Sunday, February 16, 2020

Las Vegas and beyond

In my last update we had just arrived in Las Vegas.
Our primary reason for coming here was to see Rob & Pats Daughter compete
in The Las Vegas Shoot.

The Shoot is a major archery tournament with competitors from all over the world
competing for both the prize money and bragging rights.
Over 4,000 competitors were here!
The Venue at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino spanned half a dozen
halls and arenas with several hundred archers competing at one time in each hall.

This was our first time ever attending an archery competition and it was quite
a new experience.

First was the hundreds of people walking about the hotel carrying bows and arrows.

Archers in the Southpoint Hotel & Casino

The nex thing that I noticed was the sound.   
With dozens of arrows hitting the targets each second, the constant "thud" "thud" "thud" 
of the arrows striking their targets sounded like a massive pillow fight.

R&P's Daughter Amanda is quite the expert.
Although she was not happy with her results - she was quite amazing.
Racking up 14 bulleyes and scores that would make most bow hunters jealous!

Amanda takes aim at The Las Vegas Shoot

Each archer shoots 3 arrows per round.
10 rounds per match.
In between each round the archers move up to the targets and score their neighbors target.

Archers scoring the targets
Below - another of the competitions taking place.
There is no difference between Professional & Amateur - Man or woman.
Everyone competes in the same competition - highest score winning.

No stop in Las Vegas would be complete without a visit to our favorite Doodlewash
in the whole world...
The Barking dogs self wash.

R&P brought Oliva along so we had a rub a dub - 3 doodles in the tub party!

Olivia gets dried

Lucy getting soaped

Lucy discusses the situation with me
One day Rob & I took a drive north to Overton to check out a possible
boondocking location for future reference.

Along the way - driving thru the Lake Mead National Recreation Area we passed by
a hot spring in the desert and stopped to check it out.

Below - the view from the springs back towards Lake Mead in the distance

Of course when in Vegas - one must visit the strip and the hotels.
Even if you are a non-gambler like us - this town has a magical quality
that really comes out at night.

Its a gigantic Disneyland.

Excalibur Hotel

New York New York Hotel

Paris Hotel
Kate poses inside Bellagio Hotel where they had a Chinese New Year Display

Bellagio Chinese New Year arrangements
We arrived just in time to see the water show at Mandalay Bay.
Its fun to see in the day - but at night it's really special!

Here is a video of the water show that I took.

They say that all good things must come to and end but I don't believe that...
I believe that all good things change to new good things, and following that
belief - on Monday we said Adios Las Vegas and were back on the road.

Our next stop was at the Lone Tree BLM Dispersed Camping area.
We are parked on top of a bluff with decent views in all directions.

Lone Tree BLM
We are parked at the far end, center, in the above picture.
Rob & Pat are parked next to us creating our own little protected area.

About 15 miles from Lake Havasu - it was a good location for us to stay while
we took in the annual "Winter Blast"

The Winter Blast is basically a trade show for vendors of fireworks.
All of those fancy fireworks shows that you see on July 4th have their origins at shows
like this were vendors from around the world come and show off their newest and greatest.

The show covers 4 days - Thursday thru Sunday.
Saturday is the largest demonstration.
Thursday was pretty much a dud and Friday was a great show.

Two of the shells from Friday Night.
Below these shells cascaded down like a waterfall.
The colors must have hung in the air for 40 seconds.

Havasu Winter Blast 2020   Friday night

The shell below looked like a grove of Palm Trees.

Havasu Winter Blast 2020   Friday night
On Saturday night we were back to our carefully selected viewing position and so
were the crowds.   While the previous 2 days had been busy - Saturday was a in a whole
different class.

The desert washes on the east side of the road was loaded with RV's and people
of all shapes and sizes.

Getting ready for the show

From dusk till about 7:30 the "amateurs" have the show.
Members of the Western Pyrotechnic Association who are not professional
fireworks makers - but still have skill in creating these rockets - have a go at
showing off their own creations.

"Amateur" fireworks display
As you can see above - some are quite unique and beautiful.

Also - there are some "Duds"
Just before the photo below - there was a large explosion in the launch area.
A huge boom, and mushroom cloud rose up.

A few minutes later - the below fireball erupted.
My assumption was the boom was a dud that just exploded rather than taking off,
and the fireball below was a second that also failed to take flight.

A dud explodes on the launch site
The WPA takes great pains to create a safe environment, and the rockets are lauched
remotely - so I assume there was no danger from these failed rockets.

Later - the professional show resumed:

Beautiful firework at Havasu Winter Blast
Some of the shells were multiple rockets with numerous blasts from each.

Havasu Winter Blast - Multiple

Soon the show was over and we headed home.
The event is well worth attending, and should you find yourself in the area during
mid February I'd recommend it highly.

Just leave the Doodles at home!

Today we hit the road again for a short ride to Quartzsite and a more quiet location.
Then in a few days we'll hook up with the gang up in the mountains at
Lake Roosevelt.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Mojave National Preserve

Our trip to LA was completed and it was time to move on.

But not before a visit with Kates BFF from College.

It might be years since they have seen each other, but when these two get together
its time to tighten down the seat belt!

We had a great time with Alta & Dean.   Dinner in the bus, and then
Kate and Alta had a girls day out.

Its so nice to get the opportunity to visit with friends all over the country!

Kate, Alta, and the velcro dog Gracie
On Friday morning (of superbowl weekend) we were wheels up headed back over
the mountains into the desert.

It was probably all for the best because the beach was taking on the appearance of a
serious party venue that was about to cut loose for the weekend.

We headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) thru Huntington, and Newport Beaches,

Last glimpse of the beach in Huntington Beach
We turned east on Newport Blvd (Highway 55) and started the long long drive out
of the LA basin.

Hwy 55 in Orange County

Soon, crossing the mountains at Cajon Pass, we dropped down into the desert and just like
that - we changed from the lush green of the coast to the stark beauty of the desert.

I-40 in the Mojave Desert

Our destination was the Hole in the Wall Campground in
the Mojave National Preserve (MNP).

20 miles north of I-40 on Essex, and Black Canyon Roads

Black Canyon Rd in Mojave Natl Preserve

The campground is a hidden gem deep in the MNP.
It is rough dirt roads and dry camping at 4,400' altitude.

In the morning, the sun paints the rocks a bright orange.

Rob & Pat are on the left - we are on the right.
Our first 2 days were warm and sunny.

The brilliant red sunset however was warning of a change to come.

Late Saturday a strong cold front came rumbling thru.
Strong SW and then North winds brought below freezing temps with sustained winds
over 35mph.

Brilliant sunset in Mojave National Preserve
It was really too cold to do anything outside, so we jumped into the truck
and explored some of the dirt roads in the preserve.

Below - you can see the Kelso dunes behind the Joshua Tree

Looking down towards Kelso from High on Cima Dome

Down the mountain - in Kelso - we visited the Kelso Depot.
Built by Union Pacific Railroad, the depot served travelers and workers
for over 50 years.

The end of Steam Locomotives and closing of nearby mines negated the need for the depot
and it closed down in 1960 and Kelso became a ghost town.

Kelso Depot

The depot had lodging for railroad workers, a cafeteria and maintenance facilities.

Kelso Depot Lunch Room

We drove to the nearby Kelso Dunes.
The dunes cover over 45 square miles and rise almost 700' above the desert floor.

The high winds and cold temperatures prevented us from taking a stroll among the dunes.

Kelso Dunes

From the dunes we headed south on Kelbaker Road.
Along the way we stopped to check out the beautiful scenery.
I just love the different textures.

A wider view of the scenery

Crossing south of I-40 we dropped down to old route 66 and the deserted town of Amboy.
Home to Roys Cafe and hotel...   a throwback to the old days when Route 66 was the main
artery across the Mojave Desert to and from LA.

All that remains open these days are the fuel pumps and a small gift shop,
but you can walk around and see the old motel and roadhouse.
Roys Route 66 Road Stop
Today (Tuesday) after another cold windy night - and looking forward to several more days
of the same - we decided it was time to head for lower altitudes and a warmer climate.

We were chased out due to the weather but not before getting a good taste of this
hidden jewel of a campground.   We'll be back for sure!

Just 2 short hours later - we find ourselves in Las Vegas.
We were planning on being here Friday so a few extra days in Vegas...
Whats wrong with that?

Olivia drives the bus

Rob & Pats Daughter will be in an archery competition on Friday, and in
the meanwhile there is no shortage of activities to keep us busy.

Including my favorite self service doodlewash in the country...

Rub a dub...  doodles in the tub are coming up!