Everybody says “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” but we just had too much fun so here goes …
Leisure Travel Van (LTV) Rally
Our little RV was built in Canada and we don’t often get to see other ones, much less get to attend a rally and learn new things. We jumped at the chance to attend LTV’s first rally in the US and it’s a good thing we did, because it filled up in several hours. We have tried a few times to do the factory tour in Manitoba, but never could get a spot.
It was great getting to meet people from all over North America and hear how everybody loves their LTV. We also enjoyed getting to meet the factory people, many of whom Don had spoken to at times when we had questions.
Don attended seminars by Mercedes-Benz (maker of the Sprinter chassis), Dometic (our fridge/air conditioner), and Leisure Travel (RV maker). He said it was nice to hear from the experts, share information, hear about new innovations/upgrades, and confirm that we are on the right track with what we are doing.
We even toured the new LTV show units to see if there was anything new we wanted to add – luckily there isn’t, except for, maybe, these little storage units where the top comes up to make a table/desk. We’ll have to see, “I wonder how much they weigh?” – Van Go (our RV) is on a diet, she needs to lose some weight!
Prior to arriving in Vegas, we called the local LTV dealer (Wagon Trail RV) and had them order a wheel simulator (hubcap) because we had lost one somewhere in west Texas when going through a construction zone. It happens, but we did learn a trick from another LTV owner to make it harder to do where he uses cable tie-wraps to secure the cover to the rim.
LTV went all out on planning our rally. They had sponsors for the Good Humor Ice Cream truck to deliver ice cream treats for everyone, planned dinners, a breakfast, a Vegas show, poker games, and an 18 hole putting tournament. They also organized excursions with Las Vegas Pop Culture Tours.
Our tour guide was Babs, a spunky transplant from New York, who used to work for Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow. She was a wealth of information about the “old days” and current happenings in the city. If you ever get a chance to be in Vegas go on a tour with her, she’s great. These are the tours we took with Babs …
Vegas! The Show
In Vegas, the live band and old-time showgirls are becoming a thing of the past. They are being replaced by big-name acts (Brittany Spears, David Copperfield, Cirque du Soleil, etc.) and Vegas has had to change with them.
Also, over time, gambling has spread across the country so Vegas is not known as much for it’s gambling. Now days, Vegas is known for it’s tourism and restaurants… sad, the end of an era.
“Vegas! The Show” is an old-time live musical show with dancing and a live band. The show is about the evolution of the glitz and glamour of Sin City. It was a whirlwind of everything from cool jazz with the Rat Pack to admiring the dancing and costumes (or lack thereof) of the classic Vegas showgirls in full regalia. It was a great date night for Don and I, but at the same time getting to visit with our new LTV friends.
Springs Preserve of Las Vegas
It is hard to imagine that Las Vegas’ dry desert environment was once home to a natural springs and abundant water. The Springs Preserve is a 180 acre cultural and historical attraction that sits on the former springs and offers exhibits, galleries, hiking trails, live animal shows and botanical teaching gardens. It is also home to the 70,000 square foot Nevada State Museum.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Springs Preserve is run by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the agency that manages the city’s water and promotes conservation. This is away from the touristy area and a getaway for the locals.
A walk through the preserve is a walk through Las Vegas history to present times:
- Origen Experience: This exhibit teaches visitors about the early springs inhabitants with three galleries. There were several remarkable exhibits with Native Americans talking about their lives and their dealings with the government.
- Desert Living Center: The benefits of recycling, conservation and alternative energy are explained in this center through 42 exhibits, a sustainability gallery, and classroom/conference space. While we were there they were holding a Spring Break Camp for a large group of students. It was kinda fun watching the adults working with the kids.
- Botanical Gardens: The 8 acre garden area features a wide range of desert landscapes and showcases native and non-native vegetation and is alive with interpretive stations and hands-on activities.
- The Trails: There are 3.64 miles of trails that wind through the Springs Preserve for hiking or biking. The trails also had interpretive exhibits and displays.
- Nevada State Museum: Displays included state history, desert life, nuclear texting, showgirls/guys, and the mobsters who controlled the Las Vegas Strip
So, everything from half naked showgirls to solar … how could we go wrong? It was a fun day and nice to get out and stretch our legs while learning about Vegas then and now.
Getting to visit this massive man-made engineering wonder gave us a new respect for what man can accomplish. Hoover Dam was built in the hottest, driest area of the United States between Arizona and Nevada. It was built because this region had a strong need to irrigate low laying plains, known as low desert areas, without having to put up with flooding or having to battle over water.
Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression and men arrived in droves to work, often bringing their families in tow. Early life was rugged with no electricity, and average temperatures of 119 degrees during the day, poor sanitary conditions, and consisted of dangerous work.
Before they could begin construction on the dam they had to bore two tunnels through the canyon walls to divert the water of the Colorado river. The use of machinery within these tunnels created hazards with carbon monoxide poisoning, as well, as danger from drilling and blasting the rock.
Once the river was diverted the workers began working on the dam’s base. They had to remove over half a million cubic yards of mud and muck to reach bedrock. Simultaneously the “high scalers” worked the canyon walls by blasting the walls to create a smooth surface for the dam. These workers were some of the highest paid workers at $5.60 per day.
Over the next two years (1933-1935), while building the dam structure the men poured the equivalent amount of concrete that could have paved a 16 foot wide highway from San Francisco to New York City! After construction the diversion tunnels were closed to start filling Lake Mead.
Hoover dam’s mission today is still flood control and water irrigation but also encompasses electricity generation, recreation, and wildlife habitation. The 10 acre Powerhouse houses 17 generators that produce more than four billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. This is equal to the yearly electricity consummation for Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.
It was a fascinating tour and I think we are becoming “dam experts.”
See our campground here.