We were not planning on stopping in Las Vegas so we stopped short to boondock at the Railroad Pass Casino, about 15 miles south of town. They have an upper lot dedicated to no more than 3 nights stay for RVs, but we did talk to one gentleman who had been there 5 weeks without interruption. Cost......zero. The area is famous for a large herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep in the nearby rocky cliffs, but after several hours of surveying I found none. Barb, however, did come out $136 ahead in the casino. That always makes us both happy.
The next day we gassed up, had breakfast, and got the truck/RV washed at Blue Beacon Truck/RV Wash in North Las Vegas, before heading north. Although Blue Beacon is designed to handle large commercial trucks we have used them twice on this trip with incredibly good results. $39 for a complete wash/treatment of both truck and RV. They do a very nice job getting rid of all the road grime no matter how bad. These are located across the US along interstate highways. www.bluebeacon.com
We headed up I-15 and then north along US 93 towards Ely, Nevada. This is about 300 miles of straight, flat, nothingness. I know for a fact that I watched some of these desert views for nearly an hour before finally arriving at the next hill! Unfortunately, we also constantly gained in altitude and the addition of a pretty good headwind helped cut our fuel mileage to 9.8 mpg. So much for the 16 mpg + numbers we accrued coming across New Mexico and Arizona. The 2nd night we camped at the Prospector Hotel & Casino in Ely, NV who had full hookups for $15 a night....can't pass up a bargain! The casino/restaurant/bar were pretty busy due to a big local fishing tournament so after Barb contributed to the local economy we enjoyed a good salad in the RV. I do have to 'pimp' Guy Fieri's Mozzarella Parmesan Pork Sausage as it was a delicious addition to our salad. Some of the best I have ever had.
The next day we completed our dry land voyage to Battle Mountain, NV. U.S. Highway 50 is nicknamed "The loneliest highway in America", with good reason. After some initial road ice on the first hills out of town we were able to set the cruise control. The route was much more scenic as we climbed 5 different mountain passes, 4 of which were over 7000 feet. It did still have it's long, flat stretches, but didn't seem as mind-numbing as the day before. We did much better this day as we averaged 14.1 mpg over 235 miles even with the mountains.
I haven't seen my cousin Tom, but once since high school and although we were fairly close 'way back when' lost touch over the years. He lives in the country outside of town so we were able to park next to his house and 'mooch-dock' for two nights. Cost...(insert smiley face here). In fact he had smoked Cornish Game Hens and some Chili waiting for us when we arrived. After a bonfire and a couple of cold ones the family was once again intact.
I did have some repairs to make to the solar harness as a fitting I had just disconnected fried when it fell and arched against the wrong address on the battery bank. I got a new SAE connector and patched it up the next day. Barb and I really enjoyed seeing Tom again, but next time might be in Northern Idaho as he has purchased property to build a cabin on once he retires in a year or so. To top things off Barb found several agates in Tom's driveway gravel. Suffice it to say our rig is getting heavier.
The next day we arrived in Reno to some rain. We made reservations at the Grand Sierra Hotel/Casino RV Park figuring it would give us access to all the major downtown stuff we wanted to do. Total price for a very nice back in spot with extra room for the truck was $25/night with a 25% discount for retired military. Total price for 4 nights: $85 with tax. The next morning we were treated with a much less rainy view.
We visited the Grand Sierra Casino our first night, but did venture downtown and around the area for a bit the next day. Alcohol is very expensive in Reno.....I found $4-$6 beers to be common, but was informed that better deals exist @ The Cal Nev Casino among others. I will be in search of them. Barb did much better with the economy, profiting $324 for her first two nights.
Day 3 we ventured south to Carson City, Lake Tahoe and the little village of Gardnerville, Nevada. The trip to Lake Tahoe was uneventful and without much snow either. The pass going across from just south of Carson City had very little on it as did the pass out into Minden on our way back.
The lake itself is beautiful with some of the clearest water I have ever seen. We stopped in Stateline, NV for a couple of hours to do some sightseeing and so Barb could overcome her 'One Arm Bandit Withdrawal' sickness at Harrah's. There was snow up there in the Sierras somewhere as we saw multitudes of skiers and snowboarders coming back into town late afternoon. One of the locals told us they are in the middle of a 4 year drought which has eliminated much of the snowpack necessary to keep Lake Tahoe full enough to support summer boat docks. On the way back we sidestepped into the small town of Gardnerville to dine at the area's premier Basque Restaurants, J.T. Basque's Bar & Grill. The ambience, food, and service were incredible.
Day 4 consisted of picking up some lamb we ordered cut up and getting the truck serviced as Barb battled the laundry including all the bedding. Friday night we toured Virginia Street for the last time this trip. Barb finished up $40 tonight. Thank you, Reno. I'm sure we'll see each other again.
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