Category Archives: NV

Salty Desert

Last week we found ourselves needing to find better weather. We had been around Salt Lake City, UT and in the upcoming week the temps were going to drop and rain and/or snow was in the forecast. EVACUATE! EVACUATE!

We only wanted to go as far as would get us out of the crappiest of the weather since we’re trying to stay close to SLC to meet up with Mike’s daughter as much as possible these next few weeks. It seemed the whole state was going to get sacked and going north just made matters worse. So we decided to head west to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  You may be familiar with this place because of the famous Bonneville Speedway where they set land speed records. The forecast called for some rain one day but was otherwise much better than just about any place else in a 2-3 hour driving radius of SLC.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. But here we stopped at the viewing area they have on westbound I-80.

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You can get out and walk on the salt. I can’t really describe it, although you may have seen pictures of the flats on TV at some point.

We set up camp on BLM land adjacent to the flats. The first time we arrived we parked right at the BLM sign where there was a large gravel lot. We arrived late in the day/early evening and didn’t really have time to drop the camper and scout around first.  We could see a gravel road in a few directions and figured we’d check it all out later.

Then the weather came.

The first week we were here it was cold (for us) only reaching into the 50’s. It was cloudy and boy was it windy! One night we had to pull the slides in because of the wind gusts up over 20-30 MPH. If you’ve never been hit with wind gusts in a camper…. it’s scary! Especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. You just don’t sleep. I kept thinking we were going to blow over or the jacks were going to break… every terrible scenario went through my head.

By Thursday the weather was getting a little better – slightly warmer temps and the wind wasn’t quite as bad. We headed across the state line to Nevada to a small little town called West Wendover, NV. The town consists of a main road with about 5 or 6 large casinos on either side. It’s actually pretty neat and literally 4 miles from the Salt Flats.

That night we dolled up and headed to the Montego Bay Casino, partook of their $18 buffet and gambled at our usual penny slots! We had a great time except I have sworn off casino buffets for life. Except maybe another visit to the Wicked Spoon in Las Vegas, but that’s another story….

Friday morning we took care of camper business, ex. dumping the tanks, filling up with gas for the generator, filling propane tanks, etc. Then we headed back to the flats but to a different spot.

About a mile down the gravel road we found an awesome spot. It’s secluded, but on the road, behind a large rock outcropping. The ground here isn’t white salt like the flats but a light colored powdery dirt. Saturday morning was so great we were lying out like we were at the beach! But with no ocean….

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Even the cat got in on the beach action!

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Saturday afternoon we decided to head to town to make a stop at the hardware store. As we were there we saw some ominous clouds to the west heading east (our direction). We got in the truck and started back on the highway, in a hurry, since we’d left windows open and slides out on the camper. As soon as we drove through the cut away in the mountain that separates NV and UT we got hit with unbelievable wind gusts that were trying to push our one ton truck off the road!

In the rear view mirror we saw our rolled up soft truck bed cover go flying up, catching wind like a boat sail! I think we both forgot the cover was even there since we keep it rolled up against the rear of the cab and it’s never come unfurled before. And now it’s flapping against the truck bed, with the heavy metal catch bar threatening to break out the back window!

Mike pulled over on the highway, which he really didn’t want to do in high winds, rain and cars and trucks zooming past at 80 MPG (or faster… 80 is the speed limit on this section of road.) We both jumped out to try and latch the cover down but the wind kept grabbing it and there was no way we could get it secured. We tried shoving it around and under the fifth wheel hitch just to keep it contained until we could get back to the camper.

We jumped back in the truck, soaked and proceeded with caution lights flashing. We only had about a mile to our exit. But even once off the interstate we could see the storm moving closer to our camper in the distance. We had to get back!

Going slower than we’d like we limped back to the camper, raced to close windows and pull in slides. Luckily the storm hadn’t hit the camper with full force yet. But the soft truck cover got blown around more and more on the way home… it was ruined. But we’re ok with that since we didn’t use it much anyway. Better that than a broken truck window or camper damage!

Yesterday was a pretty day but windy again. Not enough to pull in the slides but too windy to be able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. But today is looking fantastic and tomorrow even better!! We can pretend we’re at the beach and relax. Or hike! There are plenty of paths/ATV roads to hike. And don’t forget geocaching! People seem to have gone great lengths to get some hidden waaaaaay out here and beyond! Hopefully the wind will stay away and we can enjoy this calm, relaxing place!

Adult Vegas Addendum

After the kiddos flew out we still had a full 24 hours with Uncle Dan before he headed back to West Virginia. What to do with three adults in Las Vegas???…….

We didn’t realize until pretty late in the game that Uncle Dan flew out a day after the kids did so there wasn’t a lot of time to plan. So we three headed to the Vegas strip a bit before noon to walk and be “tourists” before Dan had to be at the airport for his red eye later that night.  That gave us about 8 hours to wander. I say “tourists” in quote because Uncle Dan actually lived in Las Vegas for a bit about 15 years ago. And you know when you live in a tourist spot you usually never do the touristy things…

Michael drove the three of us, in the ginormous dually, to Planet Hollywood. I chose it because it’s centrally located to where we wanted to be so I thought it was just as good as any. But sat-nav Janet brought him to the front door of the hotel of which we were not staying. I jumped out and asked where we could park to shop and sightsee for the day. The valet wrote down a phone number for me and that’s where our 007 morning began.

Ooookaaaay…. I got back in the truck to questioning faces. I told Mike to drive, but slowly, as I dialed. I explained we were an oversized truck that needed to park.

Mystery phone man: Where are you?
Me: We just left Planet Hollywood main entrance parking. (As we’re creeping along, under the hotel, following the drive to the left, as originally instructed.)
Mystery phone man: What are you driving?
Me: Black Ram dually with Texas plates.
Mystery phone man: Ok, stop. I see you.
Me: What?
Mystery phone man: STOP! Right where you are. I see you.
Me: Mike, he says stop. Yes, right here. (in the middle of the drive) I don’t know. Hold on.
Mystery phone man: Go ahead and drive, veer right and take a right at the stop sign and wait for me at the gate.

I’m sitting on the edge of my seat looking through the front dash for the wizard behind the green curtain. Seriously! Then it hit me, Duh. We’re in Vegas. There are cameras EVERYWHERE!

So we followed his directions and he’s right behind us in a golf cart. He gets out and unlocks a padlock (pretty low tech way to open a gate with all the other James Bond equipment, if you ask me.) and lets us through. This is where oversized vehicles get to park. For free. Sweet! All we have to do its call him back when we’re leaving to let us back out.

We headed into the Magnificent Mile of shopping to get our bearings and that’s when I spotted Club Tattoo. I already have a few tiny tattoos. I’ve been wanting another one, a compass rose, for about 4-5 years now but couldn’t figure where I wanted to put it. And of course, I’m not going to get a tattoo if I can’t figure out where to put it. But just for giggles I went in and started talking to one of the artists, Ben, just to see what he thought about my plight. I knew exactly what I wanted. I’ve wanted it for a very long time, it’s not like I’ve been hemming and hawing as to whether or not I should get it. And I already have three tats that I absolutely do not regret at all, even after 20 years. It’s just a matter of placement. And then Ben suggested then inside bicep, a place I’d never considered.

Michael, Dan and I walked around a bit and then I decided that was it. I was sold. I went back and got a tattoo on a Sunday morning in Las Vegas, because, hey, why not?

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Cool business card, eh?

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After that the three of us hit the strip!

We got an adult beverage, because we could, and literally walked up and down the strip just checking it out. There is some fantastic people watching, even during the day!! We had lunch at Joe’s Seafood and kept on walkin’!

Party animals we’re not. But we had a good time. And got Dan to his plane on time!!!