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Thread: Itís not a circus without a few clowns, right? Pam's Southern Adventure 2014

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    Itís not a circus without a few clowns, right? Pam's Southern Adventure 2014

    Jump to:
    Day 1: On the road from Terrebonne to Laughlin
    Day 2: Pig-in-a-poke and how the other half lives
    Day 3: Two clowns visit ghost towns. And donkeys. Lots and lots of donkeys.
    Day 4: Taking the dam road to Las Vegas, with a stop in a dam town for a little antiquing along the way.
    Day 5: Scary Clowns and Elvis is in town.
    Day 6: Old school tech day with pinball and fusees, and we totally ignore the possibility of Stranger Danger.
    Day 7: "More, Please" at Red Rocks and CarsLand Vegas Style.
    Day 8: This Circus has no clowns, but I hear the high wire act is pretty good.
    Day 9: What kind of clowns go into Mexico just for cheap booze? That would be us.
    Day 10: Capybaras, and Condors and Red Pandas, oh my.
    Day 11: California Mis-Adventure?
    Day 12: Disneylast

    __________________________________________________ _________________

    This all started because we were channel surfing.

    A few years ago we sat bored in front of the tv on a rainy Saturday. This doesn’t happen often as Mike never sits still. Even when he’s sleeping he's still moving. The cats find him decidedly un-cuddle-worthy on that account.


    Basically, the only way I can get him to relax is to feed him massive quantities of beer and Chinese food.

    I, on the other hand, am a cat’s dream – overly warm, with plenty of extra padding, and I can sit for hours without moving. At least someone appreciates my Zen-like skills.

    Where was I? Oh yeah, surfing our 57 channels with nothing on…until we glimpsed a shot of one of our favorite motocross riders, Travis Pastrana. Only he wasn’t riding, he was jumping out of a plane without a parachute.


    Hmmm, this looks much more interesting than re-runs of Pawn Stars.

    So began our love of Nitro Circus.

    If you’ve never seen the show, it’s basically Jackass but with skilled action sports athletes, and they try to actually make things go right instead of badly wrong.

    Anyway, when we heard they’d be doing a live show in Las Vegas, we knew we wanted to see it. I was less excited when I found out all the decent seats were VIP, and ticket prices for that level started at $130 each. Ouch. But you get a lanyard and a poster with VIP, score! If you knew how many lanyards I have from various motorized sporting events, you would know how not thrilled I am with this swag.


    If you're ever in need of a lanyard, you know who to call.

    Oh well, $260 plus evil Ticketmaster “handling fees” spent and I guess we’re vacationing in Vegas this year.

    We decide to take two weeks and make a Southwest loop. I decide we’re going to Disneyland and California Adventure for a couple of days. No way I’m driving past Anaheim without stopping to say hi to Mickey, right?

    The last time we’d been to the original House of Mouse was in January 2006. A year later we took our first trip to Disney World and as far as Mike was concerned, Disneyland no longer rated our time. So my goal was to re-introduce him to Disneyland in a way that would rekindle his love of the place.

    But before all of that happens, we’ve got 10 days of other stuff to wade through.

    Here’s the plan:

    Day 1, Saturday January 18: Drive from Terrebonne Oregon to Laughlin Nevada.
    Day 2, Sunday January 19: Check out our property in Golden Shores Arizona, about 35 miles south of Laughlin.
    Day 3, Monday January 20: Oatman Arizona
    Day 4, Tuesday January 21: Antique stores in Boulder City, and on to Las Vegas
    Day 5-8, Wednesday January 22 through Friday January 24: Las Vegas
    Day 9, Saturday January 25: Nitro Circus at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
    Day 10, Sunday January 26: Drive to San Diego, with stops in Quartzsite for lunch with friends, and Algodones Mexico for cheap alcohol.
    Day 11, Monday January 27: San Diego Zoo
    Day 12-13, Tuesday-Wednesday January 28-29: Disneyland and California Adventure
    Day 14, Thursday January 30: Drive home.

    We were supposed to take the final Friday and Saturday and visit Catalina Island, but decided to come home early as one of our cats didn’t seem to be doing well and Mike was about frantic with worry (more on that later).

    This trip was interesting, and we had some good times but overall everything just felt a bit off. Before we left, crazy stuff kept happening that would make me wonder if it was a sign that we shouldn't go. Still, we’d already spent the money, Mike needed a break, and so we pushed forward.

    What kind of crazy things, you ask? Well, you probably didn't ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway, so there.

    First off, Mike spent our entire vacation fund a month before we were leaving. Yep, all of it. What did he spend it on? Dirt.

    Really. He had the same excavator that did all our work when we were building this place come out and create a rock retaining wall, then fill it with dirt. I'll admit it needed to be done, the area has always looked unfinished, and it looks great now...



    ...but he sort of forgot to get a quote and thought it would cost maybe a grand, but the final bill was more than three times that, so HE SPENT ALL OUR VACATION MONEY. Aaaargh!!!

    Thank goodness for Ebay. I got busy and sold a bunch of stuff and made enough to get us through two weeks of fun as long as we were careful. Unless something else happened.

    And here’s the something else. The week before we left, Mike tells me the dishwasher is broken. We disassemble it and figure out it’s the pump motor. A new motor costs $80. A new dishwasher to completely replace this cheap piece of crud that we never liked is $350. So we bought a new dishwasher. Of course with the vacation money. Sigh. The dishwasher will be delivered the day before we leave (we’re getting up Saturday morning at 3am, and Mike doesn’t get home from work until 9pm, guess who is installing the dishwasher?)

    And here’s more something-elses. Tuesday night Mike notices that our main security light on the shop is not coming on. We go out there at 10pm, and he’s up the ladder with me holding the light and tools below him (it’s 10 degrees and breezy, and the shop is 25 feet tall), he pulls down the unit, trouble shoots it, figures it’s the sensor. I buy another sensor the next day and he installs it the following night. Which is when we realize that the dusk-to-dawn light on the back of the shop is also acting up.

    Really.

    We move the ladder and tools to the back of the shop and repeat the process, this time it’s a dead wall unit which I buy the next day and we get to install Thursday night. By this time the temp is down to single digits and it’s starting to snow. It was such a fun time. Poor Mike!

    Friday the dishwasher is delivered and they take away the old one. I spend a few hours figuring out how to install the thing (it’s actually pretty easy) and get it running. Leaving me the rest of the day to get packed and ready to go.

    Because we are doing this trip on a shoestring budget, we’re not eating out much – which is pretty normal for us anyway. It’s actually sort of nice to be able to shop in advance and then pack everything in the car, rather than get somewhere then do the shopping. I manage to fit two boxes of groceries, a medium-sized cooler and assorted luggage in the car, utilizing all my hard-earned Tetris skills.

    Mike gets home “early” at around 8pm, and we’re in bed by 11pm, with the alarm set for 2:30. Holy crud it only feels like a few hours later when the stupid thing goes off! Oh, it is only a few hours later.

    And the vacation begins with frazzled nerves, a depleted bank account, and two sleep-deprived middle-aged curmudgeons.

    What could possibly go wrong?
    Last edited by pfalcioni; 03-15-2014 at 12:53 AM.

  2. #2
    Goofus D. Dawg gorsh's Avatar
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    Oh Pam, I think I caught a glimpse of your frustration in the rant thread. You had such great feedback from everyone there and I wasn't feeling very well, so I didn't comment, but I am SO glad you are writing a trip report anyway. I am sure you had some great moments mixed in with the not so great ones. The landscaping looks really nice, but how frustrating to have to say you spent your vacation funds on "dirt"
    Kate

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    Senior Member nolarookie's Avatar
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    Well, I do like the after picture! In!
    Brandi

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    I'll admit I like the after picture too. I usually do like the results of our efforts, I just am not that happy when we're in the middle of the project, or have to pay for it afterward!

    And thanks Kate, I did get a bunch of excellent advice which is one of the reasons I'm feeling better about the trip now and I'm happy to be writing a trip report.

    Mike called today and said he was so glad we went, and we really did have so much fun. That made me feel great!

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    Senior Member Jana's Avatar
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    I love your reports Pam - I'm in!



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    Yippee! A Pam trip report, and I'm in from the beginning.
    Becca

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    Senior Member wgwtgb's Avatar
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    Pam, you have no idea how excited I am that you're doing another TR. I'm tempted to not read now, let you finish, and spend a whole day being sloth like and just reading. Is that terrible? I think not! But I just can't help myself... I think I'll have to read.

    ETA: Pam, I just wanted to add that I think it's funny that you live in Terrebonne, Oregon and I live in Terrebonne Parish!!
    Last edited by wgwtgb; 02-14-2014 at 10:20 PM.
    -Ashley

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    I know Ashley - we should meet up sometime in Terrebonne Quebec - it's the only other Terrebonne I've found

    I'm so excited for your upcoming trip - I can't wait to read about it!

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    Day 1, Saturday January 18
    Drive from Terrebonne Oregon to Laughlin Nevada.

    Todayís journey consists of 934 miles of mostly 2-lane roads in the middle of nowhere, but thatís okay, we sort of like ďmiddle of nowhereĒ.



    As I mentioned in the previous post, we woke early, then got going pretty much on time. Mike wanted to be on the road by 5am, and we rolled out of the garage at 5:30.

    We usually enjoy long rides like this. Mike drives the whole way because if I drive he gets motion sick (does this say something about my driving skills? Probably), so itís my job to stay awake and keep the music flowing.

    Mikeís Christmas present from me this year was a new stereo for the car, it has a USB port, so I basically dumped all the music from my computer onto an 8-gig flash drive (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) and voila! DJ duties handled! So much easier than shuffling through CDís like we did in olden times (last month).

    Speaking of presents, did I mention today is my birthday? No, because no one else mentioned it today either. Yep, Mike forgot my birthday. Not as in ďcompletely spaced the fact that my wife has a birthday in JanuaryĒ kind of thing, more like ďI even bought you a card and everything but because our lives were so crazy I forgot today was itĒ kind of thing.

    As we drove along, I spent a few hours stewing and trying to decide if I would be a good wife and let him off the hook, or bring it up at some point and make him feel awful. But honestly, the guy just spent the last week working 12 hour days and coming home every night to some nasty chore that required him to stand on a ladder in the freezing cold until midnight or later. How the heck can I fault him for not remembering one little thing in a massive sea of big things?

    So I just mentioned it in conversation and of course he felt awful and kept apologizing, then I felt like a jerk for saying anything, but I was still sort of frustrated. Wah wah, poor me. Yeah whatever, put on your big girl pants and have a good trip already, ya wimp.

    It was a beautiful day, we were so lucky with the weather! Although it was cold, the sky was blue, and watching the sun rise over the far-away horizon was gorgeous.



    One section of our route includes Hwy 50, dubbed The Loneliest Road in America. Weíve been a few places that could definitely vie for that distinction, but thereís no denying this place lacks traffic. In fact, the entire drive was very quiet until we hit Vegas. Weíd go for a couple hours and only see 3 or 4 other cars.

    We only stopped for gas a couple of times, so all my pictures were through the windshield

    (yes itís cracked, that happened in December, donít ask).

    Fortunately weíd traveled this road many times before, so I didnít feel like I was missing out by not stopping, although I would have happily spent a few hours in Austin and Goldfield Nevada, two ghost towns we have yet to explore.


    Hwy 50 winding its way out of Austin Nevada, population 192

    By noon I was regretting the decision to wear wool socks, and was wondering if I could dig out a pair of shorts from the suitcase without having to disassemble the Tetris perfection of the trunk. I love this transition from northern cold to southern warmth, itís one of my favorite things about this drive.

    I was a little worried about getting through Vegas at rush hour, but fortunately the freeway system is currently in good shape so we were in and out in no time and turning onto 95 at Railroad Pass, getting to see the sun set over this wide and dusty valley.



    At 9pm, after nearly 15 hours on the road, we dropped down the grade into Laughlin...



    ...and pulled into our hotel. We like Harrahís here because they have one wing of the hotel thatís completely non-smoking, including the casino. Unfortunately, they were booked solid and did NOT have a non-smoking room for us. Really? You have got to be kidding.

    I can put up with a lot of ugly in a hotel room, but itís got to be non-smoking or my lungs will revolt, thatís why I always call and confirm this request. I tried all the usual tricks, talked to management, asked for an accessible room, talked to more management, played the asthma card (I never do this, it sucked), even said it was my birthday. Still no dice. Iím tired and near tears (I know, stupid, but I just wanted to go to bed!), and Mike is getting ready to start calling around to places in Bullhead City (on the Arizona side, so non-smoking rooms would be easier to find), when one of the desk clerks said ďgive me 20 minutes and Iíll see what I can doĒ. So we gave her 20 minutes and she magically found us a room. I have no idea how she managed it, but I was so thankful!

    By this time we were starving. We decided to eat at their buffet instead of in the room. It was expensive and decidedly uninspiring. To be honest though, as tired as we were, it could have been the best food in the world and I doubt it would have registered in our exhausted brains.

    Thus, the first day of our ďsuper relaxing and fun vacationĒ draws to an end shortly before midnight when we fall into bed in our nice smelling non-smoking room, and are instantly asleep.

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    Senior Member CJUERS's Avatar
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    So in! ! Keep it coming!
    I'm still here...just wishing I was there.
    Chris

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    Nice grab; this username is going to be worth more than twitter.com/disney in 2020. Just cut me in like 10% DisneyMom's Avatar
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    So excited to see you started a trip report Pam! Can't wait to hear how Disneyland was and if Mike liked it. Your landscaping looks great.

    I admit I had to read this line twice to get what you really meant...hehe!
    Quote Originally Posted by pfalcioni View Post
    Where was I? Oh yeah, surfing our 57 channels with nothing on…
    Looking forward to more.
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    Dang, that's a big feline!

    And excited to hear the next chapter. :)

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    Love your trip reports as well. Thanks for sharing.

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    Goofus D. Dawg gorsh's Avatar
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    Speaking of presents, did I mention today is my birthday? No, because no one else mentioned it today either. Yep, Mike forgot my birthday. Not as in “completely spaced the fact that my wife has a birthday in January” kind of thing, more like “I even bought you a card and everything but because our lives were so crazy I forgot today was it” kind of thing.
    OOps! It is completely understandable that your feelings would be hurt. This has happened to me more than once...I learned early on in our relationship not to expect much for birthdays-my dh is not a planner and he appreciates thoughtful actions more than gifts himself...the past few years he has remembered my birthday because I talk about it every day for at least a week leading up to my birthday having learned my lesson!

    Hwy 50 winding its way out of Austin Nevada, population 192
    Population 192...I can't even imagine!

    I’m tired and near tears (I know, stupid, but I just wanted to go to bed!),
    I would have been near tears too! When I am tired and feeling frustrated or angry I always start to tear up for the most RIDICULOUS things. Something just happened the other day...what was it...oh yeah, I was going to a new urgent care facility and couldn't find the correct entrance...I was sick and tired and nervous and so frustrated that the signage wasn't more clear and I started to tear up...later, I noticed a HUGE sign...

    So glad you got your room!!! You would not have been comfortable in a smoking room at all and the thought of getting back in the car...ugh...
    Kate

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    OOps! It is completely understandable that your feelings would be hurt. This has happened to me more than once...I learned early on in our relationship not to expect much for birthdays-my dh is not a planner and he appreciates thoughtful actions more than gifts himself...the past few years he has remembered my birthday because I talk about it every day for at least a week leading up to my birthday having learned my lesson!
    I know, right? Mike is exactly the same way, I even let him off the hook and he doesn't have to buy me presents, just a card! I thought I'd given him enough reminders because every time he asked the date we were leaving I'd say, January 18, my birthday. It's also on his calendar which sends him text message reminders a few days beforehand.

    I was going to a new urgent care facility and couldn't find the correct entrance...I was sick and tired and nervous and so frustrated that the signage wasn't more clear and I started to tear up...later, I noticed a HUGE sign...
    But you have an excellent excuse, you've been sick as a dog!

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    Beautiful scenery on your drive! Glad they were able to find you a nonsmoking room but hate that y'all had to go through all that hassle. Looking forward to reading more. And, Happy Belated Birthday! I'm a January baby too (the 21st)
    Jenny
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    Senior Member runDisneygirl's Avatar
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    Oh yay! I'm not too late to the party. Tetris skills are more handy than I ever realized. Nice work.
    For the record, I did the same thing to my husband while on vacation in Mexico for his birthday. Totally forgot all morning until just before lunch. I had a card for him in the luggage. And the way my brain works, I actually said "happy thanksgiving" to him yesterday for valentines day. I have no clue. It's just the words that came out of my mouth while I was thinking about something else.

    I can imagine how exciting the temperature change must be on that drive! And I mean exciting because there's really nothing else on that road to be excited about.... I love ghost towns though. Glad you could get a non smoking room - I bet you were exhausted!
    Tanya

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  18. #18
    fizboBunny
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    Subscribed. Love your trip reports.

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    I actually said "happy thanksgiving" to him yesterday for valentines day. I have no clue. It's just the words that came out of my mouth while I was thinking about something else.
    This made me laugh out loud, how hilarious! My mom does stuff like that, she always has - we've got tons of family stories that involve mom's malaprops.

  20. #20
    I'm in...
    your pictures are beautiful
    happy birthday to you from terrebonne Quebec...
    no kidding...
    so funny....

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    Senior Member LoriH91's Avatar
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    I'm so excited to be in on the beginning of this TR! The landscaping is beautiful, but to spend vacation money on dirt doesn't exactly bode well for the rest of the trip!


    1989, 1998 - BW, 2010 - FW Cabins, 2012 - SS Treehouses
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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    happy birthday to you from terrebonne Quebec...
    no kidding...
    so funny....
    Crazy!!! What are the odds that all three Terrebonnes would be represented here?

    We rode through Terrebonne Quebec on our way to Newfoundland, it's a beautiful place! We stopped to look at some 1800's mill buildings, I think it's called Mill Island?

  23. #23
    If it's the same thing I think, in French we call it mille iles, or thousand islands in English
    we have never been in both of your Terrebonne, first time I heard about it
    happy to follow your TR
    just return from California and Disneyland last summer, you will make me remember our trip by describing yours
    and I will continue to follow you from wdw
    i will stay tuned

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    does anybody know how to change this? pfalcioni's Avatar
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    Day 2, Sunday January 19
    Visit our pig-in-a-poke and see how the other half lives.


    The last time we visited Las Vegas we gambled on some property, buying a piece of dirt sight-unseen in a Podunk little subdivision in Arizona.

    See, we like to spend money on dirt. I’ll bet your sensing a theme here.

    Okay, it’s not THAT bad, we’d driven through Mohave County quite a few times over the years. We liked the feel of the place; mostly retirees, some “interesting” desert rats, and a few younger families. An added plus was the proximity to the Colorado River, so this dusty little spot in the desert felt significantly less dusty than many other desert locales. We felt it would be a good place to snowbird.



    5 years ago we had some money saved up and decided to see what was available. We spent three days looking, and found this weird little subdivision called Golden Shores (doesn’t that name just scream “geezer village” to you?). It not only had paved streets and power to all the lots, but also had its own water system with a natural aquifer, which is unusual in this area. The place is a mix of very nice homes, manufactured homes, and places that probably were condemned years ago but the people forgot to move out. Fortunately the percentage of the former way outnumbered the latter.



    We stopped at the Real Estate office in town and met Rose, who was just exactly what you’d expect from a realtor working a desert retirement community. 70-ish years old, hair bleached blonde and perfectly coifed, a little heavy-handed with the makeup brush, gravelly voice from years of smoking, and of course she drove a white Lincoln Towncar. We drove around town with her, and she showed us what was available. Nothing exactly suited our needs, but she said she’d call if something came up.

    Back home two weeks later, we get a call from Rose, she’s got the perfect property. We look on Google Maps, check out all the other pertinent data we can find, and pull the trigger.

    So today we get to see this place we’ve owned for five years for the very first time.

    We stop in at Rose’s office and settle in for a nice long chat. The rhythm of life here is significantly slower than we’re used to. Mike’s about jumping out of his skin, he just wants to get over to the property, but he’s the one that wanted to stop in and see Rose first, so I’m enjoying his discomfiture immensely.

    We finally head over to the property, and breathe a huge sigh of relief when we see that it’s exactly as it looked on Google (thank you Street View!).


    Rose and Mike talk over the property boundaries. Yes, she's wearing a long-sleeve sweater and black pants, and we're in shorts and tee shirts.

    It’s going to need some work, although most of the lot is leveled, the back section where we’ll put the house needs quite a bit of fill. See, we get to spend more money on dirt! Mike is thrilled.


    Walking the back side of the property, this is the area we get to fill up with money and dirt.


    The view from our "front yard", that's BLM land across the street, which means easy access for our ATV/dirt bike riding.

    After kicking rocks and dirt and getting a few business cards for local excavators, we head down the road towards Lake Havasu, where the London Bridge and geezer rich reside. It’s a pretty city, made prettier by the hot air balloon festival that happens to be going on while we’re there.



    The place scores big points with Mike when we find a Golden Corral for dinner (I know, not exactly haute cuisine, but good food for vegetarians).

    After dark we head back to Laughlin and spend a few hours at the nickel slots in the smoke free casino. I came out a winner, cashing out .40 cents to the good!

    Tomorrow, Oatman and donkeys.
    Last edited by pfalcioni; 02-21-2014 at 03:34 PM.

  25. #25
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    I so see you in your retirement going for the early bird special at the Golden Corral. If I had known you back then, I could have sold you one of the 3 lots of tumbleweed my in-laws own in New Mexico. They have 3 lots in FL, too. They have 3 sons so figure each boy will get his own lot when they kick the bucket. DH and I tried to find the NM property when we were in ABQ years ago. We hope it was in the only developed place we could find. Having utilities at the ready is important and "green" or in your case, brown, space across the way is great.
    Becca

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