2010: On the Road

In The Desert


The next day took us through the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas, passing by Edwards Air Force Base. Unfortunately, tours of the base are only given on specific days of the week and we couldn't wait around. I was surprised by all the (apparently) commercial jets parked near the runways.

As I got out of the truck to take a couple of snapshots, I instantly understood the hundreds of windmills dotting the nearby hillsides, and had to brace myself underneath the trailer -- using head, legs, back, butt -- to get a couple of jitter-free shots.

Edwards Air Force Base They have a LOTTA wind here. Gimme shelter!

It was a relief to finally see the featureless desert give way to some more interesting topography. Even the tacky casino at the California-Nevada border was an improvement over the monotony.

After my many offers to help with the driving met with only the sound of crickets chirping, I finally suggested to Mike that it might be a good idea if I had some practice driving the rig, you know, just in case of some emergency situation. That did the trick, and he reluctantly relinquished the wheel for a few miles. I kept my speed carefully under the limit, since Nevada was crawling with highway patrol cars; clearly they were trying to close their state budget gap on the backs of the tourists.

Pretty clouds, but not much else. Finally! A mesa! I drive, Mike chafes.

While Las Vegas was our target for the second day of travel, we didn't plan to partake of the wares of Sin City -- just passing through. My research had uncovered the Boulder Oaks RV Park, a very nice private-ownership place in Boulder City, just outside Henderson; so we chose to avoid the traffic of The Strip and turn east before entering Las Vegas proper. Unfortunately, we didn't adequately anticipate reaching the outskirts of town; so there was no opportunity for Mike to take over the wheel. He ground down a few teeth as I ground the gears. Finally we were able switch places with a quick on-the-street runaround at a red light. You could just hear the other drivers thinking, "TOURISTS!"

Boulder Oaks RV park.

Boulder Oaks is very pretty and exceptionally quiet, with distant views of Lake Mead from some spots (not ours, we didn't pay the premium). The only problem with our rented pad was the 90-degree back-in from the narrow roadway. Mike managed it with only five or six tries. I'm sure the simultaneous conflicting directions from me and the park manager helped enormously.

After we got the RV parked, we couldn't find Peanut at all. We finally discovered that he had crawled underneath the bed into a channel containing the motor for the bedroom slide-out. We couldn't coax him out or pry him out, and we couldn't open the slide-out for fear of crushing him. Finally Mike had to take the bed apart from the top down to extract him from his hidey-hole. *Sigh*. It's going to be a looooonnnnnng trip.