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March, 2008

Saturday, March 1:

 
Today we were up and on the road before 7 AM.  We stopped in Carlsbad and filled up with gas at $3.19.  We continued south on highway 62 and 180 past the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns and skirted the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  We stopped at a couple of rest areas to view the peak of the mountains; it’s the highest peak in Texas.  This area is so beautiful and yet so remote.  Not many people come to visit these 2 parks because they aren’t close to anything major.  They are quite beautiful though so if you’re near you should check them out. 
 
We got on Interstate 10 in El Paso Texas and continued west.  We stopped at the New Mexico Welcome Center rest area for lunch and walked around the area to stretch our legs.  I spotted a road runner and took several pictures of it trying to capture his beauty.  When we were at the living desert museum we saw a road runner up close and I’d never realized that they were as colorful as they are.  There not just shades of brown, they have other colors on them too.
 
We stopped at Wal-Mart in Deming New Mexico and picked up some supplies and then we backtracked to the Dream Catcher Escapee Park here in Deming.  We’re spending the night here in the dry camping area. 

Sunday, March 2 - Tuesday, March 4:
 
On Sunday we drove from Deming NM to Tucson AZ and parked at the Casino Del Sol.  We met up with Rick and Lucky Lucy (names have been changed to protect the innocent) and visited for a while.  They love to part-time travel and hit various casinos around the country.  It was great to meet them and talk about the various casinos across the country.
 
We played some in the casino on Sunday evening and some on Monday.  Monday evening we ate dinner at the Tequila Factory restaurant.  It was very good food and quite reasonably priced.  Of course, we were fortunate and had our meal comped from our play.  We worked quite a bit on Monday but we managed to have some fun and get some visiting in too.
 
On Tuesday after a few hours of work we left and headed west on I10.  We drove to Quartzsite AZ  and parked on the BLM land that many RVers park on during the winter.  There are still several RVs here but not the huge number that is here during the height of the season.
 
Did you know that the Army once tried to use camels in our desert?  It’s true.  The man hired to teach the soldiers to pack and use the animals is buried and a monument was placed in the cemetery honoring him. 
 
The desert is blooming and it is so lovely.  Of course, this week we’ve seen many awesome saguaros, also many poppies and other wildflowers.  The desert has subtly changed too.  Last week we were in the Chihuahuan Desert.  This week we’re in the Sonoran Desert.  The cacti are different because of the different climates.  Today we still see Ocotillos but have yet to see any Organ Pipe cactus.  Also we’ve noticed that there are very few yucca or agave in the Sonoran Desert. It’s interesting that though they are both deserts they are totally different when you look closer.

Wednesday, March 5 -- Friday, March 7:
 
After working this morning we hit the road to Vegas.  It seemed as soon as we decided to leave the wind picked up several notches.  We got back on I-10 heading west.  When we entered CA all traffic had to go through an inspection station.  Nobody was being stopped and inspected but it was a line to go through.  Just a few miles after entering California we took highway 95 north towards Vegas.  There was a wind advisory posted right before the exit.  We know we’ll have a lot of gusty wind today but since we’ve turned and headed north it’s more of a headwind and thankfully not a crosswind.
 
On this road through CA there isn’t much traffic.  We’re close to the Colorado River and can see it occasionally and there are mountains to our west.  We took our time and drove safely to Vegas.  We finally arrived after 4 and parked in back of Bally’s Casino.
 
We have reservations to stay at the Paris Casino for 2 nights.  I got an offer in the mail to receive a free gift of a Coach purse if we came and stayed with them.  We checked into our room, took a nice long hot shower and went down for some dinner.  We decided to split a sandwich at the café at Paris.  It’s called an American burger, has a large hamburger patty, pastrami, cheese, lettuce, tomato on a large bun.  It came with fries too and it was too much for one person so we’re glad we split it.  I’d never thought of having hamburger and pastrami together but it is quite yummy.  They have really good pastrami at the Paris café.
 
After dinner we played for a few hours.  We spent the night in the RV.  We’re not comfortable leaving the RV unattended.  Plus we have such a great bed why sleep in any other bed. 
 
Thursday:  After working this morning we got in the car and drove over to Las Vegas Advisor.  Mac renewed his membership, picked up a pocket book of values, and we bought several books too that we saw.  We also picked up Dancer’s newest version of training software.  A friend had told us about it and we’re looking forward to trying it out. 
 
After that errand was finished we found a Carl’s Jr. and had lunch.  We both love this fast food place.  We don’t usually eat at chains but we make an exception for this place.  I had the Santa Fe Chicken sandwich, loved it and Mac had the six dollar burger (it's not really $6, they just call it that - Mac).
 
We drove back to the RV and it’s not too long until I can pick up my purse.  I decided to go into Bally’s and play for a while before I picked it up.  Finally the time arrived and I went upstairs to get the purse.  I was given a large brown box tied with a red ribbon.  I walked back to the RV to open the box.  I should have taken pictures but didn’t think of it.  The purse is just beautiful; it’s a black signature medium duffle.  I looked it up and these purses sell for over $200 retail.  Originally, I had thought to give the purse to my daughter as a Christmas present but it’s such a nice purse that I may keep it.  I haven’t decided yet.
 
Thursday evening we’re not that hungry so we went to the café at Bally’s and split some appetizers.  It was good and a nice change from a traditional dinner or sandwiches.  I played for a while but didn’t win anything.  We watched our only TV show Survivor in the room.  Afterwards we ensured everything was out of the room and went back to the RV to sleep. 
 
Friday:  Both Mac and I are feeling a little under the weather today.  But still work must go on so we worked for a while. 
 
We’ve decided to move out to Nellis AFB today so late morning we did that.  The RV park is full and many are in the overflow section which is where we’ll park.  While Mac was dumping the tanks and filling the fresh water tank I met up with my friend Kathie while she was walking her dog Sarge.
 
Kathie and I met online at a knee replacement forum.  We’ve been emailing each other since.  She had her knee replaced 2 weeks before I had mine done.  We’re both doing great with our new knees.  It was great to finally meet her.  She and her husband Marc are playing snowbirds this winter.  They’ve been in Arizona and are now in Vegas.  Hopefully we’ll get to talk more and maybe even go to some casinos.
 
After we got the RV set up on our spot we drove the car down to pick up our mail at the UPS service center we had it sent to.  We then had lunch at Carl’s Jr. again.  We stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies and then back to the RV.
 
We didn’t go anywhere else today.  As mentioned we both don’t feel so great so we’re resting this evening.  We had dinner at home and worked a bit more.  Then it was early to bed for both of us.

Saturday, March 8
 
Most of this morning was spent goofing off.  We did call daughter Tina to wish her a happy birthday though so something was accomplished.
 
We then went to the Palms Casino to play.  After arriving we went to the player’s club and got new cards, checked our points and comp balance.  The person waiting on us was Lois.  She reads vpFree and had read that we were coming to Vegas for a month so she was watching to see if we’d come to the Palms.  We picked up a comp for lunch at the Panda Express.  They have pretty good Chinese food there, especially since it’s free!  After lunch we played for a while and then left to go shopping.
 
We went to the Las Vegas Outlet Center.  We had fun looking in the various stores.  We checked out the Coach outlet store and there were some pretty good prices in there.  There were several women picking up 5 or 6 purses.  I think they must have been doing some gift shopping.  I admired but didn’t buy any purses.  I’ve got my purse from the casino and it’s all that I need right now.  Until next month when I get another purse from a casino!
 
We went to Rack Room Shoes and I found 2 pairs of shoes to buy.  We also visited the Disney outlet store.  Everything at this outlet store is from Disneyland.  The outlet store in Orlando has everything from Disney World.  So it was fun to see Disneyland on everything.  Some day we’ll have to go to Disneyland and see it. 
 
We finally left the outlet center and drove back down the strip.  We knew it would be stop and go traffic but it is fun to do occasionally and see all the neon at night.  We stopped at Denny’s for dinner.  I had too much coffee this evening with dinner.  When we got home I was wide awake.  I stayed up until around 1 in the morning but with the time change it was more like 2.  I had fun reading other’s blogs, shopping on eBay, etc.
 
Sunday, March 9:
 
The time changed this morning and after my late night I really had a hard time getting up today.  We wanted to be on the road by 11:00 heading to the Palace Station Casino.  Mac is going to a meet-and-greet with some gambling writers and I’ll play while he’s doing that. 
 
After the event was over I found out that Nancy and Louise from Reno were there.  We went to lunch with them and had a long chat.  We then played and had a good time.  We left the casino and headed home and goofed off the rest of the evening.  Then it was early to bed for me with no coffee to keep me awake. 
 
Monday, March 10:
 
Today it was back to work.  We pretty much put in a full day of work too; well Mac did.  I only worked about 5 to 6 hours.  I took a break about half way through the day and did a bit of cleaning. 
 
While we were gone on Saturday we’d left the window open and it got very windy.  Blew dust in all over everything so I cleaned up today, dusting, sweeping and mopping.  It is really dusty around here.  We’re parked in the dirt/gravel overflow lot in the Desert Eagle RV Park, Nellis AFB, and there’s always a lot of dust around. 
 
After work we showered and left for the Palms Casino again.  We played for a while and got another comp for the Panda Express again.  We could have eaten somewhere else but we both wanted Chinese again this evening. 
 
While on our way to eat we saw a promotion that is currently going on.  So after dinner we swiped our cards, got our scratch ticket and Mac won a Palms hat and I won 4 times points for today’s play.  Well then of course, we had to play more to earn some more points.  It soon adds up to some wonderful comps!
 
We left about an hour later, stopped for gas at $3.13 on the way home.  The rest of the evening has been spent goofing off.

Tuesday, March 11
 
We worked till a little after 3 and then got dressed and headed out.  We went to the Palms Casino and got our scratch cards.  Mac won 400 points so that was added to his comp points.  I won a desktop sticky note holder.  We left and went to Red Rock Casino.  It was rush hour traffic so there was some stop and go in places but overall it didn’t take too long to get there.  Played for a while and then ate at the buffet using a coupon and our points.  We had a great meal and it was free.  Played some more and I really like these full pay deuces they offer in Vegas.  It’s fun to play and I’m not losing too much.  We came home after playing just a bit more.

Wednesday, March 12:

After working today we went to the Palms Casino for the last day of the scratch ticket and win.  Mac won another Palms hat and I got $3 in free slot play which I gave to an older gentleman.  We then went to Green Valley Ranch Casino.  It is quite beautiful.  We ate at the buffet with coupon and comps.  It was a really great buffet.  The food was well prepared and there was a huge variety of items.  We played some and had a good time.  After leaving we stopped at Home Depot and Wal-Mart then headed home. 

Thursday, March 13:

Today we moved to the Main Street Station Casino RV Park.  We’re taking advantage of one of the free stay offers we received in the mail.  This is the fullest we’ve seen the RV Park here or at Nellis.  After getting set up and registered we walked over and had lunch at the Cal.  They have a nice café with plenty of specials on the menu.  After lunch I played some.  We had dinner at the buffet at Main Street.  It was very good too.  We played a bit more and then went back to the RV for the evening.  Thursday is the only night we watch TV.  (We watch Survivor, and if CSI wasn't all reruns we'd watch it too. -Mac)  After our show we goofed off a bit and then early to bed.

Friday March 14:

After working this morning I went over to Main Street and played some.  Mac came over and we went to the Cal again for lunch.  I played some more.  Mac and I rested this afternoon after work.  We both took a short nap.  We ate dinner again at the Cal café.  Mac ordered the butter fish which is black cod marinated in miso.  He said it was very tasty and tender.  We played some more and then went home.  (Notice that Chris talks about us "playing" but there's no mention of us "winning".  2008 is starting off in the red, with no royal flushes yet for either of us.  -Mac)

Saturday, March 15
 
Mac went to a luncheon and while he was gone I cleaned the RV from top to bottom.  I vacuumed the ceiling, the floors and everywhere I could reach with it.  I then damp wiped the walls and other surfaces to get all the dust off that I could.  I mopped the floors, cleaned mirrors, cleaned the bathroom and even managed to defrost the freezer.  All this was done in about 3 hours.  It doesn’t take long to clean a RV from top to bottom. 
 
After taking a shower I went in to play some at Main Street Station, soon Mac joined me and we went to have dinner.  Again we went to the café at the Cal.  Mac had salmon which he said was very good, it looked good too, nice and thick.  I had chicken fried steak since I was so hungry from a hard day of cleaning.  The gravy was very good, we think it had small pieces of chipped beef in it, and my steak was very tender. 
 
After dinner we played a bit more and then went home.  When I’d left this afternoon I’d only taken a long sleeve shirt along with me for added warmth as needed.  This evening on the walk home I was wishing I’d brought a jacket, there is a cold wind blowing.  I walked quickly home to the RV to get out of this chilly weather. 
 
I have no pictures of royal flushes yet this year; because I haven’t hit any yet.  I hope this soon ends and I hit several in the next few days.  Being on this part of the curve is no fun.  But I know that statistically I will hit some royals; I just hope it’s soon.
 
Sunday, March 16:
 
It started raining very early this morning.  I think this is the first rain we’ve experienced while staying in Vegas.  This is the desert and it doesn’t rain here very often.  It’s rather chilly too.  Which is nothing new; it has been chilly most mornings.  It just feels chillier with the sound of rain on the roof.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that this is still only March so of course it will be chilly most mornings. 
 
I got up around 6 and made coffee.  Mac soon got up and we goofed off this morning trying to stay warm.  We dumped and filled with fresh water, checked out of Main Street and headed to Nellis AFB again.  We’re again staying in the overflow section of the park. 
 
After lunch we went to the Wynn Casino.  They have a great promotion going on right now for new members.  Sign up for a players card, earn 50 points and you get 2 free buffets on your next visit.  So we played to get enough points and walked out with an extra hundred in our pocket.  It’s nice to walk out with some money in our pocket.  
 
We then went shopping and hit a few thrift stores.  We found a few things to buy including some books.  Mac is currently reading one of the books he picked up.  It’s The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.  I know, I know, he picks up the most exciting books doesn’t he?  I of course got a couple of good mysteries to read.  Since I write most of the blog maybe I should read that book after he’s done with it.
 
Another exciting evening is being spent at home.  We’re doing some laundry, reading a book and looking around on the internet.

Monday, March 17 – Saturday, March 22:
 
We’ve worked every day at our jobs until sometime in the afternoon then we would leave and go visit a casino.  We would enjoy dinner and then play some.  This week we’ve been to the Santa Fe Station, the Wynn, the Texas Station, and the Palms.
 
Saturday morning we headed out and shopped at 2 thrift stores and we had a couple of bags of clothes to donate.  We didn’t find much to buy though.  One store was so busy that we quickly decided to leave and come another day when it wasn’t so busy.  I don’t think I like shopping on Saturday; that’s when everyone seems to be out shopping.
 
After lunch we visited the Nevada State Museum.  It’s located in Lorenzi Park.  The museum was quite interesting; they have a great room about bats with lots of pictures, skeletons and a recreated cave.  There were also exhibits about the importance of mining, atomic testing, the Las Vegas Army Gunnery School, casinos, and lots of other interesting items about the area’s history.  We really enjoyed it and it was only $4.00 each.

Sunday, March 22 – Monday, March 31:
 
We visited the Cannery, the Palms, Gold Coast, Sunset Station and the Wynn this week.  We had dinner and played some in the casinos and enjoyed ourselves.
 
On Friday I went shopping at some thrift stores and found some great clothes for us.  Mac likes cargo shorts now so I’m on the lookout for those.  I found a few pair that were brand new too and in the thrift store the price was quite reasonable.  On Friday we went to the Wynn and saw the show Monty Python’s Spamalot. It was really good and we laughed quite a bit.
 
On Saturday Mac and I went to the phone store and got new phones.  About a month ago I’d dropped my phone in my coffee and quickly dried it out.  It still worked but it started shutting off for no reason.  Mac’s phone also has been acting up for about a week so he too needed a dependable phone.  His lasted much longer than mine did though.  I think we had his phone for 5 or 6 years and my phone for a couple of years.  We got some great deals on our new phones so we’re both happy. 
 
We went to an In-n-Out Burger http://www.in-n-out.com/ for lunch on Saturday.  They don’t have any of these back east.  They’re only in AZ, CA, and NV.  We wanted to taste them and see what’s so special.  The place was so busy too.  Everyone seems to like these burgers.  They were good burgers to us too.  I was a little disappointed though that they didn’t have any chicken on the menu.
 
So that wraps up the month of March.  We’ll be in Vegas a little longer and then on to California for business and pleasure.

Yes, I realize I haven't posted all month.  I'll try to do better in April, I promise -- you do believe me, don't you?

What have I been up to?  Well, since you asked; work on my day job has been busy and productive.  I've also been writing for the RV NET blog, our other website, a regional gaming and travel magazine (you'll have to wait a month to find out which one), and a new RV website.  So my fingers have been busy.  I'll start inserting a link here in our blog each time I publish something elsewhere.  Will that count as making a post? :-) 

Chris mentioned our Friday night out to see Spamalot at the Wynn.  It was a lot of fun, and we bought the tickets at half price.  I don't know about you, but for me, everything's more enjoyable at half price!  There are many ways to obtain discount tickets in Las Vegas.  This time we used www.goldstar.com.  After the show we ate The Buffet at Wynn.  Here's a link to our review of The Buffet.

Saturday we bought new phones, and I wanted something a little more than a phone.  Often I find myself wanting to do a little bit of work after hours, in the car, at the casino, while Chris shops, etc.  I've looked at "Smartphones" like Blackberry, Moto Q, Treo, etc.  We have Sprint PCS service and a family plan including both our mom's, so I finally selected the Sprint/Palm Treo 755p.  I won't bore you with all the details, but it does a good job of email, web, and access to part of our business database.  It also allows me to work with MS Excel and Word documents, and it has other useful features like Google maps, a camera, etc.. 

After buying the phones and eating lunch we stopped briefly at the Toyota dealer to look at the FJ Cruiser.  We've been considering one for a new toad, but are going to have to pass.  It's a great vehicle, but it's too big and heavy for us, gets only about 16 mpg, and won't tow 4 wheels down without modifications.  We'll have to come up with something else.  Our old Civic is 12 years old with 160,000 miles on it and it shows every mile. It's been a great little car, but it's time to replace it.

We finished out Saturday at the Palms Casino.  We enjoy playing their full-pay video poker, and food comps are adequate.  I like the fact I can get a drinkable glass of wine at the bar in The Mint; their high-limit room.  They also have some nice wines by the glass at the steak house - Nine - but I'd have to pay for it with either points or cash.  In The Mint I can play dollar 9/6 JOB video poker and get a glass comped.

So that does it for March.  Below is our monthly camping expense report.  As you can see we're off to a good start. We're doing a lot more dry camping than ever before.  Some people may wonder why we work so hard on being frugal with camping expenses.  I'll write more on the subject at a later date, but the bottom line is that every dollar we spend renting a piece of earth is a dollar that's not available for fun, or investment for our eventual retirement. 

Year to date Avg $ per Nite Avg $ per Paid Nite # Dry # Elect # FHU # Free %Dry % Free
2008 $8.18 $9.56 73 2 15 13 81% 14%
2007 13.24 13.53 45 21 26 2 49% 2%
2006 12.86 13.64 30 0 58 5 34% 6%
2005 12.85 13.59 51 0 41 5 55% 5%

Continue to April 2008

 

What did we do in March's of the past?  Take a look at:

March 2007

March 2006

March 2005

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