Bill and Kit’s 2020 Excellent Adventure, Journal #4

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019 through Saturday, January 4, 2020-Oasas RV Park, Las Vegas Nevada: Vegas is one of our must stops on our annual winter RV excellent adventure trips as it is where 1/3 of our family lives.

On Christmas eve, the first full day in town, found us hanging out with our two youngest grandsons Jack and Tucker and, as is tradition, taking them shopping for their parent’s Christmas gifts.

Tucker is approaching his 13th birthday, and older brother Jack is age 15. They are the youngest of our five grandchildren and are great kids…as are the other three back east.

After shopping and to recover from the Christmas Eve shopping madness, we sought refuge in a local In-N-Out Burger joint for lunch.

This chain, which hasn’t made it to the Northeast yet, features a simple menu and uses natural and fresh ingredients to produce a very good hamburger. The business model is unique as well, a privately owned company, every employee receives benefits and is paid far above minimum wage…but they agree upon employment to bring value to the company in the form of delivering an honest day’s work and providing excellent customer service. In-N-Out is one of the few fast food chain restaurants that consistently receives high marks from well know chefs and food critics.

After a nice meal, we returned to the boy’s home for more visiting with them and their folks before heading back to the RV park for the evening.

Christmas morning dawned bright and early with the boys…

…and newest member of the family, Sophie…

… excited and ready for the day’s festivities.

First off was the traditional opening of gifts from Santa…

…where Jack received the world’s largest Tortilla…

…and Tuck scored an…

…authentic Lamb’s wool blanket, amongst other gifts such as fancy basketball shoes.

In addition, they both received an Amethyst Crystal…

…that Kit and I purchased a few days ago in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Along with gift opening, we enjoyed some of our daughter’s famous Monkey Bread…

…served with fresh brewed coffee!

By afternoon, the boys were either enjoying their new gifts indoors…

…or outdoors.

That skateboard Jack is about to ride is motorized and can reach a pretty good speed by manipulating a small wireless controller…a far cry from my skateboard days of homemade contraptions made from 2×6 boards and cut up roller rink skates.

Toward evening we enjoyed a traditional, by Vegas standards, Christmas meal…

…of Broccoli Salad, home-smoked beef ribs, Buffalo Wild Wings, and homemade popovers…

Kit and I had a wonderful time celebrating this joyous day with our left-coast family!

By now you may be wondering if Jack and Tucker live in the house on their own.

Nope…

… their folks, Kevin and Suzie are allowed to live there as well.

Also, as mentioned earlier, a very affectionate rescue dog by the name of Sophie resides in the home.

Sophie took an immediate liking to Kit and started bringing her gifts in the form of her favorite dog toys…

…one after another…

…after another.

Since the boys are off school for Christmas break, Kit and I spent the rest of our time in town with them, going to places of interest, or just hanging out at their home.

Traditionally the boys like to spend a few nights in the camper with us but this year only Tucker took advantage of the offer. Jack is getting a bit too tall to comfortably sleep on the Lazy Boy recliners and the campgrounds Wi-Fi lacks the speed for him to enjoy his many electronic devices.

However, with Tuck’s late to bed-late to rise schedule, our day started around noon…which was just fine with Kit!

Oasis RV Park, our home for the next 12 days, is an upscale (read pricey) facility…

…with 935 full hook-up sites, and a nice recreation complex featuring two pools…

… hot tubs, dining facilities, and a 19-hole pitch-n-putt golf course.

All in all, as nice as it is, not our style of campground! We much prefer federal, state or municipal facilities that feature less amenities but more spacious sites away from large cities…or, when convenient, military campgrounds and recreation facilities.

So, why do we stay here? Well, it’s about 5 minutes from where the kids live and the prime reason for us even being in Vegas is to spend time with them! And so, without further to-do, here are some of the activities we enjoyed.

Viewed the movie Jumanji, The Next Level…

…even though it’s about some kids being sucked into an old video game, it was surprisingly entertaining!

On one of our many outings I spotted a toy from my own childhood…

…which both boys enjoyed…

…even though it functioned without computer technology.

We often ask the boys what activities they would like to do and being quite different they usually come up with unique requests…such as when Tucker wanted to see some special interest automobiles. This didn’t appeal to either Jack or Kit, so while they hung out at home, Tuck and I took off on our own…first stop was to the Shelby American manufacturing plant and museum.

Where the story of famed American race car driver and automotive entrepreneur Carrol Shelby was told concerning his innovative take on American sports car racing. Also, his legendary vision, in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, to develop unique automobiles for the American motoring enthusiast…such as the 1967 Ford Mustang GT-500…

…and the iconic Shelby AC Cobra developed by marrying a lightweight British AC Ace. With an American Ford V-8 power plant.

Carrol Shelby passed away in 2012 but the company he built still has a relationship with Ford to modify production Mustangs and F-150 Pickup trucks…

… with performance suspensions and available engine modifications producing up to 1000 horsepower!

Then the car that started it all, the AC Cobra…

…is still being built and sold at this facility. One of these jewels can be yours for a mere $250,000.00 and depending on engine choice the price goes up from there! Being one of my dream cars, I happened to exclaim to Kit, “it’s an investment”! The very first AC Cobra built recently sold at auction for $17.7 Million Dollars!” Yea, Kit wasn’t buying it…literally!

Another iconic race car in the collection is this Shelby modified Ford GT-40…

…that famed racer Dan Gurney drove in France during the 1966 Le Mans race where Ford fielded the top three finishers, an American first. Notice the “blister” on the roof? That was added so 6’4” Dan Gurney could fit in the driver’s seat.

After viewing the museum collection, Tucker and I enjoyed a garage tour by a Shelby staff member…

…and an accomplished semi-pro race car driver. We got to see new AC Cobra sports cars being built. These are known as “continuation cars” to differentiate them from the original 1960 era classics, which often command seven figures at auction. In addition, we were able to see some new production Ford Mustangs and trucks being modified with Shelby performance parts.

A very enjoyable and informative experience…if you’re ever in Vegas, make sure you make time to tour this interesting facility.

Our next stop was at the quirky Hollywood Cars Museum.

Many car collectors specialize and focus their collection on one marque or vintage of automobile. But this place is full of unique vehicles from either movies or television shows such as the jalopy from the Beverly Hillbillies…

…and a fully functioning roller skate car…

…notice the steering wheel sticking out the top of the boot?

Also, the death car from Bonnie & Clyde.

Complete with bullet holes made from…well, real bullets! Note the holes in the car’s body…

…they were shot from inside to minimize damage to the interior, but from a distance they look normal.

Then there was the Batmobile from the film “Batman Returns”.

And the submarine car driven by Roger Moore…

… in the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me”.

And although technically not a movie or TV car is old Doc Hudson of “Cars” fame…

…which was built from an actual Hudson Hornet and used for promotion of that classic animated film.

The owner of this eclectic collection is Michael Dezer, a local real estate developer.  Michael was born in Israel and at a young age developed an interest in vehicles while piloting his Vespa scooter around town.  So, it’s no surprise that he has a separate mini-museum that houses a complete collection of those iconic Italian motor scooters.

The two red scooters in front are Ferrari Vesparossa’s…reportedly those were produced for an Italian Formula One Racing Team.

There are many more car collections to view in Vegas, many we’ve enjoyed in past years, but its time to head back and see what Kit and Jack are up to.

Often, we just enjoy hanging out with the boys at their home. Being a musical family, there are instruments scattered around the house…

…such as this electric cello. I asked Tuck to play the old Rosemary Clooney song “I Ain’t Got No Body” but he didn’t get it…yea, very few people understand my weird sense of humor.

Some folks hear of Las Vegas and think of only the famed Las Vegas Strip of hotels, casinos, and show venues.

However, there is life outside the strip. Vegas is in a valley surrounded by mountains…

…such as snowcapped 7,510-foot Mount Charleston. And many other attractions that do not include “The Strip” most of which we’ve enjoyed in past years.

Las Vegas has your typical American neighborhoods with average folks attending to average daily activities…although it is a bit surprising to be walking through the average neighborhood grocery store and come upon a bank of slot machines!

Before leaving Oasis RV Park, we treated the family to a nice dinner out an BJ’s Restaurant, a perennial favorite.

Where we enjoyed food, drink, and great conversation…

…what a difference a coupe of years makes, the boys were behaved and engaged…it felt like we were dining with six adults!

Well tomorrow we pull chocks and head to the north…stay tuned for further adventures with Bill and Kit.

Kit’s Bit’s: We had a wonderful Christmas Holiday week with our Las Vegas family! The boys are getting older so, we don’t actually play with them as we did when they were younger. It’s more about observing them doing whatever they enjoy. Both are intensely involved with computer games and seem to have a natural knack for it. Of course, it’s way beyond our understanding so, we are content just watching them as they each get totally immersed in their favorite activities.