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. 

Las Vegan Moves to Colorado

Thank goodness for Motrin.  The last two days brought more snow than predicted, which required a bit of shoveling.  I shouldn’t complain.  This winter has been extremely mild and the snowstorms have been few and far between.  That being said, I am still longing to be amongst fellow RVers in the desert southwest.

Arkansas River, Pueblo, CO

In the ’90’s we lived in Las Vegas, Nevada.  That was during Vegas’ boom and it was tons of fun.  We witnessed old casinos being blown up and new ones built-in their place.  After a fun-filled four years, a job opportunity took us to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  My close friend and neighbor had just a few years earlier moved from Springs back to Vegas.  Upon our departure, she handed me this story, which can be appreciated by those of us familiar with living in the ‘North’.  Pls note to those sensitve…..offensive language used.

LAS VEGAN MOVES TO COLORADO            (Las Vegan can easily be replaced with Texan, Floridian, Arizonian…………you catch my drift)

Day 1 – 5:00 pm  It’s starting to snow.  The first of the season and the first one we’ve seen in years.  The wife and I took our hot buttered rums and sat by the picture window, watching the soft flakes drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground.  It was beautiful!

Snow Cat
Snow Cat (Photo credit: clickclique)

Day 2 – We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape.  What a fantastic sight.  Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful white mantle.  I shoveled snow for the first time in years and loved it.  I did both our driveway and our sidewalk.  Later a city snowplow came along and accidentally covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street.  The driver smiled and waved.  I waved back and shoveled it again.

Day 3 – It snowed an additional five inches last night and the temperature has dropped to around eleven degrees.  Several limbs on the trees and shrubs snapped due to the weight of the snow.  I shoveled our driveway again; shortly afterwards, the snowplow came by and did his trick again.  Much of the snow is now brownish gray.

Day 4 – Warmed up during the day to create some slush, which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again.  Bought snow tires for both cars.  Fell on my a*s in the driveway, $145.00 for a chiropractor, but nothing was broken.  More snow and ice expected.

Day 5 – Still cold.  Sold the wife’s car and bought a 4×4 in order to get her to work.  Slid into a guard rail and did a considerable amount of damage to the right rear quarter panel.  Had another eight inches of the white sh*t last night.  Both vehicles covered in salt and crud.  More shoveling in store for me today.  That g*dd*mn snowplow came by twice today.

Day 6 – It’s two degrees outside.  More f*cking snow.  Not a tree or shrub on our property that hasn’t been damaged.  Power was off most of the night.  Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and kerosene heater, which tipped over and d*mned near burned the house down.  I managed to put the flames out, but suffered second degree burns on my hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows.  Car slid on ice on the way to the emergency room and was totaled.

Day 7 – G*ddamn mother-f*ck*ng white sh*t keeps on coming down.  Have to put on all the clothes we own just to get to the f*ck*ng mail box.  If I ever catch the s.o.b. that drives the snowplow, I’ll chew open his chest and rip out his heart.  I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then comes down the street about 100 mph and buries our driveway again.  Power still off, toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in.

Day 8 – Six G*dd*mn more f*ck*ng inches of the f*ck*ng snow and f*ck*ng sleet and f*ck*ng ice and who knows what other kind of white sh*t fell last night.  I wounded the f*ck*ing snowplow as*hole with an ice axe, but he got away.  Wife left me.  Car won’t start.  I think I’m going snow blind.  I can’t move my toes.  I haven’t seen the sun in weeks.  More snow predicted.  Wind chill factor minus 22 f*ck*ng degrees.  Screw this sh*t!  I’m moving back to Las Vegas!

A snowplow clearing snow from the North Americ...
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