109. Las Vegas to Lake Havasu City, AZ

It’s been a pretty quiet month sitting in Las Vegas. It took about 10 days after getting my tooth pulled to feel up to par again. The swelling subsided and finally I realized I wasn’t favoring that side anymore. Glad it’s done.

Reserved a site at the Oasis RV Resort, at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd (“The Strip”) and Blue Diamond (the road to Mt Charleston and Pahrump). It is way on the south side of the strip a bit more than a mile south of McCarren airport and probably 2 miles south of the southernmost so-called Strip resorts – Mandalay Bay. Remember being here when the Mandalay Bay was near completion to become the largest hotel in the city and they discovered that one of the tower’s foundation was settling and the tower was exhibiting a tilt. Big news at the time as engineering companies debated the severity and possible solutions. Don’t know how it settled out but the building’s still standing.

Sharon and I have probably stayed at the Oasis something close to 10 times over the years. It’s older but still a premier RV park. It’s a large park consisting of 935 pull thru, full hook up sites. It has a pitch and putt 18 hole golf course, bocce ball courts, relatively large restaurant, store, a couple of ballrooms and two large heated pools plus spas. It hosts quite a number of weddings and receptions both indoors and in a special area of the patio.

Entrance drive into the park taken from the clubhouse entry.
My site is the next row beyond the silver Airstream and just out of view.
Clubhouse hallway past the ballrooms looking towards the lobby, restaurant and store.
Looking into the bar/restaurant
Lobby/registration and store
Part of the patio area separating the clubhouse from the pool areas. Area for weddings with a pergola just visible in the background
Family pool with sand beach. Adults Only pool with spa visible in the background.
Adult Only pool area
When we first started coming here, this area was ‘way out’ as in a long ways from town. I well remember the few nearby houses were ranch style built on a few acres and most were fenced in with a horse or a mule grazing in the ‘backyard’. As you can see in the background, the houses in the immediate area are no longer ‘ranch style’.

Haven’t done much ‘Vegas-ing’ but one does does need to drive downtown to then walk around Fremont Street. The Fremont Street Experience, as it is officially named, is a 5 or so block long length of this downtown street which has been blocked from traffic. The abundance of neon signs, like cowboy Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie and casino signage lit 24 hours per day, earned the street the nickname of “Glitter Gulch“. To compete with the rapidly expanding ‘resorty’ “Strip” not only were the streets closed to traffic but a large barrel vault canopy was constructed the ceiling of which is a completely comprised of computer controlled LED lights – over 12 million multi colored LEDs. Light and sound shows are programmed with the displays moving quickly and progressively down the length of the canopy. One of the coolest displays I’ve ever seen there, I think, are the Thunderbird jet formation screaming from one end to the other just over your head. The progressive movement of the jets in real time speed 130’ over your head with the jet roar moving down the street is something one doesn’t forget. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them this year overhead.

The black things hanging down on each side of the street are heaters to keep things warm on the cooler winter days. There are also misters incorporated overhead to cool one in the summer desert heat. Also spanning the length are cables which are used as motorized ‘zip lines‘ above the street.
There are zip lines running down the 5 blocks. The lower zip lines are 90’ above the street and the riders ride vertically. The higher lines are 120’ above and those riders are riding strapped horizontally. Me? My feet are on the pavement! The street is filled with portrait artists, amazing, at least to me, artists painting scenes etc of every kind solely using spray cans. There are magicians, shell games for $, and many street musicians as well as 2 or 3 more formal street concert venues and of course, there’s no end of people watching. Also there are a lot of street kiosks hawking all manner of things. No visible police presence but there is a lot of private security and crowd control and everything seems very orderly. Las Vegas is the most COVID19 masked city/area I’ve been in. Indoors compliance with masks approaches 100%
The day I went downtown was the grand opening day of the first new downtown hotel/casino in something like 50 years. 1.2 million square feet between the hotel and casino. 6 huge swimming pools. The developers restored this huge neon sign, Vegas Vickie, that presided over Fremont Street for decades, and moved it inside.
It’s also the site of the worlds largest sports book which, alone, can seat 1,000 people. This view from a burger joint overlooks the 3 story high screens featuring sports around the world.

About 1.5 months or so ago there was an loud explosion on my roof. Literally thought something exploded or hit my rig. I was inside and the bang was so loud that I ducked. My front air conditioner was the source of the racket so I turned that one off. A little depressing in that a new one would run about $1k plus install but even more, the time and hassle to get it done. been there, done that. When that happened on the last motorhome while in CO, also in the summer, it was so busy I couldn’t get any RV shop to even talk to me for weeks and I ended up buying a new AC online, having it shipped to a town on the IA/NE line and having a mobile RV repair install it. Everything RV is extra busy this summer and word is that due to COVID19 AC manufacturing production is down.

With the prior motorhome there was only one roof air and there are two on this rig. The system is ducted and the front and rear roof units, working in tandem, share the duct work. So I still had one working unit but less efficient. The roof systems not only provide air conditioning but also participate, via heat pumps, with the furnace to provide heat. Towards the end of Oct there was a significant cold front predicted to come thru – not a good time to have a unit crap out cutting off one heat source.

A couple of times in the interim I’ve restarted the front unit and it would start albeit with a tremendous racket. Thinking it thru, I decided, since it started, that there probably wasn’t anything wrong with the ac and heat pump units themselves but probably an issue with the fan that moves the air. A little googling of this model revealed that the fan, a drum made of plastic vanes, was indeed the weak link. When the vanes start breaking away from the drum, at hi speed, they make quite a racket hitting the side of the enclosure.

Unfortunately, I can’t get up on the roof anymore to check and so would have to accept the real time diagnosis of a repair person. But I felt confident and comfortable with my assessment. The RV park has a pretty long list of approved vendors (the criteria being minimal complaints) so I texted what seemed to be the biggest one. After 24 hrs I had not yet received a response so at 11:28 am the next day I texted another one. Got an immediate response and he said he’d come over in 1-2 hours to take a look. He actually arrived before noon. He took off the shroud and verified that half or more of the blades were destroyed. He had a new one in his immaculate and organized truck and he installed it. According to my credit card receipt, the time he ran my payment was 12:26pm. 58 minutes from texting him and only $183 parts, service call and labor and all was fixed. Nice to have both zones working and to have redundancy again – all with a minimum of hassle.

While here, I took a long afternoon ride to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I thought I had been there 10 or 15 yrs ago but I mistook it for Valley of Fire State Park. Red Rock is maybe 20 miles west and Valley of Fire probably 40 miles northeast. Both are red rocks areas. Red Rock Canyon is a 13 mile loop road through sandstone (red) and limestone (white) formations against a backdrop of granite mountains. It includes some massive valleys, lots of full as well as collapsed Joshua Tree cacti and miles of hiking trails. Climbing is also permitted. It was quite an interesting ride and am glad I visited.

I spoke with this strange mysterious dude who said he was going free rock climbing 😂

And I found a fossil

Some days later I also visited a major man made monument in the area

”Here” is Hoover Dam. If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll recognize I’ve pretty much been following the Colorado River Basin from the Green River in Southern Wyoming (Rock Springs) and the Flaming Gorge spanning WY and UT (Vernal/Jensen) to the Colorado River itself in Grand Junction/Fruita, CO, then to the San Juan River (Monticello UT/Mesa Verde CO/Bluff UT), skirting Lk Powell and Escalante, Bryce and Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and now the man made pièce de résistance, Hoover Dam. There is more to come in the Colorado River saga.
First glimpse of what’s to come is a sighting of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam’s backwater.
For miles around, no matter where you look and no matter from what angle you look, your view will include the skeletons of giants – high tension electrical towers. Massive in size and density.
The entrance from the Nevada side is ‘guarded’ by a memorial to the building of this massive structure. Hoover Dam turned 85 years old last month (October). This would have been pre massive earth moving equipment and the like. Coming out of the Great Depression (oxymoron), this was pretty much a massive man power made structure. As I stand and look at the heights and tremendously difficult terrain, my knees become jelly. It’s not a job I could have handled. I find it amazing that it took only 3 years to complete. It contains enough concrete to pave a a 2 lane road from Seattle to Miami. 85 years later, the interior concrete is still curing.
Slide L to R or R to L. Some of the giant intake towers. Lake Mead, at full pool, has a max depth of over 500’. It is currently at half pool (half full). The white line (visible the entire 100+ mile length of the Lake) marks the high water level (minerals from the water crystallized on the rock). The intake towers have huge filters on their sides and it’s clearly visible how many are no longer in the water. The water enters these towers (flow rate is controlled) and then flows through tunneled piping to the giant turbine generators deep in and at the floor of the dam. As the water is forced through diminishing diameter piping, its flow rate increases to nearly 50 mph, through the turbines before discharging on the down river side of the dam. Due to the tremendous water demands, primarily of Southern CA, it is doubtful that Lake Mead will ever return to full pool.
The downriver side of the dam showing the water flow after it powered the turbines and was released downstream. Note all the vehicles parked hundreds of feet below. Not exactly sure how they get up and down there but a clue might be similar to the equipment which passes through a tunnel down to the building nestled on the rock at the right. Some years ago (decade?) a highway bridge (top of the pic) was built to take some vehicular traffic pressure off the dam. Prior to the bridge, all truck, RV, auto traffic had to cross the dam with each vehicle having to stop and pass inspection. I still think it’s a lot more fun to drive back and forth across the dam. Look closely at the top right corner to see the giant high tension transmission towers; some cantilever in over the canyon side.
I want to tell you that’s a knee quaking long ways down. The turbine generators are located in the semi circle building at the bottom of the dam. All tours are closed due to COVID19 but some years ago Sharon and I took the tour to the bottom of the dam and got to see those giant pieces of equipment and watch them work. Impressive. Though tours are not allowed now, the concessionaire is allowed to operate the income producing indoor cafe and large indoor souvenir shop. Go figure!
The gold colored building houses the public elevator which, when open, ‘whisks’ you down to the floor of the dam.
Power lines across the canyon now replace the cables used during construction to move men and material from one side to the other

Last time I was in Vegas I didn’t even get to the Strip so I thought I should walk a portion of it now. Due to COVID19, the crowds are relatively light (while casinos are, for the most part open, seating is socially distant, many of the restaurants are not open and almost all of the fancy resort shops are closed). Some of the hotels are closed or closed Monday thru Thurs and all the entertainment venues are closed (the first one in Vegas just reopened 11/13. After a week cold spell with daily highs 60 degrees or less, it started warming up. And so an a bright sunny day forecasted to reach 72 degrees, I thought it was a perfect day for a walk and drove to mid south Strip.

I parked at the massive MGM Grand and walked the ‘yellow brick road’ through the resort (probably a half mile) to Las Vegas Blvd. There are no crosswalks across the Strip (nor across many cross streets) but rather elevated pedestrian bridges every block (the resorts are so large that the block is very long). Access to the bridge is by steps and by outdoor escalators and by outdoor elevators. They want to make it as easy as possible to get around. Decided to walk a few blocks north on the west side of Las Vegas Blvd and then back along the east side. So I took the pedestrian bridge to the west side and to New York New York.

From the bridge looking back towards the entry for the MGM Grand. The massive MGM lion in the middle and the Tropicana across Tropicana Ave to the right.
Approaching the New York New York resort.
Even the Statute of Liberty has her mask on. To the left across Tropicana Ave is the Excalibur.
The Bellagio. Reminds me a bit, inside and out, of the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS
Approaching the massive Caesars Palace property (runs the entire width of this picture and all the way west to the interstate
Finally back across the Strip at the Flamingo and back south past Bally’s to Paris
More Paris with Planet Hollywood behind and the Cosmopolitan, Aria and Waldorf Astoria across the street.
Light was fading (it gets dark here about 4:30 pm), I was bushed and still needed to walk back to the MGM. To gauge distance, that’s the Caesar’s Palace tower furthest down the street. Then past it I’d need to go past Bellagio and NYNY before reaching my car. When I could barely continue the walk (about 9,000 strides for the whole walk) I stopped at a Denny’s and had some supper (big Denny’s and only about 5 or 6 other diners) before continuing back to the MGM parking ramp. Tired. Woke up at 11:30 am the next morning. Probably walked 10% of the Strip, maybe less. I would have liked to walk through the Venetian again (it’s been some years) as it is really a unique facility, but it was a few blocks (mile) further north and there would be no way for me to walk further and then return all the way back to the MGM.

I will admit that I miss all the fabulously extravagant buffets in Las Vegas. One of the better ones from days of yore, Carnival of the World, is not only closed but so is the host hotel, the Rio. Caesar’s, Golden Nugget, Paris buffets etc., all closed. Good for my waistline and wallet but 😟😢

My month is up so it’s time to leave. There is a high wind warning to begin at 10 am this morning for the Las Vegas valley and extending south between the mountains along the Colorado River – my exact route. Winds are supposed to increase to 30 mph with gusts to 45 as the afternoon progresses. So I got a relatively early start (9am).

I arrived without incident in Lake Havasu City where I will stay for the holidays – actually thru January 2021. Lake Havasu City is now the home of The London Bridge.

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2 thoughts on “109. Las Vegas to Lake Havasu City, AZ”

    1. And very Happy Holidays to you as well! Thanksgiving is covered. 3 cooks in this park have a signup sheet for T dinners. They package them and you can either eat at the outdoor picnic tables or at your own rig. I ordered 2 hoping they’re big enuf to have left overs. Price is right at $5.00 ea.


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