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June 2008

Sunday, June 1 - Wednesday, June 4
Sunday, June 1:
We worked some this morning and we cleaned house some too.  We then headed out to Red Rock Casino and today I lost my daily gambling allowance and some of yesterday’s winnings too.  But it wasn’t a total loss, we earned enough points that we could eat at the buffet.  We thought it would be the lunch buffet since it was around 2:00 but they have a champagne brunch on Sundays.  It was very good too, lots of breakfast items and a good mix of other foods too.  The brunch cost the same as the dinner buffet so thankfully we’d earned enough points to cover the dinner price for the free buffets.
After our wonderful meal we headed home.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing, managed to take a nap and then we watched a movie in the evening. 
We’ve mentioned the quail that we see around here.  There are at least two different families of quails.  One family has babies that are very small; they look like thumbs crossing the road.  On our way home one day this week we saw this family crossing the road.  All of them managed to hop up the curb except one.  The poor thing was trying to jump up and fall back over and over.  Mac jumped out of the car and went to help it.  He took a shirt and caught the baby and released it above the curb.  We watched and made sure that he found his family before we headed on towards home. 
The next day on our way home we saw another family of quail.  These babies are bigger, they have feathers.  The family jumps and flies to reach the top of the fence wall, at least six or seven feet off of the ground.  After that they jump down to the other side and head on to where they’re going.  Here are some photos on someone else's website: Quail With Babies  Quail With Babies
It is so awesome to see these families.  There has been and continues to be a lot of housing construction going on here in the base housing area.  It’s sad that a lot of their habitat has been destroyed.  I hope they adapt and survive and will be here for us to admire every year. 

Although we take a lot of photos most of them don't make it into the Blog.  The quail are an example.  Our snapshots didn't do them justice, so I searched the internet for photos to link to.  I found the website of photographer Ron Niebrugge.  His photos capture the natural beauty of the land, plants, and animals.  Take a look:  Ron Niebrugge Mojave Photos and Ron Niebrugge Photos Home Page

Monday, June 2:
Today Mac put in some long hours and we left later than our usual time.  We decided to go to the Palms Casino and play a little since it was already close to dinner time.  I hit deuces and left with money in my pocket, made up for yesterday’s losses.  After a little play we ate dinner at the Panda Express and headed back home. 
Tuesday, June 3:
After work today we headed over and picked up our mail.  We then went to Red Rock Casino and I hit deuces twice!  I put a nice profit in my pocket today.  We played enough to earn two of the free buffets today.  We ate dinner and made it an early evening.  We managed to get back before 8:00 so that Mac could pick up a package from the RV office that we forgot about when we left today.  He ordered a different headset for his phone.  The other’s just haven’t worked well enough for him and were returned to the store.  Hopefully, this will work better. 

Wednesday, June 4:
After work today we headed out.  The wind has really kicked up this afternoon.  On our drive to the Tuscany Casino we ran into some rain.  This was the most rain we’ve seen while in Vegas but it is the desert so it didn’t last long.  It was nice to get inside out of the wind.  We played for a while earning 5X points today. 
We then drove over to the Palms Casino and played deuces wild for a while.  I hit deuces and several other good hands so we cashed out with a nice profit in our pockets.  We ate dinner at the 24/7 Café at the Palms.  Mac decided to have breakfast and I had a turkey and pastrami sandwich.  I brought half my sandwich home for lunch tomorrow. 
After dinner we headed out and stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a few supplies.  We then went home and watched a movie.  The wind has died down some and it is cooler this evening and expected to be cooler tomorrow and then back to temps in the 90’s on Friday.

On Tuesday, Chris mentioned the Great Headset Search of 2008.  You may remember that a couple of months ago my old cell phone finally died and I replaced it with a Palm Treo.  I've enjoyed the added features, especially being able to do email, use the web, and get maps and traffic reports.  However, I've been very disappointed with two things;  1) the software is unstable, and the phone locks up at least 5 or 6 times a week requiring the battery to be removed to reset it.  2) Bluetooth headsets suck. 

I know, some of you use Bluetooth headsets and you like them.  Not me.  I first tried an inexpensive Plantronics headset, about $40.  It was very uncomfortable and gave me a pain in the ear.  I then upgraded to the "top of the line" Plantronics 665 or 655 (can't recall) for about $99 on sale.  People told me they couldn't hear me well enough, that the audio dropped out, too much background noise, etc.  Next I returned that headset and bought another "top of the line" model, the Aliph Jawbone, $129.  It's supposed to be the most advanced noise-cancelling headset made.  When it worked it was great!  I could sit in a noisy casino and talk with someone and they couldn't guess where I was from the background noise.  Two problems, the Jawbone isn't fully compatible with the Sprint Treo phone and lost its connection between every call, announcing this fact loudly in my ear, and sometimes not reconnecting without being turned off and on.  Also, the noise cancelling technology sometimes gets in the way and cancels your own voice causing people on the other end not to be able to hear you. 

Finally I have gone back to using a wired headset on the job, and no headset away from the "office".  I wanted noise canceling, so I purchased the Boom "O" headset and so far it's working good.  Audio is clear, and the noise canceling works fairly good.

Thursday, June 5:

After work today we went to the Palace Station Casino and played some deuces.  Neither of us were winners on deuces after playing for a while.  We then went to the Tuscany Casino and played enough to earn an addition $15 dollar comp from a promotion they have going on in June on Thursdays.  I managed to get back most of the money that I’d lost at the Palace so I’m only down $20 for the day.  We ate in the café and our meal was only around $13 which we paid for with our comps.  They have different specials each day on the menu.  One of today’s specials was a half BBQ chicken with 2 sides for only $5.99 which is what I had for dinner.  Mac had the “monster” burger for only $4.99.  They have some good deals on their daily specials.  After we got home we watched a movie and goofed off some on the internet. 

Friday, June 6:
After work today we went and picked up our mail.  This evening we decided to play at Green Valley Ranch Casino.  We played for a couple of hours and earned enough points to get our free buffets.  Neither of us were winners at the machines though.  We ate dinner and it was very good.  They have a very good tropical fruit salad that I loved.  It’s like ambrosia but made with papaya, mangos, shredded coconut and some slivered almonds in a sweet fluffy dressing. 
Saturday, June 7:
This morning we both worked for a few hours.  After lunch we headed out and went to the Dead Poet Book store again.  I found a few books that I wanted so I’m happy.  We then went to the Red Rock Casino to play, earn 6X points and earn 2 free buffets.  We played a little bonus poker progressive, and then hit the deuces wild machines.  Mac hit deuces twice.  He was so excited too.  The first time he hit them he had to take a picture of them it’s been so long and then about three hands later he hit them again.  He was fun to watch, I was cracking up he was too funny. 
We earned enough points for 2 free buffets so we ate dinner.  I decided to try some strawberry gelato this evening and loved it.  It was creamy and full of strawberries.  After dinner we headed home and relaxed the rest of the evening. 
Sunday, June 8:
While reading the paper this morning Mac found that the Sunset Station Casino was offering 11X points today so that’s where we played today.  First though we stopped and split a sandwich at Carl’s Jr. for lunch.  I had started out playing bonus poker at the bar because the royal flush was quite high.  I started losing too much and decided to go over and play deuces wild.  So I sat down at the machine and was doing really good, hitting several wild royals and 5 of a kind.  Then I hit a royal flush and was so excited until I looked down at my money and saw that I didn’t have the $1,000.  What the heck?  Then I discovered I had been playing on nickels instead of quarters like I usually do.  Talk about disappointing, but for the whole day I broke even and Mac was up some so it wasn’t too much of a disappointment. 
We earned enough points for our 2 free buffets so we ate there for an early dinner.  Afterwards we left and headed towards home.  We stopped at the U-Haul store and picked up and heavy duty shipping box to ship the tow bar in.   
After we got home we packed the tow bar for shipping out on Tuesday when we go pick up our mail.  We also had a fun filled evening of doing laundry.  I tell you the excitement never ends around here.

Monday, June 9:

Mac had asked at the office for recommendations for repair work in the area.  They had recommended Allen Crumpler.  He has a mobile business and comes right to your RV site.  He came today and looked at our problem.  Well, again it seems that previous repairs were not done correctly.  The repair that was done back in April in Ventura CA by Cummins was done incorrectly.  One of the parts was put on backwards.  Mac has called them and sent them pictures by email and thankfully they will stand behind their work.  They’ll pay the bill of having the work corrected.  So, now we need to get that part put on correctly and see if there was any damage done. 
After work today we went downtown to the El Cortez Casino.  We got some free play from there so we played it and finished with money in our pockets.  We then ate dinner at Roberta’s.  Mac had steak and I had ribs.  We like to go downtown and eat occasionally, using one of our coupons from the Las Vegas Advisor. 

As Chris said, once again a repair is botched by an RV repair facility.  Looking back, it seems over the past 4 years we've had about a 50% success getting repairs done without either causing some other problem, or failing to perform the basic repair needed. 

When we had the noise and vibration in April on our California trip we were happy to find a facility that specializes in RV repair.  They diagnosed a cracked flywheel, but when installing the replacement part they put it in backwards.  I called and emailed them, sent photos, and they have accepted responsibility.  They are standing behind their work, and will pay for the repair.  A local Chevrolet dealer here in Las Vegas has an RV rack and will be doing it later this week or next.  I'll follow up and report the full results to you all.  I really hope this solves our vibration problem!

Tuesday, June 10:
We had a very slow connection today on the wifi.  It seems the office’s air-conditioning is broke and when it got too hot they turned off the wi-fi.  We went on our air card and it felt very slow to me.  I finally got disgusted with the seemingly slow speed and went shopping at thrift stores.  I found a few bargains.  Then I went to the Palace Station Casino and played for a while.

I came back home then Mac and I left.  We headed over and picked up our mail and shipped out tow bar.  It actually cost less to ship than we thought it would.  That’s always a nice surprise to spend less than estimated. 
We then went to the Santa Fe Station Casino and played for a while.  Neither of us were winners today on the gambling though we did earn enough points for our comped buffets.  I enjoy the buffet at Santa Fe; it’s one of my favorite buffets, right behind the Red Rock buffet. 
Wednesday, June 11:
After work today we headed over to the Tuscany Casino to earn some points.  After playing for a while and not losing my money we headed over to the Palms Casino.  We played deuces wild and I hit 4 deuces, yea! 
We ate dinner at Panda Express and I brought some home for lunch tomorrow.  On the way home we stopped at Wal-Mart. 
Thursday, June 12:
After work today we went to the Tuscany Casino and played.  We did very well today.  First we played on Mac’s player’s card and then my card and earned enough points to get two $15 comp certificates for food in addition to keeping our points earned. 
We decided to eat dinner at the Italian restaurant, Tuscany Gardens.  I had the Shrimp Alfredo and it was excellent.  Mac had a chicken dish that neither of us remembers the name of, he enjoyed it also.  I loved my fettuccine so much that I had my leftovers boxed up for lunch tomorrow. 
After that wonderful dinner we headed home and relaxed the rest of the evening watching a movie. 
Friday, June 13:
After work today we went over and picked up our mail.  We went to the Palms this evening.  They have the CineVegas Film Festival going on and it was so incredibly crowded. 
We played for a while and then had dinner at the buffet.  We like this buffet now too, there always seems to be a new Lebanese dish to try so that’s fun. 
Saturday, June 14:
After working about 4 hours today we went to Carl’s Jr. for lunch.  We then went to the Red Rock Casino for some play and to get out of the heat.  It’s going to be 106 today.  Of course, that’s hot but I think we’re starting to adapt to the heat.  It’s not as hot to us as it was last year.  Maybe because we’ve been here longer and our bodies have had time to get acclimated. 
We ate dinner at the buffet and tonight I tried the spumoni gelato; it was outstanding.  After dinner we headed home and some watched TV.

It's funny that we watch more TV now than when we had DirecTV.  We would go a month without even turning on the satellite receiver, so I had it turned off and put us on "vacation".  Now we seem to watch the local news more frequently, and there's a good PBS channel here in Las Vegas that has interesting programming.  Having HD is really nice.  If we do start DirecTV back up we'll have to get HD service! 

We have subscriptions to Netflix and Blockbuster, there are movies to watch most any time.  We had never seen the TV series 24, so we're watching it on DVD, and so far it's entertaining -- just finishing up the 2nd season. 

Sunday, June 15:

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.  I called my dad and wished him a happy day and thanked him for being my dad. 
We went to the Red Rock Casino and played this morning.  We went to the players club and verified we’d earned enough points for our “free” buffets.  Took our comp to the buffet and found out that the buffet is more expensive on holidays; so we had to use some of our points to pay the difference.  The Sunday buffet is a champagne brunch and there were several items that I wouldn’t order on a menu since I’d never had them before.  I got to sample a cheese blintz, it was very delicious too.  The word “cheese” I think always threw me off of trying them and I know they have some sugar in them.  But on a buffet you can take just one and then only have one bite if you want.  They also had lamb on the buffet and Mac ate that.  It was a very good buffet but if I was paying cash I don’t think it would be worth the higher price for a holiday.
After lunch we played some more and I hit deuces.  Yea, now I have some extra money for the day.  We left and headed over to the Tuscany Casino for the 4:00 drawing.  Mac and I have some tickets in the drum and are hoping to win the car or some money.  But alas neither of us were winners today at the Tuscany.
We left after the drawing and stopped at a Von’s grocery store.  Picked up some supplies and some dinner and went home.  We spent the evening watching a movie and relaxing.
Monday, June 16:
We worked hard today and afterwards we decided to just stay home this evening.  We watched some TV and a movie.  We just hung out relaxing and trying to stay cool.  It’s getting nice and hot here in Vegas now.  The daily temperatures are in the low 100’s. 
Tuesday, June 17:
After working today we left early.  We drove over to Fairway Chevrolet and verified that we have an appointment for tomorrow.  Afterwards we went to the Sunset Station Casino for some play and air-conditioning.  We played and earned enough points for our 2 buffets.  After dinner we went home and finished getting the RV ready to roll out in the morning. 
Wednesday, June 18:
We drove over to the repair shop this morning and there was a long line of vehicles already there for service today.  We spent the day in the RV hoping that we’d get in today but if not today, hopefully tomorrow.  At least we got to stay in our home and spend it working and staying cool.  It was another hot one today, I think it was 106 but sitting on the hot pavement it’s much hotter.
Mac went out and picked us up some lunch from El Pollo Loco.  We’ve seen them out here in the west but have never ate at one before today.  It was very good, quite tasty food.
Later this afternoon we went over to Sunset Station Casino and Mac hit deuces twice!  Yea, Mac, we have some money in our pocket when we leave the casino tonight.  We ate dinner at the buffet having earned another 2 free comped buffets.
After dinner we stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up a few things.  When we got back to the RV it was still 97 degrees at around 9pm.  We’ve gone through some water today keeping the RV cool.  I think we’ve used about a half-tank cooling and other water usage today.
We made it an early night and were in bed and asleep when there was a knock on the door around 11:00 tonight.  It was the security guard checking to see if anyone was in the RV and if we were supposed to be there.  It’s good to know that there is security at night. 
Thursday, June 19:
We spent the whole day at the repair shop but by golly they got it done and did it correctly!  The vibration and “noise” are gone. 
After they took the RV into the repair shop I decided to go shopping for a while.  I hit one thrift store and spent an hour and a half just having a good time shopping.  I found some nice stuff and a few books so I was quite pleased with the trip.
I went back to the repair shop and poor Mac was trying to get some work done today.  The waiting room is kind of noisy with a TV blaring all the time, people walking through and all sorts of distractions.  Oh and the chairs aren’t that comfortable either.  But we’re hoping they get the RV done today so we’ll sit here and silently “nag” them with our presence.  Mac and I drove over to Carl’s Jr. for lunch and then back to the waiting room.  We both managed to get work done but it was very tiring to do so in the waiting room.
After the RV was repaired and the paperwork was finished we headed back to the RV Park at Nellis.  We got the RV set up, took a quick shower and then headed out.  It’s very hot in the RV from being in the repair shop so it will take a while to cool it off.  We went to Tuscany Casino and played earning enough points for us each to get the additional $15 food comp.  We ate dinner at the café, Mac had a monster burger and tonight I had chicken fried steak.   It was very good and Mac helped me eat my dinner.  After dinner we headed home and the RV has cooled off nicely.  Our swamp cooler is doing a great job of keeping us cool here.  I think today was 107; tomorrow is supposed to be 108 and Saturday 109!

Yes, the RV is now repaired correctly.  I still worry about potential hidden damage that may not be apparent to the engine rear main, torque converter, or the transmission front pump and seal, but hopefully there is none.

The only thing we're still waiting on is a $100 reimbursement for the service call where the flipped flywheel was discovered.  Although I have some serious disappointments with Cummins Coach Care in Ventura, I also think highly of them for quickly taking responsibility for this problem and standing behind their work.  I would still use them again, and would recommend them to others, with the caveats noted here and in my previous post.  I think they'd be an especially good choice for a problem specific to a chassis with a Cummins engine or an Onan generator.

Mike the Mechanic at Fairway ChevAs a result of this experience I have two good recommendations in the Las Vegas area to add to

1.  Allen Crumpler, Mobile Mechanic, came to our RV site on Nellis AFB and quickly diagnosed our vibration problem.  Allen is an experienced mechanic on gas and diesel vehicles and can handle most any RV system including both chassis and coach.  He's also a welder.  Allen's phone number is 702.743.0282 and he serves the Las Vegas area.  Tell him I sent you. 

2.  Fairway Chevrolet, and our mechanic Mike (see inset photo) did a great job getting us out the door with a smooth running RV.  I would HIGHLY recommend Fairway Chevrolet to anyone who has a Chevrolet or Workhorse chassis motorhome.  They're an authorized Workhorse facility and they understand the needs of fulltime RVers.

They also seem to understand the AutoPark system.  While we were there Mike commented to me that their brakes man told him my pressure switch was leaking down and should be replaced.  We had noticed the occasional flashed warning light on the dash one night -- too quick to see during the day.  This is the "Rotten Green Switch" that delayed our travels last July.  Must have gotten a bad one.  I'll have to replace it again.

Friday, June 20:

It was hot enough that we took off work early today, couldn’t stand it any longer.  We went and picked up our mail.  We then went to the nice air-conditioned Palms Casino.  We played for a while and then ate the buffet for dinner.  We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home.  After we got home we goofed off online and reading a book.
Saturday, June 21:
This morning we worked for a few hours and cleaned the RV.  We then went to lunch with a group from vpFREE at the Gold Coast Casino buffet.  Afterwards we went to the Palms Casino and played for a short time.  We then went to Red Rock played some and then ate the dinner buffet.  We also picked up some free gifts.  After dinner we came home and goofed off.

Skip this paragraph if you don't care about gambling.

We belong to several online groups for our gambling hobby.  vpFREE is the most popular and best site on the web for free information related to Video Poker.  Their forum is very active.  Questions posted there usually receive multiple answers, and the archives are a great resource.  Noted gambling writers Jean Scott, Bob Dancer, Linda Boyd, and others post there as well as several other VP pros.  In addition to the Yahoo! forum, they have a wealth of information in their various lists and links.  If you're interested in learning to play VP, or if you want to improve your results, I highly recommend joining this group.
Sunday, June 22:
After working some this morning we went to the Palms Casino and played.  We ate at the Panda Express.  We then went to the Tuscany and played earning lots of points.
Monday, June 23:
After work today we stopped in at the Palms to play our free spins on the megabucks.  We left and went to Tuscany and played earning 10X points.  We ate dinner at café.  Then we came home and goofed off the rest of the evening.

Skip this paragraph if you don't care about gambling.

Sunday was 5x points at Tuscany and today was 10x points.  What does that mean?  Well, Tuscany normally gives 0.1% cash back and 0.1% comps.  The best game they have is 8/5 Bonus Poker which is a 99.1% game.  We enjoy eating at their Italian restaurant, Tuscany Gardens, so we play there mainly to earn comps.  We also sometimes eat at their coffee shop, Marilyn's.  The food at Marilyn's is just ok, but inexpensive.  On 5x points day they multiply the point values by 5, and 8/5 BP becomes 99.1 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 100.1%.  That's cool, but Monday was a 10x points day, and if you haven't already done the math it's 99.1 + 1.0 + 1.0 = 101.1%.  Now before all you serious players email me yes, I realize it's only 100.1% on a cash basis; however, we like the restaurant and will be eating out anyway, so to us it's worth the full 101.1%.  Also, Chris LOVES to play 8/5 BP, so this allows her to do it without the 0.9% vig.
Tuesday, June 24:
After work today we picked up our mail.  We then went to Red Rock Casino and played.  We again earned enough points for 2 free buffets.  After dinner we stopped at Kohl’s department store and found a few things to buy.  After shopping we headed home to goof off the rest of the evening.
Wednesday June 25:
After worked today we went to the Palms and played for a while.  We then headed over to the Tuscany and played for a while.  We decided to eat dinner in the café tonight.  It was pretty tasty too.
Thursday, June 26:
After working today we headed out but had a change of plans due to traffic backup.  We decided to go around the back way and play at Red Rock Casino today.  We played for a while and then ate the buffet.  After we left the casino we stopped at Dillard’s and shopped some and then headed home. 
Friday June 27:
After work today we stopped in and picked up our mail.  We then went to Texas Station Casino and played.  Tonight we ate dinner at Austins Steakhouse.  We both had filet mignon and it was really tender and delicious too.  After that great meal we headed home for the rest of the evening. 
Few things I would rather eat than a juicy medium-rare filet mignon chased down with a bold red wine; Zin, Cab, or Shiraz.  I've wanted to try Austin's but I'm a devote of Jean Scott and I refuse to pay full price for anything, especially in cash!  This month the Stations Casinos had a great coupon magazine and one coupon was for $10 off per person at Austin's in the Texas Station Casino and using that coupon kept our dinner under $100. 

If you go to Austins, everything is ala-carte, and side dishes are large enough to share.  In addition to the filets we had Austin's Potatoes which were good, Brocolini with hollandaise, and some of the best creamed spinach I've ever had.

Saturday, June 28
I didn’t feel very well today at all, so we stayed home.  I took plenty of naps and read a book.  Mac drove over to the main base and got a haircut then went to the commissary and picked up a few things.  In the evening we watched a movie and I started feeling much better.
Sunday, June 29:
After working a few hours and having lunch at home today we headed out and went to Red Rock Casino.  We played and earned enough points for our 2 “free” buffets.  After dinner we headed home and enjoyed the rest of the evening goofing off and watching a movie.

Continue to July 2008


What did we do in June of years past?  Take a look at:

June 2007

June 2006

June 2005

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