Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We can see Paris from here...

We are urban stealth boondocking on the Las Vegas strip (map). As I've written here before, it's possible to do this if one is discreet, even though it is widely reported to be impossible, even in guidebooks like Casino Camping. This is our first attempt at it, though, as the last two times we came through, we stayed in commercial parks (the Silverton, now defunct, and the Oasis). Having to take a shuttle bus to get to the strip, and being chained to its schedule, was a pain, and for one night of passing through, we just wanted to be able to walk to dinner.

We had actually planned to park in the back lot of the Tropicana, next door to the old San Remo (now Hooters Casino), a location that has been known to be accommodating in the past. Yesterday morning, though, we met our "neighbors" at Government Wash, Richard and Susan, who suggested this spot. They were very nice folks, living in their Foretravel. Richard had actually come over the previous evening, seeing our engine doors open, to ask if we were having any trouble or needed any help. I was up to my arms in the genny bay trying to change the oil, a messy, frustrating process that was making me cranky (topped off by the fact that the fancy drain valve I bought to simplify the process in the future turned out to be the wrong size).

This lot, which doubles as a through street between Flamingo Avenue and Harmon Street, actually belongs to Bally's and Paris Las Vegas, which, like the Flamingo and Caesar's Palace across the street, are part of the Harrah's empire. There was one other rig already here, and several semis parked for the night. We were very self conscious and tried not to attract any attention, but Odyssey does that all on her own. As we left the coach to walk to dinner, one of the armed Bally's security officers, on a bicycle, came over to us. He asked all the usual questions about the bus (is that a two-story?), and where we were headed, and we asked if it was OK to park there for the night. We got a pleasant "yes" and directions on how to get into the casino from the back lot (not obvious). No guarantees for the future, of course, but at least this time, Bally's security was RV-friendly.

We had a very nice dinner (if lackluster service) at Venuto, an Italian-themed restaurant in the Flamingo. I stayed at the Flamingo on my first trip to Las Vegas, some 35+ years ago. Back then, the joint still held vestiges of the place Bugsy Siegel opened in the middle of the desert, and there was nothing else out here except for Caesar's Palace across the street. Bugsy wouldn't be able to even find the place, let alone recognize it, today. The landscaped courtyard was the only thing I found even vaguely familiar.

Our plans to wander the strip a bit, do some people watching, and maybe see the pirate spectacle in front of TI (which has been completely revised to a more adult theme from when we last saw it a few years ago) were thwarted by the weather -- it was cold and damp when we came out of dinner, and it started raining shortly thereafter. So we just spent a quiet night at home.

It's sunny and pleasant this morning, so maybe we'll wander around a bit before we head out. Our destination today is Pahrump, just a couple hours west of here and about the half-way point to Death Valley. Our mail should be waiting for us there, under general delivery, and we'll need to stock up on groceries for our Death Valley stay.


  1. Hi Louise and Sean: "Neighbor Richard" here (from Govt. Wash)- thanks for the "cameo" mention in your blog. Glad you found the lot behind Bally's ageeable (I called ahead to have the security guard look over the "Odyssey" while you gambled away all your diesel money...!!) It was fun and inspiring meeting you folks. Excellence is one of my core values and you two certainly manifest that- the portable hot tub is an especially nice touch! Any suggestions on how to start my own blog ("Travels with Contessa"). Godspeed, Richard, Susan Sugar ("guard the perimeter) Bear and Contessa.
    "Creating Art that shifts Consciousness"

  2. Richard,

    Nice to see you here in the comments. We enjoyed chatting with you both. Are the crowds showing up yet in Lake Mead?

    Looks like you've already set up "Travels with Contessa" and just need to start posting. It helps to have some theme or focus for your blog. Are you writing for your friends and family? Your clients or customers? A good RV blog that does a little of both is Tour of America by the editor of Airstream Life magazine and his family.

    A book that I would recommend is No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason.

    As far as the mechanics of keeping a blog, what you have already set up through Blogger is just fine. I like clean, simple backgrounds that don't distract from the writing. If you plan to use digital photos, I recommend downloading the free photo organizer Picasa. It plays very nicely with blogger and really makes photos easy.

    If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at louise.hornor "at" I don't always check the comments as regularly as I should. Good luck!


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