Thursday, March 25, 2021

Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, Pahrump; Harrumph

Having had enough of Las Vegas and growing concerned about the coming weekend crowds, we retreated to a popular casino-docking site overlooking Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam Lodge, and stayed there four nights. The desert is a windy place in the spring, we are learning, and on this bluff overlooking the lake we had four days and nights of nearly gale force winds, temps in the 60s, but sunny. We did most of our walking in the casino (masking enforced), and made the usual token offerings there. It was, in my estimation, an unusually fine casino: $.05 machines aplenty, free drinks if you're playing, including something they said was scotch. Ask for it on the rocks and you get a scotch-flavored snow cone. Only a 94% pay-out, however, which is not all that great. The parking lot overlooking the lake and trails was gratuite et illimite, as we say in France, so that made it all worthwhile. Even stronger winds were forecast for mid-week, so we decided to head back to Vegas for some provisioning, and then, via the scenic Red Rock Canyon and a formidable pass, on to the fair town of Pahrump, Nevada, where we are holed up now at the Escapees' Pair-A-Dice (get it?!) RV Park. We'll stay here a few more days before heading back to California. Pahrump is noted for many things, not least of which is the presence of some famous brothels, including the BBC-featured Sheri's Ranch, two-time winner of the Brothel of the Year Award. Look it up. 

Hoover Dam Lodge; last casino before you enter Arizona; or
first you encounter coming from Arizona...

View from our site; what Mars looked like when it had lakes

Our encampment; every night there would be half a dozen or
more campers parked there

Alpenglow, sort of

Radio-controlled desert big horn sheep (note collar)

The old railroad line that supplied the building of Hoover Dam,
1931-35, has been converted into a hiking/biking trail; we hiked
past the 4th or 5th tunnel, then lost interest

Pinnacles on the mountainside; volcanic rock, sharp, not fun to
walk on

So I have decided to stop doing "today's wedding pix" photos,
my interest in weddings having waned since 2010 and 2011; from
now on I am going to feature "today's influencers" since they are
far more in evidence, especially in places like this

Someone else's photo of Hoover Dam; 90 years later, it's not such
a big deal, having been eclipsed by many others; we saw the Three
Gorges Dam in 2008
, and it's hard to beat; we skipped Hoover

Now in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, half an 
hour's drive west of Vegas; a trail only partly was 
cold and windy and poor footing...

Red rocks indeed; but mostly they were the usual fifty shades of
brown one sees in this part of the world; nonetheless, the canyon
drive was "wonderful," Vicki asserts

Up closer, including Calico Tanks

Ditto; nota bene: this area is the best on the one-way 13-mile 
scenic route...stop here, it doesn't get any better

Non-red rocks


Petroglyphs at the terminus of the 0.15 mile Petroglyph Wall Trail

Bonus pictograph

Us, there

We got out just before the rain/snow fell

Hitting one of these would really screw up your alignment

This nice couple had just passed us, at a high rate of speed, but
were stopped now, the Lamborghini over-heating, he said;
probably not influencers, Vicki observed, but how often do you
see a Lamborghini broken down in the boonies?

The area has many wild horses and burros, and there's a $500 
fine for feeding them; sign to be added to our "wild animals on
the road" collection from Africa...

Google view of Pahrump; the name derives from the native
southern Paiute; not French

I was tempted to buy it just to see whether Sheri's Ranch was listed;
and for how much

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Two Short Blog Posts On Four Days And Three Nights In Las Vegas, 2

Continuing our brief visit to this heart of American culture...

Strip scene

Paris with Bellagio's fountains; playing

Playing to the andante cantabile in D flat of Rachmaninoff's
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; I really wanted it to continue
through what the composer called "the creme de menthe" 24th
variation and its astonishingly amusing coda, but, alas, no such
luck; not in Las Vegas

Us at the Bellagio's garden conservatory, just before Vicki was
attacked by the giant hummingbird (she's so sweet...)

Actual real plants, too

Now we don't have to go back to Keukenhof!

Nor Rome

Land is so dear on the Strip this McDoo has only one
one golden arch

Elvis pauses to reflect, maskless, near the Trevi
or some other fountain

All in all, we thought Vegas did a fairly good job
insisting on the COVID-19 protocols; visitors, as
always, somewhat less so...

Two Short Blog Posts On Four Days And Three Nights In Las Vegas: 1

After returning from snowy Montana, we picked up Le Sport, moved back in, and drove it around the environs a bit, to make sure the engine didn't reject the transplanted transmission. Alles in ordnung, so far. Just to be sure, we stayed nearby for a week, casino-docking at the nearby Pauma reservation (also visiting the ritzier Pala and Pechanga tribes, making offerings in their gaming halls, too), and also spending three nights at the popular Dripping Springs National Forest Service campground. Satisfied that there was nothing obviously wrong with the melding of new (re-manufactured) transmission and old engine, we then boldly set forth for Las Vegas and the Circus Circus RV park there, planning on four days and three nights in these familiar digs. 

At the Pauma reservation casino; note snow in mountains

Our encampment at Dripping Springs

We ventured once or twice onto the trails above the campground

And then drove, gingerly, across the desert expanses of
southeastern CA and southern NV to Las Vegas, where what
happens, stays; here, a night-time view from the RV park


It was, of course, not our first visit to Las Vegas; here we are in
1995, Vicki and Rachel and Rebecca and myself flanking Morgan,
Rachel's Dallas friend; her dad had just become VP for hotel
operations at Caesar's, and we were there for a week as their
guests; unbelievable luxury and privilege we enjoyed, as the hotel
tried to impress the new VP; I am looking grim because, despite
the fun surroundings, I was in fact unemployed and looking hard
for a new job

Back to the present and moving right along, we dined one
afternoon at the 5-star (seriously) Tacos El Gordo, where the
line always wraps around the building

Extreme socially-distant dining; the greasiest tacos ever, but
the spicy pork was superb; conversation was a bit of challenge

Among the things you can rent in LV are exotic cars; here,
a nice McLaren; next day a Lamborghini SUV (!) was parked 
in the space

Local flora and fauna; among other things you can rent; here,
a girl-on-girl photo shoot

We miss Europe terribly, so it was good to revisit so many past
experiences and places; and laugh

Here, the Bridge of Sighs goes from the casino to the bar

Our ultimate destination, of course, was Paris; we'll always 
have Paris

And diner at Mon Ami Gabi; her traditional steak frites

And my croque madame et frites, enough carbs for the week,
but balanced by a generous and well-made Negroni; both the
frites and the baguette were authentique, we thought