We prefer to stay in small towns and find the cheapest space rent possible, which is how we ended up in Pahrump, Nevada and Searchlight, Nevada. Pahrump was a bit of a bust, but Searchlight was a nice little town.
We stayed at Cree’s Mobile Home and RV Park for one month. $400 for full hookups and great WiFi. Netflix was a big part of our January.
Searchlight has two casino’s (small rooms with slot machines), a Terrible’s Steakhouse (in one of the casino’s), a McDonald’s (in the other casino/gas station/mini-mart), a laundromat, a post office, and two old motels.
At one point in time Searchlight was looking to be the county seat of Clark County – back when it had a larger population than Las Vegas. The current population of Searchlight is 539 and Las Vegas’ population is 612, 932.
If you want to be able to easily visit Las Vegas or Laughlin but not have to stay there, Searchlight is great middle ground. Las Vegas is 60 miles north, and Laughlin is 40 miles east.
We visited Laughlin often for poker tournaments and groceries. We only drove to Vegas once while staying in Searchlight — for the 2018 Women’s March -COMING SOON!
Well, a few years ago the LA Times had quite a lot to say about Pahrump, when the entire city council was almost taken to jail by their constituents – you can read that here.
If you read that article and you’re still confused about the kind of community Pahrump is, then you should try this article. Just 11 years ago they passed a law in Pahrump; you had to speak English only. Yes, really.
Depending on the kind of person you are you may really like the idea of Pahrump, or you may really despise the idea of Pahrump – either way, I wanted you to have a little history on the area. We didn’t do our homework and we were completely caught off guard by the regressive attitude toward laws, politics, and human rights.
Preferred RV was the shining light in the middle of a shadowed community.
The park was beautiful! There was a heated pool, hot tub, shuffleboard, crafts, woodworking, and a lot more. They scheduled daily events like breakfast in the club house, water volleyball, Bingo, and casino nights.
Preferred RV also has large outdoor BBQing areas, along with shaded picnic areas, fenced pet areas, and a Koi pond. Also, if you tend to squeal with delight (I may have been known to do this….) when you see wildlife, then you will love the crazy amount of wild rabbits that come out at dusk. Bunnies everywhere! The dogs and I enjoyed the bunnies very much, but probably for very different reasons.
The only issue we had at the RV park was while filling our tanks at their on-site propane fill. There was a mishap and our tank knob was damaged so much that it needed to be replaced. We brought the issue to the manager and we were reimbursed in just a few days – no hassle!
Also, Preferred RV park is gated with 24 hour security at the gate, which gives you a nice safe feeling of being cut off from the rest of the town.
If you are into crappy customer service, sad attempts at masculinity, and a poker room with dealers that think rape jokes are funny, the Nugget Casino is just across the street.
Sadly, it was the only poker room in Pahrump, so we didn’t get to play as much poker as we planned. But if slot machines are your thing, Irene’s and Saddle West are nearby, both of which had good customer service and didn’t make you feel unsafe.
You may have noticed by now, but I have a bit of a pissy attitude toward Pahrump. We witnessed men being sexually inappropriate in public (around children), sheriff officers not caring, random citizens displaying their racism and ignorance like it was something to be proud of, and heard stories from female Nugget employees that are scared to go to work unless they share the same shift.
Pahrump has grown really quickly over the past 20 years…as far as population, anyway. Growth, such as being decent humans, seems to have slipped right by them. And as much as we loved Preferred RV and the people there…we will slip right by Pahrump next time, too.
Between Hawthorne, Nevada and Area 51 there is Tonopah.
We only stayed one night in Tonopah, and used the time to stock up on supplies and gas for our upcoming visit to Area 51.
We stayed at the Tonopah Station Casino and RV Park. The RV park is really just part of the parking lot with electric and water hookups. It was pretty difficult to get the motorhome level, which kind of sucked for just a one night stay. The Tonopah Station does have a cool assortment of knick-knacks and mining equipment in front of their building, though.
There is only one grocery store in the town, but they were super cool about us leaving our motorhome there for a few hours while we ran errands. Go say hi!
Another cool thing Tonopah has is the Clown Motel. Now before you get all weird about clowns – there are over 600 clowns in just the motel lobby, so it’s really no big deal.
If you are lucky enough to get a room upstairs at the Clown Motel, your room will probably have an awesome view of the Old Tonopah Cemetery. The old cemetery only accepted new residents from 1901 -1911. It filled up quickly due to mine fires and a 1902 epidemic known as the “Tonopah Plague.” So, you’ll probably forget all about the clowns when the ghost of miners past come to visit you in the middle of the night – on fire, with plague boils.
Although our visit to Tonopah was brief, we will probably not visit again anytime soon. It was pretty…meh?
But on our way out of town we were reminded why we were passing through…
16 miles northwest of Hawthorne, Nevada is the Bureau of Land Management Walker Lake Recreation area. The lake is 50 square miles – but nowhere near as large as it was at the beginning of the 1900’s. There are signs as your drive through the campground displaying where the water levels used to be.
The campground is only $6.00 per night, with 50% discount if you have the Golden Access Pass. It is dry camping, but there are vault toilets.
Even if you’re not a morning person, make sure to get up early at least one day while camping along the water. The sunrise is breathtaking.
We really enjoyed the view and the peace and quiet.
Nearby, the Town of Walker Lake has not done as well as the lake has, as it has already dried up.
Along the southern border of the lake is the Hawthorne Army Depot, which is the largest ammo depot in the world.
With such a large Army depot nearby, one would think that the town of Hawthorne would be thriving – and one would be wrong. Hawthorne is doing better than the Town of Walker Lake, but not by much. There are multiple motels that are closed, stores that have shut their doors, and buildings that are falling apart.
Hawthorne is very proud of their Army depot, so they have an ammo museum (free admission!) with all types of bombs, missiles and other exploding fun. And a tank.
While patronizing a local store an air raid siren went off and all the locals just kept shopping like it was no big deal. Apparently it just means that it’s noon, so we don’t worry about air raid sirens in Hawthorne.
The El Capitan Casino and Restaurant and Joe’s Tavern appear to be THE happening places in town. El Capitan has an excellent burger and Joe’s Tavern has a Sunday Football Potluck with cheap beer.
The people of Hawthorne were kind to us out-of-towners, which is harder and harder to come by these days. They appreciated our business, and wanted to share their history with us. If we find ourselves nearby again, we will definitely stay a few days to see the sunrise over the lake and go enjoy an El Capitan Mountain Man burger.
It’s been years since I watched this movie with my kids and I don’t really remember much about it, but we were in the area in October, so we went to take a look.
Spirit of Halloweentown takes place every year for the month of October in St. Helens, Oregon. There isn’t much that is unique about the town in general – until you visit their old town. The Historical District is charming, and would have been a lovely visit even if it wasn’t during the Halloweentown festivities.
There are tons of activities on the weekends in October, including meeting with some of the actors from the movie. There are skits, concerts, photo-ops galore, people in costumes, kids all dressed up, haunted houses, food court…St. Helens has fully embraced their claim to fame by being the town that Halloweentown was filmed in.
The Spirit of Halloweentown was a very cool experience, and I highly recommend going, especially if you have kids that are fans of the movie! You can find more information on their Facebook page.
We at Write on the Road tend to avoid big cities whenever we can – so recently we tackled Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington all in the same week – because we also like to make ourselves cry.
We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do.
Who says size matters? The Guinness Book of World Records – Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park is just 24” in diameter and 452.16 square inches.
Who else says size matters? Me, when a bookstore takes up an entire city block! We visited Powell’s City of Books, America’s largest independent bookstore. It was amazing. It smelled of books, new and old, and coffee. There were a LOT of people shopping while we were there, but it was okay – book people are okay.
We also hung out for a few hours at the Clackamas Town Center Mall. Best stores – Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble. Now I own a badass beanie, and my to-be-read-pile is ridiculously large (and now we’re talking about size again). To finish up our shopping, we visited the StarWarsStore store near the mall. The store is small, but the space is filled with so many collectibles that it was nerdgasmic.
To end our Portland adventure we found The TARDIS Room Cafe. With hopes of fish fingers and custard, we arrived for lunch – only to be disappointed by a closure for remodel.
After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.
We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.
I try to be a supportive spouse. I support Mike in most things, and when I don’t it’s because he has had some stupid idea to…I digress. I support Mike in most things, and it was no different when he decided to take a religious trek to sacred ground – CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
I don’t give any craps about football – but Mike does. He has been a fan of the Seahawks since he was a wee lad, and he was thrilled to stop by Centurylink for a quick look-see. It wasn’t a tour day, so we didn’t really get to see the field open, just through the fence. The store was open there, and although I don’t give any craps about football, I do love me a new hoodie – so guess who’s a Seahawks fan now? Still not me, but I got a new hoodie anyway.
Seattle has a ton of things that we wanted to see and do, but we didn’t have time for this trip. Travel through Washington will be a regular thing for us from now on, as family members have moved up there and we will be visiting often. Looking forward to the Space Needle and the Pop Culture Museum next time through!
After Seattle we kept driving north – eventually all the way to the Canadian border…
UP NEXT – The most northwesternest you can get in the continental US.
Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park is located about 45 miles northeast of Salem. The park is enormous with beautiful hiking trails, including the Trail of Ten Falls. The most visited waterfall is the South Falls, which you can hike behind.
A lot of the main trails are off limits to pets, but there are over 35 miles of backcountry trails that you can take your furbabies on.
There is plenty of interpretive displays along the main trails, with history on the area and the park.
There is also a beautiful lodge that has a cafe and WiFi.
We will be visiting Silver Falls State Park again as there was too much to see in one trip…and we were too lazy to hike the Trail of Ten Falls this time and I am disappointed with us.
Detroit Lake State Park is another 50 miles east of Silver Falls. The lake is huge and is a very popular place in the spring and summer. Plenty of lake for watersports and fishing.
The small town of Detroit is nearby and is the self-proclaimed “motor boat city.” The “motor boat city” has a few small markets, and a few small restaurants and bars. There is also a dog park, which is a small 6’ x 8’ area with a broken fence, but the dogs were happy taking a tinkle there.
We found the only WiFi in the town at The Cedars Restaurant and Lounge. We ate buffalo chips, and lounged so much in the lounge that we were still lounging the next day until about noon.
What I have discovered over the past week and a half is that fall along Highway 22 is quite brief, as this would have been the drive just a few days later.
I get emotionally attached to inanimate objects…like teddy bears, blankets, cars, travel trailers. So how do I say goodbye to Serenity..our tiny home for the last year? Answer: I don’t. I just “loan” it to a family member for awhile so I can make the goodbye be as long and painful as possible. I need to start going to therapy – again.
What I learned very quickly though is that having a brand new queen size memory foam bed in our new-to-us motorhome made my sadness go away pretty quickly. It was probably all the naps on the new bed…rest is the best treatment for sadness.
So anyway, meet Matilda.
Rusty and Milo love the new home…as long as it isn’t actually moving.
Matilda is exactly what were looking for, and we are so excited to add her to the family!
Serenity brought us plenty of that…serenity. Forever in love with our first travel trailer, and falling more in love with Matilda everyday. Or maybe, just maybe, I am in love with this life.
We are members of quite a few RVing groups on Facebook, and they are a great source of information, and they have a lot of experienced RVers to answer your questions. The groups are 90% useful and 10% grumpy farts. There’s always a handful that have to throw poo like they skipped a step in the evolutionary process…
So, I’m going to talk about the complaints I have seen the most from RVers about other RVers. You can use the information to avoid pissing people off – or to make it a lot worse if you don’t care how bunchy their panties get.
Kids Having Fun Seriously, this is a complaint that I have seen more than once. What we full-timers need to remember is that this is our life. We get to stay at these parks, travel, and relax or explore whenever and however we like. The weekenders or vacationers are trying to make the best of the limited time they have before they have to go back to work. Have some patience! Take a good listen to a kids’ laughter – it could be contagious!
Unleashed Dogs First, we are dog owners. We have two full-sized dogs that you can learn all about them here. Second, your dogs should ALWAYS be on leash when outside. That is the rule 99% of the time, so follow it. If your dog is amazingly well-behaved then congratulations, and they shouldn’t mind being on a leash because they are so amazingly well-behaved. Also, it makes my dogs jealous that yours are off leash and mine are all dressed up with them. Stop making my dogs jealous. Just follow the rules.
People Walking Through Your Campsite Okay, I gotta go with the grumpy farts on this one. If it’s isn’t your campsite, stay out of it.
Generators “They have their generator on all night long.” “It’s so loud.” “The fumes come in my window.” Okay okay, okay. I get it. You are probably out RVing because you like the outdoors; because nature sounds and smells better than a city every time. But we all travel differently. We don’t own a generator, but have some great portable solar panels. BUT we do not use much power. No TV, no microwave, etc. We’ve gotten annoyed by a generator a time or two, but having a camping neighbor come tell us about his heart monitor that needs charged often (he is on the heart transplant list) reminded us that we don’t know what other people got going on in their lives, so we probably shouldn’t gripe about any of them…well, maybe a few of them.
LINKS on RVing Etiquette (I do not necessarily agree with all of these, or any of them, but thought I would share other opinions too, even though mine is really the only one that matters.
Another suspenseful thriller by the author of Gone Girl. Dark Places is the story of Libby Day who confronts her traumatic childhood memories of the murder of her mother and two sisters. Libby begins her own investigation into the murders, and into the possibility that her brother is innocent of the crime.
Flynn is a great storyteller. She creates interesting and flawed characters that the reader can really connect with. I would recommend, both, Dark Places and Gone Girl.
“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ. Slit me at my belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark, drop on the floor so you could stomp on it.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
“I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places
“But I was born bent out of shape. I could picture myself coming out of the womb crooked and wrong. It never takes much for me to lose patience. The phrase fuck you may not rest on the tip of my tongue, but it’s near. Midtongue.”
― Gillian Flynn, Dark Places