December 2007 Archives

Awake: 6:00am Temp 37 sleep 6+15 sunny…windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

We both continue writing individual Christmas greetings & send them via the internet; then Kathy finishes packing the last 10% of her suitcase & does (2) loads of laundry while I add a quart of non-poisonous coolant into our Aqua-Hot heating system reservoir.

Gary & Rosemary visit around 2:00pm. I show Gary a few technical things about our motorhome that I’d like him to keep an eye on during our absence; then we get the wine, cheese & crackers out & gab for the next hr or so.

Later, I drive the Suzuki ½ mile west & top off our fuel tank; when I return, I find that Kathy has checked us in @ the Las Vegas Airport via the Internet which will save us some time tomorrow morning.

Dinner: Leftover wild mushroom eggplant rolls with meat & tomato sauce.

After dinner, I retract (2) slides in the event of heavy dew & freezing temps in the morning.

Evening DVR movie: “Theodora Goes Wild” with Irene Dunne, Melvyn Douglas, Thomas Mitchell, Thurston Hall, etc. A delightful story about a small town woman who writes scandalous best seller & falls in love with sophisticated New Yorker who illustrated the book. 1936. We both enjoyed this story that had some different & unexpected twists along the way.

Lights out: 11:09pm

Awake: 6:46am Temp 51 sleep 6+24 partly sunny…windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

After Kathy watches her morning programs, Rosemary picks her up & they go thrift store shopping in town so my computer time is extended to extra hrs. Kathy returns after some (2.5) hrs of exciting shopping experiences.

We had planned on cutting each other’s hair today, so mid afternoon, our chair, cutting accessories, electrical cord & sheet are moved outside & around to the somewhat windless side of the motorhome for the (18th) haircut to begin. All of a sudden, the sun went behind dark clouds, the wind changed & picked up; trying to cut this lovely lady’s hair was a new unplanned challenge for me & trying to catch her hair & stuff it in a bag like I usually do, was completely out of the question as her hair was flying everywhere. We survived, of course, & Kathy was 90% satisfied with her flying hair cut; my haircut, 98%.

Rosemary & Gary invited us to their home on wheels for a dinner of: Rosemary’s homemade clam chowder, mixed salad & a roll. Quite tasty we agreed. But, before dinner, Gary served us spiked eggnog (our first of the season) along with cheese, crackers & sausage. Our casual conversation during dinner however, was nearly overpowered by sudden strong winds & rain; it gently rocked their home on wheels a few times but we never felt uncomfortable. Close to 8:00pm, the rain ceased so after thanking G & R for their good company & tasty food, we made our way back to our motorhome with a strong wind on our back. We will see them tomorrow.

Evening DVR movie: “Suspicion” with Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, etc. Fontaine won an Oscar for portraying wife who believes husband Grant is trying to kill her. 1941. Super good suspense story; you gotta see it.
Lights out: 11:45pm

Awake: 6:58 Temp 51 sleep 6+56 mostly sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

I call our oldest grandson Matthew in PA & wish him a Happy Birthday; he was very excited about his birthday & woke up early as a result. Our 1st call for wishes found him taking a nap so we had to wait until later when he awoke. He seemed happy to hear from us & helped make this day more special for him. Of course, Kathy took her turn with Matthew & then spoke with Melissa for awhile.

While Kathy watches her morning programs, I use my computer time. Then early afternoon, we decide to get some outdoor sunshine, fresh air & exercise by walking to the Pahrump Library. Gary spoke so highly of this building yesterday, it had our curiosity up so decided to check it out ourselves.

He was right; the building is large, looks well constructed with a good location & the floor plan inside quite amiable. We spent about an hour inside checking the various titles & shelving, magazines & children’s area.
This library may come in handy for us later if we need to know something & we aren’t satisfied with Mr. Google.

En route back to our bus, we stop @ Smith’s grocery store to do a FedEx shipping & buy a few other items.

Around 4:30, Gary & Rosemary visit just in time for wine, cheese & crackers. Sharing our wine with them helps us to consume the opened bottles before leaving for PA. We have no trouble talking with these good folks. Although they are much younger than we, we are lucky to have the rare ability of keeping up with their fast lane lifestyle. G & R return to their campground & home away from home around 6:00pm.

Dinner: tuna Steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli, salad & whole wheat toast.

Late evening DVR movie: “Alice Adams” with Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone, Evelyn Venable, Ann Shoemaker, etc. Excellent small-town Americana with social-climbing girl finally finding love in person of unpretentious MacMurray; the dinner-table scene is unforgettable. 1935. Great story with a good message.

High temp=60 Lights out: 12:22am

Awake: 6:38am Temp 49 sleep 6+11 clouds, cool & evening rain overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

This was a good day to hang out indoors & get our chores done; Kathy & I both have our suitcases packed about 90% & have, throughout the day, taken turns in sending out e-mail holiday wishes.

Around 4:00pm, Rosemary & Gary drop by for a visit & bring us up-to-date on their (2) day-(1) night stay in Vegas; they seemed a little worn out & were looking forward to a good night's rest so we didn’t push them to watch a late movie with us.

Dinner: Wild mushroom stuffed pepper, asparagus & whole grain toast.

Evening DVR movie: “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House” with Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny, Sharyn Moffett, etc. Slick comedy of city couple attempting to build a house in the country; expertly handled with Cary at his peak…. and no one ever described room colors better than Loy! 1948. We both watched this movie closely; hey, it was loaded with things “to be aware of.”
High temp=56 Lights out: 12:02am

Awake: 6:42am Temp 39 sleep 6+31 mostly cloudy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Mid morning, I get into one of our basement storage areas & bring out our suitcases for cross-country traveling.

In lieu of sending a bunch of Christmas cards out this year, we opt to simply send e-mail messages to family & friends who have e-mail addresses. This way, the message gets there quicker & I can type faster than I can write.

So while Kathy is watching her morning TV programs, she’s also starting the packing process & I take my turn typing holiday messages on the computer. Then later, we reverse our positions.

Mid afternoon, we walk to Wal-Mart, Smith’s grocery, & Walgreens for a few groceries, fresh air & exercise.

Melissa & Kevin call late evening; we take turns talking to both. We discuss our flight & pickup connection in PA.

Dinner: Meat & wild mushroom eggplant rolls with tomato gravy and spinach salad; a very good meal.

Katrina calls later evening: now that her condo is looking good & well organized, she invited (5) of her girlfriends from her bible study group over for dinner & an evening of casual girl talk last evening. And tomorrow evening she has invited some of the girls from her master’s program for a Chili dinner; she has a few questions for Kathy on the fine art of Chili making. It is gratifying for us to see her enjoying the comfort & benefits of being a home owner.

DVR movie: “Working Girl” with Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Melanie Griffith, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco, etc. Cute comedy about a naïve but ambitious secretary who tries to outfox her wily boss by closing a big deal---with the help of a man she just happens to fall in love with. 1988. Good entertainment & it was cute.

High today=58 Lights out: 12:27am

Awake: 6:08am Temp 31 sleep 6+40 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, Nevada.

While Kathy watches her morning TV programs, I use our computer. Then early afternoon, she uses the computer while I spend some time getting to know our Princess Pioneer GPS system; by reading the manual & pressing the various buttons, I further familiarize myself with the many different aspects of this high tech gadget. I’m a little embarrassed that it has taken me so long to get to know her better; she’s a complicated woman with a Japanese voice.

Also on my list, the KVH manual which explains the satellite tracking system; I thought we could only access (1) satellite but found out there are (3) individual satellites that we can lock onto.

Dinner: sliced turkey tenders, mashed potatoes & gravy, asparagus, spinach salad & whole grain toast.

We just finished having dinner when Rosemary & Gary rang our doorbell; I don’t perform for just anyone, but made an exception & let R & G be witness to my eloquent method of cleaning up the dinner dishes. Tomorrow they are visiting Las Vegas again to do a little more Christmas shopping & spend the night in a Casino hotel room.

Late DVR movie: “The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley, James Gleason, etc. Christmas fantasy of suave angel (Grant) coming to earth to help Bishop Niven & wife Young raise money for new church. 1947. A great Christmas story for all ages.

High temp=55 Lights out: 12:11am

Awake: 6:17am Temp 32 sleep 6+23 sunny overnight @ Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kathy calls Melissa in PA; she reports that early this morning, about 2:00am, Andrew had a seizure; I listened to some of this conversation, then decided to get our coach ready to travel & Kathy could tell me the story as we roll down the highway. Kathy knows the routine for departure so without interrupting her conversation, she would do her part in the process, including going outside & watching the turn-signal, brake, & tow hitch check.

We leave the beautiful Outdoor Resorts of America Motorcoach Resort in Las Vegas @ 10:07am, retracing our path, taking the Blue Diamond state hwy 160 back to Pahrump. Kathy continues her talk with Melissa until our cell signals fade while getting into the Red Rock Mountain area. Then she relates the story to me: Andrew woke, very thirsty and very warm &, after drinking some water, he had a febrile convulsion/seizure. Melissa nursed him when he recovered from the seizure and he then vomited and became very sleepy. Melissa called the ER, but they would not advise her as to what she should do; she called the pediatric service & they advised her to take him into the ER so he could be examined for any more serious condition. They returned from the ER @ 5:00 am and went to bed for a couple hours. @ 8:00 AM they took Andrew to see his doctor who agreed it was a febrile seizure and prescribed Tylenol every 4 hrs for 48 hours. A pretty scary happening in the middle of the night!

We arrive back at Pahrump @ 11:09am. Today’s travel: 51.7 miles 1+17 time 10.5 gal used 5.0 mpg 39.8 avg speed. After parking, I walk over to the Saddle West Casino & pay our camping fee in advance.

Later, I call Gary & Rosemary who continue camping just across the street in another campground; they visit with us for an hr & then we join them @ the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley Catholic church. Afterwards, we leave G & R talking with ole friends & we return to our bus for a dinner of: leftover chili & toast.

Evening DVR movie: “Grand Hotel” with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, etc. A story of the plush Berlin hotel where “nothing ever happens.” Stars prove the contrary: Garbo as lonely ballerina, John B, her jewel-thief lover, Lionel B. a dying man, Crawford as ambitious stenographer. Beery a hardened businessman, Stone the observer. Best Picture Oscar winner. 1932. A must see.

Travel high temp=50 Lights out: 11:28pm

Awake: 7:15am Temp 35 sleep 7+01 sunny overnight @ Las Vegas, NV.

My sister Corinne calls from Lilly, PA & informs us: our (96) yr old Aunt Bertha in Ohio fell & broke her hip this morning; she will be going in for surgery later today.

Just after Corinne’s call, we see D & C with their motorhome hooked up to their tow car so we give them a big wave & wish them safe travels as they idle down the street.

Kathy leaves mid morning for another round of window shopping etc. This time out, she returns after (4) hrs; however, she has found a place where we can have our Medicare cards laminated. After digging out my card, she’s off to accomplish this errand.

Meanwhile, ambition overcomes me so I clean the front windshield, outside mirrors & (6) of the (9) basement doors using Windex. A light sooty film had accumulated on both lower sides of our motorhome; perhaps from all the heavy truck traffic & their exhaust as we were driving down the (4) lane state hwy-99 in CA.

Corinne calls again from Lilly & announces: our Aunt Bertha’s hip surgery went well.

Dinner: leftover pork chops, brown rice, asparagus, spinach salad & whole grain toast.

We record the O’Reilly Factor & watch it later zipping thru the commercials.

Evening movie: “It Happened One Night” with Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Alan Hale, etc. Legendary romantic comedy doesn’t age a bit. Still as enchanting as ever, with reporter Gable & runaway heiress Colbert falling in love on rural bus trip. Hitch-hiking travails, the Walls of Jericho & other memorable scenes remain fresh & delightful; 1st film to win all (5) major Oscars. 1934. This story was great; we both loved it!

Today’s high=58 Lights out: 11:54pm

Awake: 5:47am Temp 41 sleep 6+20 mostly cloudy overnight @ Las Vegas, NV.

We join Dick for breakfast; Christine opts to stay in bed & Dick will bring some breakfast food back to her later. We enjoy hanging out with Dick; he looks & acts younger than his years & continues to keep that good sense of humor.

After breakfast, Kathy goes off on her own….for (5) hrs of window shopping, curiosity looking plus buying a few items. During her absence, I do some casual magazine & technical reading on our coach systems.

When she returns, we both dress for the evening’s adventure: a special dinner downtown @ Caesars Palace, one of Christine & Dick’s favorite places to eat, “The Trevi.” Also joining us tonight for dinner will be C & D’s good friends, Barbara & Vic from Goodyear, AZ as well. They are here to see Celine Dion, a treat for Barbara’s birthday today. We have much to talk about being a table of RVers with other common interests.

Our dinner was exceptional; wine or liquor with appetizers, then the main course; K chose the Fettuccini in a seafood sauce & I selected the Atlantic salmon with a Caesar salad. Next, we shared dessert, a tall glass of spumoni ice cream with chocolate sauce & whipped cream. Kathy also shared an after dinner port with Dick. What a meal & what a nice evening. B & V turned out to be a really nice couple. We hope we can rendezvous with them again somewhere.

D & C intended to stay @ the campground until Saturday or Sunday but changed their minds when Christine’s daughter announced she would be visiting Goodyear on Saturday; Christine does not want to miss seeing her daughter & granddaughters, even if it’s only for a day.

We thank D & C for their friendship, the rendezvous in Las Vegas, the superb dinner & being introduced to V & B tonight. We’ll be waving to them in the morning when they are pulling out to return to their home in Goodyear, AZ. We are back to our bus by 8:30pm.

Evening movie: “Midnight Mary” with Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez, Franchot Tone, Andy Devine, etc. Visually arresting story, told in flashback, of hard luck. Young, orphaned @ nine, seduced @ sixteen & sent to prison. 1933. Young is amazing; we are beginning to “not miss any of her movies.”

Lights out: 12:14am

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Awake: 7:28am Temp 36 sleep 7+48 sunny overnight @ Las Vegas, Nevada.

Call & talk with Dick about today’s plans; they are going Christmas shopping this morning & would like us to meet them for lunch @ one of their favorite German Café’s.
“We will be grocery shopping & we will keep our cell phone ready when you call,” I tell him.

K & I leave mid morning & make Trader Joe’s our 1st stop. Next, Costco where we spend more time than we should have….only because they have many things from many parts of the world to explore; then Wal-Mart, where we speed up, move out & head back to the campground to store our perishables. En route, Dick calls: they have arrived @ the Café & will wait for us to join them.

Fortunately for us, D & C are calm & patient people as it took much longer than we expected for us to return to the bus, unload & store the goodies, then race back across town to join them for lunch.

Dick says he slowly drank (2) beers while Christine ordered her meal & then ate. We, of course, apologized & ordered a premium Bavaricum Weihenstephaner Hefeweisser dark beer to share. The beer was ok but the meal was utterly fantastic. We each had our own meal; I had sauerbraten & Kathy had wiener schnitzel, but in retrospect, we should have shared just one of the meals as each was a good size. The “Café Heidelberg” has been selected (7) yrs in a row now for outstanding food & service.

From here, Kathy & I do some touring by car en route back to the campground; we will join C & D again tomorrow.

No cooking for Kathy tonight nor dishes for me to clean & that’s nice.

We watch the nat’l news & then record the O’Reilly factor while watching a DVR movie: “Night Nurse” with Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell, Clark Gable, etc. Excellent hard-bitten tale of nurse (Stanwyck) who can’t ignore strange goings-on in home where she works; Blondell adds zingy support & one of Gables’s most impressive early appearances which is still potent today. 1931. We both enjoyed this film, especially nurse Kathy who critiqued many of the medical practices.

Then we zoom thru watching the O’Reilly Factor by not having to watch the commercials.

Lights out: 11:27pm

Awake: 6:31am Temp 42 sleep 7+15 sunny overnight @ Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dick C. calls around 7:45am & invites us for breakfast @ “The Diner.” This time I decline due to our plans for lunch with Kathy’s brother, Skip.

Shortly after 11:00am, K & I join the maddening crowd by driving downtown (15) min & park under the oldest mall in Vegas, the Fashion Show Mall. We meet Skip outside the door to the Capital Grille; he looks very professional & seems happy to see us again. Sitting @ table # 78 with a very nice view of the Las Vegas Strip, we waste no time in asking Skip questions & then he reverses & questions us. K & I share a swordfish lunch with a bowl of lobster bisque which will suffice for our dinner later. After a good (1.5) hrs of interrogating each other, we say our goodbyes & Skip returns to his domain of business.

The wind is cool & the sun not so warm, but Kathy requests seeing some of the Casinos along the Las Vegas Blvd, affectionately know as “the strip.” We pretty well covered most of these Casinos during April, 2005, but she would like to renew her visit @ the Venetian & the Bellagio; my response to that: “Yes dear.”

The Venetian was as we remember it: the open sky with clouds that look so real & move when we move; the gondolas with lovers, friends, or family being guided silently along the waters of the canal save for the oar man or woman, who sings Italian style. We walk around the corner & spend some time in Saint Mark’s Square, staring @ the live but virtually motionless human statues.

Then outside again on the sidewalk, we join the tourists, shoppers, & workers & find our way to the beautiful Bellagio. Our 1st stop, the lobby, where Chihuly has displayed his multi-colored glass works on the ceiling @ a cost of over (1) million dollars. Next we visit the conservatory which is decorated for the Christmas Season with an arched walkway formed by 6 narrow streams of water in oval loops going from one side of the walkway overhead to the other side, leading to a very live appearing tree adorned with lots of silver loops of garland & lights. I offer to take a picture of a senior couple in front of a display of Penguins who look very real….if they would return the favor & they did. We see Santa’s reindeer made out of pecan nuts; very unusual & fascinating. In this artificial atmosphere, one has no idea of the outside climate, but we know darkness & cooler air are waiting for us.

Timing is everything & once outside, the water fountains of the Bellagio with music start its “on the half hour” display of dancing waters with Christmas music. On the other side of the street, we see the Eiffel Tower, 1/3 size of the real one in Paris.

We found our car with no problem, zipped thru the traffic & returned from our downtown adventure by sevenish o’clock.

DVR movie tonight: “Period of Adjustment” with Tony Franciosa, Jane Fonda, Jim Hutton, Lois Nettleton, etc. Newlyweds (Fonda & Hutton) try to help troubled marriage of Nettleton & Franciosa, in the heartwarming comedy based on a Tennessee Williams play. 1962. Well, Kathy was worn out from “The Strip” walk, but she got the drift; needless to say, it was not quite up to our high standards of good films.

Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 6:11am Temp 37 sleep 6+26 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

After drinking my cold coffee, I climb our telescoping ladder to scrape the frozen dew from (2) slide tops before retracting those slides. Then we each eat a hot & healthy Kathy muffin before leaving the Saddle West Campground @ 9:00am.

A beautiful travel day with little wind & extremely smooth roads on state road-160. Leaving the town of Pahrump, one slowly but steadily begins a climb when heading south to Las Vegas; probably about (2300) ft to the peak of the highway thru the Red Rock Mountain, then it’s all downhill into Vegas. I never make up the fuel I’ve used in the climb when descending. We arrive @ the OROA (Outdoor Resorts of America) @ 10:00 am sharp. Park the bus, register @ the main office & then follow a security guard in his golf cart to our assigned campsite. Dick C. sees us coming down the road & monitors my backing in while watching Kathy’s guidance with hand signals.

Today’s travel: 51.7 miles 1+15 time (includes parking) 10.3 gal 5.0 mpg 41.4 avg speed.

Kathy chats with Dick while I expand the bus, then Dick & Kathy come aboard & we bring each other up-to-date. Before long, Dick’s wife, Christine, joins us for the occasion. After considerable yak-yak time, someone mentions food. D & C want to try, “The Diner” just outside the security gates of the OROA. K & I go along with that idea since we’re running on muffin power now & we’ll need more energy soon. Well, “The Diner,” decorated in the 50’s style with juke box, red vinyl booths & counter seats & black & white tile floor, was great, as well as the food.

Later, Dick visits & asks for my help with his entertainment system; he has a High-Definition DVD disk that won’t play on his DVD unit. We pretend to know what we are doing while Christine is watching, but later admit to ourselves that we just wasted about (15) min. Dick suggests: “why not try it on your DVD unit.” So I do & it doesn’t work on our DVD unit either. We finally realize that both our DVD & VCR units are similar & both units only play HD on the VCR but not on the DVD. Without any further ado, Dick wants to visit a Fry’s Electronics store & buy another unit that will play both HD on DVD disks & HD on VCR tapes. Christine & Kathy both agree to accompany Dick to that shopping area. However, they first stop at the outlet mall for Christine to buy a present for her mother in France.

Wanting to make some notes on our travel record, I opt to stay in the campground. Then shortly after they speed off, I don a jacket & start my campground exploration for curiosity, fresh air & exercise. What a hangout: (407) big rig campsites with palm trees, green grass, well groomed vegetation, flowers, outdoor kitchens, etc. My walk didn’t last long; I was picked up by the gang returning from shopping & given an auto tour of this camping Mecca. It is without a doubt, a beautiful & true motorhome resort.

Dinner: Ivar’s Clam chowder with toast.

After dinner, Katrina calls while driving in Denver & we gab for a good (30) min. Her Honda is running good, Sara, her 3rd roommate is fitting in well & she is feeling more comfortable with the hominess of her condo.

Evening movie: “The Prisoner of Shark Island” with Warner Baxter, Gloria Stuart, Claude Gillingwater, John Carradine, etc. Excellent film based on a true story of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg after Lincoln Assassination & was sentenced to life imprisonment. Carradine memorable as villainous sergeant. 1936.

Google info: Dr Mudd was released from Ft. Jefferson prison on March 8, 1869 & arrived home on March 20. He had served less than (4) yrs in prison. He partially regained his medical practice & lived a quiet life on the farm.

Dr. Richard Mudd, a grandson, who passed away @ the age of (101) on Tuesday, May 21, 2002, argued vehemently & sincerely for the innocence of his grandfather. In a taped interview on July 7, 1999, Dr Mudd was extremely articulate, impressive & eloquent in his arguments. The effort to exonerate Samuel Mudd will now be carried on by Richard Mudd’s son, Thomas B. Mudd.

Travel high temp=61 Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 7:30am Temp 43 sleep 7+43 partly cloudy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Diane F. calls from Mesa, AZ. She & Kathy discuss Medigap insurance policies, dental plans, and a little about their respective families and Christmas travel plans.

Later, while Kathy bakes a batch of healthy muffins, I download more pictures from another memory stick & then erase that memory stick.

Mid afternoon, we take a walk around some of the town for fresh air, exercise & curiosity; a visit to the nearby “Red Barn” was like a visit to an outdoor yard sale; most of their “items” had been exposed to the weather & thus, soaking wet or very damp.

Dinner: stuffed peppers, four bean salad & whole grain bread, toasted.

Early evening, we take Gary up on his offer to visit them & have some of his special “homemade apple pie a la-mode.” Of course, we have a big gab session before the ceremonial pie serving & I was glad for that, mainly because I ate too much of Kathy’s scrumptious stuffed pepper @ dinner time. Gary makes a fantastic pie; we’ve had his pies before, but each time those pies seem to taste better…& I’m not kidding. We return to our bus around 9:30.

Late evening DVR movie: “Heroes for Sale” with Richard Barthelmess, Loretta Young, Aline MacMahon Robert Barrat, etc. Potent melodrama with Barthelmess as an American Everyman who manages to survive one calamity after another---from morphine addiction (as a result of a WWI injury) to job-hunting during the Depression & continues to endure, like the country itself. A fascinating social document of the early 1930’s. 1933. Experiencing this story & movie are well worth you’re time.

High temp=58 Lights out: 11:45pm

Awake: 6:44am Temp 40 sleep 6+00 cloudy & light rain overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Kathy calls Melissa in PA & they chat for well over an hour getting caught up on the Foote family’s latest travels, our grandsons, and on our week in Pahrump with fun visits with G & R.

Mid morning, I walk over to the Saddle West Casino & sign up for another night’s stay in this campground. We like it here, especially during this time of the year & having G & R as neighbors just across the street.

Then K & I walk over to Smith’s grocery store for more milk, bread, etc.

Early afternoon, Rosemary & Gary pay us a visit for an hr & review each other’s travel plans for the remainder of (2007) & beyond. They have some good plans; we have none…. except we seriously need to work on our “house without wheels” plan. I hinted to Kathy that we should find a campground that has little to see or do; thus, the least of distractions.

Katrina calls from Denver & she’s not driving….she’s actually @ her condo organizing and spending some time with her new roommate, Sara.

Call Al K. in Nicktown; I have questions & he has the answers. He has only (3) days remaining to get a deer during this deer hunting season.

K & I attend the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley Catholic church; Rosemary & Gary save us a seat; they have been invited by friends for dinner tonight so we will see them tomorrow sometime.

Dinner: leftover chicken noodle soup from the Nicktown picnic with added chicken & whole grain toast.

Evening DVR movie: “Now, Voyager” with Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, etc. Vintage, first-class soaper with Bette as sheltered spinster brought out of her shell by psychiatrist Rains, falling in love with suave Henreid, helping shy girl Wilson. 1942. Great classic entertainment.

High temp=48 Lights out: 11:47pm

Awake: 7:38am Temp 54 sleep 6+16 rain-wind overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Several days ago I tried to reach my buddy Ray living in Ocean Shores WA via cell phone to no avail. Finally today, we make contact. He tells me that even before the big storm arrived, they had steady strong winds that blew trees down & knocked out power lines & closed a number of highways. They have been without electrical power now for (7) days & expect it’ll be (3 or 4) days yet before it’s reconnected; 1st the businesses downtown, then the nearby homes & finally, Ray & Sharon will be powered. Ray indicated the damage is much worse further south along the coast, especially the town of Seaside. We also heard about the levy breaking in the Chehalis/Centralia area of WA flooding & closing I-5 between Portland & Seattle, a major trucking & auto route.

Kathy & I did a little more research on our insurance plan choices & have pretty much settled in a specific direction. While K goes walking with Rosemary to explore a couple nearby thrift stores, Gary pays me a nice visit for about an hr.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, brown rice, broccoli & salad.

K & I attend the 7:00pm vigil Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley Catholic church & join Gary & Rosemary where they are sitting. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception & a holy day for us Catholics. After Mass, K & I do some light grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart en route back to our bus.

We were surprised to have (2) distinguished visitors waiting for us @ the campground, Rosemary & Gary. They expected to be doing some volunteer work @ the church this evening but said they weren’t needed & that was good for us.

Late Movie: “First Knight” with Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Julia Ormond, Ben Cross, etc. Handsome, sweeping, romantic adventure saga that focuses on a love triangle involving King Arthur (Connery), Lady Guinevere (Ormond), & a restless, roving spirit, (Gere); Camelot has never looked so magical. 1995 A modern made movie about the ancient times; we both enjoyed it and Kathy stayed awake.

High today=57 Lights out: 12:44am

Awake: 6:15am Temp 46 sleep 6+10 high clouds overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Kathy does (3) loads of laundry this morning; then walks to Wal-Mart & Smith’s grocery store & then carries (2) bags back to our bus.

Gary & Rosemary visit around 4:00pm; he brought a bottle of wine & Kathy cut some cheese. We gab for close to (2) hrs without any easing up about G & R experiences as Howlies living in Hawaii, about Gary’s air traffic controller experiences, about various traveling experiences that both couples have had, & some good stories of raising our children & a myriad of other topics.

Meanwhile, having our Lady Garmin updated, I am now ready to take on another project: moving the recent photos from the computer’s hard drive & uploading them to our family photo website.

In November, however, Nick changed our photo storage site to the Gallery Photo Album Organizer & that, I suspect, might be causing my confusion; after a good (40) min of getting nowhere, I call Nick in Seattle & leave a message. As luck would have it, he calls back as he is walking home & we discuss this dilemma in more detail. Within (20) min, he arrives @ their condo & Eriko has dinner waiting, so we agree to postpone this software schooling until after our dinners.

Dinner: pork chops, brown rice, broccoli & a mixed salad.

After dinner, Kathy offers to wash & dry the dishes while I continue working with Nick on the telephone; this was a splendid offer. We spent another (1.5) hrs + with this photo project before achieving success thanks to Nick’s patience & understanding of computer’s software. After Nick returned to his family life, it took another (3) hrs for our computer to upload the remaining (234) photos onto our Gallery Album.

Late DVR movie: “Rhapsody in Blue” with Robert Alda, Joan Leslie, Alexis Smith, Oscar Levant, Charles Coburn, Julie Bishop, etc. Don’t for a minute think this is an accurate biography of George Gershwin (played by Robert Alda), but it is a lavish, colorful, & affectionate musical film. Of special interest are the appearances by Paul Whiteman (as himself) & the dubbed-in piano work of Gershwin’s friend, Oscar Levant. The “Rhapsody in Blue” & “America in Paris” numbers are standouts. 1945. K & I enjoyed this movie very much.
Today’s high=64 Lights out: 1:22am

Awake: 6:43am Temp 45 sleep 6+05 overcast then sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

I spend time on the computer while Kathy watches her morning TV programs; then using the computer she concentrates on health plan choices available to us; after reading some of these choices, making notes, & discussing the plans, she makes comparisons of the various health plan choices. No decision made, but she has had enough for today.

In fact, around noon time, we have both had enough medical stuff for today; she offers me the opportunity to walk to a few stores which I respectfully decline because, finally, I am in a position to update our Lady Garmin GPS. Our campsite has a strong air card signal, no tours scheduled & I have the afternoon off + I’ve been wanting to do this for the last (4) months. So K walks to the Family Dollar, Albertsons, & Wal-Mart stores, @ (4) miles round trip before returning to the bus with (1) small bag of miscellaneous.
Meanwhile, Lady Garmin did get the latest update via a download from the Garmin website & a little help from the technical dept of Garmin which took over an hr.

Dinner: We meet Gary & Rosemarie @ the Pahrump Nugget Casino where we register for a Club Nugget card, then join Rosemarie in line for the Wednesday special; (2 for 1) buffet, less than $5.00 each. Good choices, good food & excellent company made this a winner of a meal; besides, K didn’t have to cook & I had no dishes to clean. Afterwards, Kathy went with Gary to find the winning gambling machine, ha, ha. The club card contains $3.00 in free play which Kathy gave back to them in record time.

Evening DVR movie: “The Man who came to Dinner” with Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Monty Woolley, Billie Burke, Jimmy Durante, etc. Acerbic radio commentator Woolley is forced to stay with Burke’s Midwestern family for the winter, driving them crazy with assorted wacky friends passing through. 1941. Great entertainment; I enjoyed it immensely.

High today=64 Lights out: 12:05am

Awake: 6:31am Temp 38 sleep 6+58 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Mid morning, I call Rosemary & invite them over for dinner today. The remainder of the morning & some of the afternoon, Kathy & I are busy; she on the computer, searching out insurance plans & I reading the AARP info on health plans trying to find what will work best for us.

About 1:30, we need to take a break; (3) block walk in the sunshine & fresh air to Walgreen’s, not that far away but it’s a start with the exercising routine.

R & G arrive shortly after 4:00pm. Wine, cheese & other healthy snacks to begin with, then a dinner of: beef vegetable stew with whole wheat noodles, whole grain bread & a chocolate pudding for dessert. R & G have done us many favors over the yrs but, for now, all we can do is invite them to our place to share in some of Kathy’s home cooking & enjoy a relaxing evening of conversation; a small gesture of our appreciation for their friendship & generosity. G & R return to their second home around 8:35pm.

Nick in Seattle had called earlier this evening so Kathy returns his call while I clean the big load of dirty dishes.

Late DVR movie: “Dial ‘M’ for Murder” with Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams, Anthony Dawson, etc. Knot’s suspense play of man plotting wife’s murder & subsequent police investigation is slick & entertaining. 1954. This story & movie will keep you on the edge…..start the popcorn popping.

High temp=61 Lights out: 12:38am

Awake: 6:07am Temp 35 sleep 6+11 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, Nevada.

Call & talk with Rosemary about today’s rendezvous plan.

K & I use the Suzuki to go grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart & Smith’s this morning.

Mid afternoon, Gary & Rosemary visit, have a little wine & some healthy snacks that Kathy arranged. We gab for hrs discussing among other things, the Death Valley area & seeing Scotty’s Castle, a Death Valley Mirage. G & R have already seen this amazing attraction (60) miles from Pahrump so he suggests a route that would be most scenic & travel a different route on our return. Great weather is forecast for tomorrow so we are considering this desert plan. G & R return to their home on wheels around 6:30.

Dinner: Tuna steak, wild rice & four bean salad.

Evening DVR movie with popcorn: “Married to the Mob” with Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine, Dean Stockwell, Mercedes Ruehl, Alec Baldwin, etc. A woman tries to escape from the Mafia after the death of her hit man husband, only to find that the local boss has the hots for her. 1988. K & I were not as thrilled about this flick as the reviewers were.

Later, in prep for more picture taking opportunities, I upload one of my (512) mb memory sticks onto the computer & then erase that memory stick.

Just before lights out, it suddenly occurs to me that we haven’t spent any time on scrutinizing the many health plans that we agreed to work on when in Pahrump. I had to remind Kathy of this which led us to abort our tour of Scotty’s Castle for now.

High temp=53 Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 6:27am Temp 39 sleep 6+17 sunny overnight @ Yermo, CA.

We leave the Calico Ghost town in Yermo @ 9:33am. Smooth roads continue on I-15 going northeast with light traffic & little wind.

En route, Kathy calls the Saddle West RV Park in Nevada to confirm space availablity @ their campground.

Shortly after entering Nevada, around the town of Jean, traffic heading northeast on I-15 came to a screeching halt. For (20) min, we crept toward the off ramp, then followed state road 160 which parallels I-15 into Las Vegas. After traveling (5) miles up the road on state road 160 & watching I-15 for clues on its closure, I notice a number of police cars & several pieces of heavy equipment, then a truck sideways on a bridge. I surmised that to be the cause of our detouring. Getting back on I-15 for a short distance, we then take state road 160 to Pahrump, Nevada arriving @ Saddle West RV Park @ 1:20pm.

Today’s travel: 199 miles 4+02 hrs 36 gal 5.5 mph 49 avg speed.

After check in & paying our camping fee, we drive the Suzuki across the street & begin looking for Gary & Rosemary’s trailer which was quickly found but empty; I began writing a note when they both yelled from a distance down the road. They were returning from a walk to Walgreen’s. After 1.4 hrs of gabbing inside their temporary home on wheels, we agree to get together tomorrow for more gab sessions.

Dinner: Leftover stuffed pepper & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: “The Shop around the Corner” with Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, Joseph Schildkraut, Sara Haden, etc. The ultimate in sheer charm, a graceful period comedy about coworkers in a Budapest notions shop who don’t realize that they are lonelyhearts penpals. 1940. This story & movie were terrific.

Lights out: 11:56pm

Awake: 5:30am Temp 37 sleep 5+34 sunny, windy overnight @ Boron, CA.

Early morning, Kathy talks to Melissa in PA; they are packing for their CA trip next week.
Katrina calls: she is having her Honda’s water pump & timing belt replaced today.

We leave the small town of Boron @ 10:34am. Smooth roads continue on state road 58 to Barstow & I-15 northeast to the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, CA.

Today’s travel: 53 miles 1+15 time 8.5 gal used 6.2 mpg 42.3 avg speed.

Fortunately the campground was big-rig friendly & the roads to our site were asphalt as we ended up parking on desert sand; aside from getting muddy shoes & tires, it was fine.

From our campsite, it’s a mere (5) min walk to the old Calico Ghost Town & we waste no time in getting there. The day’s cool temp & winds have us seeking shelter in & out of the re-enforced buildings of yesteryear.

(1881) marked the beginning of one of the largest silver strikes in California history & the birth of Calico. Named Calico on account of the great variety of colors of its soil; blue, red, gray, green, vermilion, brown, yellow are distinctly seen in patches along the mountain’s side. Besides roaming through the town & its old buildings, reading the history & looking @ early period pictures, my main interest was the Maggie Mining Company.

Today the entrance fee was “free” & we took our time going thru the tunnels. There were only a few places where wood or timbering shored up the walls to support the tunnels because the volcanic ash over millions of yrs turned this earth into such hard rock it wasn’t necessary to support the walls or overhead in most locations; thus the expression: “hard rock mining.”

Inside the tunnel, the iron rails for the ore cars were removed so that tourists would not trip & fall. The average size of these tunnels was (5) ft wide & (7) ft tall; large enough for a man to pass the ore cars through with no wasted space. I kept looking for veins of silver but found none. By the 1890’s, some miners had the latest in technology for getting silver ore out of rock: hydraulic drills vs. picks & blasting with gunpowder or dynamite. We emerged from the Maggie’s Mining tunnel in what seemed to be another town; an entirely different area. We didn’t realize how much distance we had covered underground. It was fascinating!

We also watched a simulated gun fight in the middle of town & listened to a small group singing Christmas Carols before returning to our bus a few hrs later.

Then we drive to the town of Barstow (11) miles to attend the 5:00pm vigil Mass @ Saint Joseph church. Afterward we peruse the local “Food for Less” grocery store before returning to our bus for the night.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade Chili with Triscuits & crackers.

Evening entertainment: Watch the Republican Debate on TV.

Today’s high temp=53 Lights out: 12:10am

Awake: 6:00am Temp 45 sleep 6+18 rain overnight @ Boron, CA.

I signed up for (2) nights stay here @ the Arabian RV campground; by just looking outside our windows thru the rain, Kathy predicts that there is nothing to see or do in this small town of Boron. So for the morning, we are content to simply stay inside & relax, however, the rain is blanking out Kathy’s favorite TV programs so now she is really getting restless.

Mid morning, I e-mail Gary & Rosemary thinking they should be in the town of Pahrump, Nevada by now; about (30) min later, a reply which leads to a phone call…. & in a few days, a planned rendezvous. Communications have never been so great ---thanks to computers & cell phones.

Early afternoon, I encourage the bored & restless Kathy to join me in an auto tour of the town; she reluctantly agrees. We were in for a surprise; Boron is home to the largest borax mine in the world; this community had a starring role in the feature film: Erin Brockovich. The Borax open-pit mine is (600) ft deep & (1.2) miles across. We were told by the locals that, unfortunately, it would not be wise to visit the bigger Borax museum there or the open-pit mine today due to very muddy conditions.

Boron is also very close to the civilian aviation development center & site of the world’s only privately operated test pilot school. It is also home to Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites for development of the Voyager—an experimental aircraft that made headlines by circling the globe on a single tank of fuel…. & now, Space-shipOne. In that same area, the US Naval Museum of Armament & Technology is waiting for our visit; both of these museums are subject to national security closures & one has to make reservations in advance, but now the day is too late for that to happen. But we did spend some time in both the new aerospace museum in Boron & their smaller Borax Visitor’s Center where we learned more about boron & borax which has many more uses than just doing laundry & hand washing. Boron is an element that is necessary in everything from strengthening human bones to making antifreeze, glass, dyes, adhesives, enamels, eye & mouth wash, nylon, shampoo, & on & on. This area is now on our priority list for another visit in the future. We still can’t tell a book by its cover or a town by its appearance.

Dinner: Tuna steak, broccoli, wild rice & a mixed salad.

Late DVR movie: “Kiss Me Deadly” with Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Cloris Leachman, Wesley Addy, etc. Meeker is a perfect Mike Hammer in moody, fast & violent adaptation of Mickey Spillane novel; yrs ahead of its time + Leachman’s film debut. 1955. Good entertainment but don’t strive for this type of adventure as a career.

Today’s high temp=48 Lights out: 11:56pm

Awake: 6:47am Temp 41 sleep 6+30 sunny overnight @ West Sacramento, CA.

While Kathy watches a favorite morning TV program, I take the Suzuki up the road & top off the fuel tank. Then we leave the KOA in West Sacramento @ 10:26am taking…. I-80 east to I-5 south to near Manteca & state road 120 east to state road 99 south to Bakersfield, then state road 58 to the small town of Boron, CA. Hwy 99 was very busy with many semis; the road was a combination of smooth sections for miles & semi-rough for miles until heading east on hwy 58; then the view as we climbed the Tehachapi mountains & seeing the hundreds of wind generators along the mountain ridges + the extremely smooth (4) lane hwy all the way to Boron certainly made up for what we had experienced on hwy 99.

It was dark when we arrived @ the Arabian RV Oasis in Boron. A young man came out of the office, walked in front of our bus & guided us to the far end of the campground & into our parking spot for the night. He gave us an envelope, asked us to fill in the blanks, use a check or cash & deposit it in the office slot in the morning.

Today’s travel: 376 miles 6+45 time 59.4 gal used 6.3 mpg 55.6 avg speed.

While Kathy was making dinner, another motorhome came to the campground from the opposite direction. He knocked on our door, asked if the site next to ours was available & could I give him some help in parking. Wally & Gwen are from Oregon & their new motorhome is still new to them, so I gave Wally a helping hand with the water, electrical hookup & parking ideas.

Dinner: leftover white & dark meat from Mary Jo’s turkey dinner in Lodi, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli, & cranberries.

Late DVR movie: “Stairway to Heaven” with Emeric Pressburger, David Niven, Kim Hunter, Raymond Massey, etc. Most unusual story of a pilot during WWII who claims he was accidentally chosen to die & must now plead for his life in a Heavenly court; an absolute original & a gem too. 1946. Be the 1st in your neighborhood to experience this unique & precious story.
High travel temp=67 Lights out: 11:42pm

Awake: 6:45am Temp 47 sleep 6+24 sunny overnight @ West Sacramento, CA.

1st thing this morning, I get up on the roof & clean off a lot of seeds & palm tree limbs from the winds of last night. No damage was found however.

Mary Ann & Randy arrive at our motorhome about 11:00am to start today’s adventures. We sit & talk for awhile, then Randy drives us to Old Town Sacramento & truly this section of Sacramento is an old town. For now, Randy just gives us a brief overlook by car, then parks in a parking garage. From here, we walk to the California State Capital building in downtown Sacramento.

The next guided tour is (45) min away so we find the Tex-Mex café & each eat ½ of a sandwich to ward off any hunger pains. I believe the state capital had moved (6 or 7) times in different cities in California before becoming permanent @ Sacramento in 1874.

Our (1) hr tour with Ms Kathy, our tour guide was quite interesting & informative. She is originally from Greece and is a history teacher so she was very knowledgeable and quite willing and able to share her knowledge with us. The Assembly room (House of Representatives) is done in bright green giving us the feeling of being very alive and energetic contrasted with the Senate room done in reds & mauve which gave us the feeling of calm & restfulness.

After our tour, we exit the Capital, walk down K Street to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament & pay our respects to our faith by saying a few prayers. Then we amble thru the church taking in its beauty. Mary Ann tells us the church recently finished an updated renovation.
Continuing west on K Street, we parallel the light rail system, go thru the indoor/outdoor mall, thru the people tunnel & arrive back at Old Town Sacramento. Now Randy gives us a casual walking tour of this old town; the loading dock next to the Sacramento River where (2) period riverboats are moored, one permanent having been converted to a hotel & the other, a dinner tour boat.

Darkness & hunger are upon us as we walk around & view these old buildings; we scrutinize a few menus @ restaurants & cafés along the wooden sidewalks & take a chance on eating dinner @ an old (5) story building called: “Fanny Ann’s Saloon.” Well, it turned out to be a local hangout & a great place to eat hamburgers, salads, drink a beer & share stories about the trying times of our growing up, getting married, raising children, etc. It’s been another wonderful day with Mary Ann & Randy. They drop us off @ our bus @ 7:30pm where we say our “thanks & goodbyes” for now. This family has their act together; they do well keeping in touch with their children, helping when they can & enjoy each other. We sincerely hope to see them again in PA next summer.

Evening movie: “Wrong Box” with John Mills, Ralph Richardson, Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Nanette Newman, etc. Scramble for inheritance is basis for wacky black comedy set in Victorian England.1996. Wackiness tells the story; the British humor wasn’t humorous enough.
Lights out: 12:17am

Awake: 7:02am Temp 48 sleep 6+35 overcast overnight @ West Sacramento, CA.

K & I drive over to the Randy & Mary Ann residence @ 1:20pm. Before going inside, they take us on a tour of their work-in-progress AMC motorhome. When I say: meticulous, exacting, etc of Randy, seeing the renovation of this unit is proof enough for his reputation. I can hardly wait to see this AMC motor home in Nicktown next yr. Hint-hint! But wait, there’s more; Randy is also raising the Phoenix, a (190 diesel) Mercedes, from the ashes in the garage. Trust me, there are too many things happening inside this work station to accurately describe his progress.

Next, R & I go upstairs to their computer room where R shows me the video of comedian Stephen Colbert roasting Pres Bush. A comment taken from You Tube: Stunned laughter seemed to be the general consensus. Can you really get away with saying stuff like that to the president? Oh yes!

Many of Colbert's jokes were directed at President Bush, while other jokes lampooned the journalists and other figures present at the dinner. Although most of the speech was prepared specifically for the event, several segments were lifted, largely unchanged, from The Colbert Report, particularly from the opening "truthiness" monologue on the first episode of the show, where Colbert advocated speaking from "the gut" rather than the brain and denounced books as "all fact, no heart." I had not seen this blunt roasting of pres George W. Bush on April 29, 2006, but obviously it was a real eye & ear opener & continues to live on.

@ 3:30pm Randy drives us to downtown Davis, parks the car & we walk the streets of this University town; students everywhere, riding their bicycles, walking, driving, etc. 40,000 of them from many different states & countries. Davis downtown is really unique & the many students help keep it alive & well. We walked the area of their daughter Ann’s apt & stopped at her abode but she was not there, so we continued our evening walk, past sections of the University campus & then return to the car.

Back @ their residence, K & I talk with Jan, their youngest son, while both Mary Ann & Randy prepare a homemade dinner for (6). Youngest daughter Ann soon joins us for the occasion & we enjoy a dinner of: City chicken (pork on a skewer), mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans almondine, & a mixed salad plus cheese cake with mixed fruit compote for dessert. Wow! Delicious indeed! These guys know how to make a couple of strangers feel most comfortable & well fed. After some good conversation & stories plus sketchy plans for tomorrow’s adventures, Ann leaves to return to her apt; we follow her lead & return to our bus. It was another great day.

Late movie: “The Lady Vanishes” with Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, etc. An old woman’s disappearance during a train ride leads baffled young woman into a dizzying web of intrigue. Delicious mystery-comedy with Hitchcock @ his best. 1938. No question about it, it is not predictable.

High temp=66 Lights out: 12:21am


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