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by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: February 16, 2003 -- Casa Grande, Arizona
To avoid the retrieving of an atlas, Casa Grande is located about half way between Phoenix and Tucson.
The last update was in December just before Christmas when I arrived in San Diego to visit Vanita.
When I arrived just before the Holidays, Vanita took a two week vacation. Among other things, we went shopping, visited the zoo and ate sushi. Shopping with Vanita was great fun. She had a great Christmas tradition that made shopping less of an ordeal. Every gift for another person means that two are purchased for yourself. It does get a bit expensive, but it made the experience a lot more fun.
Las Vegas ... was the next stop. Marilyn Treichel had invited us along with several friends and family to join her there to celebrate a significant birthday over the New Year's.
Vanita and I joined them by parking the Wandrin Wagon at the Circus Circus RV Park. It is an expensive place to "camp", but it was right on the Strip. For the days just before New Years, the rate was $70 a night. That was expensive camping! The last night of the stay was $25 a night -- back to the regular rate. A more sane approach would have been to park at one of Las Vegas' many outlying RV parks and commute to the Strip. Paying for parking would have been cheaper. With that approach we could also avoid walking the miles of concrete along the Strip.
What did I think of Las Vegas? ... Why go anywhere else? New York and the tourist stops of Europe are recreated right there. The larger casinos have street-side shows to lure the passer by: a choreographed water show, a volcano eruption, a pirate ship is sunk and the canals of Venice. That was just the outside. The casinos are huge. There are too many people. It was just too much!!
Realizing the amount of money that went into the construction of these structures and the entertainment, I realize that a lot of people lose a lot of money in Las Vegas. That's it: these huge casinos are monuments to the losers.
The high light was the Strip's New Year's fireworks display. We witnessed it from atop a hotel just off the Strip. It was an impressive spectacle as the fireworks are fired from atop the high rise casinos along the Strip. Synchronized and identical displays, it was a sight to remember.
Hoover Dam ... After all those people in Las Vegas, it was time to go some place where there were less people. ... Hoover Dam was not the place. Many Holiday travelers were heading back east and passing through to tour the Dam.
Hoover Dam is an impressive structure and the displays and the tour provide answers about the construction and how Hoover Dam continues to be used for both watering of the desert West and generation of power.
During the Dam tour, there were opportunities to purchase a souvenir hardhat. I had a momentary twinge of "want". What did I want with a hardhat?
The answer was evident the following day. As I was working around Wandrin Wagon, I managed to stand up at the wrong time and whacked my head. When I realized I was bleeding all over my shirt, it would have been a great idea to have had the hard hat for protection. Even if I had bought it, would I have been wearing it.
Did you know that the hard hat was invented during the Hoover Dam construction. One worker was being annoyed by the number of times he was being hit on the head by falling debris, tools, etc. Being an enterprising individual, he took off his hat and with tar and cement nearby, he formed it into his hat and put it back on his head. It worked so well that many of his co-workers followed suit, but they didn't leave it on their heads as it dried. The original inventor had to have his hard hat chipped off and lost some hair in the process.
Lake Havasu City ... Here I took a Colorado River tour. The tour guide was a wealth of information relating the history of river traffic from the original steam ships in the mid 1800s to today's damming of the River for irrigation and electric power generation.
The history included the story of the City of London finding someone to buy the sinking London Bridge. The bridge was bought by McColloch who used it as a centerpiece for the community being built in the desert on the Colorado River. The London bridge was dismantled, shipped and eventually arrived in Lake Havasu where the bridge was reconstructed. It was built on dry land and upon completion, a channel was carved out of the desert to connect it to the Colorado River.
Actually, Arizona bridges across dry land are not an unusual sight. Many dry washes and river beds are spanned by bridges for the possibility of water.
Arizona is also the place where ten tons of rock is considered great landscaping.
Quartzsite, Arizona ... has a population of about 1800 people -- until the snowbirds arrive. The snowbirds arrive in RVs of every vintage, size and price range. There are several RV parks in town, but most of the snowbirds boon dock on the extensive BLM lands that surround the city.
During the winter months, over a million people pass through the town. During the peak weeks of January, the population of the area is close to a 100,000. That represents about 50,000 RVs camped in the vicinity.
With the seven day a week swap meets in Quartzsite, the continuing gem and mineral shows, an RV show, and other events, there is something to do every day.
Wandering Individuals Network ... I met up and boon docked with this singles group on Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite for two weeks.
Groucho Marx had said that he didn't think it was a good idea to belong to a group that would have him as a member. But in spite of that caution, I became a WIN member after only a few days. To make matters worse, I raised my hand to be host at next year's Quartzsite gathering. ... A group is only as good as its active members.
Boon docking.... Since the last update, I have been doing an equal amount of boon docking and full hook ups. I am becoming experienced at conservation of stored electricity and fresh water.
With the potential water shortages looming all across the country, the RVers will be ready to give lessons on water conservation. When boon docking, using water judiciously becomes even more important. Hooking up to dump the waste waters and refill with fresh water takes time out of one's busy schedule.
80 gallons of fresh water will last me for over two weeks. Water usage is rationed: paper plates, only wash dishes when none left, short Navy showers or sponge baths, shave infrequently, brush teeth without water, etc.
Gilbert Ray Campground ... is in Tucson Mountain Park about ten miles west of downtown Tucson. With mountains as a back drop, the views are great amid the desert plants. It also seems to be a good place for birds. After it rained, I wanted to bottle that smell of the desert. There is nothing like it.
At $12 a night including electricity, it is a great park. With no reservations, arrive before ten to be assured of a spot.
Ice Cream ... Am I the only one that doesn't want people to play with the ice cream before they serve it? ... Especially as I watch someone doing it. If that is the only ice cream store available, I don't have ice cream.
Hiking ... was mostly walks in the desert. These walks were in the neighborhoods where I had parked Wandrin Wagon.
Cinnamon Roll Search ... Quartzsite Bakery and Pastry Shop has great cinnamon rolls. They had numerous pastries from which to choose. I frequently had gone to check out the variety, but I found the cinnamon roll was the best of the choices. It might have been a little large, but I managed.
After periods of very little hiking and too much sedentary activity, I realize that my Levis are a little tight. Rather than blaming that condition on lack of exercise, I blame it on the cinnamon rolls.
After a brief discussion with myself, I concluded it was time for balance in consumption of cinnamon rolls. ... I don't need one every day! ... Maybe.
Latest Read ... "Lyndon Johnson and the Great American Dream" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This book is a psychological interpretation of Lyndon Johnson and why he became the most powerful person the U.S. Senate had known. His actions as an adult were a result of his parents and childhood environment.
After reading this book, I wanted to read more about Johnson. Bookman's in Tucson is a good used book store. There I was able to find two of the books about Johnson by Robert Caro.
And more... Spotted this at the Quartzsite Bakery:
Senior Mating Season in Quartzsite
Oct 15 to Apr 15
Ego Plates ....
APRAZR --- The driver's profession?
FLYJETS --- On a Lexus. Most likely the pilot rather than a command to fly jets.
GRA2SOM --- The color of the car was a very dark gray -- approaching black. Most likely the manufacturer called it "Evening Gray" or some similar word modifying gray.