Friday, August 21, 2009


We are at Sam's Town RV resort, on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas (map).

We've stayed here before, under similar circumstances. As then, it is stinking hot here now, 113° or so, and we're making good use of the 50-amp hookup to run all three roof air conditioners. And the pool, in this weather, is mighty refreshing.

Colorado lost the coin toss, so to speak, although several folks voted for that route (after we had already left Tonopah). After arriving in Tonopah from our lovely digs in the desert, we made a quick stop at the Napa Auto Parts store, where I had called the previous day to inquire about motor oil. Despite having told me they had plenty, and my telling them I would be in to pick up a couple gallons, the local mine had come in first thing in the morning and cleaned them out. I was very annoyed.

We then rolled over to the local no-name gas station and put in 75 gallons at $2.719, which would later prove to be 30 gallons too much. But at least that let us fire up the generator. The only heavy-duty tire outfit in town did not have our size, which left only a quick stop at local market Scolari's to replenish the larder, and we were ready to leave town.

We actually sat there in the Scolari's parking lot for a good ten minutes, trying to decide which way to go. Ultimately, our nervousness about finding tires and motor oil tipped the scales in favor of US-95 to Las Vegas, even though our weather and scenery sensibilities were calling us towards Colorado. As it turns out, just a few minutes down the road, some tooth pain Louise has been having flared up with a vengence, confirming our decision: it would be much easier to find a dentist in Las Vegas than in Ely.

As it turns out, we left Tonopah (and got our shopping done) just in the nick of time. Yesterday was the first day of the "Vegas to Reno The Long Way" off-road race, and Tonopah was the overnight stop for the whole shootin' match last night. As we rolled past the high school (across the street from the market), there were already a couple hundred rigs, and dozens more lined up down the highway to get in. I counted at least four high-end Prevost conversions (this sport has some money), plenty of HDT/MDT conversions either with garages in back, or towing race trailers, and hundreds of more conventional RVs of all stripes, including class-A and -B rigs pulling race trailers, and work trucks pulling toy haulers. Rental units were also well represented.

We passed another hundred or more rigs on US-95, and were thankful to be going the other direction. We could also see rooster tails in the desert from the actual racers in the distance, and we passed two of the day's pit stops on our route, along with another couple set aside for today. Wednesday, we had passed another one out on US-6; they really mean it when they say "the long way."

We had toyed with the idea of ending our day in Beatty, but opted instead to press on to Vegas and just spend two nights here. Louise managed to get a dentist appointment for first thing this morning, and I settled in to find oil and tires. That took me a good part of the day; our tire size is not all that common, and while many shops were willing to sell me a pair of brand new ones that would come to something well north of $1,000 after FET, mounting, and disposal fees, I only found one place in town that had a pair of used take-offs in decent shape, for a total of $330. They are open till noon tomorrow, so we'll head over there around 11, on our way out of town. I had also checked Kingman and Flagstaff, to no avail, since we're heading that way.

As we rolled into town here, I put another 150 gallons of fuel in the tank at an incredible $2.479, a full 12 cents cheaper than anyplace else in town (and 24 cents less than what I paid earlier in the day, in Tonopah, making me wish I had put in less there). Unfortunately, it was at a crappy little 7/11 store, where the dispensers would only sell $75 at a pop, and the clerk could only go to $150. It took three transactions to put in $375 worth, and I finally quit in frustration, even though we could have taken on another 30 gallons or so. We won't see these prices again until Texas (if we're lucky), if current price trends continue.

Last night's project, in the relative (low 90s) cool post-midnight, was to rebuild the fresh water pump, which appeared to have quit after five full years of continuous, 24/7/365 operation. Of course, only after replacing the pump diaphragm with our on-board spare and cleaning everything up did I discover that it was merely a plugged water filter. I now have to repeat to myself "check the simple things first, stupid" before every repair project. Oh well, at least I know my spare is working.

Since our last stay here, another casino hotel has gone up next door, here on the "Boulder strip," a row of casinos between Las Vegas proper and Henderson that markets heavily to locals. The Eastside Cannery, which is actually closer to where we are parked than our host Sam's Town, has a 16-story glass hotel tower completely girded with color-changing lights, and a night club on the top floor which we are hoping will be fairly low key on Friday nights, given that I could easily hear the recorded stuff last night while I stood outside grilling. Speaking of which, 110+ is too hot for that (although at least the sun had dropped below the hills by then) -- tonight we're eating out.

Photo by Jack Black's Stunt Double


  1. I just love reading your blog!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. would you share the contact info for the shop that had the takeoffs?

    I am in LV area and I can use some.

    Peter River

  3. @Peter:

    Call Rick Bales at Ted Wiens Commercial Tire, 702-873-8116.


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