Big lights, family, and neighborhood friends
Again, I’m delinquent in my blogging efforts! It seems that exploring and having fun is a full-time job and writing about it afterward is an intrusion…. But not really, I’m just lazy! (Big lights, family, and neighborhood friends)
This blog edition takes us away from America’s rich and beautiful coasts and into its hinterland of deserts and high plains. And, as it turns out, relatives, Alaskan neighbors, and blinking lights.
Heading away from the coast, for real, this time!
We reluctantly slipped beyond the reaches of the sea. We headed into the brown and pastel vistas of dirt, rock, sand, and at times the alluring, precipitous mesas, needle rock towers, and red cliffs. As we passed through the valleys surrounding Bakersfield, we thought to ourselves… WTF? This place is so wrong; it’s unsightly, unhealthy, and a place to pass through quickly. Then we arrived in Barstow. OK, I guess California was doubling down on us.
We overnighted at the Marine Corps Supply Depot just out of town. I bashfully developed sympathy for my Marine Corps Service brethren…I thought it was just the Army that drew ‘Armpit of the world’ assignments in the middle of nowhere. Oh well. The wonderful reprieve to our evening in a parking lot turned RV Camp was Ms. J’s visit from LA. She drove an hour and a half to have dinner with us in our RV, chat about old times, and then headed home into the darkness of the night. Wow, we were humbled by her generosity of time and commitment to our friendship.
The following day we competed for highway space with the millions of other race car drivers as we headed into Las Vegas! I’m a lead-footed feign, but apparently not as much as a speed demon as I thought. Cars, vans, and trucks all passed us as if we seemingly sat still, most of them pissed they had to avoid our wake along the highway. But, we made it to our next RV camp and visited my Aunt and Uncle for a few nights, whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years, and Ursula had never met. What could have been a stressful family reunion was anything but that. Our visit with long talks, beautiful cocktails, and local trips around the town were wonderfully compatible, so much so we extended for another day.
Excursions into the Big Blinking Lights
While there, Ursula and I took a few excursions into town using that modern wonder employing the nexus of technology and entrepreneurial capitalism – Uber. We walked the Strip covering 7 miles of casinos, sights, sounds, people watching (that’s a trip in LV) and walked away with a sense that anything was possible. What a town, what a destination, where you can ride an Italian Gondola through a Venetian canal, climb the Eiffel Tower, or the Empire State Building, stroll through incredible opulence, and throw away your life savings….or make a fortune, all within a three-mile strip. We were having a great time.
But as we reached the early evening, we were in a stuporous state from our long walk and the ‘all you can eat’ buffet from the Bellagio casino. With the sight of the thickening crowds with that ‘what happens in LV, stays in LV’ looks on their faces, we knew it was time to head to the Uncle’s hot tub.
The next day we explored that endless party on Fremont street. This was more to our liking,,,, at least until it too got dark and the party crowds emerged from their drunken comas, destined for a redux experience. We both hate crowds and especially those hoards of Zombie drunks! The Freak Show was just getting started, and, again, we knew it was time to retreat to the safety of Uncle B’s home. Fremont was spectacular, and all of Las Vegas truly is a debauched lecher’s wet dream. It’s also a cool place to experience for a day or two. We’ll go back to visit my Aunt and Uncle….and maybe Fremont Street as well.
The Greater LV Area
The next stop was Henderson to visit our neighbors from our Forecastle lane neighborhood in Big Lake (Mr. T and his lady, Ms. P). Their house, too, was a peaceful retreat to rest from days on the road within their hacienda perched on a bluff overlooking a golf course, the mountains, and the LV strip in the distance. A quick hike into the mountains and venture to the local casino to experience an indoor Rodeo and a ‘Bud Light’….what else would you drink at a Rodeo? Many thanks to T & P for introducing us to the Retiree life in Anthem and sowing many seeds for future considerations of life outside of Alaska.
We bid adieu to one set of Big Lake neighbors to ‘hot-cot’ with another set (T & K), just down the road in Lake Havasu. Again, with such generous hosts and so much to see and do, we extended our stay. I enjoy driving my BMW Z-3 way too fast, and I think I’m pretty much the king of the road when I do. I’m forced to humble my outlook. T introduced me to his Carrea Turbo S Porsche as we sped down the highway searching for Foxes floating bar some 30 miles distant. I think we drove it in seven and a half minutes! OK, not entirely. But there is something blissful about riding in a marvel of automotive magnificence, under the influence of great music and speeds that, well, exceed the speed limit. I’ll let your imagination fill in a number.
On the edge
The beauty of this Porsche is that you can do it all with total control and safety (well, that might be a stretch). It is designed and so well manufactured that it is entirely different from my ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ the Z3. It in an entirely different league of car.
For the rest of the stay we climbed mountains, got our requisite pictures in front of London’s cast-off bridge, and again enjoyed the hot tub experience in the desert.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to our neighbors and relatives for the grand treatment we received during our interlude under their gracious hospitality. We look forward to our Forecastle Ln reunion when these Snow Birds return to their AK roosts.
Somewhere along the way we managed to watch the ceremony inducting me into the US Army Transportation Corps’ rolls of the Distinguished Members of the Regiment. It was a humbling honor to join such a prestigious list of American Patriots.
Regretfully we left our friends to their peace and solitude and somehow, last night, we found ourselves sleeping in the snow….How the hell did we let that happen. We’ll leave that story for the next Blog.
An externally clean RV travels better than a dirty one. I don’t know how it happens, but perhaps the soul of the RV appreciates a scrub-down every once in a while. It drives better when it looks better, I guess.
Road assistance technology, the kind that stabilizes your suspension, helps avoid nearby objects and keeps you in the middle of the lane when the winds kick in or those huge trucks pass you by at tremendous speeds, is really awesome. You really appreciate it all when your RV has none of it.
Some RV camps are just fucking ridiculous in the prices they charge. Some of them know they have a captive audience with few options at popular destinations. Capitalism is incredible; greed sucks! Hopefully, Karma is a real thing.
(Big lights Family and Neighborhood Friends)
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