Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Trip Home

We left Vegas Thursday at 9:00 and headed for Salina, Ut. which was a 300 mile drive.  The scenery was gorgeous and the traffic, once we got out of Vegas, was light.  We thought getting out of Vegas would be simple.  Just head north on I 15 which was located right next to our campground.  We soon discovered that their freeway system is under serious reconstruction which added to the morning rush hour traffic and turned the first hour of our trip in chaos.  Our GPS and some lucky guesses on off-ramps got us out of town without any unplanned detours.

Utah does have some of the best scenery to be found anywhere.  It would be nice to stop and explore some of the scenic lookouts along the way but when we are headed home, even a short stop seems to be a delay we aren't willing to take.  We pulled into Butch Cassidy RV Park about 3:00 and paid $38. for our overnight stay.  I usually try to find a Passport America campground as I get a 50% discount with my membership but there weren't any in the area.  I hate shelling out 40 bucks when we are simply stopping for night and hardly using any of their services.  I see why some people take to Walmart parking lots.  Getting in at 3:00 left us a lot of time to kill and we decided that the next day we would get up early and make a full day of it all the way to Denver.  

Salina to Bar Lake Campground, just east of Denver, is 466 miles which is much longer than my usual 300 mile daily limit.   Took us 9 hours including some rather inclement weather.  Looking at the forecast we thought we could beat a spring storm heading for Vail if we left early.  Up at 5:00 and on the road by 6:30 but the weather still got to Vail before us.  While it was warm enough for the roads to remain wet we did have to drive through a blizzard for about 3 hours right into Denver.   We made this trek 3 years ago and I don't remember the roads being this rough.  We may well cross this route off our list and look for other alternatives in future years.  Saturday we drive to Nebraska on I76 and from what I remember its a very bumpy ride.  Oh by the way.  Bar Lake Campground is one to avoid.  Another $38. for a very run down campground, with old unkept RVs in very tight quarters.  Should have kept driving.   

We had originally planned to head straight north from Vegas and on up to Lethbridge to see Jeff, Carrie and the boys however the weather looked worse through Idaho and Montana although after our drive to Denver I'm not so sure.  

I have been quite pleased with how new truck has handled the mountain passes.  The ride is a bit better and the additional power does make a difference on the mountain grades.  The main benefit has been the integration of the transmission with the engine brake and cruise control.  For the most part I set the cruise and the truck downshifts when additional power is needed to handle the climbs and when descending the truck again downshifts and with the help of the engine break keeps the speed in check.  When the grades get to 6% or higher I usually reduce my cruise control setting to about 55 just to keep the RPMs under 3000 but otherwise the system works without any input from myself.   

Saturday will be another long day, about 420 miles as we try to make it to York, NE.  That will leave us a short 240 mile drive to Sioux Falls on Sunday.  Monday morning its up early to winterize the RV and then we drive 320 miles to Grand Forks where we will hotel it for the night.  Tuesday its an easy 160 mile drive home.  Easy as long as the border crossing goes well but so far we haven't had any problems with the custom dudes and dudettes.  

Lori has been snapping a few pics on her phone but our internet connections haven't been good enough for me to download to my Mac from the Cloud so I may post them later or you can see the on her Facebook page.  

Oh by the way.  Its cold here.  Brrrrr.  The truck and the RV are covered in mud and ice from our trip through the mountains.  I'm going to have to take them both through the big truck wash in Birds Hill when I get home.  We really need to find a place to hang out for a few weeks north of the Phoenix heat but south of the still winter spring weather.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

So Long Vegas

We decided to stay 2 more days in Vegas to allow time for some warmer weather to creap on up north.  Unfortunately we were unable to remain in our same spot so on Tuesday we spent the morning waiting for the office to confirm what site we were able to move to.  Finally by 11:00 they gave us the site number and it was one that had been open for a few days.  We could have moved much earlier and hit the Strip before it got too hot. 

We drove down the Strip and found an open air parking lot just behind the Linq casino.  $9.00 to park for 3 hours.  Lori wanted to see the Venetian, the fountains at the Belagio, the M&M and Coke stores.  Unfortunately these are almost at opposite ends of the strip.  The one thing I do remember about our previous visits is that to get anywhere there is a lot of walking.  By the end of it we both had body parts talking to us and realized we are just too old for this.  The next time, if there is a next time, we will break it down into smaller segments over a few days.  Perhaps, since neither of us are gamblers, we will spend more time in restaurants and bars people watching.  And there are certainly lots of people to watch.  All shapes and sizes with some very interesting outfits.  My favourite were the Showgirls walking the strip in their performance attire.   The 2 young ladies with bikini tops, G strings and, to complete the ensemble, playboy bunny ears garnered lots of attention.  They were encouraging people to take pictures with them.  Why I don't have pictures with them is beyond me.  

The original Vegas sign at the south end of the Strip.
Plenty of people stopped here to get pictures in front of the sign.
I'd say that 1/2 the hotels are new since our last visit to Vegas.

Cesars Palace

Paris Las Vegas taken from across the street at the Belagio.
Unfortunately we missed the fountain show. 

So that was the Strip.  A sea of humanity to be sure.  Definitely need to get there earlier when its less crowded and not so hot. 

Wednesday we had tickets to the early draw to see Canada take on Norway.  Miss not having Ulsrud represent Norway, both for his colourful personality and of course his colourful pants.  Canada played much better with Brad making some clutch shots and finishing the Norwegians off in 7 ends.  

That left time for a short trip to the Premium Outlet Mall so Lori could find a steal of a deal on yet one more purse.  We went to Chili's for lunch, some grocery shopping, a diesel fill and then back to the trailer to walk Charli.  

Thats it for Vegas for this year.  Personally I would rather stay in Boulder City which is a 30 minute drive away.  Its easy to drive in if you want to spend time in Vegas but much prefer the beauty of Lake Mead, although those Showgirls were pretty spectacular.  

We are off Thursday morning to Selina, Utah and from there we will probably head east to Denver and home.  Jeff phoned us from Lethbridge yesterday and he informs me that they just got more snow and from the highway weather cameras the route through the Rockies east to Denver looks better than north through Montana.  

We will probably take 5-6 days to get home and will stop in Sioux Falls to winterize the trailer, spend a night in a hotel in Grand Forks and then pull in to Oakbank early on the 10th or 11th.  

Thats all for now. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Curling in Vegas

On Sunday we were part of the mass exodus from Gold Canyon.  We left behind Mark and Jan and a lot of vacant RV spots.  In the past 2 weeks the park had gone from a buzz of activity to almost a ghost town.  We did manage to get our spots reserved for next year and by the sound of it, despite a price increase, it is going to be full up again next year.

The drive up to Vegas was uneventful but seemed to be a lot longer than it actually was.  Sitting in one place for 4 month did not prepare us for an almost 6 hour drive.  Better get used to it cause we have a few more of those in the next week.  We are really appreciating the bigger fuel tank on this truck.  335 miles and still had over 1/2 tank upon arrival.  I got 10.6 MPG which was an improvement over the trip south.  Not sure if it was the lack of strong winds which we had experienced on the way down or if after 5000 miles the truck is getting broken in.  In any event I will take anything over 10 MPG.  

The plan was to stay here for 2 days, take in one draw of the Ford World Curling Championships and then make our way north on hwy 15 up to Lethbridge to see the kids.  The weather in Idaho and Montana is not cooperating with a number of systems forecast to hit over the next week.  We had planned on going to Moab, UT for a few days and then make a decision based on the weather.  Campgrounds in Moab seem to be all booked so we have now booked another 2 days at the Oasis RV Park in Vegas and then check the weather forecast again. 

Today we headed over to the Orleans Arena to see Canada play Italy.  Usually you would think this would be a quick game but the Italians were up for the game and it seemed like the Canadians had other things on their mind.  We had great seats right behind the sheet that Canada was playing on.  Team Gushue's family was right behind us and noticed Stoughton sitting just to our right in the next section.   

Every major curling event I have seen has an old guy in a kilt 
playing the bag pipes leading the teams out onto the ice.   
In Vegas things are a little different. 

Amazing control.
Kept his hands in his pockets and eyes focused down the ice.
She looks just a little uncomfortable though. 

Keep your eyes on the prize guys

All stretched out and ready to go. 

A little team confab.  

The boys played ok but both Mark and Brad had some key
misses that let a sharp Italian team take the lead late in the game.
Canada came back to win when the the Italian skip missed a
double to win the game.
Improvement will be needed to repeat as World Champs. 

A shot of the strip from the "smoking" balcony outside the arena.  

We purchased tickets to the Wednesday morning draw when Canada plays Norway.  Ulsrud isn't representing Norway this year so not sure if we will see the "pants".  If you don't get the reference google "norway men's curling team 2015".  

Learned a couple things today about attending a curling event in Vegas.  It may be 85 outside but its about 55 in the arena.  We dressed in shorts, t-shirts and sandals and if not for the kindness of a couple of Yanks sitting in front of us who lent us their blanket we could have got frostbite.  They layered up with long pants, hoodies and jackets.  Wasn't their first rodeo.  
The souvenir store was pathetic.  Sure missed revenue opportunities with poor selection and no Canada stuff.  Met a couple of ladies from Killarney who were volunteering selling 50/50 tickets and they confirmed that Vegas could use some help hosting Curling events.  
The crowd was sparse but about 70% were Canadians.  The next largest contingent was probably Scotland followed closely by Americans.  The Scotts were the loudest and had the best chants.  
I took my camera and made it through security but then a supervisor saw me and told me I couldn't bring a camera in.  Don't get that cause everyone has cell phones with cameras built in.  They decided to let me in with the camera as they had another rule that I found out about a few minutes later.  
Once we realized how cold it was inside the arena I wanted to go back to the truck to get Lori's jacket.  They told me that if I left I wouldn't be allowed back in.  Huh!  Guess this was the reason they let me keep the camera as I had already cleared security.  

Another shot of the owlets courtesy of JC.  They are going to have to learn
 to fly pretty soon as the nest is getting kind of small.   

Look a lot like Ewoks.

Tuesday morning we have to move to another site for our next two days.  We will probably spend the afternoon checking out the strip.  Lots of new hotels since our last visit some 15 years ago.  I'm sure it will be more of the same though.  Over the top architecture, lots of people, noise, bells and sirens.  Much prefer a hike through the desert.  Each to his own.