Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Vegas Baby!

October 9th, 2017 Day 3: Mina, Nevada to Las Vegas, Nevada (280 miles)

This was an awesome day on the road for me. I saw more Nevada desert, more cool old dilapidated buildings and met more lovely people. Gosh even writing about it now and going through my journal and photos makes me want to hitch up and do it all over again!

After being held up for about half an hour for road construction behind this truck with what has got to be the most ecologically incorrect logo I have ever seen (What mad ad man came up with that brilliant concept I wonder?) I pulled into the old mining town of Goldfield and stopped to have a look around and get some cool photos of the historic buildings. 

I saw a guy restoring this cool old house and after stating that he sure had his work cut out for him there, I asked him if there were any restrooms around. It tuns out that he was the President of the Goldfield Historical Society; John Ekman who kindly directed me to the nearby courthouse and then gave me a guided tour of the building. 

Built in 1907, it still serves as a fully functioning courthouse up the magnificent old wooden staircase. On the ground floor are the council offices, a DMV and it even has a jail out the back (and yes, John tells me, there are actually prisoners in there!) 

I had to laugh when I saw the name of the judge though. I guess that word doesn't mean the same thing as it does in Australia or I can only imagine what those prisoners would have to say about the judge that convicted them! 

I just love these rustic old towns and their old buildings. John told me that the old gas station was owned by a guy from Sweden who had a penchant for old western towns and that he drives the cars that were inside whenever he is in town. 

John even opened up the garage doors so I could go inside and check them out! Very cool! 

I told John that I wouldn't mind living in an old town like this either and it seems there is plenty of places for sale and in desperate need of restoration as they sadly succumb to the elements. 

Oh my goodness I think I found my dream house!

And my dream trailer is right next door! 

But there was no time for real estate dealings today as I still had a long way to drive to get to Vegas before nightfall, so after another quick pit stop to gas up at Area 51 I kept on driving. Like I've said before, if the GPS says it's going to take 4 hours, it will usually take me 8!

I pulled into Las Vegas right on sunset. Perfect! I was on a mission to tick yet another item off my bucket list. Even though I had been to Vegas quite a few times before, I had never actually visited the one thing that epitomized Vegas to me more than any of the swanky new hotels on the strip; the iconic Welcome to Las Vegas sign that I have a small version of inside my trailer. The cop directing traffic into the limited parking area at the sign said "There's no way you're taking that thing in there!" but suggested I park across the road at the Harley Davidson store. 

It had only been the week before that the awful mass shooting had occurred at the nearby Mandalay Bay and tributes to the victims surrounded the base of the sign with a row of crosses for each of the victims creating a sombre and quite eerie reminder of that sad event. 

As the sun slowly set into the sky and the pale pinks and orange hues faded into the darkening blue sky, I was eager to wait around until the lights of the sign would be turned on and asked the guy whose job it was to take photos with your own camera for you what time the lights would be coming on. "Hang on a second", he said. 
I waited patiently as he took a young couple's photo for them and wondered why he wasn't capable of answering a simple question and taking a photos at the same time. Maybe is is true what they say about men not being able to multi-task. Little did I know what a special treat was in store for me...
As soon as he was done he said: "Come with me". I followed him around to the back of the sign where he directed me to step very carefully through the pile of flowers, cards and balloons to the pole holding up the sign. "See that box?", he said. "Lift up that flap and see that big switch? Well switch it on". "Oh my God! Are you for real?" I literally squealed. He was.
Seriously the coolest thing ever and the total highlight of what had already been a totally cool day!

After that I hightailed it out of there so I could check into the RV Park at my other favorite Vegas icon: Circus Circus and get set up before it got too dark. At $39 a night and within walking distance of the strip, it's a great spot for an overnighter. 

After a shower and a change into something prettier than my travel wear of jeans and flannel shirt, I hit up the strip to get myself a decent meal and to check out all the neon and the manic crazy fake everything that is the new Las Vegas strip (as opposed to the old strip on Freemont Street that I remember from when I was a kid. Yep, I'm that old!)

The fake Eiffel Tower

Caesar's Palace 

 The canals inside the Venetian on the 2nd floor come complete with serenading gondoliers

The Autumn-themed botanical gardens inside the Bellagio

Having walked about as much as I could, I finished off the night watching last dance of the fountains of Bellagio at midnight before heading back to the trailer tired and happy (and still not married!)


Monday, November 6, 2017

Into the desert...

October 8th, 2017 Day 2: Susanville, California to Mina, Nevada (250 miles)

On Sunday morning I set off for nevada. Some people might consider these drives across the desert regions of America boring, but not me! I love all aspects of changing scenery when I am on a road trip. Be it the lush green forests of Oregon or the arid red dirt and rocks of New Mexico, I find myself feeling truly inspired by the symmetrical patterns and variety that nature reveals in all of its forms as I drive.

 I am also a sucker for old dilapidated sheds, houses and historical buildings which is why I prefer to travel on my own rather than in a caravan with others as I tend to have so many "Stop the car!" moments where I just have to get a photo that it would probably drive anyone traveling with me crazy. Most of these stops also involve getting into chats with admirers of the Hudson as was the case when I doubled back to admire this lovely old church in Doyle. The guy who has been restoring it drove past and was tickled pink to see us parked outside and also stopped for a chat and took some photos.

From Doyle I drove past Reno on the I-80 when suddenly all traffic was being redirected off the highway in a detour that took me so far off the beaten track that I was hoping I wouldn't run out of gas as Doc Hudson only has a 150-mile maximum range.  The GPS kept saying "turn around when possible" and seemed to have no recalculated course for me to follow and there were no signs telling me how to get back to my route.

 So I just continued on the 439 south to Silver Springs where I thankfully found a gas station and a very helpful Nevada Highway Patrolman Trooper Rick O'Dough who not only owned a 1962 shasta but gave me directions to the 95 with the recommendation to fill up again in Hawthorn as it would be 100 miles to the next gas station in Tonopah. I thanked him profusely for the tip and  set off again.

I arrived in Mina at as the sun was setting behind the mountains and pulled into the Sunrise Valley RV Park, and took my leftover pizza to the nearby gazebo where some other RV'ers were also having pizza and introduced myself. People are always genuinely surprised when they find out I am traveling on my own.  You meet so many more people when you travel solo than you would if you were with someone else as you tend to stick together when you're with others whereas I have to be more outgoing and open to meeting strangers if I want to talk to anyone at all while I'm on the road! 

I find that most people are very kind and intrigued and, touch wood, I have never felt uncomfortable with anyone yet, but I always do have my trusty wasp spray on hand if I ever did get into a bad situation.  I would never want to let fear of danger stop me from living life the way I do or feel that I am in more danger just because I am a woman on my own. I trust in the inherent goodness of most people and have been blessed to find that true for me so far.

Loving the road tripping life!


Gosh it has been a while hasn't it?
And I realize that I have a LOT to fill you all in on since last I wrote. So many awesome road trips, so many adventures and, as is often the case, I've been so busy being out there on the road collecting other people's stories for my Vintage Trailer Magazine that I have neglected my own blog a bit. Sorry about that! I promise to fill you in on where I have been and what I have been doing now that "Rosie" has been tucked away for the winter and I have some home time for a change.

I have only recently come back from a mega 4,000 mile trip from Oregon to New Mexico where I attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta with my Sisters on the Fly.
This is one of those things that has been on my bucket list for such a long time and I have to say, it far exceeded my very high expectations. To be surrounded by 500 hot air balloons as they inflate and take flight is truly a sight to behold that I can only describe as total sensory overload.  But I'm getting ahead of myself now with lots to fill in before we get there...
Lets start at the beginning of this road trip.

After having spent the previous day packing everything I would need for the next 3 weeks on the road into the trailer and the Hudson, I left Oregon at around 10.30 a.m on Saturday the 7th October and drove 330 miles to Susanville, California where I stayed at the same RV park I had stayed at on my way to Reno for Hot August Nights: Susanville RV Park. I wrote in my journal at the end of each day and kept records of the roads I drove, each time I filled up with gas, and how much I spent on gas, food and accommodation on each day. I had planned each day's drive to be progressively less than the previous one to allow for the chronic fatigue and difficulty seeing out of my left eye that I have been battling since I got Bell's Palsy in August. Although it still is affecting me slightly, I am one of the lucky ones as some people never recover from the facial paralysis that this nasty illness causes. I was fortunate that the worst of it only lasted about two months for me.

The day Bell's Palsy struck - it was really scary!

Determined as I am,  I was not about to let the lingering symptoms of this darned thing prevent me from pursuing my road tripping dreams. I ended my diary entry on that first day with the words:

I ended up having to make what was supposed to be the Sept/Oct issue of Vintage Trailer Magazine the Nov/Dec issue #36 as typing on the computer was virtually impossible during this time.

Yesterday was a wonderful moment when that magazine was delivered and I got to sit and read it from cover to cover for the first time. I love that moment as much as any of my customers as working on it over a period of time in separate pieces never gives the same feeling as when you have that hard copy of glossy paper magazine in your hands! It is always my favorite day. I'm like a proud mama holding her newborn baby for the first time every time.  Although this one took a while coming I think it is one of my best issues yet. Isn't she beautiful?

To order your copy or to subscribe go to: www.vintagetrailermagazine.com