Fremont Street Redux and a New Throne…

Well, Nick and Terry headed out for Kingman AZ about 10am and it sure is quiet around here.

We’ve been pal’ing around for the last month, starting with the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma.right up until last night at the Fremont Street Experience redo.

Although it’s possible our paths might cross earlier, we probably won’t see each other again until the first part of August in Elkhart IN.

So last night we went back down to the Fremont Street Experience because we wanted to see both the Queen and the KISS videos on the overhead screen.

In between the two videos we had supper at Mimi’s Cafe, a restaurant we first tried in Yuma, A good choice for our last meal, so to speak.

After seeing Nick and Terry off, Jan and I went to an early lunch at IHOP before heading back to the rig. On the way back I stopped off at the RV park office and paid for another week.

Then it was time to get back to work on replacing the toilet, a job I started last week. But it was more fun running around with Nick and Terry than working on the toilet. Who knew?

About 4:30 pm we went out to Pepe’s Tacos right down the road from our park to check it out. Not bad.

Then it was back to the rig and the toilet.

Finally about 8:30pm I had the new toilet in and working. I’ve still got some buttoning up to do on it, but at least we don’t have to walk down to the bathhouse to use the restrooms now.

Life is going to be a lot more boring now that Nick and Terry have headed out…quieter, but boring.

We’re really going to miss them, and look forward to seeing them again soon.

More tomorrow…

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The Fremont Street Experience…

Today I went over to Nick and Terry’s about 2pm to work on their van, trying to trace out 3rd party alarm system that had malfunctioned.

And, as Nick said “We spent the day tilting at windmills”.   We never were able to figure out how the system works so we could change how the electric door locks work.

About 5 pm Nick, Terry, and I drove back over to our rig to pick up Jan and go to supper  at Claim Jumper. But it was not to be. When we got there the parking lot was almost empty and a young lady was telling everyone that they were close until Wednesday for some remodeling.

When Nick asked about another good place to eat, she suggested Cheesecake Factory across the street. So off we went.

Nick and Terry had never eaten there, although Jan and I been to  several other locations.

We all had appetizers so we would have room for cheesecake. I mean, why go to the Cheesecake Factory if you don’t have cheesecake.

And as with our previous visits, everything was really good.

Then it was over to the north end of the Strip to Fremont Street for The Fremont Street Experience.

Fremont Street is really what’s left of Old Vegas, before casinos started expanding down the Strip. In the mid 90’s the local merchants and casinos looked for a way to revitalize the area and bring the tourists back.

What they come up with, was a canopy 90 feet high and 1500 feet long, spanning 4 city blocks, Fremont Street became a pedestrian mall with a movie screen / light show overhead. Click any of the following pictures to see larger versions.

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The canopy / screen is what you see held up by the tree-looking supports.

And this is what it looks like in action.

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Along with the video show is a sound system pumping out 550,000 watts of music.

Although the original version used colored incandescent light bulbs, in 2004 the system was upgraded to a display consisting of 12.5 million LED’s.

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They have a different show every hour for about 10 minutes. Right now they are running shows with tributes to Don McLean, the Doors, Queen, KISS, and others.

We all agreed that this was the best thing we’d seen in Vegas so far.

More tomorrow…

Over the Hump to Pahrump…

Today we started out by picking up Nick and Terry about 12:15pm and heading over to the Blueberry Hill Family Restaurant for a very good brunch. They advertise that everything is made from scratch, including the fresh-squeezed orange juice, and is shows.

Then it was off to Fry’s so Nick could pick up a DVD and Terry could get a new coffee maker, and then next door to the Border’s Book Store.

Then it was “over the hump to Pahrump” as they say here. “The hump” is a long climb up and over a mountain range. And the view on the trip was spectacular.


Pahrump is a town of about 30,000 people located about 50 miles from Las Vegas. Its real claim to fame is that it is home to the closest legal brothels to Las Vegas.

But before we tracked them down, we wanted to check out the Escapees RV Park in Pahrump. And it was nothing to write home about. It had little in the way of shade and was really kind of desolate.

Unlike another RV park right down the road a piece. And it was Terrible. Or, rather it was Terrible’s. Like many casinos, Terrible’s (yes, that’s the name of a chain of casinos) has an RV park attached.

And this one was very nice. A lot of green landscaping, shade trees, and a nice lake.

Terrible 3 Terrible 2 Terrible 1

This is a place we wouldn’t mind staying at.

And then it was off to find the whor…eh, the brothels. And it didn’t take long.

It turns out that they were at the end of the road we were already on.

There are two brothels here in Pahrump, Sheri’s Ranch and The Chicken Ranch. And to make things convenient, they’re right next door to each other.


SherisRanch 1

SherisRanch 2

Based on the signs it’s really kind of hard to tell what kind of place Sheri’s Ranch ( Warning! This link is a little risqué ) is.

But the Chicken Ranch ( Warning! This link is a little risqué, too) is a different story.

ChickenRanch 1

ChickenRanch 2

ChickenRanch 3 

ChickenRanch 4 

ChickenRanch 5

They’re pretty up front about it.

Although The Chicken Ranch in Pahrump is named after the famous one in La Grange, TX, as depicted in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, there is no direct connection.

Our curiosity satisfied, we headed back to Las Vegas. And by the time we got back, we decided it was time for supper. Since we enjoyed Blueberry Hill so much for lunch, we decided to try it for supper. And, once again, really good.

More tomorrow…

Showdown at Searchlight…

As I said yesterday, today we were going to do something a little different.

We left the rig about 7:40am (man, that’s early) and drove about 50 miles south to Searchlight NV for the Showdown at Searchlight Tea Party Express Rally.

We turned off the highway into what is normally a landscape rock quarry about 8:30 and it took us about 10 minutes to get parked.



We had to walk about 1/2 mile to get back to the stage area and found a lot of people already there.

I walked up to the top of a nearby hill to get some shots.

Hilltop 1

Hilltop 2

What was really amazing is that in less than an hour, all of the open area in these pictures was filled with people.

Jan - Tea Party

Jan got in the mood with a Tea Party hat and a Gadsden Flag.

One other interesting thing was going that you don’t see much anymore.


But the new-fangled way: With computer-controlled planes. The planes fly in a vertical line and the computer tells each plane when to spit out a puff of smoke.

Kind of like an inkjet printer, but with smoke.



They also had a very large screen TV mounted on top of a truck. It looked better in person.


After the Governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons, opened the proceedings, Sarah Palin was the first speaker.

Sarah 1

Sarah 2

Sarah 3 

One of the next speakers was Jerry Doyle. (Michael Garibaldi of Babylon 5 fame). A corporate jet pilot, a successful stockbroker for 10 years, and an actor, he now hosts a nationwide syndicated talk show.

Doyle 1

One surprising thing was that, second only to Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber really wowed the crowd. He spoke for about 15 minutes with no notes, no hesitation, just talking to the crowd.

Joe The Plumber 1

Joe The Plumber 2

It’s hard to believe that 18 months ago he was a working plumber who was filmed asking Barack Obama a question while Obama was campaigning on his street.

The last celebrity was Victoria Jackson, of Saturday Night Live fame. Although she is best known for her ‘blonde airhead” act, she had become known for her insightful political commentary.

Victoria Jackson

The speakers were interspersed with candidates looking to run under the Tea Party banner, and a number of musical performers.

We headed back to the truck about 3:15, and were on our way by 3:30. It took us about 20 minutes to make it to the highway and head back to Las Vegas.

We thought we were home free. And we were..;.for the first 24 miles. Then, about 6 miles from the turn-off to the main highway into Las Vegas, everything came to a stop.

It took us a hour and twenty minutes to go that 6 miles. I don’t think it was all due to the Tea Party, as there were a lot of 18 wheelers in the bunch. But it was a mess.

We finally got back to the rig about 5:40, and then picked up Nick and Terry about 6pm. We decided we wanted to go somewhere close, so we went back to the buffet at the Boulder Station Casino. And, as on our other visits, it was very good.

We didn’t talk as long as we usually do after dinner as Terry noticed that Jan was having trouble keeping her eyes open. So we called it a night early.

Later in the evening, I was reading reports on the internet of the size of the crowd at the Tea Party Rally,

Some were just ridiculously funny. CNN’s Fredericka Whitfield estimated that hundreds, but if not, “at least dozens of people” were in attendance. Other reports said “almost a thousand”.

On their website the night before, the Tea Party Express people said they expected 5-10 thousand.

Now look at these aerial photos and you decide. The next 3 pictures will enlarge if you left-click on them.

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And this picture does not cover the entire area full of people.

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We were packed in pretty tight.

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This picture was taken at 1:35pm, 95 minutes after the event started, and, according to the Highway Patrol, traffic was backed up for 8 miles with people still trying to get in. If you look closely, you will see that the traffic line extends around the hill at the top of the picture and further off to the left.

Now you know why I wanted to get there at 8:30am..

As we were heading back to Las Vegas, we saw cars parked as far as 4 miles from the entrance.

The late news on the Los Angeles ABC station, who had a crew there, said there were over 20,000 people there.

I think they were a little closer than CNN.

More tomorrow…

My Vegas Gun Moll…

Today Jan got to check off another item on her Bucket List.

About 10:30am we picked up Nick and Terry and headed over to The Gun Store so Jan could try her hand at firing a fully-automatic weapon. In this case, a Thompson SubMachine Gun.


They had pretty much everything available, from Uzi’s to AK47’s to MAC 10’s. But I thought she might appreciate firing a good ole Prohibition Era “Tommy Gun”

Although used by the US military until the early 70’s, it gained its fame as the weapon of choice of people like Bonnie and Clyde, and Machine Gun Kelly during the 1930’s.

Here she is getting instructions on how the gun works.

Gun 1

Then it’s “rock and roll” time.

She had her choice of targets, so she picked Osama bin Laden.

Gun 2

And here she is posing with her ‘Kill”.  Although it’s hard to see here, after she got use to the way the Thompson climbs as it’s fired, she put a lot of rounds dead center.

Gun 3

This is going to be a short post tonight.

We’ve got to get up early tomorrow. We’re driving about 50 miles south of here to Searchlight, NV to attend a Tea Party Rally.

Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Victoria Jackson, Joe the Plumber, and many others are supposed to be there.

Searchlight only has about 700 residents, but they’re expecting between 5000-10000 people, so it may be a real mess.

We’ll see.

More tomorrow…

Toilet Flowers and Hot Wings…

I’ve decided to make our new toilet into a flower pot.  Because, so far, I haven’t been able to get it installed due to the fact that new toilet has different base than the old one. I know I’ll get it fixed eventually, but in the meantime, it sure looks pretty.


We picked up Nick and Terry about 12:30pm and drove over to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch.

I had the Mango Habanero wings – sweet and spicy!,  Jan had the Hot wings, Nick had the Honey BBQ, and Terry had a chicken wrap.

Really Good!

Nick and Terry wanted to get some Asiago cheese bagels so we walked about the parking lot to Panera Bread. It all looked so good that Jan picked out some blueberry scones, and some orange ones too.

Then it was over to Outpost PC to purchase some remote control switch units to control our door locks.

After that we headed over to the Atomic Testing Museum.


This museum is actually part of the Smithsonian and has a amazing amount of artifacts detailing the Atomic Age.

The Atomic Age began at 5:29;54 on July 16, 1945 when a plutonium bomb, nicknamed ‘Gadget”, was detonated at Trinity Site on the Alamogordo Bombing Range in south-central New Mexico. The flash was seen 250 miles away and the heat produced was four times hotter than the sun.

One of the displays showed many of the products that traded on the atomic age theme.


Everything from Atomic Fire Ball jawbreakers to Atomic Cocktails to Atomic Hot Sauce traded on the Atomic name.

AtomicEnergyLab .They even had an Atomic Energy Lab, from Gilbert, maker of the Erector Set.  I actually had one of these. Maybe this explains why I still glow in the dark.

Next was a collection of Geiger counters.

Geiger Counter1

Since I was a ham radio operator and worked with Civil Defense, I was issued one of these.

Geiger Counter2

The first H-Bomb was detonated in 1952 on Enewetok Atoll in the Pacific.




Earlier bomb tests, starting in 1946 on Bikini Atoll, also in the Pacific, gave the bikini swimsuit its name.

This atomic artillery shell gives you some idea how small an atomic bomb can be.

Atomic Artillery

Next was the Genie Air-to-Air Atomic Missile. Jan’s father worked on this one when he was in the Air Force.


Genie Missile

This B61 bomb was designed in 1963 and is still the United States primary nuclear weapon.


Lastly, there is this display of a piece of the Berlin Wall that marked the end of Cold War with the Soviet Union.


The museum gives real insight into what went on during the period from 1945 to 1992 when the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty ended nuclear testing by the major powers.

Leaving the museum, I dropped Nick and Terry and Jan off at their rig while I went up the road to Lowes for some more toilet parts. I’m going to whip this thing yet.

A while later, after it go dark we drove over to see the light show on Fremont St., but found a special event going on, with a large crowd. We’ll try again later.

So it was off to IHOP for supper. By the time we got home it was almost 10pm.

It’s been a long day, but a lot of fun.

More tomorrow…

The best $40 Ice Cream I’ve Ever Eaten…

Today started off with a trip to the ATM for some cash and then a stop at the RV park office to sign up for another week here in Las Vegas.

It’s a nice park, not too expensive (only about $125/wk + elec.), and convenient to the Thousand Trails RV Park where our friends Nick and Terry Russell are staying.

The only downside (downsides?) are that the sites are narrow and there’s no real shade.


Speaking of Nick and Terry, we headed over to their rig and picked them up about 12:30 pm and drove over to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant for lunch.


We had eaten at his original restaurant in Key West last year and really enjoyed it, so we wanted to give this one a try.


Jan had the same Monterey Chicken Sandwich that she had in Key West, and really enjoyed it again. I, of course, had to have a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Nick and Terry also had sandwiches.

After we finished eating, we make the obligatory gift shop stop where Jan got her a Margaritaville Las Vegas T-shirt.

When we got back out on the street we encountered these brightly-feathered guys.


So following up on the whole Jimmy Buffet – Parrothead concept, here are some parrot heads.



We next decided to drive the Strip again trying to get some more pictures of the different casinos.


This is Paris Casino. I assume the balloon sign refers to the Montgolfier brothers,who are credited with inventing and flying in the first hot air balloon in the 1780’s.


And, of course, what would Paris be without the Eiffel Tower.

Effiel Tower

There’s also New York New York which models the New York skyline,complete with the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty..


Flying Saucer

And, although it’s not a casino, for some strange reason, this flying saucer-shaped building houses a fashion show center

Finishing up on the Strip we decided to check out The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, otherwise known as the History Channel’s Pawn Stars,

Pawn Stars
We even saw one of the show’s stars, Chumlee, who seems to be the court jester//comic relief on the show.

Nice tats!


And Jan got herself a new opal ring.

Sweets for the Sweet.


Leaving the pawn shop, we wanted to check out The Gun Store. They have billboards all over town advertising that you can rent and fire a machine gun on their in-store range. We found out it cost $50 for 50 rounds and $25 for each additional 50.

They were pretty busy, so we’ll probably come back tomorrow. Jan wants to shoot a Thompson Submachine Gun, otherwise know as the Tommy Gun from the Prohibition Era.


By now it was almost 5pm, but with our big lunch no one was hungry for supper, so we decided to just get some ice cream at Dairy Queen,

Unfortunately, the Dairy Queen we chose was inside the Boulder Station Casino.  So $10 of ice cream cost me $40, what with our $30 contribution to the Las Vegas economy via the slot machines.

We got back to the rig a little after 6pm, where I resumed fighting “The Great Toilet Wars”

More Reports from the battlefront soon…

Eau de toilette – part deux…

Well, we didn’t get started out today until about 1pm.

Nick had heard about a chocolate factory tour (with free samples!) here in Las Vegas.

So a little Googling sent us to Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.


They have a self-guided tour of the plant where you can watch the candy being made.



It turns out that Ethel M Chocolates was started by the founder of Mars Candy after he retired from running the company. He wanted a custom candy manufacturer to make small batches of candy by hand using high-quality ingredients.

And they take their chocolate very seriously. Just look at these signs posted around the factory.




I had never seen how chocolate is grown so this was interesting.

Chocolate Pods

The pod at the top is a cocoa pod which contains the cocoa beans on the bottom left.

And finally we came to the most important part.



Then it was on to the Cactus Garden that was on the grounds of the Chocolate Factory. Not exactly sure why a chocolate factory would have a Cactus Garden, but it was interesting.













Leaving the factory we drove over to Camping World so I could check on getting another pedestal base for our toilet.

Turns out that I can buy a new toilet for almost $100 less than I can buy a new pedestal. So we drove over to Vegas Trailer Supply to just buy a new one. I’m tried of  fooling with this one.

Since no one wanted to hold the new one in their laps, Nick and Terry stayed at the store for a few minutes while we took the new one home, and then came back and picked them up.

By this time everyone was hungry, so we drove over to Buffet Asia to try out another Chinese buffet. It was slightly better than the one last night, but not by much.

After this we headed home and I got started putting the new toilet, well, trying to, anyway.

It turns out that, although this was the same model toilet from the same manufacturer, they had decided to completely change the base mount where it fastens to the floor.

So I’ll have to try again tomorrow after getting some more screws.

More then…

Eau de Toilette…

I spent most of the day working on the toilet in our rig.

Apparently to no avail. It works OK, but the water that is supposed to stay in the bowl leaks out down into the holding tank.

But probably more than you wanted to know.

Later, we picked up Nick and Terry about 5pm and went to supper at New China Buffet. Not great, but we’ve had worse.

We’ve got another Chinese buffet to try tomorrow night that had a really crowded parking lot.

Then it was back to Nick and Terry’s rig where we spent an hour or so with Jan and Terry talking, and Nick and I working on a new ad for his blog.

A little before 9pm we headed back to our rig.

Tomorrow we plan on taking a chocolate factory tour, and trying to visit the Pawn Stars shop again.

More later…