Racing in Las Vegas

The weather has certainly been on a warming trend and for the first time in months we used the air conditioners.  The daytime highs have been in the low 80s under clear skies.  Even with the sunshade, once the sun hits the front window the interior of the coach immediately heats up.  There is no doubt about it, Las Vegas is located in a dry, unforgiving desert environment.  The RV park we’re in is full, but I wonder how many coaches are here in the July and August heat.

We put our extra two weeks here to good use.  High on the list was an oil change for the coach – the first.  For readers unfamiliar with industrial equipment, the diesel motor in the rig takes 24 quarts of oil with a filter change.  There are also two fuel filters (primary and secondary) to change.  Don’t try this at home.

The specification calls for an oil change every 15,000 miles or 12 months.  We are just under on mileage but over on time, so we decided to find a place in Vegas for service.  A little competitive shopping went a long way since the estimates ranged from $145 to $250.  We settled on a place named Speedco, which is sort of like a Jiffy Lube for trucks.  The place was busy, clean and reasonably priced.  The work took about 30 minutes.  On the way back to the RV park we stopped to top off the fuel.  I’m glad that’s out of the way and we’re ready to hit the road.

The prior log entry mentioned that I had signed up for two 5K runs.  The first was on March 5 and the second was today.  Yes, consecutive weekly races was a little crazy but it was a chance to confirm my times.  For the curious, a 5K is about 3.10685596 miles.  More or less.

The first run was around a massive outlet mall at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as The Strip.  It had rained the night before and was still a little cool and overcast the morning of the race.  The route was flat and I was able to keep up a good pace.  Rounding the last turn and heading for the finish line, I was astonished to see the timer had not yet turned 30 minutes.  My official time was 29:47, or about 4:39 faster than my September 6 run in Arkansas.  Put another way, I cut 55.8 seconds off each kilometer.  My overall pace went from 11:05 to 9:35 per mile.  Needless to say, I was pleased to see the workouts had a positive effect.  Now the trick was to see if I could do it again.

The second race was much different.  The morning was clear and the sun was already warming things up.  By the 8:00 AM start it was already in the low 70s.  As it turned out, the course was not all that flat.  After a brief downhill there was a long, long uphill pull.  Several of the runners stopped but I was able to keep going.  I was sure my time would suck.  Making the final turn, I was amazed to see I was running another sub-30 minute race.  My final time was 29:42, which was marginally faster than last week.  Taking into account the layout of course, it was a material improvement.  There will be no more races for a while.

Jeanne has been diligent with her workouts and is right on the edge of moving up her routine.  In fact, she has run on days I decided to take off.

We ran into a snag with the computer/GPS mapping system.  It seems Dell sent the wrong 12-volt power supply for Jeanne’s computer, which means the computer is running on batteries while traveling in the car or coach.  We better get to where we’re going in about three hours, or else!  After several trips to the Dell web site we determined Dell doesn’t even offer a 12-volt power supply for our laptop models, which is what they should have told us up front!  As with most things, money solves the problem and we eventually found that Lind Electronics had what we wanted.  $125 and four days later, problem solved!

While on the electronics issue, we have still not decided what to do about weak cell-phone reception.  Once again we made an executive decision to delay the decision.  Issue tabled!

When traveling, no matter how hard you try the inside of the rig gets dirty.  The surface of each location has something that will rub off on the carpet — stones, sand, dust, oil, diesel, etc.  We finally broke down and arranged for a professional to clean the carpet.  It was well worth the time and money; the amount of grime that came out of the rig was surprising and this is something we now plan to do on an annual basis.

The RV park we are staying in is dangerously close to a Bass Pro Shop and eventually our resolve eroded.  Jeanne ended up with a new pair of hiking shoes (which she sorely needed) and I ended up with a hunting-style jacket.  Too bad Bass Pro is not a publicly traded company.

Anticipating the weather will cool as we head north, we took advantage of end-of-season sales for warm clothes.  We hope to stay snuggly warm in the late winter and early spring months.

Almost one compete day was spent getting our tax documentation in order.  Our travels make this somewhat challenging since the documents are forwarded from our Texas mail drop.  Eventually we got it all together and sent the package off to our CPA in Ventura, California.  It was a relief to get it in the mail.

Jeanne’s latest project is a wedding gift for her sister DeeDee, who will be married in July.  I have no idea what the gift is, but Jeanne is diligently working on it; sewing under the magnifier-lamp.  

We had another memorable consumer experience.  On two previous occasions we very much enjoyed the buffet at the Sunset Station Casino, which is close to the RV park.  The process is simple; you walk up, pay your money and hit the chow line minutes later.  However, on one particular Thursday evening, we stood in line for several minutes, paid our money and then stood there for about 40 minutes waiting for a table.  Table availability was not an issue, there were several tables set and ready to go less than ten feet away.  The employees just couldn’t get things moving and management was conspicuously absent.  How something this simple can get so screwed up is beyond comprehension.  After a few sharp words with the staff, we eventually got past the velvet rope.  Most of the conversation is not worth repeating here, but I did ask that if we were still in line the next morning, if we would be refunded the price difference between the dinner and breakfast buffets.

Late in the day we received a call from Andy, who was on his way to Colorado and wanted to spend the night with us in the coach.  Of course it was o.k. and we very much enjoyed his visit.  We spent the evening talking and playing video games.  We look forward to another visit on his return trip.

Our remaining time here in Las Vegas is growing short and we are looking forward to moving on.  We enjoy it here, but it is not the place to settle.  We wonder what awaits us in Carson City?