Bakersfield to Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Sunny and 66 in the morning

We didn't waste much time getting underway this morning. We were headed into the mountains, east of Bakersfield, toward Las Vegas. Along the way we passed still more farm fields, mostly grapes and orange groves in this area. Murray's Family Farms promised a chance at locally harvested fruit. The place was a huge roadside fruit and vegetable market where they grow everything they sell. It also boasts snack bars, playgrounds and picnic pavilions; a real tourist Mecca. We found a few fruit items and were on our way. The groves quickly gave way to immense grazing areas that appeared to be barren and bone dry. It is a wonder that cows find enough grass to survive in areas of that type.

The Road to Vegas Appears Barren and Dry

We made a quick stop in Tekachapi for a MacDonald's breakfast. The town is lovely, seemingly mostly new construction. It is known for the huge wind farms that fill the nearby hill tops.

Continuing on to Las Vegas, we stopped at the first campground place we saw and decided to stay. The place was called the Oasis RV Resort and resort is actually an apt name. What a place! Seven miles from the "strip", it has about 700 campsites, 3 pools, a café, conference rooms and a small theater. Boasting paved roads, flat concrete site pads, raked pink gravel areas and carefully trimmed patches of irrigated lawn, it far exceeded any "campground" we'd ever stayed in. We were, without a doubt, the tiniest camper in the place! And, to top it off, we got our campsite for half price, since it was a Passport America campground; make that $68 for three nights!

Not Too Many Pop-Up Campers in Oasis RV Resort

After setting up the camper and taking showers we headed to the Rio Hotel and Casino to join Sandy's high school classmate, Mary Ellen, husband, John, and their friends, Ralph and Melody, for dinner. It was with Mary Ellen and John that we'd last visited Las Vegas in 19XX and, we thought it was glitzy then!

Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Sunny & gorgeous, high 70s

After breakfast at the Café in the Oasis in RV Resort, Sandy headed out to meet Mary Ellen & Melody at Rio Hotel to shop and to tour the big casinos. They got to Caesar's Palace, Bellagio's, etc., but never made it to do any shopping! Later, Sandy and Mary Ellen visited the slot machines. It was a big night and Sandy won all of $10!

Meanwhile, Bill stayed at the campground to do his writing thing and later joined the others for dinner at Rio Hotel and Casino. The others were headed home the following day so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the camper.

Bursts of wind, common in the area, came and went during the night, shaking our little camper.

Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Overcast early, then gorgeous, low 70s

We were up early so that Bill could drop Sandy off at the Fashion Mall to do some shopping while he headed to the local Lexus dealer to take car in for its 60,000 mile service. It needed rear brake pads, uncommon at this mileage, but probably due to the fact that the rear of the car is pretty heavily loaded with the camper and our gear.

Rio Hotel and Casino Gleams Even During Daytime

Afterwards, we drove to Lake Meade and the Hoover Dam. Lake Meade is a beautiful contrast with the desert that surrounds it. Its water level varies quite a bit depending on precipitation amounts and irrigation demands. Today, while still above the critical shortage level, it is nearly 100 feet lower than its peak in 1983.

Lake Powell is Like a Mirage in Surrounding Desert

Varying water levels make it a bit of a challenge in managing the two marinas near the dam. One of the marinas has about 1,100 slips and another, next to it, has about 600 slips. Instead of being secured in position by pilings, as is common with most marinas, these two huge marinas float and are held in place by large anchors. Long floating connectors to the beach are used to compensate for small fluctuations in water level. But when the level changes significantly they move the marina, boats, restaurant and all, nearer of farther from shore as needed. In fact, they were repositioned from a location several miles away since we last visited.

Water Bleached Rock Show State of Water Level Near Hoover Dam

Carp and Sripers Beg for Popcorn at Lake Powell Marina

We had a quick bite to eat at Harbor House café in the big marina; forgettable. Then we did the obligatory tour of Hoover Dam. The US-93 road was rerouted over a new bridge just downstream from the dam since our last visit. That makes it really nice to walk the dam and look over the edge. The new bridge, of course, is really cool, too.

New Bridge is Impressive Passing over River Just Below Hoover Dam

Our late return to camper meant a light dinner of salad.

Las Vegas, NV
Friday, September 27, 2013
Sunny & gorgeous

Work day, today. That meant breakfast at the Oasis Café, again, followed by chores like laundry, travel log notes and writing and a variety of other errands.

We had dinner at the local Chili's Grill & Bar. We were pleased with the offerings!