We were able to leave Vernon by 11 am on the 5th. We went via Kamloops because it's less busy. We topped up the fuel at the Flying J, east of Kamloops and had lunch at Denny's. The drive was clear and dry, even though they have had their first snow at the summit already. We arrived at Pacific Border at 4:45, right on schedule. We had talked to Aaron on the way down and we went to their place for dinner - roast beef, mashed potatoes, asparagus and we brought a dozen beautiful Yorkshires. They have a very nice cat named Bernard. The weather was amazing.
Sunday we visited with Millie and Neil in the park and stopped by Aaron and Alison's garage sale. Another lovely day. We had happy hour every day with Millie & Neil until we left for the Sunshine Coast on the 10th. We caught the 11:30 ferry - lunch on board - love those White Spot chicken strips! Motoko (Kelly's Cat) even let us pet her for a few seconds. We brought a lot of meat from the freezer and also veggies. Margaux (Kelly's new girlfriend) came for dinner and we had burgers. Friday night we took Scottie for dinner to the Lighthouse Pub (it's all he wanted to repay him for fixing the deck and building the railings). Thanks Scot! Aaron and Alison arrived about 10:45 from the 9:30 ferry (which was late of course). They brought Bernard for his first trip. We introduced him to Motoko upstairs and they both felt a little trapped. Bernard stayed under the bed. Mo was in the corner hissing and growling. Eventually we got everything calmed down so we were able to go to bed.
Saturday Alison made the dough for her Apple Dumplings. The turkey was thawing and Maureen made the stuffing. The cats continued to be wary of each other. We locked them in separate spaces sometimes and others we left them out. They seemed to do ok. Saturday night we had the steaks we brought and then we played Cranium. Larry wasn't too sure about it at first but with Margaux's encouragement we had huge laughs. When it seemed like it was going on too long, we discovered we had been playing it wrong. More laughs!
Sunday Alison finished putting her Apple Dumplings together and the turkey went in the oven. We usually buy a Utility bird and there's often not much missing - this time it was missing a leg! Aaron carved this year - doesn't use a knife, just pulls pieces off. Dinner turned out amazing. We were stuffed. Monday Aaron and Alison and Bernard went home. Mo collapsed from exhaustion. We returned to Pacific Border on Tuesday the 15th. We certainly found the new highway and bridge more convenient. It shaves a lot of time off the trip. About 55 minutes from the ferry to Pacific Border - pretty good!
We headed out about 9 am for the border. We chose the truck crossing because the line didn't look too long and they only said an hour wait. It hardly moved at all - it took two hours to get across. The signs tell all RV's and trailers to be in the left lane all the way. So we did that. When we got to the turn at the top, we needed to swing wider than the lane. The people to our right thought we were trying to get into their lane. The people behind thought we were switching lanes so scooted up in front of us. One lady was yelling to relax and that we didn't have our light on - is there a light that says you are going straight? A border guard came over to help and laughed saying that most people hit the yellow posts. WHY DON'T THEY WIDEN THEM THEN? No one wants the side of their (coach, RV, trailer) scraped. Anyway they were fairly nice and we think because we were such a problem that they let us go quite quickly. Phew!
The ride continued smoothly. We stopped and had our leftover pizza for lunch. There was quite a bit of fog until about noon. We arrived at Roadmaster in Vancouver WA. We always stop here when we can to get our tow bar serviced. They let us stay in the lot for the night. We made a Costco run for some supplies, then Safeway for bread. We got a chicken at Costco for $4.99 - we got dinner and three days' lunches out of it. The ride was lovely on Thursday - sunny all the way. Traffic was good. I-5 has definitely been smoothed out somewhat. The mountain passes were totally clear and we stayed at Yreka RV Park Thursday night. The people were really nice and there was free coffee and sweet rolls in the morning. We stopped in Corning for olives, pickled mushrooms, chocolate cherries, and lemon-flavoured olive oil. A tradition.
We made it as far as Lodi, CA Friday afternoon. We always stay at Flag City RV. When in Yreka we discovered that our satellite receivers had done a factory reset (Kelly's also). We lost all our upcoming recording events. When we got to Lodi, we had a long chat with our friend Craig at Shaw in Calgary. He couldn't really explain why all of them had reset, but figured it might have had something to do with us being so far south. Anyway we will work with it for now. Saturday afternoon we arrived at Bakersfield RV Resort and got the last site available. They have a 50 coach rally going on and that is why they are so full. It's a lovely park with a good restaurant. And it's hot! The thermometer says 96. We spent two nights here. We met a very nice couple, Nancy and Bob from Santa Monica. She is a teacher who hopes to retire next year. Very interesting. We had dinner with them the first night.
On to Las Vegas on the Monday the 28th. We stay at Las Vegas RV Resort, the closest, nice park to the Strip. The weather continues warm and beautiful. On Wednesday we went to the buffet at Harrah's and the show Million Dollar Quartet - Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. It turned out to be a very good musical based around the photo that is at Sam Phillips' Sun Studios in Memphis. We have been there and seen where they did this one and only jam session. For those not familiar with Carl Perkins he actually wrote Blue Suede Shoes. Sam Phillips was the first to record each of them. On Friday they had a Fanfest down on Fremont Street for the race fans.
When we first arrived at the resort we met Linda our neighbour. Her husband was at the hospital for an endoscope. While he was there they nicked something and he lost a lot of blood. He came home Friday and while he was outside with the dogs he had a heart attack (while we were at the races). This was at 2:30 and by 5:30 he had a double by-pass. We never did have the opportunity to meet him but will keep in touch with Linda to see how he is doing. She is from Osoyoos, he is from Spokane.
Saturday night was the annual Halloween potluck. We were fortunate to attend this last year too. The band they have is very good. Check out www.upband.com. We knew that Rick and Sherry from Swan Lake were somewhere in Vegas (Rick goes to the races Saturday and Sunday) but we didn't know they were in the same RV park. We didn't have time to get together with them this time but will meet up with them in Laughlin.
The Races (24th to 27th) - Thursday we only went for a couple of hours. There is a lot less people so it's good for autographs. We brought our own lunch and bought water ($4 a bottle). Friday is also a little less busy. We again brought our own lunch but re-filled the bottles of water from the day before! We had a nice chat with Paul Noakes. He normally runs Top Alcohol Dragsters but this was his first opportunity to run a Top Fuel Dragster. He had a big Tim Horton's logo on the side. Unfortunately he was only successful with one out of four passes in qualifying. He told us how crew from some of the bigger teams came over and offered advice which we thought was pretty impressive.
Saturday we were able to chat with Erica Enders-Stevens who is a very good driver but has been having trouble lately getting a sponsor. She was not able to run all the races this year but can still vie for the championship in Pomona. We had foot long hot dogs for lunch today ($7) - the weiner was a foot long and pretty skinny but the bun was only six inches. Sunday we did better - 1/2 lb hamburger and a teriyaki bowl. We stayed until the very end. There were no oil-downs on any of the days and no significant delays so it felt like it finished early. Larry's scooter worked very well.
We left for Laughlin in a big wind around noon. It wasn't too bad for us but we would not have wanted to be in a lighter trailer. Rick and Sherry actually delayed leaving Vegas because of it. We had dinner with them in Laughlin at the Prime Rib Room Tuesday night. We were pretty pleased with the RV park attached to Riverside Casino. The sites are long and wide. The first one they put us in (#481) we could not get the satellite to work so we moved over one and it was ok. We are up on the top and have an amazing view of the whole of Laughlin. It's very quiet - minus the planes and sirens of Vegas - and a little cooler so we were able to sleep with all our windows open.
We went over to Bullhead City a few times. It's just across the river in Arizona. There's lots of shopping there. Thursday we drove to Grapevine Canyon. There are lots of petroglyphs at the mouth of the canyon, about a 1/4 mile walk beside the wash. Larry stayed behind with the car and Maureen walked up most of the way with the Forest Ranger. Coming towards us was a man who reported that someone had fallen back in the canyon. His wife was apparently back in the parking lot. The Forest Ranger then ran ahead to see how he was. Maureen took a lot of pictures of the petroglyphs but didn't venture into the narrow part of the canyon. The Forest Ranger passed Maureen on the way back down and she reported that the man was stable but she would need help getting him out as he was fairly large. After that stopped at David Dam and saw that the river is quite high for this time of year. Then we took an 11 mile gravel short cut (Silver Creek Road) to Oatman. There are an increasing number of burros in the little town. We stopped just outside of there for a picnic lunch.
We were then able to touch base with Harry and Pam (from Peachland) who are in Needles for the winter. Since they were just getting their trailer ready, they were actually staying at the Tropicana so we met them for drinks. On Friday we went over to the USA BBQ Championship to see what was happening. Not much really - saw some amazing smoker/BBQ units and sampled some pulled pork. On Saturday Bob and Judy from Swan Lake showed up. They are staying here for a week.
On Sunday we met Harry and Pam at Avi Casino (halfway between Laughlin and Needles) for lunch. Monday we packed it all up and were on the road by 8:30 am!