Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Glittering Lights & Giant Fire Spewing Praying Mantis

I tend to go to bed with the chickens but tonight my wild, party animal neighbors invited me to see Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway where over 3 million Christmas lights were on display. I have seen some impressive light shows over the years but this was by far the largest. Unfortunately, the following photos do not do the experience justice...





On the way back home, we stopped at Container Park to see the giant, fire spewing praying mantis...


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bigger Tires

Jack Dell, a fellow Jeep owner, emailed me this photo...

Monday, November 26, 2018

Amazon CamperForce

The Amazon CamperForce program provides RVers with seasonal full-time work that pays $15.00-$16.00 per hour. There is also a "Completion Bonus" that pays $1.00 for each regular hour worked and $1.50 for each overtime hour worked after your assignment ends. Plus, the following benefits:
  • Paid campsites 
  • Paid referral bonuses 
  • Life and AD&D insurance
  • Medical and Prescription Drug Coverage enrollment available after 90 days
Click here to view a YouTube interview with a CampForce employee, who discusses the pros and cons of the program.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Allergic Reaction

It appears I have had an allergic reaction to my most recent macular degeneration injection...



Hopefully, I can get it cleared up with a little Benadryl and be back to normal in no time.

Update (12/8/2018): I received an email from Google indicating that this post contained "Shocking Content" and as a result Google AdSense would be restricted. I solved the problem by simply deleting AdSense. It appears we have become a Nation of Snowflakes.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Youth

As we get older, we tend to reminisce about times gone by. I was going through some old photos taken long before digital cameras and thought I would post some of my favorites...

The name is Brown, James Brown

Who is that skinny guy

Back before I became invisible to young women

The future was so bright I had to wear shades

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wemo Mini Smart Plug

As part of my "energy conservation" program, I purchased a couple of Wemo Mini Smart Plugs which allow me to control electronic devices from either my phone or Google Home Mini smart speaker. Now, instead of having to get up and walk 3-4 feet to the appropriate device, I just say "Hey Google, turn on/off the fan or heater". And given the fact that the smart plug works over your home's WIFI network, you can do it from anywhere in the world. You can even schedule when you want lights to be turned on/off so that your home looks occupied.

I realize you married men can simply have the wife do these things but for those times when she is busy making a sandwich or fetching a cold beverage for you, I found a site on eBay that sells refurbished plugs for almost half what Best Buy charges.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Cheated Death Once Again

If you would like to know what it is like to ride off-road at Sand Hollow State Park, I believe this photo of the vehicle I was riding in as a passenger will help...

Photo courtesy of Mack

This is the section that got us

Fortunately, neither John nor I were seriously hurt which speaks well for the safety of the side by sides. He bruised his left shoulder and my thighs are a little sore from hitting the grab bar. We were both wearing four point harnesses which I highly recommend.



Earlier while driving through the "high rent" Westside campground, I spotted friends that I first met in Moab some years ago. They are here for the big CST SxS Adventure Rally. Knowing that I wanted to see as much of the trail system as possible, I rode "shotgun" with Doug and John.

Here's what I learned:
  • First and foremost, you should travel with a group, preferably, one that has been here before. There are not a lot of signs out there and the potential for trouble is high.
  • Although you can ride here with a small machine (less than 1000cc), you will do much better with one of the big machines with lots of ground clearance and large tires, particularly, for the rock crawling sections which are numerous.
  • As you have probably gathered by now, there is not much "easy stuff" here. In my opinion, the bulk of the OHV trails are for experienced riders. However, for those adrenaline junkies, who crave some of the toughest/gnarliest obstacles I have ever seen, this is the place.
The battery in my camera died before we got to the really difficult areas so I did not get as many photos/videos as I would have liked...



Here's what the "big dogs" drive

Update (11/8/2018): A cold front moved into the area last night. The forecast for Kanab is low 50s during the day and low 20s at night so I have returned to Las Vegas.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Sand Hollow State Park

I can see why people like Sand Hollow State Park. It has a beautiful blue lake, golden sand and 16,000 acres of OHV riding...

Click on photo to enlarge

I took a short RZR ride on the beginning of Nasty Half which is rated a 9 out of 10 and discovered two things very quickly:
  • The sand here is extremely fine and soft which makes steering tricky and getting stuck easy. You definitely want to lower the tire pressure on your vehicle.
  • There are obstacles here not for the faint-of-heart. You can get in trouble in a New York minute.
Unless I can find someone to ride with, I may not see as much of the OHV area as I would like. I do not want to break down or wreck in the middle of 16,000 acres by myself. 

Tonight's sunset...

Friday, November 02, 2018

Hump-N-Bump

The rock crawling rally this weekend is the annual Hump-N-Bump sponsored by the Vegas Valley 4 Wheelers. They have guided rides ranging from easy to "hold my beer while I try this"...



Surprise of the day...

Big Horn Sheep

Update (11/3/2018): Last night, it was an unrelenting stream of vehicles heading to the trail system. Fortunately, I was so tired I fell asleep anyway.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Road Trip

My RZR was feeling unappreciated so I am taking it on a road trip. The first stop is the Logandale Trail System. As fate would have it, there is a rock crawling rally this weekend so I am hoping to get some good photos for the blog.

If all goes well here, I am thinking of heading up to Sand Hollow State Park to explore an area I first heard about from a trail guide in Moab. Am looking forward to seeing what it is all about.

Assuming my machine and my body are still intact after the above, I may go back to Kanab, Utah now that it is cooler. I understand there are some amazing rock formations in the area. Hopefully, the RZR will allow me to get to them.



Update (11/2/2018): Last night I boondocked on a ridge overlooking the town of Logandale. After the sirens, jets and occasional gunfire in Las Vegas, the silence was deafening. And the night sky was filled with millions of stars. It's a dirty job...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Street Car Super Nationals

The Street Car Super Nationals event is coming to Las Vegas November 14-17 and a number of participants are staying here in the RV park. On my after dinner walk, I came across this beauty...

I suspect that paint job cost more than my Jeep

700+ horsepower

Friday, October 26, 2018

Memento Database App

While looking for an app that would make creating a home inventory list easier, I came across a terrific program called Memento Database. It allows you to record and retrieve all kinds of information right on your smartphone.

It comes with a home inventory template which can have you up and running in a very short period of time. You simply photograph your asset and it is automatically inserted  into the database. Then you enter whatever information you wish such as date of purchase, value, condition, etc. If your priceless Slim Whitman record collection is ever stolen or destroyed, you will have documentation for the insurance company.

In addition to a plethora of templates for almost any occasion, you have the option to design your own "libraries/tables" with whatever "fields" you wish to include. Best of all, it's free!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Contact QR Code

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes containing information that can be viewed using a QR code reader. You see them in stores, magazines, etc. It is a great way to store data in an easily machine-readable format.

As a full-time RVer, I am continually meeting people that I want to share contact information with, particularly, the url of my blog. I have some calling cards that I can hand out but there are occasions when I do not have them with me. However, I generally carry my smartphone wherever I go so I created a barcode that contains my name and blog address using a QR code generator...


I keep the above image on my phone so that it can be scanned by others with smartphones. It's a quick and easy process that, hopefully, you can use.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Unique Las Vegas Attractions

I suspect visitors to Las Vegas spend most of their time and money on The Strip & Downtown Fremont Street which everyone should do at least once. However, in the six months I have been in the area, I have discovered some other attractions within an hour's drive that do not get as much publicity but are worth seeing...
The map below lists each of the above and if you click on the appropriate pin, you can get details and directions to each...


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Photo Editing Apps

I have been playing around with photo editing apps for smartphones. You can do something really cool things including making dull, boring photos look interesting...

Varnist app using "Sketch" at 50% intensity

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dublin Gulch

Just outside of Shoshone, CA is Dublin Gulch, an area where in the 1920’s miners carved residences into the sides of clay embankments. They remained occupied up until the 1970’s...

Click on photos to enlarge

Those are old tin cans in the foreground (must have eaten a lot of pork n beans)


Along the way, I discovered another lonely road...


And another boat abandoned in the middle of the desert...

Friday, October 05, 2018

Pioneer Saloon

The Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, NV is another opportunity here in the Vegas area to step back in time. It was established in 1913 and has changed very little since then.

My neighbors, Brad & Liz (rumored to be notorious outlaw bikers)

The interior and exterior walls are of stamped tin and manufactured by Sears and Roebuck. It is thought to be one of the last in the United States.The legendary bar was manufactured by the Brunswick Company in Maine in the 1860's. As you belly up to wet your whistle, you will rest your foot on the original brass foot rail installed when the bar was built and where Clark Gable waited for three days for word on his wife of less than two years, Carole Lombard. She was lost in a plane crash near Mount Potosi. 

For $15 you can join the Asshole Association complete with official membership card
They currently have over 63,000 members (that's a lot of assholes)

On July 3rd 1915 during a poker game, a man named Paul Coski was caught cheating and during a scuffle between him and another man named Joe Armstrong, Mr. Coski was shot several times and killed. The bullet holes are still in one of the pressed tin walls of the Pioneer Saloon.

Unique part of the saloon's history

The latest in HVAC technology in the early 1900s

You can even have your own locked keg out back of the saloon

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Vegas Revenue Down

Back in May, I posted a short article on how casinos are using fees to increase the cost of visiting/vacationing here. Examples are resort fees, parking fees, concession & franchise fees, venue fees, convenience fees, processing fees and tap water fees. I wondered at the time how this might affect casino business in the long run.

Now, I know. A recent article in the VitalVegas.com blog indicated that the world’s two biggest casino companies, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, are sending surveys to customers to determine why they’re displeased with Las Vegas and visiting less often. I suspect the reason for the survey is "strip gambling revenue was down more than 12% year-over-year in August 2018". As was pointed out in the article, "visitors are willing to pay for great experiences but they will not tolerate feeling ripped off".

The good news is that if you are a Las Vegas resident and know where to go, it can be a relatively inexpensive city to live in. You go to the strip only on special occasions.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

The Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is a remote ghost town in the mountains of central Nevada that features a turn-of-the-20th-century mining community and the largest known collection of ichthyosaur fossils. How remote is it you ask? The young ranger, who lives here year-round, told me he has a volley ball named "Wilson".

According to the brochure: "During its heyday, Berlin and its Union suburbs supported 200-250 people including miners, woodcutters, charcoal makers, a doctor and nurse, a forest ranger and a prostitute". I wonder which one made the most money.




Unfortunately, the building that contains the fossils was locked so I was unable to take photos. Apparently, it is their off-season and the exhibit is only open on weekends. This was disappointing as my older cousin, Chris, is rumored to have caught these things when he was a youth so I was looking forward to seeing one up close.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Garmin Dash Cam 45

My Z-Edge Z3 Dash Cam finally died. I suspect the heat in Las Vegas this summer was a contributing factor. Rather than replacing it with another Z-Edge, I purchased a Garmin Dash Cam 45 based on a recommendation from the renown high tech guru, Sunny Weathers.

Here are some of the reasons I went with the Garmin unit:
  • It is smaller than the Z-Edge which creates less of a blind spot on your windshield.
  • Its mount is glued to the windshield and holds the dash cam in place with a magnet which allows for easy removal. It also eliminates the problem of a suction cup mount falling off due to temperature changes or driving on rough roads.
  • It includes a GPS which can display your location on the video.


Sorry for the dirty windshield

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good - One of the advantages of having the R-Pod is being able to get in smaller sites at some of the federal and state campgrounds. I used USCAmpgrounds.info to find a couple of dry camping areas in north central Nevada. Pine Creek was my first stop. It was one of the most isolated places I have stayed and involved ~20 miles of dusty, dirt roads to access. It was worth it when I found a shaded site beside a babbling brook with no one else around.

The Bad - I had just finished setting up and went to hook-up my generator when I realized I did not have the right adapter for the electrical outlet on the RV. No problem, I would be fine with the 12 volt battery. Problem, right before dark, I lost battery power. It turns out that some strange things happen to a R-Pod without electricity. The refrigerator quits working, you have no heat because the fan will not run and the carbon monoxide & propane gas monitor starts beeping (I cut the wires in order to get some sleep). My next concern was how am I going to get the slide in. I dreaded the thought of trying to figure out how to do it manually. Fortunately, I had a portable charger that supplied enough power to the battery that I was able to get it in the next morning. 

I was on my way back to Vegas when I came across a NAPA store out in the middle of nowhere. The owner quickly discovered that my truck was not charging the battery and the culprit was a bad fuse in the engine compartment which he was able to replace. I was so pleased I wanted to give him all the business I could so I bought new wiper blades and an adapter for my generator cable. The total cost was $36. Clearly, clean living paid off once again.

The Ugly - Now that I felt I could continue my road trip, I headed to the Big Creek Campground outside Austin, NV. It was after I finished setting up and opened the door to the bathroom that I saw this...


The cabinet above the sink had fallen off the wall. The mirror was not broken so I may be able to re-attach it using those plastic expansion anchors. First, I am going to try and find a RV dealer to get their thoughts. All in all, it has been a mixture of fun and frustration. C'est la vie.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Angel's Ladies Brothel & Airplane

North of Beatty, NV is a defunct brothel with the wreck of a twin engine airplane beside it...



In what must have seemed like a good idea at the time, the owners of the establishment promoted an interesting challenge with a very naughty prize. A mattress would be placed in the center of a large star painted on the desert floor - if one were to parachute out of an airplane (airplane provided) and land on the mattress, they would be the lucky winner of a night with the lady of his choice on the house!

Unsurprisingly, things went horribly wrong. Long story short, scantily-clad women plus distracted, inexperienced pilot plus heavy cross winds equal the plane plummeting straight into the ground. Luckily, no one was hurt in the accident and the clever owners decided that the wreck was enough of a spectacle to attract people from the road, so there it stayed.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Macular Degeneration Injection

Several years ago, I developed the wet form of macular degeneration in my right eye. It tends to be hereditary and I believe I got it from my mother. At the time she had it, the treatment involved a laser cauterizing the leaking/growing blood vessels. Unfortunately, that procedure destroys the cells that allow you to focus on objects and she was left with peripheral vision only. She was legally blind with 20/200 eyesight.

Fortunately, by the time I needed treatment, a new procedure was developed that requires an injection of medication directly into the eye (it sounds a lot worst than it really is). It does not destroy any cells and as a result I have 20/25 vision in my right eye. The biggest disadvantage as compared to the old procedure is having to get the injections every six weeks which is a bit of a hassle for a full-time RVer. However, I consider it a small price to pay for being able to see and do pretty much everything I did before developing the disease.

Today, the doctor was kind enough to allow his assistant to video the procedure...


FYI - the cotton swap contains a numbing compound

VIPs In Town

Yesterday afternoon, while checking the Munzee map, I saw that Jim & Ellen, friends from the Arizonian RV Park, had captured a munzee very close to where I am staying. I emailed them and learned they were spending the night at Sam's Town just down the street (serendipity) which allowed us to get together for dinner...

Good friends, good food
(I like to think we were celebrating the recent anniversary of my having circled the sun 72 times)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Delivery Exception, Animal Interference

My mail forwarding service in South Dakota sends me my mail once a week with a tracking number. Normally, I receive it within 2-3 days with no problems, but this week I get the following message:

Alert

August 22, 2018 at 11:50 am
Delivery Exception, Animal Interference
LAS VEGAS, NV 89121

In as much as I reside in a gated RV park where pets are required to be on a leash and the pavement is so hot they are driven or carried to the "doggie park", I find this excuse a little suspicious. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks the mail carrier was looking for a way to knock off early and this was it. Then again, the carrier may have considered Jack in the office to be an animal in which case their action would be justified. <grin>