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July, 2012


Wednesday, July 4:
 
Happy Birthday USA!!
 
We went to the gun range this morning and had some fun shooting the rifles for a few hours.  Then we drove on into Carlsbad to Wal-Mart for some groceries and other supplies before we leave the area.  On the way to the store we saw a pickup truck filled with cantaloupe melons and decided weíd stop and get some on our way back home.  The melons are from Pecos Texas.  He was selling them by the basket and the basket held 4 melons for $5.  They smelled so good and when we got home we cut one up right away and it was as good as it smelled! 
 
Later in the afternoon we had a huge rainstorm that even had a bit of hail in it.  Weíre close to a pecan orchard and we heard a booming booming booming sound.  They were shooting off some kind of cannon thatís supposed to keep the hail from forming or something like that.  Theyíre trying to keep the hail from knocking the pecans out of the trees.
 
Carlsbad was supposed to have fireworks this evening but they were rescheduled to Saturday because of the storm.

 
The cannon that Chris is talking about is a Hail Cannon.  It's a shock wave generator powered by an explosion of acetylene.  Here's a link to a manufacturer's website where they explain it:  http://www.hailcannon.com/how.html  The science behind this is disputed, but it doesn't keep many orchards and other businesses from buying and installing them.  The article talks about it making a "whistling sound" but doesn't mention the artillery like BOOM. 


 
Friday, July 6:
 
Busy day today of working on the day job and making sure everything is done so that we can leave tomorrow.  We went to Happy Hour and everyone said good-bye see yaí real soon!
 
This evening we were invited out to dinner to the Elks Club by a couple here at The Ranch.  We enjoyed our dinner and the conversation.  We toured the facility and look forward to visiting again.
 
Saturday, July 7:
 
We left this morning around 9:30.  We stopped for fuel in Roswell and the price was the lowest weíve seen so far at $3.39 for diesel.  We continued on north and then west on I-40.  We ran into some rain and it really cooled the weather off nicely.  We stopped at a rest area for lunch and it was raining pretty hard so we decided to take a short nap and then continue on when the rain let up. 
 
We drove to Albuquerque and stopped at the Route 66 Casino for the night.  After we cleaned up we went in for dinner and ate for our first time at the Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina.  We enjoyed our dinner.  Mac had chicken fajitas and I had carnitas tacos.  First time Iíve had pork tacos and it was very good.  Weíll have to make some at home.
 
Sunday, July 8:
 
We were up and ready to leave this morning around 7:30.  We stopped for fuel while here at the casino and topped off tank.  We got back on I-40 and headed west.  Nice weather this morning and last night we got to sleep with the windows open.  I think it was in the 60ís, just great sleeping weather.
 
We drove to the Petrified Forest National Park since itís right along the way and we have plenty of time today.  We stopped first at the Painted Desert Visitor Center & Park Headquarters.  We had a nice visit, stamped my passport book, and bought some souvenirs of course.  We then entered the park and drove along and admired the many views of the Painted Desert and the petrified wood and trees that we saw.  We then stopped at the Rainbow Forest Museum at the other end of the park and visited that and walked the trail there to admire some more of the petrified wood. 
 
We left and drove to Holbrook AZ and got back on I-40 and continued on.  We stopped at the rest area and had some lunch and then drove to Williams AZ.  Weíre staying at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park for the next few days. 
 
After getting set up and taking a shower we drove into Williams and first visited the car wash for a much needed wash of the car.  We then went to Pine Country Restaurant for dinner.  We shared a sandwich and then we each had a dessert.  Mac had cherry pie and I had strawberry shortcake.  Yum!  It was delicious! 
 
After dinner we walked around Williams along Route 66 and visited various shops and art galleries.  We really admired the art of  Tom Williams.  We loved the cactus that is made of mule shoes from the pack mules of the Grand Canyon. 
 
After walking around and having a good time visiting the shops we headed back to the RV for some downtime before heading to bed tonight.

Monday, July 09:
 
After the workday was done we decided to take a scenic drive around the Williams area.  We had picked up a few of the brochures and there were a few places listed that we thought might be interesting.  We drove to Cataract Lake, one of the many lakes listed in the area, and checked out the campground.  It would be a nice place to stay while in the area.
 
We really wanted to drive up to Mount Williams lookout but the road was closed due to high fire danger.  After that disappointment we decided to drive up to White Horse Lake and check it out.  A lot of washboard road but it was not a bad road; at least there werenít potholes.  Along the way we had to slow way down for a huge herd of sheep.  They were all across the road.  It was so cool to see them. 
 
The lake is pretty and supposedly has some good trout fishing.  There is camping around the lake but I canít see us driving the RV down those washboard roads.  It would sure shake things up in the RV.  Also if we canít have a fire because of the high fire danger then itís just no fun! 
 
After we drove back to Williams we walked around downtown again and decided to eat dinner at the  Red Raven Restaurant.  It was a nice place and we enjoyed our food.  I personally prefer less expensive and more comfort food type of places but Mac drags me along when he wants to do some of his ďfine diningĒ. 
 
After dinner we headed on home to relax and then pack up what we plan to take with us in the morning to the Grand Canyon. 
 
 
Tuesday, July 10:
 
We got up early this morning to get some work done on the day job before we walked over to the Grand Canyon Railway for our trip to the Grand Canyon.  We left around 9:30 on the train and it was a relaxing and interesting ride up to the Grand Canyon. 
 
This is our first visit to the Grand Canyon National Park.  I know it is terrible isnít it?  All these years of traveling right by it and weíve never been!   We finally went and did it in style for our first trip by taking the train.  The train departs back to Williams in about 4 hours so we donít have a long time to visit the park but enough time to get a taste of it and determine if we want to visit again.
 
We definitely want to visit again.  It is a HUGE place and thereís so much to see and do.  Weíll come back when we have more time so that we can visit and experience all that the canyon offers.
 
We didnít get to do any hikes or take the bus down to some of the other viewing areas or any of that.  We walked around and admired the views of the canyon and then had lunch in the Arizona Room.  We enjoyed our lunch.  Then we walked around again and visited some of the shops and buildings of interest.  We really look forward to visiting the Grand Canyon again.


Here are some additional photos from the Grand Canyon.  

The train ride back to Williams was very relaxing.  It was nice to let someone else do the driving and we just relaxed and enjoyed the views out the windows.  Of course there was an obligatory train robbery while on the way back.  Kind of funny since our car had a birthday party going on and Mac hollered at them ďAre you the strippers for the birthday party?Ē  The expressions on their faces were too funny.
 
After we arrived back in Williams and of course visited the gift shop for the train we went to dinner.  We ate again at the Pine Country Restaurant.  I really wanted another piece of their delicious strawberry shortcake.  We split a burger and then Mac and I shared a piece of the cake and it was as delicious as I remembered it being.
 
We then walked back to the RV and relaxed watching Americaís Got Talent.  Thereís not much on in the summer season of TV and we thought this might be interesting to watch and see if we can predict who will win.
 
 
Wednesday, July 11:
 
We worked some on our day jobs and then got everything stowed away to leave.  We left Williams around 10:30 and hit I-40 heading west.  We stopped for fuel and topped off the tank at the Flying J in Beatty AZ.  We wonít stop at this station again (hopefully).  There is only one lane for the RV fuel station so if a rig is fueling and a second rig is in line then they can be blocking traffic.  Thankfully the rig in front of us fueling did not have a toad or we would really have blocked a lot of traffic.  We didnít realize that weíd be blocking traffic when we pulled in.  Now weíre stuck here because we canít back up.  I donít think weíve ever been to a Flying J that is set up this way.  Usually there are at least two pumping lanes.  Theyíre losing business because of this setup for sure.  We saw several RVís go across the street because they couldnít get in line without blocking traffic and creating a hazard. 
 
We headed north from Beatty on Highway 93.  We arrived in Las Vegas to HEAT!  I think it was around 112!  Oh well, itís a dry heat.  Weíre staying at the Main Street Station Casino RV Park.
 
After getting us all checked in I hit the 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker at the bar and enjoyed a bottle of half frozen water while playing.  The weather is hot and the machine was also hot.  I hit a royal flush playing at the dollar level for $4,000!  What a great way to start our stay here in Vegas.
 
We ate the buffet for dinner.  I really like the buffet here.  They have great oriental noodles and the sugar free desserts are usually very good.  Tonight was no exception.  I had a piece of the best sugar free lemon meringue pie.  Why canít every sugar free dessert taste this delicious? 

Tuesday, July 17:
 
Today we took the Four Queens Casino http://www.fourqueens.com/ up on an offer they sent us.  Weíre staying there for 2 nights and leaving the RV here at the RV Park at Main Street Station.  Tonight Mac will sleep in the RV and I will sleep in the room at the Four Queens. 
 
We walked over around 3 and got checked in and the free play is loaded onto my playerís card.  I play all night on my free play!  Great, that I didnít lose any money.  For dinner we went to Marilynís Veranda and we each had the prime rib for dinner.  Delicious and tender and what a deal it is.  Of course, ours was free which made it even tastier! 
 
After dinner I hit the machines again and played till a little before 2 in the morning and left with all my free play money.  I miss sleeping with Mac but itís only a few hours.  When I walked up to my room I could still hear the music from the Fremont Street.  Thankfully, it stops at 2 in the morning so I can get to sleep.  But now we know that next time weíll ask for a room that isnít near that side of the building.  Weíd never get to sleep before 2 if weíre on that side of the hotel.
 
 
Wednesday, July 18:
 
This morning when I got up I walked back to the RV and started my work day.  Todayís my birthday so Happy Birthday to me! 
 
We have reservations this evening for our FREE dinner at Hugoís Cellar at the Four Queens.  We walked over around 4 and I played some before our dinner this evening.  But tonight I canít seem to win anything so itís a good thing that I won last night!
 
Our dinner was outstanding!  Itís such a casual elegant dinner spot.  We enjoyed our meal, I had a chicken dish and Mac had lamb.  They were yummy!  And to top off the meal I was surprised when the waiter brought a chocolate mousse cake to me with a candle and Happy Birthday Chris written in chocolate on the plate!  What a delightful surprise that was. 
 
After dinner I played for a while longer before heading back to the RV.  Mac joined up with me there and we had a good nightís sleep.  I love my bed!
 
 
Friday, July 20:
 
Today weíre checking out of the Main Street Station RV Park.  Weíd stopped in yesterday and talked with our casino host about comping our stay and meals based on my play and she did that for us.  When Mac called over to the registration office to check on that this morning he found out that we even have a credit for our next visit.  That was so great that our stay was free and all our meals that we ate there were free either comped or we used my playerís points to pay for some also.  So nothing out of pocket for our stay here!
 
After I had finished my work for the day we got everything put away and we were ready to leave.  I drove the car and Mac drove the RV.  We headed out and drove to the Clark County Shooting Park RV Park  .  Weíll be staying here probably for the full 14 days allowed.  Itís only $20 a night so pretty inexpensive.
 
 
After lunch and a nap we packed our small suitcase for a 2 day stay at  Ballyís Casino .  Again weíre using an offer we received for free rooms and free play in the casino.  This is a Harrahís property and we both Diamond players so we each get 2 free show tickets a month.  Weíll use my free tickets on this stay and take in a show on Saturday night.
 
After we got all checked in, the free play was given to me and weíre now all ready for some fun this weekend!  We played for a while and then walked over to the  Le Provencal Restaurant for dinner.  I absolutely love their Tuscan white bean soup!  Every time we come I must have this soup!  So of course thatís where weíre going for dinner the first night.  I had my favorite soup and Mac had the creamy lobster bisque.  We each had a salad also and of course the good bread that is served.
 
After dinner I played and played and played till I lost my free play finally around midnight.  I then joined Mac in our room for sleep. 
 
 
Saturday, July 21:
 
This morning Mac and I walked down to Le Cafť Ile St. Louis at Paris Casino for breakfast.  After breakfast we took a cab to the M&Mís World down the Strip.  Itís four stories of everything M&M.  We had a good time looking around and of course buying some items for family members.
 
We then walked over to the Grand Canyon Experience, a souvenir store.  We were disappointed that the store no longer has much Grand Canyon stuff like it did before.  But it was still fun to look at Las Vegas stuff.  We then walked down to the World of Coca Cola but didnít see anything that we wanted. 
 
We walked to the Hard Rock Cafť and checked out the t-shirts there and then headed to Planet Hollywood for some water and cool down time.  Itís already pretty hot outside this morning and we are really in need of some water.  After we cooled off and hydrated with some water we walked back to Ballyís and I headed up for a much needed shower! 
 
We ate a light lunch today at Le Burger Brasserie in Paris and I played some more and was lucky enough to hit a royal flush for $1,000 while playing this afternoon.
 
Around 6:30 we headed up to the free show that I got tickets for last night.  We chose  Tony and Tinaís Wedding .  Itís an interactive dinner show so each time it will be different depending on the audience.  It was fun and we had a good time but itís not really our type of show.  Itís more for the outgoing person that likes to dance since there is audience dancing in the show.  But itís rated one of the top 5 shows to see in Vegas and we enjoyed it and had some good laughs.
 
After the show I played some more on the video poker machine before heading back to our room.  We relaxed in the room and went to sleep for a good nights sleep even though I miss my bed! 
 
 
Sunday, July 22:
 
This morning Mac woke me up wanting to go have breakfast and of course coffee.  I suggested that we just get packed up to leave and go somewhere else than what the casino offers so we did.  We got dressed, packed up and out to our car fairly quickly. 
 
We headed north on the Strip and stopped at the Peppermill Restaurant for breakfast.  It looks a lot like the Peppermill Restaurant in Reno; the same over the top neon and dťcor.  The portions are HUGE!  We shared a breakfast and it was quite filling, we didnít even finish the whole thing and that was both of eating one breakfast.
 
While we were there a girl came around to take our picture and we received a free postcard with our picture on it.  Of course she was selling the pictures that she took and I liked the picture of us and the pictures of Vegas on the frame folder enough to buy 2 of them.
 
After breakfast we headed back to the RV and enjoyed our day relaxing and getting ready for the week. 

Monday, July 25:
 
This morning Mac and I attended a class here at the Clark County Gun Range.  Itís an NRA class  Refuse To Be A Victim.  Even though itís a NRA class there are no guns mentioned in the class. 
 
Itís a very good class and if thereís a class around that you can take I would highly recommend it.  I feel like Iím a pretty aware person about my personal security when Iím out and about and I learned several things from the class.  Itís about 4 hours and itís well worth the time. 
 
The class teaches about home, car, financial, personal security, etc.  Thereís a booklet that comes with the class that you get to take home.  Itís good to keep because itís hard to absorb all the information in one class setting.
 
I left and drove back to the RV at the end of the class but Mac stayed and took the instructor level class.  Now he is certified to teach the class.  Heís already planning on his first class when we return to The Ranch in New Mexico.

July 31

The rest of the month passed quickly with not much happening.


 
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