Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

meadowWe were out late the night before, and we were in no special rush to leave the campsite.  We had a quick breakfast of cereal and since there wasn’t much to clean up, as we hadn’t leveled or stabilized the RV the night before, it was simple to pack everything up.  We stopped by to say goodbye to the camp host, Tim, and get his contact information.  It’s nice to meet a good person, and it’s even nicer when circumstances allow us to stay in contact.  I hope that that is the case here.

The meadows are as beautiful as the first time we saw them, and leaving, although difficult, was OK, because were on to new adventures.  We stopped at Jacob Lake Campground, looking for an item as a surprise that were unable to locate, and stumbled onto some postcards and a really good oatmeal cookie which satisfied my 10 AM snack craving. We continued onto Las Vegas, and the ride was a little more strenuous than I anticipated, as the wind we had been experiencing the last several days, was just as strong on the open areas and driving the RV was definitely a two hands affair.

We passed through a vast sections of National Forest land on the Kaibab Plateau.  There are no trees in a forest that has been cut down or one that has burned up, except there is more new growth in one that has been cut down.  Big parts of the national forest have burned up because of years of fire suppression left too much flammable material in the forest, and when it burned, everything was consumed, leaving a complete wasteland.  What they forest managers did has now emerged as mismanagement.  I believe that they were doing what they believed was right for a long time; it’s just that they know better now.  Their new properly managed forests are beautiful park like things.

desertAs we came off the Kaibab Plateau, things became much drier, in fact, the closer we got to Las Vegas, the drier the landscape became. Sagebrush gave way to scrub, to rock.  Today was primarily a change of location day with little sightseeing fitted in.  For lunch, we stopped at a Jack in the Box restaurant and discovered that it was next to the excellent restaurant ‘Bishops’ in St George Utah.  Sometime when you think you’ll never be back to the same area, life proves you wrong.

Virgin_CanyonOne of the more outstanding parts of the drive to Vegas was the Virgin River George.  The gorge runs between St George, Utah and Littlefield, Arizona.  The gorge is amazing, and Louise was able to snap a few photos while I was able to keep the RV on the road with the wind gusts.  The gorge was an amazing engineering feat, and I’m surprised that they were able to squeeze an interstate in such a narrow location.  After the gorge, I took a short break from driving to check some things when it became apparent that we were back to civilization.  When we finally arrived at the outskirts of Las Vegas, the route took us past Nellis Air Force Base and East Las Vegas.  Nellis was great, as we saw some of the Air Force Thunderbirds coming in for a landing followed by some F35’s.  There were a number of B1’s out in the open on the runway and the place was loaded with AWAC’s and Air Tankers.  It was just a drive by, but it was pretty terrific.

East Las Vegas is a gritty tough neighborhood.  It has the feel of an area that always thought that it would be well out of the way and free from any observation, but then had the unfortunate circumstance of having the base grew from one side and Las Vegas from the other.  We got gas, and followed the GPS out to the Lake Meade National Recreation Area.  Los Vegas ends as if someone drew a line, and the road to the NRA became a whole lot more great basin-ish at the same time.  At the same time I noticed a whole lot of roadside markers where someone had died.  Not one or two mind you, but I started counting at eight and that was on just a small section of road.  By the time we got to the fee gate, there had to be almost 20 road side markers.  I asked the ranger at the gate, and he said that it was a dark road, no lights, narrow, and people don’t drive properly.

We had planned to spend the night at the Las Vegas Bay Campsite, but I was told that the Boulder Beach campground was better, so off we went.  We passed the Las Vegas Bay Campsite, and things started to make sense.  The area looked desolate, almost abandoned, and I had no difficulty passing the site.  .

We got to the Boulder Beach area and found that there are two campsite areas.  The Department of the Interior campsite with no services for $10 a night and the Boulder Bay RV Resort for $33 a night.  There were about five people in the former, and we found a nice level site.  It was also 98 degrees with a 30 MPH wind and it was like standing out in front of a blast furnace.  Hot, but a dry heat.  Still really hot, not enough to feel your eyeballs shrink, but we moved over to the resort and picked up a site with electricity, water, cable and sewer.  The electricity part was the seller, so we could turn on the AC and let it run.

Looking at the Lake Meade supplied the answer.  The government built the Hoover Dam and the impoundment, Lake Meade, grew.  Las Vegas also grew, and as it did, it needed more water.  At the same time, there was definitely a climate change, one that we’ve seen the entire trip, and as a result, all the improvements the government made on the shoreline of the lake, and all the boat ramps, and all the campgrounds and the beach pavilions are over a quarter mile from the lake, as the lake has dropped in level about 200 feet, and is still dropping.  Also, much of the deep water in the lake has disappeared, so that you really have to be careful with your boat, as the deep canyons are, in many cases, shallow rock filled bays. The shoreline is over a 1,000 feet from all the improvements that would allow you to enjoy the water.  No one seems to come here anymore.

I hooked up everything at the campsite and found that the cable connection was too short, so I bought an extension, for too much money considering that I have 300 feet of the stuff and all the connectors and all the tools to make the connectors home, but we’ve never stayed at a commercial campground, so I never thought about it. I never knew that I needed something like that.  No matter the cost, it was worth it, simply for the first time coolness of being able to watch the cable TV for the first time in the RV, especially since there was no broadcast TV.

I enjoyed re-entering the electronic age, with surfing the internet on someone else’s dime, and watching TV for the first time in a while.  Took care of some business too, but generally we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.  We cooked a nice dinner inside in the coolness, another dinner of fried chicken, french fries and green beans.  I tried to make sense of the mess that I’ve made of he blog since I haven’t had internet and we’ve had too much time having fun.  I like to write, but having fun comes first.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to sort it out.

cloudI’m glad that we are here and paying for all the creature comforts as opposed to be in the park across the way for $5 and roasting.  It’s 9:30 PM and the thermometer indicates that it’s still 92 outside, but it’s a great 75 degrees in here.  Shopping repairs and business tomorrow along with staying cool and doing a little sightseeing.