Letters From a Bus
March 2008: Busy March
2nd entry for March

Drive to Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV, Arrival Day at Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, Site: 180

Sunday, March 30, 2008 — Ten Months

March 28, 2008, Friday morning
Harris Ranch, near Coalinga, CA

After eighty-one days at the masonry, we’re on the move again.  I’m not in travel mode yet.  This morning we wake to bright central valley sunshine and an unaccustomed view of oleander bushes next to our door.  The dirt lot at Harris Ranch is empty now but it was full of trucks last night.  This time they were fairly quiet and no noisy reefer parked next to us to disrupt our sleep.  I woke once in awhile to hear the GrrrRoar of an engine brake at the I-5 exit above us or the repetitious, rotating, growl-idle of a truck motor in the parking lot. 

The masonry yard is quiet at night.  The sounds from 101, Charleston, and San Antonio do not reach us.  Sometimes in the morning I hear the Southern Pacific whistle on the tracks a mile away.  No oleanders grace the concrete expanse.  Where are the stacks of brick and block?  At seven I hear Brent’s truck warming up while he loads it with supplies for today’s jobs.  He’s on the road by now.  I will miss Brent’s cheerful presence, and my friend, warehouse Rudy, who laughs at my warehouse dogs — Margot who barks at him and Rudi who begs for treats.  I will miss our family-in-the-background, the Walton Masonry staff.

Friday is generally my busy social day.  I should meet Sally for coffee.  I should see Catherine at eleven for acupuncture.  I should meet Dale for lunch and Sharon in Los Altos for more coffee after her class.  Who to visit with?  Dennis is willing but he is going deaf and he often doesn't wear his hearing aids. My off-the-cuff comments during the day are waves that fly soundless by his ears and drift, forgotten into space. 

Now it is Dennis and I and the dogs and the bus and new sights and sounds.  But I’m not quite ready for new explorations.  I’m out of shape in the travel sense.  I don’t look forward to our route today on 99 through the desolate Bakersfield landscape.

But wait.  Look at the row of palm trees on the skyline above the ranch.  They are tall and stalwart — not like the palm trees that bend and wave in Hawaiian trade winds.  These are unmoving sentinels that command their space wherever they stand — over the masonry and over this patch of Central Valley sky.  They lift me up.  We will take the dogs in the morning sunshine and walk towards them like slow motion bits of metal towards magnets.

Yesterday, we finished getting ready to leave in a leisurely fashion, said goodbye to the masonry staff and pulled out at the laggardly hour of 11:15 AM.  It was sunny but a hazy day, a forecast of rain predicted in a few days time. 

Dennis moved the bus towards the gate to hook up the Honda and Brent played ball one last time with Rudi and Margot. 03/27/08.

We decided to be different and took US-101 south past King City.  Then we turned eastward on CA-198 towards San Lucas and Priest Valley.  This was a beautiful drive over mountains and down into a lovely valley.  Spring is just beginning to arrive in this area.  The hills are green and covered with poppies, lupine, mustard, sweet grass and a wonderful, low, pale lavender flower that I can’t identify.  We climbed out of Priest Valley, passed through Coalinga and came out on I-5 at Harris Ranch before 3:30 PM.  It was an easy and pleasant day of driving.  We traveled 220 miles in a little over four hours.

The drive eastward towards I-5 on CA-198 through Priest Valley was absolutely beautiful. The hills are green and there are wildflowers everywhere. 03/27/08.

I enjoy Harris Ranch.  I love their gardens.  I like to look at the planes in their little airport.  We like to walk the dogs around the entire perimeter of the property including the gas station, restaurant and gift shop, parking lots, and hotel.  It’s a good walk and safe as the back area is a dirt road by a crop field and the dogs can run on their long leashes without fear of being run over by a car.  I enjoy their restaurant.  With the old photos and paraphernalia, the room is pleasant, the food is good and the service is helpful and friendly. 

Friday afternoon we took the dogs for a long walk around the Harris Ranch grounds. I think Rudi and Margot enjoy new smells and sounds as much as being able to run free in familiar surroundings.

March 29, 2008, Saturday morning at Arabian RV Oasis in Boron, CA

We indulged in dinner and breakfast at Harris Ranch and managed to leave by 10:30 AM Friday morning — a little earlier than Thursday.  We were tired.  Dennis had not slept well for the past two nights and he had severe stomach pains all day Friday.  By noontime he said he felt hot.  He was.  He had a fever.

It was a windy day and not particularly pretty.  Brown fields.  Brassy sky. 

We watched thousands of fruit and nut trees flash by our windows.  How many rows in a grove?  How many trees in a row — and then another grove, and another.  There must be millions of trees just along I-5 in the Central Valley.  I was never able to put together a million dollar bills.  Here I am looking at a million fruit trees.  How much would that cost to plant and tend?  Boggles the mind….

We had thought to go farther — maybe to Barstow.  But Dennis was in pain and we knew about this park in Boron.  It wasn’t far.  We arrived at 2:00 PM.  We traveled 193 miles.  It took us three and a half hours.

March 29, 2008, Saturday evening in Boron, CA

This morning, here in Boron, I told Dennis I wanted to stay an extra day.  He was glad to hear it.  He had another night of poor sleep and very bad cramps.  He fooled around the bus some and took a long nap in the afternoon.  I put together “February Spring Fever” for my website and posted it in the evening.  I didn’t feel well either.  I was glad to hibernate for the day.

We’ve been in Boron before and done the tourist thing so we didn’t try to sightsee.  We took the dogs for several long walks.  There are empty desert fields everywhere with dirt roads where we can walk.  It’s great for the dogs.  I think the roads are for ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles).  I saw one, but no one came near us, thank heaven.  I sure don’t want to have sand and dust kicked up in my face.

I enjoyed the walks although it was amazingly windy.  I think in the evening it got up to 50 mph.  It was warmer in the morning but it got stronger and colder at night.  The wind excited the dogs.  They ran more and charged each other and pretended to dig holes.  The wind rocked the bus all day and at night.  It was kind of fun and exciting. 

This is the field behind our RV park. I turn to look back at it and Dennis walks away down one of the dirt paths. Boron High School is to his left. 03/28/08
We walked behind the athletic fields of the high school. This is typical of the land everywhere around Boron. 03/28/08
Above left behind the wood fence is the RV park and behind the wire fence is the school. Above right is a residential street by the RV park and the school. Below left is the front lawn of Boron HS, home of the Bobcats. It is hard to show how very, very windy it was both days on these walks. 03/29/08

Tonight Dennis is feeling better.  We decided to risk eating at Domingo’s Mexican Restaurant and hoped that Mexican food wouldn’t upset his stomach.  I love this restaurant.  They are unique.  Food is great and the ambience is the best.  They play Mexican music but I’ve never heard any like this before.  It’s almost like a caricature of Mexican music.  It is humorous — as if it was taken from a cartoon or a movie.  I really liked it.  We watched the train go round and round and enjoyed the decorations and the waiters who always look thrilled that you came in and shake your hands.  It’s a fun place.  Dennis ate with good appetite and so far, so good.

It's worth a stop in Boron to eat at Domingo's. They have lots of curiosities to look at while we eat and the food is excellent. If the weather were better we could eat on the patio. 03/29/08

March 30, 2008, Sunday evening
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, NV

We both slept well and woke feeling rested.  I noticed I felt much better this morning and ready to set out.  I guess I’ve moved into travel mode now.

We made our best start yet, at 9:40 AM.  Dennis says he feels much better.  It is overcast.  There is talk of rain but no sign of it yet.  It is still extremely windy.  There are big dramatic clouds in the sky.  The scenery is what I would call Mojave Monotonous.  The only interesting feature is the Joshua trees.  They are blooming.  They have gigantic yellow cones pointing south. 

After Barstow we passed Calico Ghost town and after that we were in new territory.  We haven’t been north on I-15 before.  We were surprised at the great dry lakes and the climb to 4,000 feet.  We arrived at this park at 1:30 PM.  We’re just south of the airport and just a few miles south of Las Vegas off of I-15.

The drive between Barstow and Las Vegas has precipitous climbs and drops from 4000'. We were surprised. The white patches in the valleys are dry lake beds. 03/30/08

Oasis Las VegasRV Resort is large and has lawns and trees.  The sites are a bit tight but not bad.  They offer 10% discounts with cards like AAA or Good Sam or others.  We took a Deluxe pull-through that costs $41.40 + $3.73 tourist tax per day.  I think for the area and with these amenities the price is probably decent.  We’ll look around and find out.

We walked over to Rick’s Café, a bar and casual restaurant located in the registration building.  There is also a ballroom and a theater, a gift shop and fast food store, and an exercise room.  Outside the café, palms surround decks and an elaborate pool.  Despite the chilly wind plenty of kids are swimming.  We made friends with our bartender/waiter, Orlando Martinez, of Brownsville, TX.  He used to manage an RV park there and he told me there is a town in Texas called Elsa.  He told us what to see and look for in Las Vegas.  He said the Bellagio is the most beautiful.

We stop in one of the registration parking spaces.
Dennis walks towards the registration building. Our space is down this lane.
A few lanes away is a central park location where we walked the dogs. There are some small playpens here for small dogs to be set free. It's a dog friendly place. Rick's cafe has a modest menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After walking the dogs we came in for cheeseburgers.
Outside the cafe is a deck with tables and chairs. Below the deck is the pool area. 03/30/08
Tomorrow we will go see the Bellagio.
Elsa Walton, Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, NV, Sunday, March 30, 2008