Las Vegas in two Acts

With Paintin’ Peggie finished with her plein air painting course in Tucson (a fine time was had), the time had arrived to point Winnie north towards Las Vegas.  CrossCountry Bob picked a route through Quartzsite, then north to Parker, Lake Havesu and on to Las Vegas.  Sounded like a plan (to him, yes, but not so much to Paintin’ Peggie).  Turned out to be a less than perfect plan. Quartzsite was flat, bleak desert festooned with off road vehicles, wind and dust and to top it off, it was Presidents Day weekend. Yikes! 

A shade north of Quartzsite is one of the largest BLM boondocking sites in America (BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management).  Cross Country Bob saw an abundance of home town Americana around Quartzsite, worth checking out (he thought) but Paintin’ Peggie said please no (a clue perhaps to where the tastes of Paintin’ Peggie aren’t), and so Winnie passed on by…

North of the Quartzsite off road vehicle metropolis – sweet, empty desert

Although CrossCountry Bob missed taking pictures of specific Quartzsite Americana, he rose to the challenge and located some quality substitutes…

By the time Quartzsite receded in Winnie’s sideview mirrors, the sun was sinking lower than CrossCountry Bob liked and it was now “find a spot very soon for the night” time – something that was not always easy with RVs littered across the southwest, filling most RV parks and campgrounds like sardines in a tin.  The next town on the road was Parker which had thosel sardine RV resorts – not an option for this picky duo.  But to the rescue, on the outskirts of Parker there was a Reservation and in this area that meant (surprise) – a Casino – and this particular Casino had a big parking lot with lots of RVs stopping over.  Turns out casinos have other uses than vacuuming up money. Winnie stayed over, not quality camping for sure but okay for a night and better than rumbling diesels in the truck stops that Paintin’ Peggie preferred to avoid.

From Parker to the Parker Dam is a 30 kilometre strip of the Colorado River thick with mobile home parks, RV Parks, strange looking aluminum park models, each with a big garage area for the toys (boats, skidoos and ATVs). 

One of many in every corner of this strip of river

Using a favourite CrossCountry Bob expression, “we came, we saw, we went” (excepting a pleasant stopover at a BLM campsite along the less populated side of the river with some wild burros that somehow survive both the desert and the torrents of sun-seeking snowbirds)…

Next up was Lake Havesu City which Paintin’ Peggie indicated was not an improvement (unless you like RV lots, golf carts and gun stores)

Moving on north from the limited pleasures (warm weather) of Lake Havesu City, the weather turned C.O.L.D.  Canada was apparently sending down a reminder that winter still had a bite.  CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie had that reminder pounded home while camped in Golden Valley south of Las Vegas as nasty, swirling winds rattled and rocked Winnie for hours then (just in case more ha ha! was required) delivered a snow shower in the morning chill (this is Vegas country, remember?).

snow in Golden Valley 1 hour from Las Vegas

By now, you might be thinking that CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie were hankering for a slice of city life and yes, that was the situation.  A snowbird refuge – Las Vegas RV Resort – well run, clean and rows of RVs, but with all the hookups and only an Uber ride from the Vegas Strip.  RV resort living (good for a few days but all winter? remarks Paintin’ Peggie with a slight shake of her head) and then she was off, CrossCountry Bob in tow, not for the casinos but for the budding Las Vegas Arts District north of the Strip.  A low rise area of old industrial transitioning into a curious mix of art and offbeat retail.

A Bonus (this is Vegas after all), after some hours of walk about and browsing a few eclectic stores – there was a rustic little restaurant serving tender, high flavour BBQ brisket that CrossCountry Bob savoured to the point of overdose.  Best in the American southwest so far was the satiated conclusion of CrossCountry Bob. Oh, and there was the cake shop (spotted by Paintin’ Peggie) where she lasered in on a luscious slice of birthday cake. Happy Birthday to Paintin’ Peggie!

The charms of chocolate

After a fine day in the Art District, there were a couple of days of painting on the agenda for Paintin’ Peggie while CrossCountry Bob, with his own serious agenda, booked an Uber to the casinos to meet good friend, Dave Marshall, who flew down from Kelowna to see Metallica (believe it!) and partake (with CrossCountry Bob) of a healthy dose of poker action.

Not Las Vegas without a bit of poker action – Dave had no mercy on those Vegas players.

Aside from the poker, the concert idea took root and the next night CrossCountry Bob, Paintin’ Peggie and Dave were in Allegiant Stadium to see Billy Joel.  Now that man (age 72!) knows how to put on a concert!  Grade A+ which more than made up for the traffic jam on the way to the concert stadium during which CrossCountry Bob’s kidneys went on a rampage, leaving CrossCountry Bob feeling as if the only thing that existed in the world at that moment was his bladder (you all know the feeling).  Made it to a porta potti outside the Stadium – just,oh just – and do you know how wonderful the inside of a porta pottie can feel?  Grand! But that was a side issue for the night as Billy Joel and his band took to the stage…

Billy Joel in action

And after over 2 hours of memory lane with Billy Joel…

Outside Allegiant Stadium after Billy Joel concert

End of Act I.

ACT II

There is another side of Las Vegas.  Eighty kilometres east is the Valley of Fire.  No slot machines inhabit this landscape.

Time to explore the timeless with Winnie settled into a Valley of Fire campsite

Winnie in Valley of Fire campsite

But first, a bighorn sheep checking us out…

A fine specimen!

Act II continued with hiking  through glorious terrain…

Paintin’ Peggie was loving it, popping up all over…

And the rippled rock that CrossCountry Bob called the ice cream rock which Paintin’ Peggie just had to climb..

Oh, and the temperature was plenty warm; by the time the kilometres of hiking were finished CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie were quite happy to rest in the shade. That Vegas sun can be mean if you don’t pay attention. Lots of water. Hats and sunglasses mandatory. CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie pay attention to the rules (sometimes).

End of Act II.  It existed before Act I and CrossCountry Bob figures it will still exist long after Act I is done.

4 Replies to “Las Vegas in two Acts”

  1. Wow that was a magnificent lot of pictures and I love the post it was well well done thank you thank you Olivia

  2. Amazing photos. Looks like Las Vegas was lots of fun.
    Great writing looking forward to the next.

  3. Love your blog, I enjoy getting them each and every time. Looks like you are having a wonderful adventure. Beautiful pictures, can’t wait to see Peggy’s paintings this summer. Nice to see that Dave is looking and doing well.

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