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Old 10-29-2010, 07:19 AM   #225
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I saw two around 25'. There was also a large rental 5th wheel. We saw the same at a KOA near Key West last year, except there may have been 3 Airstreams and 3 or 4 5th wheels. The Airstreams here are a $100/night I was told.

Yes, it is an asphalt parking lot with hookups and must be very hot in the summer. There are a few trees for extra money. There are so many lights outside, it seems more like twilight than night.

Gene
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:36 AM   #226
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Tuesday. Yesterday US 101 down the coast was reduntantly called “The Camino Road”. Every several miles there is a bell on something that looks like a shepherd’s crook and sometimes a sign with the name. I always thought it was the Pacific Coast Highway, but every time we are on either Cal. 1 or US 101 it has a different name.
Hi! "El Camino Real" is Spanish and translates to "The Royal Road". It was the path Fr. Junipero Serra took up the coast establishing the missions. Have you stopped to see any of them? Beautiful and full of California history . . . You will probably also see signs say "Anza Historic Trail"; another path of a Spanish explorer.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:45 AM   #227
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We didn't stop at any missions as that would have taken more time than we have. I think there's a King's Highway somewhere in NYC and El Camino Real in Santa Fe, but El Camino Road means The Road Road and was named by the Department of Redundancy Department.

Other things I wonder about often occur when I wake up in the middle of the night: if I were a "theater of the absurd" playwright, and I wanted to write a play about the most absurd way to travel, would I write about towing 3 1/2 tons of travel trailer cross country? Is it possible to travel cross country from Colorado, or do you have to start on the coast? Can it be the Gulf coast? Perhaps being in Las Vegas leads to such thoughts.

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Old 10-29-2010, 11:52 AM   #228
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I think there's a King's Highway somewhere in NYC and El Camino Real in Santa Fe, but El Camino Road means The Road Road and was named by the Department of Redundancy Department.


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Sort of like the Rio Grande River?????
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:20 PM   #229
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Sort of like the Rio Grande River?????
And VIN numbers.

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Old 10-29-2010, 03:24 PM   #230
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And ATM machines.

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Old 10-29-2010, 08:15 PM   #231
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the most absurd way to travel

Where the means justify the end? Or the other way 'round? "Rest and Recreation" seem to have been better covered by the trains of an earlier era of National Park travel.

"Lonely & Isolated" via Leaving Las Vegas (no destructive dying drunk ever looked so good . . . summer in a trailer with no A/C would have lent versimilitude -- a la Travis Bickle).

Travels with Charley probably has a buried sentence in it. As would Edward Abbey (though, ha! not "buried"). Or H.S. Thompson. Maybe a sendup of B. Traven.

It's just the neon, Gene. Step away from the television, sir . . . . Methinks you've overloaded the inner and the outer . . competing flicker rates.

The mode of travel is now out of context.

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Old 10-30-2010, 02:44 AM   #232
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Friday. Back into context, we went to Hoover Dam. It's almost an hour from the Strip. We had to got through security to get to the dam tours. They wanted to see under the tonneau, looked for few seconds, saw it was RV stuff, didn't care about the 4 gallons of gasoline, and we went to the parking garage ($7). I don't know if you have to go through security to get to the new bridge since I was only paying attention to the way to the dam. They had a couple of RV's pulled over and seemed to be going through them. You can park for free before you get to the garage, but we weren't into walking down (and especially up) the hill.

You can reserve tickets to the tour to see the generator room for around $11, but the dam tour takes you further into the dam is $30. You can't reserve those tickets and we got into the tour one and half hours away. We went through the visitor center exhibit, watched a movie about the dam, and looked out at the new bridge, down into the canyon and every other which way. Lake Mead is way down, lowest since 1937. It the reservoir goes down another 60 feet (it's about 130' below the top of the dam), no more electricity. Las Vegas is lowering it's water intakes at great expense. There's hope the 11 year drought will end soon, but if it doesn't, they're in trouble. On the dam tour you go through some tunnels, up and down elevators, get to look through the face of the dam down river, and end up on the top of the dam. It's interesting, though I'd love to go through the whole place since this was just a taste.

We came back to KOA, had dinner, and decided to go to the Belagio to see the fountains and the art gallery and then Caesar's Palace to the Forum shops. I had already found the Stage Deli was no more, a real disappointment, because they used to have great rye bread which was supposedly flown in from NYC every day. We stopped there maybe 5 years ago and I can still remember the sandwich and potato salad.

The art gallery was closed, but the fountains outside go off every 15 minutes or so. They play music and the fountains do their thing. It lasts 5 minutes and it's cool. Then off to the Forum shops and the moving statutes. The are complicated machines that sort of look human, but obviously are not. We saw the Atlantis show in which the voices were difficult to understand. On the other side, there's an aquarium with some strange fish that you watch up close. That was more interesting to me.

On the way back, in the casino, Barb put a dollar in a 1¢ machine and lost it all. So much for gambling. It was a lot busier tonight, perhaps because of the weekend. Or it could be the Balagio and Caesar's Palace are more upscale and attract more people. These would be places to go on a weekend night for local young people and cruise the hotels and the Strip. There seemed to be a lot of them. The customers in these two places were better dressed than at Circus Circus and looked better. There was a lower proportion of slots and more card games, roulette and other such games. It was much less noisy.

So ends our Las Vegas adventure. We are pretty minimalistic here. We went to no shows nor did we go to the numerous strip clubs behind the KOA on Industrial Ave. We gambled a dollar. We didn't go see the newest places like NYNY, MGM, or Luxor. Maybe next time, after all from where we live, if you go to southern Cal., or Arizona, you often drive through here. It seems gambling is less important than it used to be and it's more about the entertainment, shopping and walking around. But gambling is always there and is a reliable money maker to keep the lights on.

I took lots of photos at the dam, but it's too late to deal with that. Tomorrow we go to Green River Utah (400 miles) and a relatively short drive home Sunday (175 miles). It'll be good to be home and after 11 weeks traveling this year and somewhere around 15,000 trailer miles, it's time to settle in and maybe cut some wood to burn.

Gene
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:00 PM   #233
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Saturday. The weather was changing this morning in Las Vegas. With darkening clouds and wind, we started north to Utah on I-15. Eventually rain started and continued on and off 'til and after we reached I-70. This highway goes over a couple of pass at its western end, all over 7,000'. We had about a minute of snow, but along the way we saw some snow and some hail while lightening was ahead of us. The road was only wet, and the trailer continued to follow us without incident.

But, a few miles east of the Salina exit, we saw some trucks stopped along the road and then a car upside down in the median—apparently 5 to 8 minutes before. I stopped and walked back in the rain. Someone had called 911 (our phone didn't work there) and the driver was out of the car. He was obviously in shock with a scratch on his head and arm, very little blood, and he was holding a very young child. Basically they were ok—a testament to seat belts, air bags and child seats. The mother was still in the car (the husband had crawled out a door window) and her concern—people in shock do these things—was to find her phone. Both appeared to not have suffered concussions as the car flipped over because I watched their eyes tracking correctly. Someone opened one door and there she was with her eyes as big as saucers sitting on the roof. She seemed ok. A cop arrived who looked like Charles Bronson, except he was a happy Charles Bronson. I noticed the overturned car had somewhat worn highway tires. There were deep wheel tracks in the median right up to the car—maybe he hit the high side with his bumper, flipped, and slid back to the middle of the median. Nothing I could do and we left, driving a bit slower.

The drive from Vegas on I-15 and I-70 is beautiful, but with a grey day, rain, concern about snow on the passes, an accident, and trying to get to Green River before dark (we didn't), we just wanted to get down the road. Arriving at the KOA, we hooked up in the dark and settled in.

At this point we are ready to be home. It's supposed to be slightly below freezing at night for the next several days, so winterizing will be high on our list.

Gene
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:38 PM   #234
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We're home! I winterized today and it took less than 2 hours doing it myself. Having a positive connection to the city water (bought the part at Camping World) meant I didn't have to hold the compressor part to the city water, but could just walk around opening and closing faucets, toilet valve, drains and sprayer. I raised and lowered the trailer a couple of times to fully drain the black and grey tanks—there's always some water left after flushing—about a quart. Most of the stuff is out of the trailer and truck and laundry is being done.

There's snow on the mountain tops here and it's just below freezing at night.

We're making lists of things to fix. As always, things break on a trip: the screen door latch broke again—I have been trying to bend the screen door to close properly without putting too much pressure on the latch. I failed and so did it. The front window leak came back, so I really do have to seal the window again. The black tank valve is getting harder to open and close; not sure how to fix that. The cold water handle in the bathroom fell apart and have to figure out how it goes together—a screw inside came apart, but I can't get it all to fit together—on the road, I had little time to figure it out since it is unlike any faucet handle I have ever fixed before.

On the other hand, the new shower head was wonderful and easy to use and it didn't leak. The Michelin LTX tires continued to perform better than ST tires. The whole rig continued down the road without incident and the truck continued to use a lot of gas. We bought sheepskins for the dinette seats and now the cheap fabric on them doesn't get dirty. We put sheepskin seat covers in the truck and they much improve the comfort of the seats.

I just remembered the printer is still in the now unheated trailer and it's supposed to be below 32˚ tonight—we'd better go get it.

Gene
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:24 AM   #235
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Glad to know you are home safe. Will watch for tales of your future adventures.

Have a warm and cozy winter and holiday season.


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Old 03-12-2011, 12:55 PM   #236
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It's not 2010 anymore, but I never posted the last set of photos from Hoover Dam. I have some more from installing venetian blinds in the rear center window—I did that yesterday.

We have no trips planned for this year because we have our house on the market and we'd better stick around. I don't want to sell into a rising market because the next house will be more and more expensive, so we have to make this work soon.

I also have projects planned for the trailer. Since it has been unseasonably warm, it was time to start. I tried to re-afix the bathroom sink faucet. The hot water lever fell off last year and I have not be able to figure it out. I finally went to the Moen website and found a similar one and maybe it explains it. Their installation paperwork is just about all pictures and not very clear. I have the brake plates for self adjusting brakes and want to install them—one axle already has them—and all the bearings need repacking. It's been about 17,000 miles since they were repacked.

One thing I don't know what to do about is the vinyl floor. Two years ago it started buckling upward in front of the bathroom cabinet. That was under warranty and in JC they cut a small strip out so it would flatten and then put some quarter round molding on the bottom of the cabinet to hide the space. Last year the same thing started in front of the stove and part of the kitchen counter. I managed to ignore it. Now it's buckled from under the dinette table and back toward the bathroom door. This happens, from what I've read on the Forum, mostly in cold climates with subzero temps.

The reason it happens is that Airstream installs a sheet of vinyl before the cabinets, furniture and partitions are installed and then places all of them on top of the vinyl. This leaves no room for expansion and contraction. No floor is supposed to be installed this way, but it's a lot easier and saves on labor. There is supposed to be a space around any floor—even ceramic tile—for either the subfloor, the floor, or the walls and cabinets to expand.

This is a major design defect and substandard workmanship. I think the Company should fix it regardless of warranty (it has run out). I would then have to get them to agree to install it right. It is not easy with the cloth covered gaucho to have quarter round trim, but I guess it can be done. The trim around the kitchen cabinet with its curves would have to be something else—there's ugly black rubber trim I'd like to avoid. An alternative to vinyl would be cork, laminate, hardwood. The last two are heavy. I could do it myself although I am not eager to do it in the near future. I would have to cut out the vinyl in any case because alternatives are thicker than vinyl and I don't want to raise the floor too much. We might put some weight on the vinyl for now and see if it flattens.

Gene

Photos:
1. Hoover Dam. Without a wide angle lens, I couldn't get it all in.
2. The east (Arizona) power plant.
3. The roof of one of towers at the ends of the dam. Very wonderful art deco details.
4. Water intakes on west (Nevada) side. The level of Lake Mead is about as low as it has ever been and this winter in the southwest has been generally very dry, so levels must be even lower now. Las Vegas is spending gazillions building intakes for drinking water even lower in the Lake because pretty soon the old ones wouldn't work.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:10 PM   #237
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More photos:

1. The turbines in the dam. There are 2 tours—one goes this far. The more expensive one goes through some of the tunnels and you get to look at a little window in the face of the dam. Before 9/11 this tour used to take people much deeper into the dam, but they've cut way back and I don't know if this tour is worth it. It's much more expensive than the regular tour, but not that much more is seen except a lot of tunnels.

2. There are some exquisite southwest designs in the floor. This one is in the area overlooking the turbines.

3. Here is another floor design at the start of a corridor. The yellow blotches are reflections of the lighting.

4. A little further down the corridor.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:24 PM   #238
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And more:

1. No tile on the walls in this tunnel.

2. The new bridge. I think I took this through one of the little windows in the face of the dam and had little time to do so, but it came out ok despite the bright sun and sky and dark rock.

3. A closer view of the intakes for the turbines. The white walls above the water show how far down the water level is.

4. Winter project—restoring these late Victorian era chairs. They are either Chinese Eastlake, Japonisme or early Arts and Crafts—everyone I've talked to agrees they don't know and it could be any of those styles. Regluing and sealing is the easy part. Caning is tedious, slow and hurts my back, but it would cost at least $100/chair to have it done. I'm getting close to finishing the fourth and 2 to go, maybe much later as Airstream projects have to be done.

The Venetian blinds story will come later with rudimentary instructions.

Gene
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