Bill and Kit’s 2013 Excellent Adventure-Journal #9

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

Bill and Kit’s 2013 Excellent Adventure-Journal #9

Las Vegas-Part One

(More or Less the First Two Weeks)

Don’t be a tourist. Plan less. Go slowly.  I traveled in the most inefficient way possible and it took me exactly where I wanted to go.

Andrew Evans

 

Thursday, February 28, 2013 through Sunday March 31, 2013-Las Vegas, Nevada:  Lots of folks come to Las Vegas for lots of reasons…..these are ours.

The Owens Pix #1

Well actually, to be more specific, these are the real reasons:

Jack and Tucker #A1

Our youngest, Suzie and her husband, Kevin reside in Las Vegas due to job choices…..and our youngest grandchildren, Jack age 8 and Tucker age 6 reside in Las Vegas because they aren’t old enough to live on their own yet.

The first couple of nights in town we camped in the dooryard of their home and the grand’s were able to bunk down in our little camper with us.

Morning on the iPad's

In the morning, Kit was able to provide a delicious and nutritious breakfast while the kiddles checked the pre-market stock action on their iPads.

Jack and Tuck #1

Yep…..they both have their own iPad Mini’s and are as adept at using them to navigate around the World Wide Web as anyone.

After we had overstayed our HOA welcome we moved the camper to Desert Breeze campground on Nellis Air Force Base which is on the north end of town.

Nellis Campsite Pix #2

The above was our final site after a move ten days into our stay.  You see, there are four levels of campsites at Desert Breeze.  Starting with the least expensive and with the least features they are:  Overflow, Partial Hook-up, Wagon Wheel with Full Hook-up’s and finally the crème de la crème…..New Section with Full Hook-up’s.  I won’t bore you with detailed descriptions of the sites or how one finagles the prime locations but let’s just say there is a flaw in the system and a bit of the traditional Old Boy Networking going on.  The park is great…..consistently voted the best RV park in the Military Campground community.  However the reservation system and allocation of sites leaves a lot to be desired.  There are RV folks that plan their life around reserving the nicer sites many months in advance then homestead the spot for an entire winter turning part of the campground into a mini mobile home park.  This of course, locks out those of us who actually travel in our campers and only want to stay for a week or two.  Even though we called ahead for reservations, a rarity to our way of traveling, we still were relegated to one of the less desirable sites until such time as a few of the “homesteaders” decided to move their rigs back home.  This RV park is the only one of the hundreds in the system that operates this way.

For the most part, the weather during our stay was fantastic…..there were extremes of course…..some days were a frigid 65 degrees and windy and others near 90 degrees with a very dry 12% humidity.  However, for the most part the days were delightful with temperatures in the low 80’s, humidity in the 20% range and a gentle desert breeze.  This area of Nevada only gets about 4 inches of precipitation a year, so it wasn’t a surprise that we had no rain during our stay.

Since both Jack and Tuck are now in school we were only able to have them overnight at our camp from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.  However, a few times during mid-week we would drop by after school for a visit.

While they were at camp we would hang out at the playground.

Jack #A3

Tucker #A5

And ride their scooters.

Jack and Tucker #A3

Play in Poppy’s kayak.

Tuck and Teddy in the kayak

And even engaged in some quiet reading time.

Guma and Tuck

As most brothers, Jack and Tucker are exact opposites in most every way.  Both boys are very smart, however Jack is a bit more studious, methodical and very creative…..in a classic theater style.

Jack #A1

Whereas Tucker is a bit more active and spontaneously creative…..in a more raw, street performance style.  (Like the entertainment metaphors, Kevin and Suzie?)

Tucker #A3

While filming them at play I was able to capture the following on video that pretty much personifies their individual personalities…..just click on the following You Tube link:

http://youtube/5nNMiVEppV4

Nellis is the home base of the USAF Flight Demonstration Team…..The Thunderbirds.

USAF T-Birds #4

Since the upcoming show season was soon to begin, The Thunderbirds spent part of most weekdays flying in the skies above the campground while practicing their signature moves.

USAF T-Birds #3

After a dozen days or so of watching them perform, I never tired of the spectacle.  Nor did anyone else as evident by all the cars that just pulled off the road and all the folks that stopped whatever they were doing to just stare into the sky.

USAF T-Birds #5

Since the campground was close to the flightline, we were treated to flyovers as close as this.

USAF T-Birds #1

Unfortunately for the boys The Thunderbird’s only practice during the week.  In past visits we have taken Jack and Tucker to the Thunderbirds hanger where they could meet some of the crew, see a movie about The Thunderbird’s history and get up close to the aircraft.  However, since both boys are now in school and since the hanger is closed to the public on the weekend, I decided to make a special trip to see if I could pick up some souvenirs, stickers and photos for the boys.

As I walked to the flight line I noticed a large, brightly decorated tractor trailer rig parked nearby.

USAF T-Birds Hanger #3

Remembering that NASCAR Weekend was soon upon us, I decided to go over and see what was up.  I was pleasantly surprised when the Public Affairs Officer greeted me and offered to show me around.  This Air Force Major (Thunderbird #12) was very busy with the details of hosting a NASCAR team, and dealing with some local press people but still took a few minutes to escort me into the hanger where Juan Pablo Montoya was being featured in a photo shoot while his crew chief, Chris Heroy was being prepped for a ride in one of The Thunderbird Jets.

USAF T-Birds Hanger #1

Spent about an hour watching all the festivities, listening in on the pre-flight brief and even scored a handful of Thunderbird souvenirs for the grandkids…..Thanks Major Darrick!

As most kids nowadays, Jack and Tucker are involved in a lot of extracurricular activities….so we were glad we had the opportunity to watch the boys in their karate class……

Karate Kid's Pix #2

…..and, in their drum class.

Rock On!

The drum instructor was an aging rocker that had formally played as a studio musician with the likes of Cheap Trick, Janis Joplin and other early rock icons that have long ago burnt out.

Being at a campground near a military base, we would frequently be out and about during evening colors.  It was a great opportunity for the boy’s to learn about flag etiquette and respect.

Jack and Tuck #3

When we heard the bugler play taps we would all stop what we were doing, place our hands over our hearts and stand quietly as the honor guard retired the colors for the evening.

As you may remember, we affixed a fresh green Maine Christmas wreath to our camper ladder when we headed south some 10 weeks ago.  Well, in the heat of the desert it is a bit dry so before it spontaneously combusts, we decided to remove the wreath with some ceremony and fanfare.

Jack and Tuck #4

Jack and Tucker did the honors cutting the plastic zip-ties with diagonal pliers while I played master of ceremonies and Kit was the invited guest.  The kids even arranged the lawn chairs in a semicircle for the event.  A great time was had by all…..however our neighbors thought we were all a bit odd, a reaction we frequently get form neighbors anyway as we camp about the US.

As in the past, there were a few days that Kit needed some quiet Kit time to check in with all her electronic gadgetry…..

High Tech Grannis

And to get a little reading in while relaxing under a shade tree…..

Kit Reading

And, for little Billy to basically get lost.

I took advantage of one of those days to go on an adventure of my own and headed to the La Madre Mountains which are just 20 miles to the west of Las Vegas and a world away from the lights and hustle of the famed strip.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #2

Located in the foothills is Red Rock Canyon, a National Conservation area featuring starkly dramatic landscape and lots of hiking opportunities.  Driving into the park, I knew I was in for a fun day in an incredibly beautiful desert environment.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #5

Red Rock is an unusually diverse geologic area consisting of its namesake red sandstone formations in parallel with white limestone which creates a dramatic landscape of colorful canyons and hills.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #16

Using my Old Guy National Park pass I slipped past the gate and headed for the visitors center.  I wanted to get advice on which of the many hiking trails would give me the best feel for the diversity of the area.  The very helpful ranger recommended the White Rock to La Madre Springs Loop, a 6 mile trek that climbs into the foothills through a lush canyon of Juniper and Scrub Oak fed by natural springs.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #6

As you can see, the weather was sunny…..the morning temperatures were already climbing into the 70’s however as I hiked into the shady area the temperature dropped noticeably.  Soon the sun peaked over the canyon wall and illuminated the canyon floor.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #8

Parts of the trail wound amongst diverse vegetation more commonly found in the high desert areas of Arizona.  While hiking, I frequently use a technique I call “Rest Stepping”….basically every 100 paces or so I stop, take a 360 degree gaze about, and quietly observe and listen to the sounds of the environment.  In this case I noticed unique vegetation and terrain not seen in the desert and heard many birds singing and bees buzzing about.  But the most interesting thing was the absolute silence of this remote part of the desert southwest so close to the Las Vegas Strip.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #9

In a few miles, I climbed out of the canyon onto a mesa of more typical desert vegetation.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #12

From here on through the rest of the hike it was open desert and with the temperatures nearing 90 degrees, getting a bit uncomfortable.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #11

Even though I had 70 ounces of water in my backpack, I was beginning to run low hiking in this warm, dry environment.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #10

As the trail led my through the high desert altitude of 4000 plus feet there are still formations that tower even higher.

Red Rock Canyon Pix #13

As you can imagine, Red Rock is a world class rock climbing mecca.  Frequently during the later stage of my hike I could hear voices emanation from sheer cliff faces and see tiny dots suspended by tiny ropes hundreds of feet above the desert floor……Joe, you would love this place!

After about 4 hours of hiking, I made it back to the trail head and my truck where more food and water awaited.  Returning to the visitor’s center to view the displays and talk to the rangers about what I had seen, I noticed a large crowd around an outdoor enclosure.  There were lots of park personnel, visitors and a few TV reporters all staring at this little fellow.

Mohave Max

That’s Mohave Max, the western equivalent to Puxatony Phil of springtime prediction fame.  Max is the Red Rock Spokesturtle and, as all desert tortoises (or is it tort-ti) do, he went into hibernation last September and just a few hours ago, showed his crusty face for the first time to announce that spring had indeed sprung in the Mohave Desert!

On your next trip to Vegas, treat yourself to a day at Red Rock National Conservation Area…..you won’t regret it!

Every year when we visit Suzie and the family here in Las Vegas, we are shown the latest technical gadget that they have acquired…..this year was no exception.  Both Suzie and Kevin have one of the latest tools to daily monitor and encourage your individual level of physical fitness.  It’s called a Fitbit and is a tiny wireless electronic monitor that you wear, pretty much around the clock.  So…..we just had to have one!

Fitbit

It will track your steps and corresponding miles walked, your number of stairs climbed, your total calories burned, and even your nightly sleep patterns which are then calculated into a quality of sleep percentage.  The logged data is continually data linked to a smart phone for review and monitoring.  Is this gadget necessary?  No, not for those that are dedicated to fitness and religiously follow a regimen, however for us the Fitbit is like an electronic personal trainer watching our every move and nagging us if we don’t make our goals.  Since we purchased these gadgets we check our progress on our iPhones and if we are behind track in meeting the daily fitness goal we step it up (pun intended) a bit and get to walking.  Check it out at:

http://www.fitbit.com/home

Well, this is getting a bit long and we are only half way through our stay in Vegas.  It might be prudent to split our Las Vegas Journal into two parts…..so, until next time here is a hint of things to come.

Jack and Tuck #2

Want to know what’s going on here?  Want to know why Tucker’s bangs are suddenly so short?  Want to know why the woman reflected in the window has just collapsed into the lawn chair?  Stay tuned!

Kit’s Corner:  Halfway through our visit to Las Vegas and lots more to do!  We’ve had a few “down” days but most days, we’ve been busy either planning or doing something with kids and grands!  We are incredibly fortunate to be able to spend this much time with our Vegas grandkids.  Plus, having them out at Nellis AFB with us gives the “kids” a bit of a break.  We are thoroughly enjoying our stay here.

 

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Bill and Kit’s 2013 Excellent Adventure-Journal #8

Bill and Kit's Camping Rig

The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see.

G.K. Chesterton

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013:  Well, we are pulling out of San Diego this morning.  However I would like to leave you with one more photo.  I really like this beautiful sunny cityscape with sailboats tacking into the bay, North Island Naval Air Station to the left and Coronado to the right with the downtown area backed by the Laguna Mountains to the rear.  This is truly one of the world’s most beautiful cities!

San Diego Skyline

It should be noted that the crystal clear air that allows the incredible visibility across this southern California city of one million souls is a result of aggressive air pollution standards enacted a number of years ago.

After a month and a half on the road, we deserve a vacation.  So off we head on a close haul (like the sailing metaphor?) up the coast to one of our favorite beach camping spots.  Since it is to be a short travel day and since you already know of our disdain for the interstate freeways, we decided to seek out old US Highway 101 for our venture north.

US 101

Back in the middle ages of last century, this road was the only north-south conduit that one could use to travel along the California Coast.

CA Coastal Route 

I can remember motoring with the family from San Diego to Anaheim in 1959 to see the brand new Disneyland Park.  There were very few towns along the way, and those that did exist were quite small…..not so today!  US-101 is still the most picturesque way to travel up the coast but it is now hard to determine when one town stops and the next one starts.

However, upon close examination, each coastal town is unique and begs for exploration.  Since we have a 22 foot tow astern (yep, more nautical talk) of our 20 foot truck, we prudently decided to first set up camp in Oceanside, California and then spend the next few days poking along the coast.

Soon we pulled into the camping resort on Camp Pendleton known as Del Mar Resort Campground and Villas.  Being mid-week, we were able to score a nice beachfront camp spot with full hookups!

Del Mar Resort Pix Campsite

After a stroll about the RV Park, down past the Villa’s and back along the surf line, we settled in our beach chairs with a tasty beverage in hand and watched the sun sink into the placid Pacific as USMC GU-11’s wheeled about in the still air.

Sunset in Oceanside

Ahh…..life is good!

Thursday, February 21 through Monday, February 25, 2013-Oceanside, California:  Well this morning, as usual, I was up early and got the coffee going.  Then started Kit’s breakfast of eggs benedict and a pitcher of mimosa while she sits patiently in bed.  Ok…..that last part isn’t true, but I do get the coffee made before ever so gently waking her for the day.

Sitting at our camper dinette, enjoying the ocean view and discussing the plans for the day, we were startled by a loud rumbling sound that made the ground shake.  Knowing that California has a dangerous fault (Um, I think his name is Jerry Brown) we were a bit concerned until Kit looked out the far side of the camper and noticed that the Marines had landed on our little paradise!  Oh yea…..now we feel better!

USMC Track Vehicle Pix #2

There must have been a dozen of these tracked Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV’s) trundling past a mere 25 yards from our campsite!  The AAV is a true amphibian that can be launched from a ship at sea, propel itself to shore and then drive many miles inland…..all while carrying 20 combat equipped Marines.

Providing air support for today’s training exercise was a number of these unusual Marine Corps aircraft we spotted flying overhead.

Ospry

The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing like a helicopter when the rotor pods are tilted up, and sustained high speed horizontal flight in the orientation shown above.

As I soon learned, Camp Pendleton is the premier Marine Corps facility for beach assault training and this spectacle of military hardware was to be repeated throughout our stay.  The beach assault training area encompasses 20 miles of coastline and is the last remaining undeveloped part of the California coast.

Del Mar Resort Pix #3

The white structures in the photo above are part of the base and house Assault Craft Unit Five (ACU-5) and their LCAC Hovercraft (noted later).  This relatively unmolested stretch of natural California shoreline has developed into a haven for wildlife and is now designated as a National Wildlife Habitat.

To further amplify that we were camping on a military base I noticed that part of the recreational beach was used for the ground forces to do their thing.

UCMC on the Beach

Notice the civilians to the right of the photo above enjoying the spectacle.  After being connected to the military in one way or another over 43 years I never tire of watching our tax dollars put to legitimate use, and enjoyed watching these daily training operations.

For the six days we were on the beach, we did very little, as planned!  Our days were spent watching shore birds…..

Shore Bird's Pix #2

…..and kite flying…..

Kite #2

…..and beachcombing, reading, relaxing and other enjoyable pursuits.

The above photo is of our latest acquisition….. a fully acrobatic, high performance stunt kite.  However the only thing acrobatic about flying this kite is me trying not to crash it into the sand at high speed!  In the hands of an expert, this kite is amazing to watch.  As noted, I now have a number of kites and one day while flying our 2.5 meter Para-foil kite, a seagull flew past, turned and circled the hovering kite before continuing on.  I’ll never know what that bird must have thought seeing a brightly colored piece of nylon in its flight path.

As one gets older one tends to enjoy watching the simple antics of birds.  The existence of an adjacent wildlife refuge resulted in the proliferation of shore birds in the area…..a true bird watchers paradise!

Such as these dudes from the 50’s with their “Ducktail” pompadours just nonchalantly sitting on the beach scoping out the chicks (pun intended) and ignoring any adult in sight.  Ah, those were the days!

Shore Bird's Pix #3

I also noticed this hungry fellow.

Shore Bird's Pix #1

Normally, California Beaches are some of the cleanest around.  However this foam bowl apparently got away from a picnicker and the Gull had pecked the entire bottom out in an attempt to get at the remaining food…..kinda sad, actually.  I attempted to scare the bird away so I could grab the refuse but he took flight with bowl in beak.

However the most entertaining birds by far were these Plovers.

Shore Bird's Pix #5

They would roam the surf line in packs and as the water receded they would race toward the newly exposed sand in search of any tiny morsel that had washed ashore.  Then when the next swell would come in the birds would scamper to dryer sand while squawking in alarm.  This humorous spectacle went on for a long time, usually at dusk.  Here is a link to a short video I captured of their antics.  See if you can tell what happened about half way through the film.

http://youtu.be/L5soWxEzWqc

Yep…..got my feet wet……shoes and all……and that water was cold!  The Plovers were smart enough to escape the inrushing water, however not me.

On yet another sunny day, we made a coastal trek south on US-101.  Kit had a hankering to explore the various village shops and I wanted to poke around some of the legendary surfing spots I remember as a teenager…..our first stop was in the little town of Encinitas.

Encinitas

This quaint little (by California standards) town of 60,000 folks didn’t even exist back when we were kids.  The main street is US-101 and as such gets a lot of tourist traffic and features a lot of tourist business to keep folks content.   As Kit perused the retail opportunities, I made a beeline for Swami’s a short walk away.

Swami's Pix #1

Which features some of the best reef point breaks in the area.

Swami's Pix #2

So, how did this typical California beach spot get the name Swami’s?  Well, up on the bluff, overlooking the world class surf sits the Self Realization Fellowship Temple founded back in 1937 on what was then a lonely and isolated stretch of California coastline.  The Indian (think dot on the forehead) style architecture prompted the local surfers to call the area Swami’s……the name has stuck, and is now officially known as such on maps and brochures.

As in the past, parking in the area is at a premium so surfers just park on the side of US-101 and walk down the cliff to the beach.  Check out these modern surf buggies parked in front of the temple…..much nicer than the beat up old station wagons we used to arrive in.

Swami's Pix #5

Since it was around noon, Kit and I met up for lunch via Text Messages at a local place called Saint Tropez where we had an excellent meal with Al Fresco……whoever he is.

Swami's Pix #6

Continuing down the coast we stopped and explored a few more towns before reaching the Torrey Pines Glider port just north of La Jolla.

Gliderport Pix #1

Kit was ready for a nap, so I walked out to the bluff overlooking the Pacific and watched pilots hurl themselves into the cliff induced updrafts wearing little more than Para-foil kites on their backs.  It was mesmerizing watching them maneuver their wearable aircraft as they twisted and turned in the afternoon breeze.

Gliderport Pix #2

Looked to be a heck of a lot of fun!  Wonder what one of those things cost and if the learning curve is very steep?  After all I can now sorta successfully control a stunt kite from the ground.  Shouldn’t be that much different…..well except for the potential bodily injury part.

A few days later we decided to explore our host city of Oceanside.  Kit wanted to spend some time at the library and I wanted to visit the beach, yea I know…..big surprise.

Oceanside Pix #1 

Walking out on the Oceanside Pier, I spent time watching the surfers enjoy the shore break on this beautifully calm glassy morning.

Oceanside Pix #2

Then, as I approached the end of the pier, I came upon this fellow.

Pelican Pix #1

Using a technique that Dave taught me I started snapping away with my camera as I inched ever closer.  Soon, I was a mere two feet from the big fellow watching me as I watched him through the viewfinder.  The Mexican standoff was settled when he abruptly stood to tower over me.  This aggressive action caused me to hastily retreat to the far side of the pier and had it not been for the railing, I might have gone for an unplanned morning swim.

Pelican Pix #3

It was then that I realized that the pelican, and a few of his fine feathered friends, were local characters that sat about the pier and waited for one of the fishermen to drop his bait.  Turns out the big fellow was pretty tame and obviously liked to pose.

Walking back toward the library I stopped at the California Surfing Museum, a place I had visited and wrote about on previous trips.  There were a few new exhibits this year that I wanted to check out, one of which chronicled the life of Hobie Alter, a surfboard pioneer from the early days.

CSM Pix #1

As young kid’s growing up on the beaches of California, my brother and I always lusted after a Hobie board but at over a hundred dollars a copy, they were just too expensive for our mother to afford.  So, we did what many other local kids did back then…..we made copies of them out of discarded foam blocks, some fiberglass cloth and a few gallons of fiberglass resin.  We even made the skegs in wood shop at school.  Didn’t always look as nice as the factory boards, but they surfed almost as well.

Another new and fascinating exhibit honored Bethany Hamilton, a young professional surfer that was attacked by a large shark severing her left arm just below the shoulder.  The board and suit she wore that fateful day were featured in a story about the attack and her recovery.

Bethany's Boad and Suit

In a little over a month’s time, Bethany was back in the water overcoming her disability and eventually she returned to professional surfing.

Bethany Hamilton

The above photo was taken from her website http://bethanyhamilton.com/about/bio/  where I would encourage you to visit and learn more about this remarkable young woman.  A feature film has been made as well called “Soul Surfer”.  Bethany was hired by the studio to consult on the film and do all the surfing shots for the actress that played her…..it’s a great movie, check it out!

One morning at camp as I was watching the daily parade of Marine AAV’s, I noticed that our new neighbor had a unique motorhome that was powered by biodiesel.

Segway Neighbor

In addition I noticed an unusual “toy” hitched to the motorhome’s back bumper…..curious, I just had to do the neighborly thing and introduce myself and welcome him to the neighborhood!  Turns out that Dusty has severe lung disease and uses the toy to help him stay mobile.  He generously offered to give me a few riding lessons and then to give it a go.

Segway Bill

The toy is a Segway in off road trim and after a few false starts I was off and rolling about the campground at a pretty good clip.

Smiling Segway Bill

If you look carefully at the photo above you may be able to detect a pretty big grin…..the thing was a blast to ride!  I want one!! 

As the sun set on another great camping week, we both vowed to return to this little slice of heaven in the future.

Campsite Sunset #1

Tuesday, February 26, 2013:  Up and lounged about for a while before breaking camp.  We took a last walk on the beach and then said goodbye to the neighbors.

 Bill CWO4

Bill a former Navy Chief Warrant Officer was on the opposite side of us.  He started his military career on Swift Boats in Viet Nam and ended up with the amphibious force, retiring from ACU-5 as Officer in Charge of a division of Air Cushioned Landing Craft (LCAC’s).

LCAC

I was able to see these incredible machines operate offshore during our stay, but due to security was never able to get close enough for a photo, so I pulled this one off the US Navy website.  Bill told me that the LCAC is usually embarked on an amphibious ship but can operate from a shore station as well.  It can carry 40 tons of equipment from ship to shore at a speed of 40 knots then ride up the beach on its hovercraft hull to deposit its cargo.  This thing would make an awesome houseboat!!

Finally on the road at 1125 under clear warm skies.  Today is our annual pilgrimage to Riverside National Cemetery to pay our respects to Kit’s Mom and Dad.  Since this is to be another short mileage day, we decided to take US-395 through the backcountry.

US 395 #1

When one leaves the major metropolitan areas of California or moves inland a few miles the terrain and towns look like many rural places in the US.

US 395 #3

After four short hours on the road we pulled into the National Cemetery and spent a few minutes graveside remember Frank and Charlotte, two wonderful human beings.

Mom and Dad Davies

Leaving the cemetery, we stopped for the night at March Air Reserve Base just across the road and set up in a full hook-up site for the evening.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013:  Up, broke camp and on the road at 0935.  The sky is clear with temperatures in the 60’s.  Today is a day we look forward to all trip…..a visit to our youngest daughter and her family in their current hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada.

In order to make good time on today’s 235.83 mile trip, we decided to stick to the Interstate so on I-15 we motivated along at our customary 55 MPH while folks in a great hurry to lose money in Vegas were flying past at 85 MPH.  This is desert folks, and a not very pretty desert at that…..nothing much of interest to see, do, or photograph for miles and miles.  Well, we did come across this unusual sign.

Zzyzx

And spent hours looking at this view through the windshield.

I-15 to Veags, Baby!

Before this image came into view.

Las Vegas

At which point we finally left the desolate ribbon of asphalt and made our way to the kid’s home south of town arriving at 1510.  Since this is a work/school day, no one was home, so we set up in their dooryard and waited for this scene to unfold.

They are here!

Guma Kit was in her glory and the kiddles Jack and Tucker couldn’t get enough of her time.

Tuck, Guma and Jack

Gonna be a great grandkid spoiling couple of weeks…..stay tuned!

Kit’s Corner:  What a true delight to see Jack and Tucker again!!!  These boys are growing up so fast.  Seeing them only once or twice a year, we notice the changes so much more than if we saw them every couple of weeks.  Can’t wait to have them with us on the weekends now, for a spell.  With both of them in school, we focus mostly on having them Friday night till Sunday night.