Sunday, October 21, 2018

Unique Las Vegas Attractions

I suspect most 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 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 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 wreak 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:


August 22, 2018 at 11:50 am
Delivery Exception, Animal Interference

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>

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Nelson Ghost Town

Keith, Jayne and I rode down to Nelson Ghost Town to look at the old vehicles and memorabilia. I found a couple of items that I missed on my last visit...

Considering I am based in Las Vegas, perhaps, I should trade my R-Pod for a more bullet-proof travel trailer

I like the car headlight so you can mow at night

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Valley of Fire State Park

One of the most scenic and unique places I have visited is the Valley of Fire State Park northeast of Las Vegas. There are an endless variety of sandstone rock formations that change color from a plain tan to a brilliant reddish orange depending on how the sun hits them...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Visiting Highrollers

One of the nice things about RVing is the people you meet. Keith & Jayne, friends from the Arizonian RV Park, are in town visiting for a few days. After getting caught up on each other's lives, we took a short tour of the city by driving up the strip and then taking in the Fremont Street Experience...

Must see area in Las Vegas

Checking out the scales at the Heart Attack Grill

Giant, fire spewing Praying Mantis in Container Park

Good information to know - would not want my horse to get a ticket

Social Security @ Age 62 or 67

A friend recently asked me if he should take Social Security at age 62 or 67. To answer the question, I put together a speadsheet that allows you to enter your income at both ages and then see cumulative totals for each.

In the example below, if your age 62 income is $1000/month and your age 67 income is $1500/month, you would need to live to age 78 to benefit from taking Social Security at age 67 (I have included a 1% increase for inflation in yearly incomes)...

Click on the above image to enter your projected incomes and see your own numbers

If there is a problem with the spreadsheet, please let me know in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

70 MPH Winds

High winds with gusts up to 70 mph swept through Las Vegas last night creating a major dust storm and leaving thousands without power. It was the scariest time I have spent in a RV in the seven years I have been on the road. First, there was the extreme rocking. It was so violent that I was beginning to think my fifth wheel might turn over. Second, was the noise. The fabric slide covers and rubber roof sounded like they were about to be ripped off. It all lasted around 30 minutes but seemed like a lot longer. Fortunately, there was no damage to the RV and the park did not lose power. However, I did age a few years that I can hardly afford to lose.

Here are some photos of the aftermath that I downloaded from the Internet...

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Pinball Hall of Fame

When I was a kid (yeah, we're talking ancient history), there were no digital video games. There were board games like Monopoly and outdoor games like the incredibly dangerous Dodge Ball but the closest we came to first person action games were pinball machines. I still remember playing them in the arcades at Myrtle Beach.

In a nondescript building on Tropicana Avenue east of the strip is the Pinball Hall of Fame where you can play over 300 machines from the very old to the very new...

I spoke with one of the owners and learned that they have over 1100 pinball machines in their collection and have purchased property on the south end of the strip where they are planning to move in 2020.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Vegas Money Saving Tip

I am not a gambler so I had not given much thought to those casino player cards that allow you to earn points for comps. What I did not realize is most casinos give you a discount on meals with those cards. In as much as I dine at casinos off the strip because they are some of the least expensive places in town to eat, I am becoming a player card collector...

A $6.49 breakfast was only $3.99 with this card

I would recommend getting a casino card(s) as soon as you arrive in the city, particularly, if you gamble. They are free (my favorite price) and can offer substantial rewards to you high rollers.

Monday, July 30, 2018

International Car Forest

The International Car Forest of the Last Church just south of Goldfield, Nevada is an eclectic collection of old vehicles most of which are buried in the ground similar to the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas. The artwork on the cars complements the uniqueness of the forest...

If you would like to view a full screen version of the slideshow, click here

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

The Tonopah Historic Mining Park is a huge mining complex in Tonopah, Nevada. If you enjoy mining history and do not mind a little walking, you can spend hours here looking at old buildings, equipment and mines...

Desert Queen Mine

These "stopes" were hundreds of feet deep

I was surprised at all of the tools laying inside this shop unattended

Later development of the Mitzpah Mine brought electricity to the site

The belts went outside to raise & lower items into the mine 600 feet down

Belmont, Neveda

Belmont is a ghost town in Nye County, Nevada along former State Route 82. It was established in 1866 following a silver strike. Today, it consists of a few intact buildings and the ruins of several others. There are a handful of year-round residents and a saloon but no groceries or gas.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Lonely Roads

I knew U.S. Route 50 in Nevada had the reputation as "The Loneliest Road in America" but I am discovering there are a lot more lonely roads in the state where you can drive miles and miles without seeing another living soul...

Smoke from the California wildfires obscures the mountains

You definitely want a well maintained vehicle and a full tank of fuel...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pony Express Help Wanted Ad

This ad appeared on flyers and in newspapers in 1859 across the country...

Not over eighteen. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred. WAGES $25 per week. Apply Central Overland Express.

If this job was available today, I would be an ideal candidate (except for the "young, skinny, wiry, not over eighteen, expert rider willing to risk death daily and orphan" requirements).

Ward Charcoal Ovens

South of Ely about 20 miles is the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historical Park which contains six charcoal ovens that were used from 1876 through 1879 to help process rich silver ore that was discovered in the area. After the mining ended, they were used as shelters for ranchers, prospectors, lost travelers and rumor has it, stagecoach bandits...

If you have never seen a western jackrabbit, you will be amazed at how big they can get. This fellow was almost two feet tall (including ears)...