Hangin’ Out in Vegas

Hard to believe we’ve been camped in Gail/Dan’s driveway for over a week.  Is it remotely possible that we’ve overstayed our welcome?  Um, yes.

But, what a terrific family holiday we’ve had.  We arrived on Christmas Eve afternoon, about 10 minutes behind my sister Lynn and husband Jerry, who traveled from Green Valley, AZ.  We tucked the Fireball in behind Gail and Dan’s coach.  It was intimidating enough that we slept with one eye open every night!wpid-20150101_144731-1.jpgGail’s son Mark, along with his wife Tatsumi, and kids Erin and Shaw rolled in from Laguna Hills, CA on the 26th to complete the holiday celebration.  This is our whole gang – Lynn/Jerry, Gail/Dan, Tatsumi/Mark, Shaw, Erin, John and me.  Jezzy sneaked into the photo, although the other five pups somehow were left out.  20141229_115213Gail/Dan bought everybody remote controlled helicopters for Christmas.  An aerospace engineering degree apparently didn’t  help Mark much with his launch.  Who knew these would be so difficult to fly?John also a tough run with his mini-helicopter, managing to fly it into the light fixture over the dining room table, delighting the peanut gallery, and terrorizing all the dogs.

We did get in a bit of a hike at Red Rock Canyon National Park (sans Gail and Dan), despite frigid temps and high winds, over unenthusiastic protests of teenagers Erin and Shaw.  We scrambled over boulders and through narrow crevices on a clear, cold day, and enjoyed the spectacular scenery (in spite of ourselves).  Here’s Mark, Tatsumi, and Erin.20141227_130003 Tatsumi gave us a real Cheryl Strayed moment when she slipped out of her shoe while scrambling over some slickrock.  Fortunately, her shoe tumbled down onto John, who snagged it as it rolled past.20141227_13570420141227_13592220141227_130537 20141227_133039 It was a photo-perfect afternoon, highlighted by the appearance of four wild burros, sighted shortly after we drove into the scenic drive.  Although we know they are in the area, this is the first time we’ve even seen them – what a treat!  We kept our distance, so this photo is somewhat less than National Geographic quality.t20141227_122458 Much of the rest of our time was spent playing games (I may be the family cribbage champ, although Gail and Mark tried hard).  Have you ever played Dumb Ass?  A crazy fun board game with lots of laughs.  Perhaps the weirdest game was Heads Up, which utilized an iphone.  It was ridiculous, separating the generations among us even more quickly than Name That Tune could have done.

While Mark and Shaw played dominos, Erin created a beautiful pagoda with the spare bones.  She casually created what the rest of us could not have done with an instruction diagram.20141228_134754 Thank you, Shaw and Erin for hanging in there with us – I can’t imagine myself being quite so gracious as a young teen hanging out with my great aunts and uncles.

Mark, Tats, and kids rolled away on Monday, Lynn and Jerry on Tuesday.  So, we decided to gorge on sushi on Tuesday night.  One of the most enjoyable feasts we’ve had.  20141230_195428Our Fireball refrigeration has crapped out again (for the last time).  We’re junking this fridge, but have decided to go without any electronic refrigeration for the next month, while we camp.  Just too much hassle (and expense) to get one shipped in to Vegas, so that we can install it while we are still here.  Does that qualify as roughing it?  Doubtful!

wpid-screenshot_2015-01-01-17-22-28.pngJezzy and I have patrolled the area since we’ve been here, trying to make up for the three lost days of activity while we were in transit.  Here’s my activity log from my Garmin Vivofit for December.  I purchased it on December 4 – can you tell which were our three travel days?  Not too bad for 27 days!

John and I took the bus down to the strip on December 31 (afternoon) to check out the decorations at the Bellagio.  Stunning.  Unfortunately, there were too many people, and I have too little patience to have anything to show for the day.  But, the gawk-worthy Chihuly ceiling there did merit a photo.20141231_132412Taking the bus was a blast, but it did account for a big portion of my mileage for the day (about 10.5 miles).  We waited patiently at one stop, after running out of energy to push ahead on foot.20141231_143200The oddities of Vegas, and especially Gail’s neighborhood will never get old for me.  20141228_200916We awakened every morning (around 3am) to the rooster that her neighbors keep in their back yard.  Apparently, they also brought in some turkeys (at least one of whom escaped the Thanksgiving axe).  It’s a bit unnerving to hang out in the back yard, and hear a turkey next door – although we never got a glimpse of him because of the wall between.  The house around the corner has two horses in the yard.  It’s wild and woolly in their unincorporated neighborhood.

Christmas decorations without snow will always be an oddity to me.  These strings of lights, laid right on the roof would never last in Michigan.20141227_165656Palm trees?20141227_16592020141231_165408But, now it’s time to camp!  Tomorrow at this time, we’ll be in Lake Havasu State Park.  That’s our first stop in a month-long trek around the perimeter of AZ, traveling along the west, south, and east borders.  All of our destinations are campgrounds we’ve never visited, and we’re excited to cycle new roads, and hike new trails.

So, bye to Gail and Dan (for now).  They’ll be heading to Green Valley in February, staying just yards from Lynn/Jerry, and a few miles from our rented house in the area.  For now, we’re shedding no tears at parting.

We did finish out our year with 179 days of living in our T@DA.  Not sure if we can outdo that in 2015, but we will dream about it.

Happy New Year to all.  Hope there are adventures in your future!




19 thoughts on “Hangin’ Out in Vegas

  1. You are back on the road! What a treat your posts are! I never have any idea what you’ll do next.. I just know you will jump from one fun thing to another and be wildly entertaining!


  2. John may have hit a light fixture with his helicopter, which means that at least he got his off the ground, which is better than some people did. ;)

    It looks and sounds as if you’ve been having a wonderful time. I’m looking forward to reading of your travels through Arizona, and seeing photos with sunshine and blue skies so that I don’t forget what they look like. ;)


    • The funny thing about John hitting the light fixture is that the helicopter clamped on, and stuck there. After I quit filming the bigger chopper, Mark did get it airborne…..so much so that we had to use a pole to get it out of a pine tree. Flight school is in session.

      Bright sun here, for sure. We hit 50 in AZ. Freezing at night still. Will take cold + sun any day. Hang in there, Jerry – will send some to Michigan.


  3. Family in Vegas….turkeys and a rooster?!! What a hoot!! Digging your posts being back up and running…always brings a huge smile. Happy New Year!!!


  4. Happy New Year, Judy and John. Sounds like you had a wonderful week with family. Hope you can get along without the fridge, but I look forward to hearing how you manage that for meats and such. Love all your pictures of family and beautiful scenery. Such warmth and beauty. Have a blast touring Arizona campgrounds.


  5. So glad you enjoyed the holidays with your family!
    We saw the movie Wild with another couple the day after Christmas, loved the reference to the shoe. The movie did pretty good in keeping with the narrative of the book; just a few slight alterations.
    In a former life, aka before Ray, I lived in Nogales, Tucson and Prescott but never camped in AZ so will enjoy traveling along with you visiting old and new places.
    Didn’t you keep the newly purchased fridge after the old one came back to life?
    Happy New Year, safe travels and hope to see you at a campsite in 2015.


    • You lived in Prescott? Lucky you. Yavapai(?) Campground nearby is one if our favorites. Its such a cool town.

      Nope, we ebayed the second fridge. I really didn’t like the layout, so we figured we would cross the replacement issue when this one gave up. It’s had its third strike, so we are truly finished with it. Going to function as an icebox for the remainder of the trip.

      Haven’t seen Wild yet, but the boot scene is firmly planted in my mind from reading the book. We’ll wait for a rainy day to take in the movie.

      Happy New Year to you and Ray.


  6. Safe travels to you. Havasu should have an upcoming balloon festival. Keep me posted on your eastward travels…. we just may bump into each other. Happy New Year!


    • Thanks, Ingrid. We’ll be lurking around AZ until March. Really looking forward to new places – it’s very easy to keep going back to spots we have loved! It would be great to run into you. We’ll be in touch.


  7. Looks like you had a wonderful family gathering in Las Vegas! Love your photos of the beautiful scenery as well as the family! We depart in Tiny Home in a couple of weeks for south Florida.

    Sorry to hear about your fridge woes – I’ll be interested to hear how you make out!

    Happy New Year and have a great time out west!!


    • For the next month anyway, we’re going to use the fridge as an icebox. By putting a container of ice in the freezer section, we can keep it cool enough for most of our stuff. Its a PITA, though.

      Have fun in Florida. Happy New Year to you and Bob.


  8. We had Christmas decorations without snow in Michigan this year. But no palm trees.

    Love the reference to Cheryl Strayed – if it’s taught us nothing else we know not to take our shoes off at the edge of any type of major dropoff :-)

    Happy New Year to you both.


    • Actually, Tatsumi didn’t take her shoe off….it slipped off. Even worse! Christmas without snow is just not right. It’s too bad some of last year’s snow didn’t even out a bit so you could have a bit for the holidays this year. Hope it doesn’t all come in March!

      Thanks for checking in, Marsha.


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