A Visit with Mom’s Friend

After an awe-inspiring trip to Death Valley National Park, we reluctantly bid farewell to this incredible national park. February 2012 – Today’s destination is Mesquite, Nevada. The main reason for our visit to Mesquite is to connect with long time friends of my parents. The two couples met during their RVing days via their regular winter excursions to the Texas Gulf Coast. Even though both couples sold their RVs due to health and age, they still managed to maintain their close friendship regardless of distance.

We had met these friends previously during one of our Texas vacations visiting my parents at an RV Park on Mustang Island. Bill and Sigrid are a delightful couple that were currently splitting their time between their ranch in Montana and a Park Model in Mesquite. Even though they had sold their motorhome the previous year, they weren’t totally done with RVing and had recently purchased a little travel trailer for an upcoming trip to Alaska which I was particularly interested in hearing all about. This would be their third and final RV road trip to Alaska, and they were a wealth of information. Considering such an RV adventure was on my radar at the time, I was eager to soak up as much knowledge as they were willing to share.

Our route from Death Valley NP to Mesquite, Nevada

From our campsite at Stovepipe Wells, we headed west via Daylight Pass Road (Hwy 374) toward the town of Beatty, Nevada. In Beatty, we picked up Hwy 95 and headed south toward Las Vegas.  Once in Las Vegas, we picked up the 215 beltway east to I-15 north.  The trip took us about three hours including a stop for gas and lunch.

Finding a place to stay in Mesquite

Mesquite is a small town about an hour’s drive north of Las Vegas, Nevada, with a population of less than 20,000. We had lived in Las Vegas in the 1990s and kept this town on our shortlist of possible places to retire. So we were curious about our current feelings toward this community.

With only two exits off of Interstate 15, we chose to exit at the first one and stop at Walmart to stock up on supplies. Before turning into the Walmart parking lot, we notice a banner hanging on some fencing – RV Resort with an arrow.  Once our Walmart shopping trip was complete, we decide to check out that RV Resort on the banner. The Solstice Motorcoach Resort had only been open less than a year and was an absolutely beautiful facility. Considering it was so new, there were plenty of empty sites. We decide to spend a week and focus on ridding ourselves, the dog, and the RV of dirt and sand. I’m sure we were carrying a few extra pounds of weight in sand alone from our stay in Death Valley.

We enjoyed a beautiful RV site at Solstice Motorcoach Resort

The Park sits high above the town of Mesquite offering a beautiful night view of the lights.  No dark sky around here! The folks at the RV Park were extremely friendly, helpful, and made this stop perfect to tend to chores, relaxation, and a couple of fun visits with family friends.

Enlightened by seasoned RVers

One of the things I enjoy most about the RV lifestyle is the people we meet. There’s something about RVing that connects folks from all walks of life … age, economic status, race, religion, etc. doesn’t seem to matter as much as our common interest in RV travel and getting into nature.

We visit with Sigrid and Bill a couple of times throughout the week and our conversations flow freely. We talk about their plans for their upcoming Alaskan RV road trip. They bring out maps and The Milepost Book. They share photos and tales from previous trips as well as impending details of their upcoming trip. We are enlightened and soak up the information.

Eventually, the conversation switches over to photography and Bill brings out his new camera. He has owned many cameras, both DSLR’s and Point & Shoots, but really loves this new Panasonic Bridge Camera. Hmm, a bridge camera? … more enlightenment on my part. He shares the pluses and minuses of a bridge camera as well as some recent wildlife images taken with the new camera. I’m impressed and make a note for future reference. My little Point & Shoot camera was definitely limiting and I was getting ready to upgrade.

Before bidding farewell to this engaging couple, Sigrid and I turn our attention to her relationship with my mother, especially since this was the week of my mom’s birthday: Feb. 26th. Mom and Sigrid were particularly close and Sigrid and I bond over tears as we share tales about my mother and how much she is missed.

Life can be fleeting, and little did I know at that moment, but a month later, Sigrid would pass away in her sleep from a brain aneurism. 😥

Moving on

Our week in Mesquite was very relaxing and productive. We accomplished some chores, visited with family friends, and engaged with other RVers at the RV Park. This last week in February, the weather was still a little chilly so it was time to move on in search of warmer weather. As much as we enjoyed our week-long stay, we decided Mesquite was no longer on our retirement shortlist.

From Mesquite, Nevada, to Davis Camp Park in Bullhead City, Arizona

During our stay at Lake Havasu, fellow campers had shared some of their favorite campgrounds with us … particularly places in the desert southwest. One such place was the Davis Camp Park located along the Colorado River and right below the Davis Dam in Bullhead City, Arizona. We were in the process of working our way back to Phoenix and decided the Davis Camp Park location was perfect for splitting the distance between Mesquite and Phoenix.

Upon arrival, we were allowed to drive around the campground and pick out a site before paying and filling out the paperwork. After driving all around, we finally decide on a waterfront campsite with no hookups.  Ah, let the entertainment begin! I stand at the rear of the site to help direct Al in backing up into the RV site.  I begin to wonder if he even pays attention to me and my direction other than when to stop.  I ponder … perhaps I should get some of those orange wands ground crew use to direct pilots.  Maybe then, just maybe, Mr. former Airline Pilot would give dear wife more credibility.  Probably not!  I’ll just continue with my usual hand gestures, or as Al likes to call it “my song and dance routine”.

These two RV newbies continue to be stressed whenever arriving at a new campground and needing to back into a site. In addition to the normal everyday stresses of learning this new RV lifestyle, the extreme wind that was blowing all around us was another stressor and concern. The wind was so incredibly bad that the RV swayed from side to side. This former Illinois gal has seen first hand the devastating destruction caused by extreme wind.  I immediately have a fear of our RV being flipped onto its side by a gust of wind. I quickly extend the slides thinking perhaps the slides would act as outriggers. Al laughs at me, but in my defense, the RV did sway less with the slides extended.

We really enjoyed our great waterfront campsite … wind and all.  And no, we never did come close to toppling over. This was merely the first time we had encountered such extreme wind in our new RV, and this was just another lesson in our long learning curve.

Davis Camp Park
We loved our waterfront site but hated the wind.

The town of Laughlin and its Casinos are practically within walking distance from the campground, and Bullhead City is bigger than we originally thought with lots of amenities.  Although we liked our campsite, the warm weather, and the area in general, after three nights, we’d had our fill of the winds and were on our way bound for Phoenix. 

Remodeling and Debauchery

As I choked back the tears, I gave daughter one last hug goodbye before climbing into the truck. We not only bid farewell to our daughter but also said goodbye to our beloved Colorado for the year.  It was a great summer filled with plenty of discoveries and new-found friendships.  We already look forward to next summer.boondocking dry camping

Alas with frost nipping at our heels, we set off on our 1,125 mile journey to Lake Mead, Nevada. We were on a mission …. a mission that entails redecorating the RV.  We’ve now been living full-time in the RV a little over a year and although I don’t miss living in a sticks n bricks house, I do miss certain niceties.  One of which is our beautiful leather couch and loveseat.  I really miss that couch and loveseat.  Before the movers showed up to haul them off to the storage unit, hubby and I even contemplated swapping out the RV couch for our leather loveseat.  It unfortunately just wasn’t going to work.  So we hit the road as is over a year ago.

free camping in Las Vegas Nevada
sun setting over the Lake Mead desert

But the RV couch has remained a source of discontent for both Al and me. I hate the chenille fabric and really miss the leather.  I’ve continued to shop online off and on for a new RV couch ever since hitting the road full-time and a tentative plan to head to Elkhart, Indiana, in the summer of 2015 was being discussed.

remodeling RV
This is the couch the RV came with. I do like the storage drawer so storage is an issue with anything new I pick.

Allow me to digress and backtrack a tad. Last March while camped in Phoenix, Arizona, we were joined by fellow bloggers, Linda and Mike.  During one of many conversations with this engaging couple, the subject of RV remodeling came up.  Linda and Mike were making plans to head up to Oregon to have solar panels installed as well as possibly replacing the loveseat with a desk…..  “Say what? Whatever shall you do with that soft, supple, butter cream, leather sofa?  I call dibs!”

camping at Lake MeadWe spent more time hanging out with Linda and Mike as our paths continued to crisscross during the months of April, May, and June.  Each time I stepped into Linda’s RV, I continued to longingly eye that loveseat but contained myself from saying, “When can I have the loveseat huh, huh, huh?”  At that point they still hadn’t decided if they were going to go forward with the remodel.

Fast track to September – just when I was convinced my loveseat shopping would need to resume and that trip to Indiana was inevitable, I received an email from Linda asking if we were still interested in the loveseat?  “Dah, YEAH!”  A price was quickly agreed upon and then talks ensued for the logistics to be worked out.

We were in Denver, Colorado, and they were in Eugene, Oregon.  We were separated by approximately 1,300 miles but our winter plans had us traveling in opposite directions. Where ever shall we meet?  Lake Mead, Nevada, it is!

You can read about Linda and Mike’s remodel here.  It turned out great.

RV furniture
Our new couch as it sits in the center of Linda and Mikes RV. For traveling, they had to strap it upside down to the other couch. They traveled like this for over 1,000 miles so their friends could enjoy this loveseat. I did call first dibs after all 😉 In all seriousness, we very much appreciated the above and beyond effort because they did have an opportunity to sell it in Oregon. Friends indeed!

RV furniture
Linda and dog Lucy help supervise the guys as the couch comes out of Linda and Mike’s RV.

RV furniture
Lucy makes sure the guys don’t damage the couch as they take it into our RV.

So now you know why we needed to go to Lake Mead….. to pick up our new loveseat.  Let the remodeling commence.  Come on, you didn’t think I would stop with a new couch.  Nope, now there are chairs to reupholster……   and of course a few other things here and there, but all in due time and I’ll share it all in a future post once our DIY projects are complete.

camping in Las Vegas
boondocking at Government Wash at Lake Mead, Nevada

free camping at Lake Mead
not a bad place to call home for a few days. Boondocking with friends at Lake Mead.

debaucheryWith the heavy lifting complete, what do two couples do boondocking in the desert in 100 degree heat with no air conditioning?  But of course, sit in the shade, drink, eat, and solve all the problems of the world.  After four days of desert dwelling and plenty of debauchery, it was in everyone’s best interest we bid farewell before we all needed to check into a detox center, but we do have plans to meet up again down the road.  Perhaps more desert dwelling is needed.

skilletini
Eating well. We start the day off with a hearty ‘breakfast skilletini’… red potatoes and veggies with eggs on top with a side of bacon.  Note – no bread involved…. Paleo eating all the way!

Paleo muffins
Or how about starting the day off with fresh-baked banana muffins and zucchini bread? Paleo of course!  I love my little RV oven.

free camping near Las Vegas Nevada
All alone boondocked at Government Wash at Lake Mead 😦 Time for us to move on as well.

Al and I are now comfortably parked in familiar stomping grounds back at Lake Pleasant located northwest of Phoenix, Arizona, and not far from our son’s home.  Our stop here will be short.  We’ll get in plenty of visits with the son, take care of our DIY projects, and some RV repairs, then hit the road around the 24th.  Until then, I’m thoroughly enjoying the desert sunsets….. they’re the best!photography

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Mesquite, Nevada

After an awe-inspiring trip to Death Valley, we head out from Stovepipe Wells on Hwy 374 toward Beatty, Nevada.  Our destination is Mesquite, Nevada.  In Beatty we pick up Hwy 95 and head south to Las Vegas.  Once in Las Vegas we pick up the 215 beltway east to I-15 north.  The trip takes about three hours including a stop for gas and lunch.

The main reason for our visit to Mesquite is to visit long time friends of my parents.  My parents met these folks during both their RVing days.  Health reasons stopped my folks from future travels and their friends opted for a Park Model in Mesquite.  They spend six months out of the year in Mesquite and the other six months on their ranch in Montana.  They recently purchased a little travel trailer for a trip to Alaska, which they had done before, and Al and I wanted as much information about this impending trip as possible.  The Alaskan Highway (I still refer to it as the Al-Can Hwy) is on our bucket list.  I’ve heard a lot of conflicting opinions on such a trip and was extremely curious to get their take.

Mesquite offers two exits off of Interstate 15.  We opt to exit the first one and stop at Walmart to stock up on supplies.  Before turning into the Walmart parking lot, we notice a banner on some fencing…..RV Resort with an arrow.  We decide to check it out.  The Solstice Motorcoach Resort has only been open a year and is a beautiful facility.  We decide to spend a week and focus on ridding ourselves, the dog, and the rig of dirt and sand.

Solstice Resort, Mesquite NV

The Park sits high above the town offering a beautiful night view of the lit up town and casinos.  The folks at the park are extremely friendly and helpful.  The weather, this last week in February, was still a bit chilly and windy.  We enjoy the stay, and are particular pleased visiting with the friends.  I think it’s time to head south for warmer weather…….