I wasn’t going to write about this week at all, but after experiencing it I thought there were a few subjects I should touch on. I don’t think I could have planned a week more different from our day to day life as this one was, and since the contrast was so stark it really provided a good opportunity to look at our mobile life versus our old life, and contrast and compare. Since the analyst in me can rarely pass up this kind of opportunity I am going to take a crack at summing my thoughts up.
First, and most importantly, Lee and I were separated for almost all of the week. He spent the week with our youngest daughter Kay and several good friends from his former professional life, and I spent the week with my Mom in her time share at Polo Towers. We haven’t been apart since January 2015 when I stayed in Quartzsite and he went to work for a week in Phoenix, and overall I think the break was good for both of us. RV living provides few opportunities for alone time, and although we love each other and enjoy being together, some outside socialization is not a bad thing. My Mom and I really enjoy each others company and vacation well together, so our time together was very special to me. Similarly, Lee has a great relationship with Kay and has really missed her these last couple of years, so spending one-on-one time together (especially since she is being deployed overseas in August) was a really good thing. He also got to spend time with some really good work friends and Nick, who we have known since he was 15 years old flew in to hang out with them for the week as well. (Nick is also a friend, but he’s in a class all by himself. He’s practically a son. – Lee) We try to see people from our past lives as much as we can, but with our travel/work schedule that is getting harder and harder. Bringing people together in a central location was a wonderful way to reconnect, and since the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show was this week, they all could combine seeing each other with a work related activity. Win- Win. (Yeah. Work. That’s what it is. – Lee)
The second biggest change was the constant going out to eat. It’s been a looong time since we ate that many meals out and although Mom paid for several of them I was still pretty conscious of money spent versus relative value. The meals that were part meals, part experience were generally good, but the few times we ate out because we had to were not so great. Lee had one meal that ended up getting comped because the service was so bad, and almost everything was way overpriced. Still, it was fun to not have to worry about menu planning, but after months and months of austerity in this area it was pretty weird. Basically, I don’t miss it, and can definitely say that cooking at home is the better choice with the exception being special experience meals.
The third and last change was not having to worry about every single purchase. All in we spent about $2500 in one week and with that kind of budget (along with the extra things my Mom bought for me) you can pretty much do anything you want. It was nice being able to have all the activities without worrying so much about cost, but again experience versus value was always in play. In my mind none of the things we did were better than most National Parks and given a straight up choice I still think I would choose the “nature” option. (My apologies. Trace is a little dehydrated and talking crazy. I’m a fan of National Parks and all, but given the choice, and not having to worry about the budget, I would choose Vegas most of the time. There are hardly any bears there, and I’ve never met an animal that can deal blackjack properly. Nor has any scantily clad animal ever offered me a cocktail while on a hike. Not even Deb. – Lee)
Lee and Kay did 1-2 things every day. His favorite, as always, was seeing David Copperfield, and they all got pulled onstage for one of the illusions. (I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for Copperfield, have been since the first time I saw him on TV when I was a little kid. And I’ve been up on stage with him three times. I never get tired of it. – Lee) Mom and I did at least one thing most nights as well (My favorite was a Round The World Food tour at Fleur a Hubert Keller restaurant!) Mom and I also spent a ton of time shopping, because I was looking for a dress for my oldest daughters upcoming wedding. Walking the shops in Vegas is actually pretty fun because they have lots of high end stores you never see anywhere else. So it’s pretty ironic that after trying on numerous dresses I ended up with a fantastic dress from Ross Dress for Less that cost $16.99. Score!! The main reason I bought it, it fit and looked good, I was pretty surprised when I looked at the price tag. I have never shopped there before but now I am a huge fan. I saved so much on the dress I splurged on three pairs of jeans and a light jacket and I still spent less than $75.
In a nutshell, it was a wonderful week, and I am especially grateful I got to spend time with my mom, but I am not looking to quit the lifestyle in order to have more of that in my life. The simplicity of how we live does have its own challenges but compared to that excess, I’ll take what I have! Here’s the pictures though, and as you can see we had a really good time. I intentionally left my camera in the rig so these are taken from my Iphone 4 and the quality is pretty terrible, but you’ll get the gist.
(For those who are interested, here’s ALL the stuff we did….Greg and Cori stuck around in town for an extra day and got to meet Kay, and we all had a wonderful dinner at an off strip resort. We went to an Asian market where Kay showed off her Korean skills for us, and we had lunch at Tracy’s favorite Vietnamese place, and we had a great group dinner with everyone except for Nick who hadn’t arrived yet. In addition to seeing Copperfield, Kay and I also went horseback riding at Wild West Horseback, which was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend, even though my horse tried to kill me. We shot a variety of firearms, including some fully automatic, at Machine Guns Vegas, which I also highly recommend. We saw Beatles LOVE, of course, which I cannot recommend highly enough, even though they’ve made some changes to the show which I do not approve of. If you see it, see the 7pm show, then go out to the portico to watch the volcano. It’s cheesy and getting old, but hey, FIRE! We also did the Fremont Street Experience and the Zoomline, neither of which is for the faint of heart. The Zoomline is a blast, I felt like a chubby James Bond flying over all those people. We also did the Baja chase at Sunbuggy, which I really enjoyed the last time I went, but I no longer recommend it. The company has really gone downhill, and the experience was not even close to what it should have been. It didn’t feel nearly as safe, and we didn’t get nearly the 60 minutes of ride time we paid for. If you do decide to go, do yourself a favor and refuse to start the chase until you are 100% comfortable with your harness and the operation of the buggy. This is an extremely intense experience, and if you’re not comfortable, then you should ride instead of drive. It’s a pretty expensive thing to not enjoy.- Lee
I also went to see Tape Face, which was incredibly fun and fresh and clever. As far as gambling goes, while I normally play nothing but blackjack, we did play a little craps (horrible game, not good for stupid and/or drunk people) a little roulette (might as well just give them your money and go see a show) and slots (boring) so Kay could have a little taste of why it’s a bad idea to gamble for money instead of entertainment. Then she suggested we try three card poker, which I really enjoyed, and quadrupled my money in an hour or so of play. So thanks for that, Pooh! We eventually played a little blackjack as well, but her assessment overall on most of the gambling was “It’s not much fun when all you do is lose.” I also learned how to use Uber, and saved a fortune getting around town, plus avoided having to pay for parking at the casinos. Did I mention that most of the casinos charge you for self parking now? I’d like to have a meeting with whatever moron came up with this idea and smack him or her right in the head. And as an added bonus, since I tend to accept cocktails when they are offered to me (my mother taught me to be polite) I also didn’t get a DUI driving around Vegas three sheets to the wind. So Uber is cool. As always, I see the fountains at Bellagio as much as I can. I can watch those things for hours. I was there in the middle of the night many years ago when they were programming them before they started, and spent the whole night just chatting with the programmers and watching them. Big fan. And while I enjoy wandering through all of the casinos, Bally’s is my true home. Trust me, just try it. IMO it’s the best choice on the strip, most bang for your buck, best overall vibe, and a truly fantastic location right smack in the middle of everything. Ask for an upgrade to a Jacuzzi suite, and if you don’t get it, pay for one anyway. The price is actually pretty reasonable for what you get, and there’s nothing like stretching out in a full size sunken Jacuzzi (not just a tub with jets) and soaking away the end of a hard day in Vegas. And somewhere in all that we spent some time wandering the vendor exhibits at the NAB show, where as usual I found someone who had something I wanted but wasn’t available yet, and I gave them a hard time for teasing me with the exact thing I wanted, and offered to buy the prototype, and as usual, was turned down. It was all a lot of fun, and I while I doubt I will be able to do it every year any more, maybe we’ll get back from time to time for a reunion tour or something. Sorry there’s not a lot more pictures of us, but Kay isn’t wild about having her picture taken, and we were too busy having fun for me to push the issue. I have the pictures in my head. – Lee)
I should also mention that at Fleur I had the best service of my entire life. They replaced the dishes and the silverware after every course and as soon as I was finished eating the food was gone. I don’t like sitting at a table with food in front of me when I am done eating and that was really enjoyable in and of itself. Plus once again I want to thank my Mom for her extreme generosity this week. I would have been fine hanging out and having pizza, but I certainly appreciate all the fun things we were able to do. It was a very special week and I am glad we got to spend it together. I love you.
Lee and I were also very grateful to be with Brian, Nick, Mark, Ernie, and Dave. Thanks for hanging out with us and Ernie thanks for reading the blog! Kay, sweetie, we love you. So glad you had a good time in Vegas!
Back to regular life now and we need to drive straight to our summer job in Oregon. Originally we had an extra 5 days, but they spilled Lee’s urine sample (I know crazy right after all the trouble we went to to get that done) and at this point they recommended getting it done at their testing facility in Oregon. Since we didn’t want to mess with our time in Vegas, we agreed so we will be arriving May 2nd for a May 3rd test and then have some time off until our start date on May 10th. Fair warning, we are hearing there may be no cell coverage in our site and we might have to drive a couple of miles to get a signal. Not sure how that is going to work with the blog yet because there is no off line option for making blog posts with Word press that I am aware of. Anyways, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a few days until I get it worked out.
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