“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” Abraham Lincoln
Carol writes: There are two reasons the desert exerts its draw on many people. There are the so-called “desert rats,” a term of endearment that I use to refer to many of the folks we have met who live year-round in the desert, some of them full-time RVers who prefer the desert lifestyle and are not bothered at all by summer’s extreme temperatures. We actually met and enjoyed talks with some of these desert lovers in the Mojave Valley at a little friendly, family-run campground several miles outside of Laughlin, Nevada.
Many of the desert rats we met in our campground live in their travel trailers or motorhomes year-round. One man told me that they have seen summer temperatures get up to 125 degrees and that for the most part they hunker down inside on those days because the heat really is quite dangerous. If that is the case, I am not exactly sure what the draw is. Do the pleasant winter days balance out the scorching days of summer? One resident boasted to me that in summer he puts up an outdoor pool (one of those portable kiddie models a few feet tall), and even has a canvas awning above it to keep the water from getting too hot for safety. What??? I noticed that many of the people in this park were Canadians, spending every day of their allowed 6 months per year in the U.S. Now… it does make sense wanting to escape a Canadian winter!
As soon as we were treated to a few days of calm winds, I took time to enjoy some ‘winter heat’ and catch up on my latest quilting project.
The second reason so many visitors like to come to the desert is for the world-class gambling in southern Nevada. Laughlin, what I call a mini-mini-Las Vegas, was not far from our campground in the Mojave Valley, so naturally we had to check out a few of its local casinos.
One of the nicest was the Native American-owned Avi Resort and Casino.
Beautifully situated like a shining white mirage along the Colorado River, my experience at Avi reinforced my hypothesis that Native-owned casinos have much “friendlier” slots than the big corporation ones on the Las Vegas Strip.
In a future blog devoted to daily life on the road, I will discuss finances a bit. For now I will say that up to this point most of our campground selections have been quite reasonable in terms of cost. However, when we decided to spend a couple of weeks in Las Vegas, we knew cheap campgrounds would not even be an option. So, we splurged a bit and decided to stay in what our campground reference called a 10+/10/10—guide talk for a campground that is superb in all respects. The LVM Resort really was deluxe!
Many of the sites were privately owned and upscaled with outdoor built-ins with seating areas, large beachy umbrellas, grills, sinks, ovens, water features, etc.
We stayed in a privately owned campsite. Ours was one of the few sites in which the owners decided to stay natural with grass, shrubs, and flower containers everywhere! We had a very private mini backyard.
Anyone who knows us well will attest to the fact that we are not big gamblers—no table games, no sports betting, no high-stakes slots—only penny slots for us. The main attraction for us in Las Vegas has always been the chance to soak up the glitzy atmosphere of its many world-class casinos.
By NO means is this pic meant to express a political opinion of any kind; this landmark on the Strip was simply stunning in the setting sun.
No other place on Earth creates the illusion of the streets of New York,
or ancient Rome
better than Las Vegas. It is all done with lights, paint, decorations, and illusion. Many years ago I remember seeing the fake INDOOR “scattered clouds sky” for the first time in Las Vegas and was impressed as heck by the way the sky appeared to move as we strolled “St Mark’s Square in Venice.”
Las Vegas decorations are always spectacular—especially the jewel-like chandeliers and moving suspended umbrellas of the Wynn,
and, my all-time favorite—the priceless Chihuly glass ceiling in the lobby of the Bellagio.
As luck would have it, several years back Al had become Facebook friends with one of his former students. Since graduation day, Dustin has worked his way up the managerial ladder at some of the major casinos on the Strip, and so we took him up on the offer to look him up if we were ever in Las Vegas. Dustin graciously invited us to his new house for a leisurely lunch and tour of his home, including some of his Star Trek memorabilia. Thank you, Dustin, for a delightful afternoon!
We are fortunate that in any given place our new lifestyle allows us to take time to mix the glitz with Nature. Laughlin and Las Vegas certainly had plenty of glamour, but in the coming weeks we were also able to savor getting back to Nature, and the desert offered us plenty of opportunity. Some of our most fun-filled days of new discoveries in the desert were soon to come.
“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.” Tom Hanks