such a thing says, “Sure”.

So last summer off we went to Vegas to celebrate Lex’s 21st birthday. It was a family affair. Bill, Bill’s Ex, both kids each with a friend, and me. We spent a week in Las Vegas. We had great food, saw some fun shows, gambled a little. We went to aquariums and went to see Loins and Tigers, no bears though.

So a few weeks ago as Bill and I were planning out our path to Florida Bill decided we should stop in Vegas for a day or two. We both needed new M&M t-shirts and so we planned our trip.

Should I be jealous?

You will notice Blue is the one with the Green kiss... I guess he is the coolest.

Yesterday I was feeling mostly better and so we trekked off to Las Vegas. We have 2 very favorite restaurants out of the many we tried and decided to have a day of yummies. Our first stop was at BLT for the best hamburger on the planet (and trust me I have had my fair share of hamburgers to make that proclamation) and the “Campfire Marshmallow” milkshake.

See the lovely marshmallow on the left and the shake running down the side... yum

It tastes just like a roasted marshmallow and is sooooooooo good. We walked that off for a few hours, stopping at the Erotic Heritage Museum, which is quite an interesting place. Then meandered down toward the Luxor for snacks and the best margarita we had ever had at Tacos and Tequilas. We then walked that off heading down to the M&M store to pick up a few items (no M&Ms) and next to the Coke store where we tasted 16 flavors of Coke from around the world (skip the Italian soda (The Beverly) if you go it is horrendous). We then walked further down strip through the new hotels The Contemporary and Aria they are snazzy but more ritzy than I prefer.

We finally got over to the Bellagio. The Bellagio is my favorite hotel. It is more expensive than I would ever spend to STAY in a hotel but luckily in Vegas you don’t need to stay in them to wander through. The Bellagio has 2 major things I go for every time we are in Vegas. The first is the fountains. In the front of the hotel they have a little lake, in the lake are fountains and every 30 mins during the day and every 15 mins at night they play a song and the water “dances” to the music.

I love water… water fountains, waterfalls, ocean, ponds, lakes, rivers. If it is water I like it. Bill is the same way. We will stand for hours watching the fountain and then waiting for the next show. Last night I was pleasantly surprised by the holiday music the fountains danced to.
The second thing I love about the Bellagio are the gardens. They have this massive room that is a garden and for each season they change the garden. The first time Bill and I were in Vegas was Spring. There was a butterfly house and tulips.

The second with the family it was summer. Hot air balloons decorated the ceiling.

Each season there are animals made from flowers… ladybugs, frogs, polar bears all kinds of beautiful creatures.

This time it is winter. There was a beautiful polar bear made from white carnations. There were penguins with building plans making igloos to stay in for the winter. The center area was every color of poinsettia I have ever seen and then a few (which is saying something because I grew up on a plant nursery). It is so lovely. Each time we go we just love to visit the gardens.

At this point it was midnight and I had the munchies but I was so tired and realized we had an hour or more drive home so we stopped in the Carnegie Deli in the Mirage for a bite but we wanted it to go and knew a sandwich would get icky if it sat too long so we asked for their pastrami without the bread. Basically that amounted to 14 OUNCES of pastrami with 2 pickles and a cup of stone ground mustard on the side… well at least its Atkins’s friendly. LOL We ate that on our ride home (well not all of it… WHO eats 14 oz of meat on a single sandwich… oh yeah those NYers.) For those of you skeptics the Carnegie in Vegas is actually the same deli using the same recipes as the deli in NY. Yum!

We walked almost 20,000 steps (almost twice the daily recommendation) and we each burned over 3,500 calories (1,000 calories more than my daily goal) so I think we balanced the calorie intake with the calorie burn and we don’t do that everyday (thank goodness). The traffic was light and I imagine this is likely a slow period for Vegas. It was so fun but I know it was even more fun when we had our family trip. I find the more people I have around the more I enjoy things. It will be a while before we make it back to Vegas. Which for my waistline is probably for the best. LOL For someplace I expected not to like at all I have truly grown to love Las Vegas. There is something here for everyone. Although I personally don’t think I would bring children under 12. LOL It is a great place for adults that want to be kids though. Grin.