Friday, April 6, 2012

Las Vegas to Elko, NV (a major transition)

I arrived in Henderson, NV feeling tired and decided the traffic was kinda freaking me out after being in the desert for six months… so I found the nearest large casino/hotel and just mellowed out a few days. Rested, I decided it was time to go find my brother, since he had not responded to any Facebook messages or emails.  Last I knew, he worked at the Tropicana… so I went there.  Ugh… traffic.


Sat., March 31, 2012: They sent me to the Rio and the Rio sent me across the street to the Palms Casino Resort. Finally found him, had dinner, and he walked me out to the street where we discovered the strip had just gone dark for the Earth Hour… that was neat.


April 1, 2012 Las Vegas Sun: For one hour on Saturday, darkness will replace the bright pink neon glowing on the Flamingo and bulbs twinkling on Fremont Street casinos as part of a global environmental awareness event.

World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour returns to Las Vegas for the fourth consecutive year, and dozens of Strip and downtown properties are participating by turning off their non-essential exterior lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

I spent the night in the Rio parking lot as I really should not drive in the dark and woke to a view of every major casino in Vegas.  Trump Tower, Treasure Island, Wynn, the Mirage, Caesars Palace, the Rio and of course the Palms. (note to self… don’t park overnight in Rio parking lot… train tracks right beside the lot and it’s a party place for young folk who don’t sleep)

My brother and his wife, have a fancy big BIG house. I was getting fixated on T.V. again... so I had to get out of there. Also allergies acting up over his two very loveable little dogs. Why do I have to cry every time I leave someone else's pets that I get attached to?


People – T.V. watching; Dogs – Swankie-watching.


Such cute little pups (baby brother,
and his little Grayson).



Big house, lovely home and yard, and pool.  Good visit.  (Sorry to have missed my other relatives in Vegas, but I gotta go find fresh air.  See you next time around.)


Back on the road again... and what have I got... too much wind and lots of tumbleweeds. I kept thinking of the tune to the old cowboy favorite "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."  Who sang that?


A little ways north of Vegas is a spot all Vandwellers should take note of. I spotted the water and had to take a closer look. If not for the wind... I would have camped right there for a few days and paddled the whole darned thing, but after six months not kayaking, I was in no mood to battle wind and I had a headache. This is the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge and camping for 14 days is allowed and free (first come first served).. small town of Alamo 3.5 miles away. 

Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge–Valley of Shining Water.


Lots of waterfowl.  230 species… I only saw about four.  Really want to spend a couple weeks there.


They even had a Photo Blind there. Never saw one of those before. This is a special place.  And they even have petroglyphs… which I also did not see.


Can't I ever get away from airborne allergens???  A controlled agricultural burn.


This is the scenery of my child's/mind's eye... I used to draw horses running across such landscape... when I was a little kid. Who threw all my drawings away?


White River Narrows Archaeological District.  Now why the heck did I pass this up... wondering as I drove by... what kind of archaeology is out here. Duh!!!! Petroglyphs. What kind of archeologist am I???


So I made it to Ely before dark and settled into a casino parking lot. It was 74 degrees inside the van. By morning it was 47 degrees and I had three inches of snow on top of my solar panel. That had to go. SNOW... there is snow on my van????  SNOW, I tell you, SNOW! This is a heck of a coming-out-of-the-desert party. NOW, I miss Quartzsite's warmth (It is 70 degree F there today).


Something occurred to me last night… not putting my brother down or anything BUTT Laughing out loud they are very proud of their material accomplishments and possessions and they value the VALUE of things.  On the other hand, vandwellers I have met (including myself) seem to be equally proud of what we don’t own/possess and we tend to brag about how little we spend and how frugal we can live… and still have a great quality of life.  Just saying…


Other Considerations to give more consideration to:

Ely, NV. It has to get better than this... the snow I mean. O.K. some things I didn't consider: 1) where are my warm gloves and winter clothes? 2) how do I get snow off my solar panel and roof rack and trailer roof??? Keep the ladder a little more handy.

Ely gets exciting in June I guess…  with bathtub races???

I saw a parking lot next to a hotel/casino that had plug-ins for campers and RVers.  Several men were on top of their rigs this morning pushing the snow off.  Consider SNOW and how to get up to your solar panels.  You might try to avoid snow at all costs, but it can sneak up on your while you sleep.

Plan for today… or sometime this week… find winter clothes and gloves… and get the ladder out and more easily accessible.


Well, that was fun.  Resupplied.  Saw this GB vehicle in the store lot.  Found a side street up the hill near the P.O. and parked.  Heard a whiney outside… and looked out to see this…


How special is that?  It doesn’t get any better than this, until tomorrow.  (That should be me! lol)


Six months at 882' in Quartzsite. Then a week in Vegas at 2,000+'. Now Ely, NV 6,427' and next Elko NV at 5,060'. Then to Salt Lake City, UT at 4,226'. Then Rifle CO at 5,650' until job starts up the mountain near there to 9,000 feet. Good question. Can I do it. I think the headache and breathing problems were triggered by the pollution of Las Vegas valley (it's really bad folks) and the two dogs at my brother's (and the vegetative state I got myself into checking out their 'thousands of t.v. channels." I live outside because I will die inside. Already with a migraine pill and sinus treatments, my head is clearing... now to get the chest to clear up. Fresh mountain air (cleaned by the snowfall last night). Will just rest here in Ely until I feel better. Blogging, sleeping, blogging and sleeping. Lots to do in this here van-home... and I"m never bored.


  1. Last night I realized I have never seen snow on my van before.

  2. A couple of years ago the company I was working for sent me to do five days' work at the LVPD, installing some software. I finished the job in four days, and they let me have the Friday to myself. I had great fun in those casinos and I loved the shopping mall with a fake sky roof.

  3. Colin, Glad you had a good time in Vegas, but there is so much more to the area than the town. Luckily I have two brothers who live there and they have shown me a lot. But I like the wilderness things better. Once I visited long ago and my sister-in-law was working at the Golden Nugget. She got me a room, one next to the elevator shaft, and said it wouldn't cost a lot. I did my visit-vegas thing, which back then involved spending some time in a LDS Genealogy library, and when I got ready to check out, 10 days later, I had no hotel bill. So had time to kill before brother picked me up to take me to airport... and dropped a $1 token into a slot machine. Won $3. Put $1 back in my pocket and decided to loose the other $2. Lost the first one. Expected. On the second one, tokens began falling out of the machine... and they kept falling and falling, and I didn't know what to do. Lights on top were flashing and things beeping, and finally an employee came over. And I said... "look, they are going all over the floor... what should I do, how many of those things are falling out of there????" She looked at the machine (I had but couldn't make heads or tails out of it)... and she said 600 of them." So I stayed in Vegas for 10 days and left with $600... and didn't have to pay for anything. Now, that is fun, my friend.
    I know that Mall you are talking about, my brother took me there. People were smoking inside the mall then and I didn't like it. When I complained about it, he said they smoke in all Malls everywhere. I had to update him and informed him some states had outlawed smoking in public places, like Malls, restruants, etc.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.