Monthly Archives: January 2015

January 30, 2015 Las Vegas, Nevada, Part 1

We left Boulder City and headed to Las Vegas.  Bill had been there several times but this was my first time.  Neither one of us are gamblers, so we knew our time in Vegas would center on sightseeing in and around Vegas and perhaps taking in a show.

We stayed at a campground about 15 minutes from the strip making the drive wherever we wanted to go very convenient.

One day we headed to the downtown area which was the original gambling strip and still the location of many casinos.  We stopped at the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, one of the most photographed signs on Earth.  We had a free audio tour of the Las Vegas area so we played that as we drove.16424644035_17a986b659_o


Fremont Light Show


Fremont Light Show


Designed by architect Frank Gehry, this is the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

After dark we concentrated most of our time in the Fremont Street area where we saw a sound and light show featuring 12.5 million lights.  There are many interesting sites to see downtown!IMG_20150202_231247

One of Bill’s favorite things he did while in Vegas was going to the Gun Garage and shooting some automatic weapons.  He shot an MP5-9mm, M4-9mm, UZI-9mm and an AK-47.  He even has a bruised shoulder for his efforts.  His target showed what a great shooter he is!  I was content to stand to the side and be the photographer!


World Renowned AK-47


MP5 rifle with laser sight


January 27, 2015 Boulder City, Nevada

After ten days in the desert at Quartzsite we sadly packed up to leave.  We had a wonderful time and can’t wait to return in several years.

We headed back into California with a brief stop at a California agricultural checkpoint.  Agriculture is very important in California so anytime you enter their state they stop you and ask what fruits, vegetables, nuts, plants and firewood you have with you.  We had heard some RVers had oranges they had been given in Arizona and those were confiscated at the border.


Lake Mead Recreation Area


We arrived at the Lake Mead Recreation Area where we stayed for two nights at their Boulder Beach campground.  We had a beautiful view of Lake Mead from our campsite. We visited the Lake Mead Visitors Center where we saw a movie and learned that Lake Mead is the largest man made lake in the United States and the largest reservoir by volume.  Currently it is down about 40 feet from the severe drought.  We could see the white oxidation line where the lake should be.


Towers that feed water from Lake Mead to the generators

15783173944_78c1c48077_o16219716667_dc737b8cba_o15783070404_3b5e5b2aac_oOur purpose for coming to this area was to visit and tour Hoover Dam, known as one of the seven wonders of the Industrial Age.  We made the very short drive from our campground to the Dam and paid for a tour.  First known as Boulder Dam and later renamed after President Herbert Hoover, it is a concrete arch gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River half in Arizona and half in Nevada.  While touring the dam you are at times in Arizona and then other times in Nevada.  The Dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936, with its dedication in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The building of the dam was a massive effort involving thousands of workers and the loss of over a hundred lives.  Our tour guide told us contrary to what some have said, 15783176134_f317b2fccb_othere are no bodies buried in the concrete.  Life was very hard for the workers with long hours and back breaking work.  If they missed one day of work they were fired, so they worked sick or well.


Model showing top view of dam layout


Inside view of the Nevada generators


What a generator looks like inside. This one was currently under maintenance.

16219285739_6d74dc2e52_o16219607167_6dc24da227_oOur tour took us 530 feet down an elevator in 70 seconds to a tunnel drilled through the rock wall of Black Canyon.  The tunnel was drilled in the 1930’s construction to the Penstock Viewing Area.  Here we were atop one of the four huge thirty foot diameter pipes that can transport nearly 90,000 gallons of water each second from Lake Mead to the dam’s hydroelectric generators.  We then got on another elevator which took us to the power plant balcony on the Nevada side where we had a panoramic view of the 650 foot long wing of the power plant where eight of the dam’s seventeen huge generators are located.  The dam’s generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.


Arizona generators in the top building and Nevada generators in the bottom building. We were standing in the bottom building during our tour

16219700587_7e1d75f7bd_o16403866991_b3a5c1f81d_oOn both the Nevada and Arizona side are spillways that are designed to direct high water from Lake Mead around the dam and through tunnels in the canyon walls.  The spillways are so large that a World War II battleship can be floated in each one.

16217961158_4078a82f1e_oWe also visited the excellent visitor center where they had many audio, visual, and interactive exhibits as well as a very interesting movie on the construction of the dam.



January 17, 2015 Quartzsite, Arizona

Our month in Hemet was very busy with yearly physicals, chores around the RV and making plans and reservations for much of 2015.

We left Hemet and headed to Quartzsite, Arizona to join a huge gathering of RVers.  We had read that for about a month in Quartzsite, RVers from all over the country gather to socialize and enjoy the warm Arizona winter sunshine while camping in the desert.  They take advantage of miles and miles and miles of BLM land (Bureau of Land Management) where you can camp for up to 14 days free.  Anywhere from 750,000 to 1,000,000 people surround the tiny town of Quartzsite, and needless to say they love having the extra money in the local piggy banks.  Also during this time vendors come from all over and set up their wares near the town center, which includes everything you could possibly imagine wanting or needing, and then some!  If you love flea markets, this is your paradise.

We discovered that among the many groups meeting in the desert was a large group of amateur radio enthusiasts (see  We decided to join them and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  Bill had a ball since every day, members of the group had daily seminars on all kinds of topics related to amateur radio, as well as other useful seminars on topics such as solar energy.  In the evenings they had happy hour as well as a couple of pot lucks.  Also while we were there Bill was able to take a test and upgrade his license from General to Extra, the highest level possible.  He was thrilled and I was so proud of him because he decided to take the exam 2 days before it was being given.  With all the seminars, happy hours and fun activities, he had very little time to study.  Most people have study for months and still have to take the test several times, so it was quite an accomplishment for him to pass it the first time with little study.

While camping in the desert we saw some beautiful sunrises and sunsets, as well as clear, starry night skies.  We never saw or heard any coyotes.  They probably retreated far into the desert to get away from the crowds.  In our amateur radio group there were around 440 people, and a ranger told us the crowd in Quartzsite this year was estimated to be 850,000.  We had never seen anything like this gathering of RVers, it is truly a place like no other in the world!  We were so glad we went and can’t wait to go back again!


IMG_20150120_180430After 10 days in the desert we packed up and headed to see one of the seven wonders of the Industrial Age.  More on that in the next blog!