Wednesday, January 25, 2017


We took too long getting out of Eastside Cannery. I did not push Frank to go, but he did not have a sense of the length of the drive. 

We were both awake very early and could have gotten out and had more time for our first day at Red Rock. We were there to check in before noon and they gave us a room. They might have checked us in earlier, but either way we had the car.

Most frustrating is my memory. I had forgotten the easiest way to pack in luggage to the hotel. 
Park in East Garage on the 3 floor. There are signs for Platinum parking, but the immediate parking is for anyone.

Walk into the casino and you will be on the floor just above the lobby.

There are elevators to go down to the lobby and so avoid the long staircase. Check in there and in the lobby are elevators to the rooms. This is the most efficient way to bring in your own luggage.

We had quite a bit of stuff because I had shopped Walmarts and a grocery store near Red Rock, really preparing for my five days in Laughlin. Then we both have sleep apnea machines and luggage. It added up to a good bit.

We were exhausted and we opted to use the "free" luggage guys in the main check in area, which meant a $5 tip.

We could not leave the car near that check in area and make a couple trips ourselves or use their carts as we do in most hotels in the country.

However, on the way out we could access our car easily in that East Parking Garage lot and make as many trips as we needed.

The rooms are very nice. Fine marbled bathrooms with two sinks, towel racks, a good view of the mountains, plenty of electrical outlets, a large collection of pillows.

I am amazed at how many pillows some places put out. I make a tower of them in some corner because even two is sometimes one too many.

Once we settled in, we decided to swim in the heated pool. We could not be certain what was heated, but we saw another guy swimming and sure enough, it was at a delightful temperature.

The swim erased all the driving difficulties.

However, it cramped up this muscle on my right side that is giving me trouble, and the hot tub did not erase the cramp. Aleve helps.

I had some back in the room.

Refreshed, even without a nap, we set out for the little hike at Calico Basin. It is free and just off the Calico Basin road with free parking. There were plenty of rock climbers going up the large rock and in other sections. The sun was off the whole area at this time, but it still was very beautiful. The trail was a bit rocky for walking, but I had my nice hiking boots and that protected my ankles from turning when walking in the rockier areas. Much of the trail is maintained with gravel brought it. This is easy walking.

For the developing blister on one toe I bought the foot cream called Zim's Max foot cream and it worked very well. I also bought some bandaids that had a gel in them and put one on the developing blister. That worked and I had no other foot issues on the trip. I should have done that earlier and not put it off.  Just walking around casinos in the dry air does damage.  Vasoline will lubricate, but it won't hydrate.  These foot creams are just perfect. 

The cream is made for dry and cracked skin. Here in Vegas the air makes for dry and cracked skin. It has Arnica, Aloe, and I-arginine as well as a large list of other ingredients.

Both of us were tired from our day.

I used the American Casino Guide to get a 2 for 1 supper buffet. It was good as always. I ate too much, however.

One favorite concoction was the green pork stew mixed with collard greens from another table.

I like this buffet, but I have two complaints. First, they do not have a hot sauce other than Tabasco. No Cholula. Second, their bowls are too small to make concoctions from various parts of the buffet.

They did have some sugar reduced iced cream and no sugar added desserts and I had some, but unlike other years I did not have good numbers the next morning. It is discouraging.

In Laughlin I'll eat more in the room and lighter.

With the boys I've been going to two buffets a day. I usually do just one.

At Red Rock Frank wanted one upscale meal at the Yardhouse.  His main course was microbrews, of which they had quite a selection.  One even came with a free glass.
I stay away from carb high beer most of the time.  I am also tired of the inflated red wine prices. 
Here I saw a sangria that looked great, a hand crafted specialty drink which was cheaper than wine.  I don't quite get that.  How can they put a glass of red wine in with a liquor and other tastes and end up offering it cheaper than buying the red wine?  This one was made with agave, but I have found that in most places I can have them just leave our the agave.  I had two of these, one on a happy hour special of $8.  They did not spike my sugar.  Very interesting.
For my entre I had a halibut special and it was the best piece of fish I have had in a while.  Buffets don't offer good fish.  It is always overcooked. 
Frank and I had a good long talk.  The waiter was great.  The music was not too bad.  So it was a great meal.  We reduced the price a bit with $10 of comped points.
It was one of three meals over 20 days that I paid cash for.
I guess I deserved it.
I'd certainly go there again, especially with someone who liked beer.


Son Frank and I like to hike a bit in Red Rock Canyon as part of our father/son time away.  It is a great setting just to quietly enjoy one another's company.

We don't try anything very challenging, but simple trails.
Generally, we have gone in November, so I was worried that December might bring some winter weather issues.  There can even be snow at times.
This day I was particularly wary because I felt terrible. I had an extreme sore throat and the pain of it was moving into my left ear. I thought I was getting a good cold. I was over tired and weary. It was hard to get it up for the hiking and I was disappointed because I look forward to it all year. 

The weather was fine, however, and whatever was going on in my head resolved itself enough for me to enjoy myself. 

The first hike into the canyon there are two stops at Calico. I had forgotten which had stop had the steep incline. It is number 2. If we were to hike all the way to number 2, we still have to hike back to the car either on the same trail or on the road, so I generally hike just until I can see that incline and then hike back on the trail.
This time the helpful person in the Visitor's Center suggested I substitute the Sandstone Quarry trail, and just head back again when the rock scrambling became necessary.  It is right into the rocks and moves away from road traffic, so it is quieter. 
I did not remember doing it before, and we decided to try it, especially since there was major construction the closed Stop 1 for the Calico hike, adding noise and making my usual route impossible. I hate the long climb at 2 at the end of the hiking.
Also, the parking in the first Calico turn off was closed so the second turn off parking was packed up.

The new foot cream had well prepared my feet and I was confident I would not get blisters.
It was a good decision. The hike is easy at the beginning and then there is moderate rock scrambling. I very much liked the hike, and we did rock scramble for a bit without trouble. We stopped at an open space with red rock around us. This is not the hike to actually see the red rock. It moves out of the intense red rock area that defines Calico.

However, just before sunset on the evening before we had gone to the free area up Calico Basin Road and taken the short hike into plenty of red rock on the back side of Calico. 
I loved this hike. It is not in the scenic drive park. So, we had seen a good bit of red rock formation and rock climbers.
More rock climbers passed us on the trail.

On the trail we saw a road runner pass and it was fairly up close.
I was as delighted as I could be with all the discomforts, especially in my throat. 
This was a quieter hike than the Calico trail.  It moves away from the road and the car noises.
I especially liked the mix here of creosote and other trees with the views of the rocks.

One interesting fact on creosote trees is that they take moisture from the air. So when California has a huge rain and it drifts in the air, the creosote can capture water from the humidity.

 Occasionally we would see a bit of red rock mixed with the less colorful rocks.

 On our second day we did not hike.  We checked out of the hotel.  Frank had to get to the airport, but we had time to drive around the park again, see a few of the pulloff sights, and take a few more photos.

We did not get going early except to pack. 

Frank seemed content to take his time this morning. He went down to play a bit more video poker.

I repacked carefully since I had the time, putting all the food and drugs and such in the backpack and the rest in the suitcase. I added the sleep apnea machine.

So, when we were ready to check out, we could manage the luggage in just one move and not need a bellman nor a cart.

We got it packed out and we checked out at the desk. They would not extend us an hour, but we really did not need it.

Frank redeemed his matchplay from MyVegas and won twenty dollars. I redeemed my MyVegas two for one and used points for the rest of the breakfast.

We decided not to hike again, but just to drive through Red Rock and stop where we wanted. The construction at Calico one made parking at Calico two  very crowded with people; they extended along the road for quite a while.

I was not satisfied with any pull overs near Calico because the edge of the road seemed high and a bit jagged. I did not want to risk cutting a tire.

Finally, I saw one fellow pulled off the highway and pulled in behind him. Here we took some photos, even a selfie, and then set our seats back and took a long nap. It was fine to fall asleep with the rocks right there in front of us, wake to see them, doze again. It was quiet.

I kept driving slowly through the park. Somehow it was a different experience. It may have been that I was over most of the illness or that I used polarized sunglasses over my regular glasses. Or it many have been that the sun was just right at about noon.

Whatever was the reason, I was better engaged by the canyon on this drive. I especially experienced how the dips and turns of the road changed how the nearby cactus hills merged with the far away rocks. 
I could imagine the people who designed the roads thinking of this visual experience. 

And I thought again about how productive it is to re-experience art and bring a new day's perceptions and emotions to the experience.

Frank was fairly quiet, perhaps not looking forward to the long plane ride home. He did say that for him four days was plenty, not too much and not too little.

For me, uninterrupted and unshared father/on time is very rich in pleasure. I was so grateful this year to have it with both Keith and Frank.

We stopped again a few places. Often I wanted to let those behind me go by. They travel much faster than I want to travel and often close on my bumper. In traffic I most hate tailgaters.

Once there were two cars behind me and the last one decided to pass. It is a two lane one way highway so passing makes sense. He had room, but I moved a few inches to the right to give him more. When I did that, the car directly behind me also decided to pass, and did not see the passing car behind him. 
Only a quick horn saved an accident.

 Frank having a coke.

We left the canyon finally and headed to the airport.

Frank said he best liked the hike at Calico Basin, but he did not want to go there again or to the spot called Red Springs near there.

We had plenty of time to get to the airport. I took Sahara and then Flamingo. It dawned on me that a night at the Gold Coast as first night in Vegas might be better than our choice of the Eastside Cannery. The Gold Coast has a heated pool and Frank has been there before. I tried this time to book a room there, but the cowboys had them all locked up. 

On the way in we stopped for a bathroom break while I filled the tank. Good thing. Gas in Laughlin was forty cents a gallon higher than what I paid.
At the gas station I gave away the last two cokes to a fellow with a backpack who asked for change for coffee.

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