Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winds of change

We are parked in our usual spot in Las Vegas, behind Paris, or, more accurately right now, behind Planet Hollywood (map). We arrived after dark last night, and most of the spots further north, behind Paris and Bally's, were already taken, although they are empty now as I type.

After we left the Arroyo Crossing shopping center Sunday, we headed to the Walmart on Fort Apache, a bit northwest. The Petsmart/Banfield there is right next door. When I had scoped it all out on Google Earth, I noticed a dirt parking strip across the dead end road south of the store, where some trucks were parked, and when we arrived this looked to be a nicer option that the store lot itself, so that's where we parked (map).

It turned out that even though the road is a dead end, people do cut through the gravel to get to the frontage road just to the east, but only a small handful of cars did that while we were there. In addition to the trucks, we saw another two rigs over the time we were there. It was very quiet, and darker than the store lot would have been. In fact, it was pleasant enough that we would have spent another couple nights there.

Late Sunday afternoon, however, I received an alert from the National Weather Service informing us that there would be a high wind watch today, starting in the morning hours and running into the wee hours tomorrow. Winds are forecast to be 30-40mph gusting to 60-70mph. We decided we'd be better off here near the strip, in the relative protection of tall buildings on three sides. Still, it's been gusty here on the street, and I even had to call Gregory Popovich, a performer at the Planet Hollywood, to let him know that his advertising trailer was in danger of blowing over. This item consisted of a large sign attached to a flimsy trailer, and was chained to a fence just south of us, so my call was partly self-serving as we did not want it to hit us.

After picking up our prescription cat food, dropping off some used motor oil, and grabbing another few items from Walmart yesterday, we rolled over to Massage Nirvana just a mile north, where I nabbed a much-needed therapeutic massage at the introductory $49 price, while Louise took advantage of their services to get a microdermabrasion treatment. We booked those at the end of the day to take maximum advantage of our quiet parking spot, which is what put us here on the strip in the dark.

The wind started up right on schedule this morning, on an otherwise sunny and pleasant day. I noticed the Popovich trailer tilting up on one wheel as I was walking the dog. Even poor Opal, who is now just a little slip of a thing, had trouble remaining upright in the strong gusts.

That was nothing compared to now, though, and it's supposed to get worse before it gets better, with the strongest gusts this evening. In the meantime, I have my eyes peeled for large chunks of debris rocketing down the street, and we've had the police scanner on in the background to see if any trouble is headed our way. We're staying put in the bus, although we may brave the elements briefly for a half block later to go to dinner.

Now that we're well-parked here, I expect we'll just stay in this spot for another few nights. Depending on how things go with Ben and Karen and their generator, we may end up moving back over to either the Orleans or Arizona Charlies before heading west out of town on our way to Death Valley.


  1. (unlurk)
    Hi Sean & Louise
    I/we read your blog with great interest every post and reap the wealth of information you provide about your travels. This is our first year RVing (34 ft MH) and are always looking for free/inexpensive places to stay every night, and your blog, like I said gives us many ideas. We traveled down the west coast from Canada and across CA,AZ,NM Without a problem from anyone. Then into Texas and stopped at a Texas I-10 rest area you blogged about in Van Horn. Great spot BTW. After reading your post and other bloggers about truckers not being happy about RVers taking their spots in Flying Js and rest stops we decided to crash at the van Horn rest stop for the night anyway. If Odyssey can ...we can.
    Wary of issues from truckers we pulled up to the very end of the rest area and parked behind another MH. Later a semi pulled up next to our RV at midnight and idled right beside us for 6 hrs and left before we got up. Hmmmm... Then just before we were ready to leave at 7am I did another circle check of our RV and toad and noticed the 12x12" painted to match, cover for our water heater was gone and no where in sight. I was stunned to say the least. I swore it was there when I did my post trip walk around the evening before as its pretty hard to miss, when it's missing. I couldn't believe one of these trucker guys would actually do that. Maybe I am wrong but it sure smacks of nefariousness.

    Have you guys had any negative experiences with truckers like this in your years of travels???

    That was a big "welcome to Texas for us". Now I can't wait to leave.

  2. Chris,

    I think it is highly unlikely that your rig was vandalized by a truck driver. It is much more likely that your water heater cover blew off on the highway -- a much more common occurrence than folks would like to believe. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    1. Truck drivers in general are a fairly courteous group. They can get irritated if an RV takes up a truck stall at a real truck stop, as they generally consider this to be "their turf" and they count on those stalls being available. I have heard of (but never experienced) instances of RV vandalism at truck stops, but never at a highway rest area, where they expect to have to share the lot with RVs, cars with trailers, and other highway users.

    2. If someone was going to vandalize your rig, whether that was a trucker or anyone else, they would more likely damage something that is not easily replaced such as a water heater cover. I suspect they would key your paint job or slash a tire.

    3. Even if someone decided, unlikely as it is, that your water heater cover was a juicy target, they wouldn't take it with them. They would simply discard it there at the rest stop, or maybe run it over on their way out ("oops -- didn't realize part of your RV fell under my truck") Really, why risk getting caught with the evidence?

    So I honestly think your cover fell off on the road and you just didn't notice. If anyone did steal your cover, it would be another RVer with a similar rig, not a trucker.


    BTW, I recommend that any covers not permanently attached with a hinge be safety-wired in place. You can use picture wire for the purpose, and small ferrules that can be crimped with a regular wire crimper. Using a snap-ring in the assembly will allow the cover to be removed completely for service.

  3. Cheers Sean for reply and tip. Your points are well taken, and I shall secure my, soon to be purchased, new cover better, and give the trucker the benefit of the doubt.


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