Las Vegas is an amazing place. Sure there's gambling everywhere but there is much more to it than that. There's amazing organization that goes into the various conventions in town throughout the year. How would you like to have 400,000 people descend on where you live for four days? Then clean up and get ready for the next one. The air traffic is incredible. It seems that all day every day there are flights arriving or leaving about every three minutes. We could look out the front window of our motorhome at any given time and see a plane close to landing, and the headlight of three others coming right in behind. Then there are private jets and helicopters taking off and landing as well. Vegas was very cold. On the Wednesday before we left it went down to 26 deg. F. (or -4 deg. C). Our outside water hose froze and we had no water in the morning so we had to use our onboard water. They are currently in year 8 of a drought where Lake Mead has dropped nearly 100 feet. Las Vegas has the highest water consumption in the world. And the growth continues - huge new hotels and casinos are being built and there are housing developments springing up everywhere. Residents were paid $1 per sq. foot to tear up their lawns. There is also a lot of history here as you will see later.
On January 5, 2008 Larry and Maureen went to dinner and a show at the Sahara Casino - featuring the Coasters, Platters and Temptations. One of the original Temptations was in the group. It was really fun.
Five of Larry's PCS staff arrived on January 6, 2008. We all stayed at the Flamingo
Hotel right on the Strip for four nights and had a great time. During that time we must have walked about 50 miles (yes, Larry was on a scooter). We all went to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on the 7th and 8th. It's a huge show that takes up several very large buildings. We used the monorail to get from the Flamingo to the Convention Centre then to the MGM. 400,000 people descend on Las Vegas during the four day show. It's apparently not a good time to be a taxi driver because CES visitors don't tip very well.
The group went to Spamalot on the 8th, a musical based on Monty Python's Holy Grail. It was very well done, a typical Vegas production. After Spamalot we were all hungry and walked another 50 miles to the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar's Palace. The food was great. While we were there Floyd Mayweather, currently WBC Welterweight Champ, and his rather large (not in numbers) entourage came in. Dave approached one of his bodyguards to see if we could take some photos. He was very nice about it! Floyd has won six world boxing championships in five different weight classes. Check out the picture of Larry and Floyd.
On January 12 we went to see BJ Thomas at the Boulder Station Casino. He put on a magnificent one and a half hour show and sang all his greats plus some new songs that will be out on in March 2008.
On January 13 we took a day trip to Death Valley. What an experience! Much of the Valley is below sea level. 20,000 years ago there was a 90 mile long, 600 ft deep lake covering the bottom of the Valley and left behind are incredible salt flats. At Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level, there are salt crystals everywhere. The water that is there is not poisonous, just very salty. There are even snails and other small organisms living there. This is the lowest dry point in the Western Hemisphere. After the Valley, we went further north and found a ghost town called Rhyolite. The town only existed between 1904 and 1911. At its peak there were 10,000 people living there. There are a few buildings intact. We also found the town cemetery - the newest grave was 1986 - the wife of a husband who had been buried there 20 years before.
On January 14, we went to the Clark County Heritage Museum which featured a time line of about 12,000 years of history and some nicely restored historic buildings, as well as an unrestored ghost town. Admission was only $1.50. Very well done!
From there we stopped at the Atomic Testing Museum which was very interesting but a little scary. "All in the name of peace..." This is a very comprehensive museum operating in association with the Smithsonian Institute. It featured a time line that showed world events, compared to progress with atomic power, compared to what was happening in pop culture at the time. It also has a simulation of what it would be like to be at ground zero during a blast. It showed how testing moved underground and finally how testing has stopped and then describes research and innovation into the future.
On the 16th we went to the Hofbrauhaus for lunch and if you like German food we would highly recommend it. We also went to the Bodies Exhibition at the Tropicana. This was the same exhibit that was recently in Vancouver. Fascinating! If you ever get a chance to see it, you should. It is an exhibition of real human bodies, preserved using polymer preservation. While we saw a lot in Vegas, there is still a lot to see.
We left Vegas a couple of nights earlier than originally planned. Just outside of Vegas we drove over the Hoover Dam. You could really see the low level of Lake Mead here. There is quite high security here now because of fears of a terrorist attack. There is a security checkpoint where Larry had to open the outside bays for them to check and one officer came on board and checked around. They are currently building a by-pass road so that no one has to drive over the Dam. We stopped at Lake Havasu City for a couple of nights. A small but very clean and friendly RV park overlooking the lake. Volunteers cooked breakfast on the morning of the 19th for a donation only. Cold here as well but sunny and dry. Lake Havasu City's claim to fame is that in 1971 the real London Bridge was brought over stone by stone and reconstructed.
The highlight of Lake Havasu was our haircut. It was time once again. If you recall Larry's last one was in Mexico and Maureen's was in Casa Grande. We found a very nice barber lady who fixed Maureen's and cut Larry's. Debbie, Maureen will need an appointment the day she gets back to White Rock!
A nice drive took us to Quartzsite where we could see that the annual Sports, Vacation and RV Show was already getting underway. This show attracts 150,000 people annually, this year from Jan 19-27. There are 20,000+ dry campsites bordering the show. After that is the largest Gem/Rockhound show from Jan 30-Feb 3. We turned onto I-10 here and headed for Indio CA.
Indio is the southernmost part of the Palm Springs area. We are staying at Oudoor Resorts of Indio which is a beautiful place. Quite a few people that we know will be here while we're here - from now until Feb 29. More on that in the next installment.
Larry & Maureen
Here's a good one that was sent to Larry. It will appeal to those from the Prairies and those in the wireless business:
"After having dug to a depth of 10 meters last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.
"Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, California scientists dug to a depth of 20 meters, and shortly after, headlines in the LA Times newspaper read: 'California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.
"One week later, 'Estevan Mercury', a local newspaper in Saskatchewan, reported the following: 'After digging as deep as 30 meters in sagebrush fields near Estevan, Ole Johnson, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Saskatchewan had already gone wireless."