Well, FINALLY… it’s time to actually SEE Las Vegas!
First stop, the Boulder Casino for their Buffet Breakfast. Yum! Signed up for their players card to get a discount on their breakfast and then enjoyed it! So delicious!
Next, we went back to RV to drop off the car, then walked to the bus stop and took the bus in, as it was a cheap fee to ride all day and was easy to see most of the strip that way. We stopped along the different casino stops along the strip. Since I’ve been to Vegas many times, I kind of knew which casinos would be good to show Ivan and Christopher to get them a good taste of Vegas. Although, there were casinos that I hadn’t been to, and ones I heard we should visit…
Our first stop was the Wynn…
We were out the entire day and saw so much… Ivan was worn out… but since it was very late, we just decided to stop at the Fremont Experience before heading back to the RV Park and getting that done as well… so we did that. It was great. The music was set to Imagine Dragons. Great show. If we had more energy, we’d have stayed for the next show, which we heard would have been set to The Who, and we are all fans, but we were too tired to wait around another hour… we are now West Coasters, so we’ll be back… we can see more shows later.
We barely made it to the RV, it had been a super long day! We were heading out the next day to get home… after another buffet, we had decided! lol
Up ridiculously early to go hiking! When the weather gets to temps of about 110 degrees in the desert, you start thinking that you must get up around 5 am to do any sort of physical exercise… and that’s what Christopher and I did… however, that doesn’t mean that we were quite awake and thinking like we normally do… it was VERY early and we weren’t quite ourselves at that time of morning… however, we woke up fairly quickly. We met Samia at a gas station near Red Rock Casino and parked her car at the Casino, then we drove up to the Canyon. We had scoped out a trail, but then found another that sounded like fun… and started that one. We chose Calico Tanks. We had hoped we’d see water.
Calico Tanks was 2.5 miles and was listed as Moderate for the type of trail it was… and promised a great view of Las Vegas. The one we were going to do was 3.3 miles…
Well, after our hike, we were SO glad we went on the 2.5 mile one, because by the time we finished, #1, it was SOOO HOT! #2, we were out of water! #3 MODERATE was something we had to reconsider, there were parts to this trail that we were able to do, however, we needed each other for support and if we’d known, we’d have carried less… I’d not have brought my Canon camera, I’d have brought my fanny pack to carry things, so both of my hands were free, etc…
However, we TRULY had a great time! We were just EXHAUSTED! LOL
Said goodbye to Samia, what a great time we had with her! Headed back to the RV to pick up Ivan… fix some sandwiches and grab drinks and then head out to Hoover Dam. Very impressive! Sad about the water levels, but cool to see the dam! Also the new bridge, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, across from the dam as well… which we walked across both structures, in the heat… it was a great day for exercise!
We called it a day when we returned to the RV and just relaxed… the following day would be our “Tour Vegas” day!
We got up fairly early and my cousin, Leni, came over to say goodbye to us! We were told that her and Sondra would be heading out to California the following week and would see us at my cousin, Rick’s home the following Sunday for our “welcome-back-home-to-California” Party! Yay! So, it was just a see-you-later to her and a hug and goodbye to Natasha and the boys! Boy, we sure had a great time with family! Loved our time there!
We headed on down to Vegas next! RV drove VERY well! Whew! Also, we started to FINALLY experience those HIGH TEMPS we knew we were going to expect… The scenery was very beautiful… we drove past the Salton Sea and the Inyo Forest. Experienced some crazy drivers heading into Vegas… Not quite sure what their hurry is… 2 lane highway, full of people, not sure how much further up they think they can get if they go around cars, but more power to them… Geez!
We got in to Vegas, at the King’s Row RV Park later in the afternoon. We were pretty tired… heat and driving does that to ya. Ivan just wanted to rest, so Christopher and I went to a Walmart and picked up some water and not sure what else and then rested a bit more before we headed to the Silverton Casino to meet my dear friend, Samia, for dinner. She and I had gone to high school together about 30 years ago!
We hadn’t seen each other for about 25 years! It was soooo good to see her again! Dinner was a Polynesian buffet and it was delicious! We were all pretty tired, though, so we made plans to meet early the following morning to hike Red Rock Canyon and we called it a night.
Our RV was still in the shop for repairs and we were told that today would be the day we could pick it up, however, we really wanted to go exploring! So, we got out of the house early and headed up to South Lake Tahoe. My cousin, Natasha, wanted to show us the Tallac property, which is a lovely site of three museums, the Pope Estate, the Baldwin Estate and Valhalla… this is a leisurely stroll through buildings and homes to give one the sense of what it was like to live lakeside years ago. With the beauty of the day and weather, it was perfect for us to be there.
Of course, before we even got out to start our siteseeing, we were called to pick up the RV, but we just told them we’d be there to pick it up before they closed for the day, we were enjoying our time by the lake.
After the Tallac properties, Natasha took us on a hike that gave us a lovely view of the lake. We really enjoyed it, but got a bit nervous at the end when we all had to scale a huge rock for that lovely view! I think we’d have been fine, except that we were in the presence of two very young children and so Christopher and I were a little on edge. Christopher lifted first one, then the other up to me and I was like, “sit down, DO NOT MOVE!” and freaking out til all of us were on this rock and able to hold on to their little hands! NERVOUS! LOL But, they survived to scamper down the mountain. Whew! They are good boys! Maybe they were nervous, too?
We headed to the RV Repair and after $800 spent to repair the fuel pump, we discovered that we had another problem that was repaired as well… Much to our delight. When we bought this Class A, we were told that our fuel gauge did not work and that it would cost $1,500 to fix. The dealer didn’t want to do it, or if they did, they wanted to have us pay for half to fix it and this on top of our price. We weren’t going to do that. So, we ended up getting them to take off $1,000 on the price of the RV and we drove off the lot with full intent to just jot down our mileage and get gas at every 250 miles across America, which is what we have been doing. Well, they fixed the fuel pump and guess what? Fuel Gauge automatically fixed itself! WOOHOO! BONUS! THANK YOU! That made us VERY happy!
Last night with my cousins, and my cousin, Sondra (Natasha’s sister) came out to visit. It was great seeing her again… (Ivan and Christopher have never met her)… and then we all headed to bed to leave in the morning for SIN CITY!
We woke up after a great night’s sleep to a home cooked breakfast by my cousin, Natasha. The boys are young and so energetic, but they are all so sweet! I taught Aden (the oldest) the card game Speed. That game kept my brother and I busy for hours when I was young. We heard from the repair shop and our fuel filter is clogged and the fuel pump definitely needs to be replaced. We won’t be picking it up till Wednesday, so I had to call the campground again and see if we were able to still get our reservation. They were great about it. But we hoped to get Thursday night, too and .38 Special is coming into town, so they aren’t too sure about that. They would try working on it for us.
With that sort of handled, we decided to get some sightseeing done and went to Virginia City. On the way there, our dentist back in Scranton called letting us know of a credit on our account and if we wanted to leave it there our have it refunded… What luck and timing! As we are moving west, we couldn’t keep it with them, so the refund would help pay for our current RV repairs. What relief! Back to our trip to Virginia City…
What a very cool town!
We saw St.Mary’s of the Mountains first. Nevada’s first Catholic Church.
Then we walked the main street that had tons of shops and lots of places you can walk into with historical information about the town.
Lots of photo ops as well… Kind of reminiscent of Wall Drug in South Dakota.
Just a fun place to go and spend some time. We got some fudge from Grandma’s Kitchen to enjoy later.
We left there and drove to my cousin’s clothing consignment shop in North Carson City called “Its a Girl Thang”. I completely forgot to take pictures… But if you ever find yourself there, drop by.
We picked up pizza at Costco for dinner and that was it for the night. Fudge for dessert. Yum!
We left Twin Falls on Sunday. The RV had run a bit warm heading into Idaho, so we checked our fluids before heading out and filled up with coolant before heading out.
We got one last visit from my girlfriend, Terrie and her daughter, Sami, and showed them our new home. They approved. 🙂
Then, we headed out. We don’t like to drive more than 300 miles per day, it just gets too exhausting, as we are driving separately.
Our first stop would be to gas up in Jackpot, Nv.
You know you hit Nevada state line when you immediately see the casinos line up.
Then we headed for Winnemucca, Nv and a Wal-Mart for our overnight stop.
It was a nice stop.
We had a nice sunset in Winnemucca.
We saw the Sierra mountains on this trip.
The next day, we drove straight through with our hope to be in Carson Valley campground in Minden, Nv near my cousin’s place.
Well, we got to Carson City, which was pretty close, actually, before the RV started popping and stalling out in traffic. Uggh!
We ended up having to pull off into a Lowe’s parking lot and calling around to see if anyone could fix it. Finally, we found an auto shop in Carson city that would look at it the next morning… We had less than an hour to secure the cats and pack up. My cousin said we all could come over to her place. We were so lucky to have that option!
Next to Lowe’s was a Petco, so we were able to get two cat carriers and then a portable litter box. Then quickly packed our clothes. A bit stressful, to say the least.
Tow truck showed up and took our home away. That is a helpless feeling.
Our cats hated being boxed up. They aren’t quite warming up to my cousin’s place either. Nutter is hiding under a bed, Puddin’ is trying to take over the house and make it her own and hiss and swat and the other two kitties that lived here.
We are hoping to get our home back soon so that they can get back to their safe space quickly.
We are much more adaptable to change than they are, it seems.
My cousins welcomed us with open hearts and arms and a nice home cooked meal with cherry pie for dessert. Wonderful feeling to have a family support system 🙂
We got to Twin Falls on Friday and are leaving this morning. My friend, Terrie, and her family live here. She and I met many years ago when my brother dated her. Things worked out perfectly, we say… Because her and I have become great friends from day one 🙂
When I find some old pics of us, I will edit them into the post here.
Anyway… Her family is from England. Actually her mother is. From Braintree. Which is actually where Ivan’s sister lived. Small world, isn’t it? We pulled into town, settled in to the 93 RV Park, when she can actually see from her back porch and then drove over for a full on English meal of roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and even spotted dick for dessert.
Lots of wonderful conversation… Reminiscing between Terrie and I, new friendships made with Ivan and Christopher and her family. It was a great time! We also met the new family weed-eating goat. Just brought home that morning… So cute!
Her daughter, Dani, reminded us that the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer was opening at the theatres and so since we all wanted to see it, we just headed to their nearest mall to see it. Fun!
The next morning, we were served a wonderful breakfast by Terrie and then shown the sites by her daughter, Sami, and herself. We went to Balanced Rock… Wow! That was fun! We all hiked to the top and crawled all over rocks, but the climb down was SCARY!!! Yet, we all survived!
Then it was off to Centennial Park… Views of their Perrine bridge and a waterfall there that you can walk behind.
Then on to Shoshone Falls! So pretty, though we were told that the local farmers have already dipped into the water supply for their fields or the water level would be way higher!
Then on to Derkey lake, then on to her mom and dad’s (Marion and Howard) for another lovely dinner! Amazing!
Afterwards, we checked out snake river and the Evil Knievel failed jump site and Perrine bridge. Ending up seeing some base jumpers jump from bridge. Free entertainment right there!
What an amazing time we have had here! They are like family to us!
Can’t wait to see them again!
We had a bonus last night, too…
Remember our friends in Iowa? Remember Christopher’s friend Tyson… Six years old? He missed him and apparently wanted to talk to him, so last night, after dinner, Chris got a Facebook chat phone call from Tyson. How sweet was that? Making friends! Making memories! Love that!
When we tried leaving our campsite in Gallatin National Forest (Red Cliff campground) on Thursday morning (June 16th, 2015)… Our RV steps wouldn’t retract. We have been having issues with them this entire trip… Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t, but if we start the ignition, they always did. This time they did not… Although they sounded like they wanted to. Anyway, we had not had any Verizon signal or Wi-Fi for days, so we were kind of stuck. We, most certainly, are not mechanically minded, at all! We opted for heading the 41 miles into West Yellowstone, to get a signal and hope we could call someone to help us out. We just got to the edge of town and made some calls and an RV repair guy came out to us, detached something, pulled the steps in, wired them up for us and we were on our way. We will get them fixed in California. We just wanted to get back on the road.
So, then, we were off. Headed west again. This time, to Arco, Idaho. That is where we were going to stay for the night while we explored Craters of the Moon National Monument. We passed an atomic museum… Quite an interesting place… This Arco, Idaho. If I had known this museum was out here, I definitely would have stopped… I think it was about 18 miles before you got to Arco.
We arrived around 1:30 and checked in. First off, what a super nice RV Park!
We just left a nice park with electric hook up, only. This one was water and electric… But it also had showers and laundry! Something the three of us were very much looking forward to! We nearly jumped out of our skins for joy when we checked out the facilities and they were the best we had ever seen on our travels! Clean, private, roomy! Just so very nice! Wasn’t super expensive, can’t remember how much… Well edit this post or comment the cost when I look it up (Sorry)… I am a few days behind in posting, ever since Yellowstone. Anyway…
Arco… First city in US powered by atomic power. Also, there is a hill that has numbers all over it… You can ask anyone in town, they are all happy to tell you that since 1920, the graduating class of Butte High School goes up there to paint their graduating year up on that hill… It is known as Number Hill.
We checked in… Decided to head to Craters before it got too late, then come back to shower and do laundry.
It was a great decision… Craters and Arco are situated in the middle of the desert and it can get extremely windy out there. So we ended up getting pretty dirty with dust blowing all around us.
We loved seeing all the sites that the park had to offer.
The craters, the cinder cones (one huge one that Christopher and I could climb up to and get some incredible photos of the views around it)…
We saw spatter cones and even got to walk through lava tubes and climb out of them! It was very amazing! What an amazing park! My family is quite geeky, and so this sort of thing is truly right up our alley!
After hours spent here, we headed back for showers and laundry. Then, it was a drive to Twin Falls the following day to visit a friend I haven’t seen in about 16 years!
Wow! What a place Yellowstone is! Seriously, you have got to visit!
We left Townsend, Montana and our first stop before heading east to Bozeman, Mt was Wheat Montana bakery. My cousin told us about their cinnamon rolls and to get Ivan a coffee before a long drive is never a bad idea.
We headed to a Wal-Mart first for supplies (food and water) before heading to a camp with only electric for the next four nights.
When we left there, we almost had a horrible emergency! Ivan and Chris noticed that the emergency brake said it was released when it wasn’t… The brakes were smoking and we thought the RV was on fire! Thankfully, emergency caught and rectified! Thank God!!!!
We arrived at Red Cliff campground on highway 191, about 41 miles north of West Yellowstone entrance. Beautiful campground, very near a beautiful river… Also, without making reservations till two nights before, just about the last we could get in peak, summer time at the oldest national park in the country.
When we first arrived, Sunday night, the first place we drove to was Old Faithful. We just missed an eruption, so had to wait about an hour and a half for the next one. Got some postcards in the gift shop, saw a chipmunk, got our seats picked out for the “show” and waited. Then we walked over to look at the interior of the inn and then behind it for dinner at the general store… Awesome milkshakes!
Then home for the night.
Next day, we took my cousin’s advice and checked out Jackson, Mt. We knew it would be a long day, so we packed lunches and drinks. Headed out early and hit traffic in the park. People are notorious for stopping to get pictures of every animal they see! It delayed us quite a bit. But, onward. We stopped at the edge of a lake with a view of the Tetons for lunch. It took us over four hours to get to the cute town of Jackson. We stopped at Starbucks, then walked around a bit. The town has these statues for photo ops that we had fun with… But, if we were ever to get back to camp, we needed to head back.
We got back to West Yellowstone and had dinner under a covered wagon. I had a buffalo burger. Didn’t taste very different from beef. The guys had fish and chips. Would we do Jackson again? Well, it was lovely and quaint… But, for the distance, we would have opted out of this excursion, had we known. If we were closer to it, definitely! For us… Being from Pennsylvania… We equated out to Jim Thorpe… A must see, but not after a four hour drive.
Next day in Yellowstone was spent doing the thermal activity tour…Stop one… Upper geyser basin, where the world’s largest concentration of geysers are found, including Old Faithful. We saw it go off twice more. We also saw three more geysers erupt… Daisy, beehive and grotto. Other little ones, too. Lots of springs and pools. We were there for a couple of hours, walked a lot!
Then we went to the biscuit basin to see the Sapphire pool… So blue! Gorgeous!
Then, it was off to the Midway Geyser Basin to see the Grand Prismatic Spring… This area was breathtaking! Other worldly, in fact. A must see!
Off northern route to see the Gibbons Falls.
Then the Artist’s Paintpots.
Then northward on a dirt road for over seven miles, major road construction… To the Mammoth Hot Springs. Beautiful terraces!
Also, the scenery was lovely… Then the drive back to camp… Another long day for us!
Our last day in Yellowstone was spent with a huge delay because of a buffalo in the road on the way in… Uggh! Bumper to bumper traffic! Then it was over to the canyon and Falls area… And rain! We got lots of lovely photos anyway. Christopher and I walked down to the brink of the lower falls… Probably the steepest climb I have ever done. I think it trumped Neushwanstein… Unless that was so long ago, it pales in memory. This was pretty steep. But, I survived! Gorgeous view!
Drove down to Fishing Bridge after for views of Lake Yellowstone before calling it a day, then headed back through Hayden Valley into West Yellowstone for dinner at an all you can eat spaghetti place for dinner.
That wraps up our visit to Yellowstone! We won’t soon forget it… Wonderful memories here!
We have loved our time here… I’ll continue from where I left off…
We had decided to check out our roof to see if we could find the leak… but to no avail. Just could not see what was wrong up there… We’ll just have to hope and pray that we just don’t have many issues until we can get things looked at in California when we arrive.
We were able to get back out on the Canyon Ferry Lake, but we weren’t sure how long for… because the rain clouds were all around us. But, we headed out and it was great… able to catch a bit of sun, eat a bit of lunch and even Christopher and my cousins jumped in the lake for a bit until the water started to quickly turn choppy and then it was a rush to the dock. That quick ride back was exhilarating!
Cousins Anne Marie and Steve had us all over for a lovely dinner at their home and it was a great night spent talking and just enjoying family time… After dinner the “men folk” retired to the front porch for lovely views of the fields and mountains, while the women cleaned up and then talked in the living room… a lovely walk back to Kelly and Jeff’s and then it was game night til the wee hours. Great fun!
The following day, we went seperate ways… Jeff took Ivan and Christopher out to the countryside for some awesome views of the Missouri River and hills/mountains,
while, Deedee, Kelly and I went to Kelsey’s baby shower in Helena. Kelsey is Tommy’s wife (Tommy is Kelly and Jeff’s son). I have been on facebook with her, but it as my first time meeting her and I also got to meet Jordyn (Trey’s wife)… another son of Kelly and Jeff’s. I had the time of my life being with family that I haven’t met in person, but now that I’m moving to the West Coast, I hope to know more of. 🙂
On our way home, Kelly drove us to the other side of the Canyon Ferry Lake and I got to see the Dam and the lovely views…
The evening was spent going to a real hoedown, Montana style! There is a local family who runs Watson Irrigation in Townsend. Every summer for the Fourth, they throw a big party and it’s sort of a thank you to the community for their friendship and business… how awesome and just good ol’ American is that? This shindig invited everyone… come one, come all! Big country band playing live music… a bronco bull for the kids to ride… fire pit, free bar, huge buffet line of some real awesome food and even sundaes for desert! The huge topper of the evening was a fireworks display unlike any I’ve seen… for a private display, it outshone many a public display! It was fantastic! More hanging out at the house afterwards… Ivan was showing Jeff his roman coins that he likes to tinker with…
I made a promise to Kelly last night that I’d bring Ivan back for Jeff to play with… I’ll have to bring Christopher back for Nathan to play with and I’ll have to come back for Kelly to play with… all in all, our time here was fantastic and we can’t wait to return! We’ll miss Townsend and our family time here. It’s now goodbye time and off to Yellowstone! Not sure of our wi-fi there, but I’ll post when we can!