Searchlight, Nevada

Searchlight, Nevada 

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.

There were coyotes and booplesnoots galore!
And roadrunners!

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.

Home Sweet Home for 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.

They also have abandoned buildings.. a lot of them.
A lot of old mines in the area…

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.

Our old friend, the Joshua Tree.

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.

The desert sky in Searchlight was an amazing setting for the Super Blue Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse!

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! 

Out of Searchlight…
Beep, beep, bitches.

Weekend in Vegas!

Weekend in Vegas!

A few days before Christmas, we decided to head to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway. And instead of wasting valuable poker money on hotel rooms, we decided to take Matilda with us. The plan was to park in the Rio parking lot, and stealth camp for two nights there.

Matilda

Plans are fun. And pointless.

As we were leaving Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we stopped at their on-site propane fill and filled up. I napped the 60 miles to the Rio. Upon arrival we found a level spot in the back of a large parking lot and went to turn on the propane. And it was broken.

We went to Lowe’s to find a knob replacement, but they didn’t have one. We called multiple camping and RV supply stores, but no one sold just the knob. We finally called a place called CampOut Inc. and Trailer Supply. They didn’t sell just a knob either, but said they would take one off of an extra tank they had in storage.

Not all heroes wear capes!

Mr. Write and the customer service guy at CampOut Inc. tried their best to fix the knob. But to no avail, because the older fellow that had filled our tank that morning at Preferred RV was actually an undercover superhero that forgot to check his strength while making sure our propane was turned off, and now it was fucked.

I’m just gonna turn this knob a little bit more, Bub.

The entire valve needed replaced. CampOut Inc. became our own superheroes when they told us they would be able to get us in the next day for repairs. Yay! We had to empty the freshly filled propane tank before they could work on it. Between the emptying of the tank and the repairs, it would take about 3 hours and  $300.00 – so much for saving that valuable poker money.

Without a working propane tank, we needed hookups, so our stealthy parking lot camping was out. We ended up getting a space at Main Street Station RV Park – $20 for the night…but they also hold a $100 deposit. It was a bit of a hassle getting the space, but we did manage to have a good night anyway.

Why do you need a $100.00 deposit for a $20.00 RV space? …”because it is our policy to have a $100.00 deposit for all of our rooms…” Um…what?

We ate dinner at a Las Vegas buffet, and we played poker at Binion’s Gambling Hall – the place that made poker famous.

Shuffle up and deal!
The Original Home of the Poker Hall of Fame
I’m not the short stack, yet!
The place that made poker famous.

Leaving the Main Street Station RV Park the next morning was almost as much hassle as getting in, but we managed to get back to CampOut Inc. with time to spare for our repair appointment. We wandered around with the dogs for a few hours while the repairs were being done, and got to see a few cool things.

Like this RV that pulled in for repairs, too! 
The Mighty Thor
Bumblebee and Wolverine
I may have had a nerdgasm while checking this thing out.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an RV!

also…

Whatever the fuck this is…

CampOut Inc. got us up and burning again pretty quickly, and even filled our tank back up for us. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, go check them out on Fremont Street – great people!

Upon arriving back at Preferred RV Park in Pahrump, we told the manager about the repairs we had to have done, and they issued us a reimbursement check with no problems.

Good customer service can make crappy situations so much better!

Thank you, CampOut Inc., and Preferred RV.

Dumps and Chumps of Pahrump (Nevada) – and one great place!

Pahrump, Nevada

What can you say about Pahrump, Nevada?

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.

So, again what can you say about Pahrump, Nevada?

They have Preferred RV Resort!

Preferred RV Resort – The light in the center of darkness.

Preferred RV was the shining light in the middle of a shadowed community.

Beautiful views…upwards…toward the sky, not toward the town.

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.

Horseshoe pits
Shuffleboard
Heated indoor/outdoor pool – the roof is retractable.
Hot tub
Playground and grassy areas for their over-population of bunnies!
Shaded picnic areas
Cute and clean park
Picnic areas near the Koi pond

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.

See? The light in the middle of darkness…
Koi pond
Koi are not even close to being coy – what’s up with that?
There is fish food, too… if they manage to convince you that they are starving.

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.

What we discovered we didn’t enjoy – so, maybe it is one or the other…

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.

What?! Who knew?!

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.

Fuck Pahrump.

Tonopah, Nevada

Tonopah, Nevada

Between Hawthorne, Nevada and Area 51 there is Tonopah.

Welcome to Tonopah – Home of some old holes in the ground. 

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. 

A lonely big boy, a horse, and mining equipment. When you can’t quite decide on your outdoor decor, put everything out! 
It’s frickin’ freezin’ in here, Mr. Bigglesworth.

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!

Thanks!

Tonopah has a rich history of mining. They have the Tonopah Historic Mining Park ($5.00 per adult) and the Central Nevada Museum (free admission). Although we did not have time to visit the museums, we did do a drive-by for photos. 

Tonopah Mining Park
Stamp Mill
Maybe I would know what this piece of equipment was used for had I visited the museums.
Mobile jail? Don’t worry about where you commit the crime – we’ll come to you!

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 can’t get friendly service at a clown motel, you should just give up. Amiright?

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.

Welcome clowns on every single door!
Park here. I won’t touch you, I promise. Bazinga!
Clown Bikers. Cool?
The office is filled with clowns, and the cemetery behind it is filled with plague victims. Good times.

Although our visit to Tonopah was brief, we will probably not visit again anytime soon. It was pretty…meh?

Maybe if we had more time to visit we would have a different opinion?

But on our way out of town we were reminded why we were passing through…

Tonopah Test Range – located on the northern fringe of Nellis Air Force Base – home of Area 51.
Why, yes. Those are unmarked vehicles with no back windows and an absurd amount of antenna’s escorting an unmarked semi-truck…
…toward Area 51.

Up NEXT – AREA 51!!

 

Walker Lake – Hawthorne, Nevada

Walker Lake and Hawthorne, Nevada.

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.

No worries. It’s only water.

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.

Only $18 for a 6 night stay.

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.

Good Morning!!

We really enjoyed the view and the peace and quiet.

View out our front door.

Nearby, the Town of Walker Lake has not done as well as the lake has, as it has already dried up.  

A tumbleweed made it to the water…a tumblewood’s dream.

Along the southern border of the lake is the Hawthorne Army Depot, which is the largest ammo depot in the world.  

World’s Largest Army Depot – aka The Big Guns

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.

But they do have large…
…balls.
And adorably painted propane tanks..

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.

What’s this bomb for? Oh, just general purpose bombing.
Bunk replica…no, you can’t take a nap. I checked.
Top secret stuff.
Gas mask. Are you my mommy?
Boom.
Tanks. You’re welcome.
Smiling missiles are the best missiles.
…I bet.
Um. Sir? Could you cross your bombs somewhere else?
Bomb Cart

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.

‘Merica
The city park has windmill art made out of old bomb casings.
This art is the bomb.
Freedom windmill

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. 

The Spirit of Halloweentown – St. Helens, Oregon

Where do adult rving nomads go for Halloween?

 

Halloweentown!

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.

Time for Halloweentown!
If you’ve seen the movie, you should recognize the building – City Hall, St. Helens, OR
The Spirit of Halloweentown in St. Helens was voted that best Halloween celebration in Oregon.

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.

The Historical District of St. Helens takes their Halloween celebration quite seriously!
“Scarecrows” line the streets…
The businesses in the historical district really go all out for this yearly celebration.
Milo and Rusty were pretty excited about Halloweentown, too!

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.

A lot of the houses in the historical district play along too!
Need a ride?
This little girl loved this little fluffy puppy…
Just some skeleton critters climbing a tree…
Animal skeleton, human skull, with a rat in its mouth. Hello nightmares.
And the band played on…
Rusty and Milo trying to hail a cab…
“Why don’t we talk about how illegal it is to drive without eyeballs?” – Dylan Cromwell, Halloweentown
Michael Jackson made an appearance.
Jack was hanging out there, too.
Views of the crowd – and it was a slow day.
This lovely lady, Winnie, was doing a little Hocus Pocus right in front of City Hall!
Sarah and Mary hanging out behind their big sis…because she is slightly terrifying…
See? Just slightly…

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.

It’s Just How Geeks Roll – Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

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 got it raw…

We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do. 

…and lots of books.

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.

Mill Ends Park
This is it. No really. This is it.

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.

A bag of books. Just add wine for instant happy!
Sniff them. Do it. All the cool kids are.
A city block full of books. This is just one section of heaven here.

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. 

Are you okay, Anni? Anni, are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?
Maximum effort!
Made the Kessel Run in 12 parcsecs…

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. 

The construction workers have the phone box.

After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.

Portland, Oregon, thanks for being nerdy with us!

We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.

How do they thread the space through the needle?

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.

“…it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of cheek, in my opinion.” – Terry Pratchet

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.

Wave your flags and banners, sports fans!
12 is okay. 42 would have been a better answer.
The view from the cheap seats. Really cheap seats. The free ones outside the locked fence…
Or the 42’s!

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.

 

Fall In Love with Highway 22

Fall In Love with Highway 22

There are two state parks along highway 22 in Oregon, as well as a buttload of forest service parks – and the drive is breathtakingly beautiful in the fall.

Seriously…an buttload of forest service parks.

Silver Falls

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.

South Falls
South Falls….falling south
The trail leading behind the south falls, to the elephant graveyard… #alternativefacts

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.

Rusty and Milo were upset that they were not permitted on some of the trails, so they peed on everything that they could.

There is plenty of interpretive displays along the main trails, with history on the area and the park.

There are a lot of bridges in the park.
Oh, just get over it.
Older bridge covered in moss.

There is also a beautiful lodge that has a cafe and WiFi.

Cafe and Lodge

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

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.

Dawn over Detroit Lake brings with it The Mist.
While looking at the photos from Detroit Lake, I am starting to think that it should have been named Crystal Lake.
Um. Jason? Is that you under there?
The mist floating along the waters of Camp Crystal Lake.

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.

Welcome to Detroit Motor Boat City
No. Just No.
Speaking of motorboats, I came across this happy tree.

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.

I will admit to overlounging, but I am still sure that this is NOT what I had for dinner.

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.

Mother Nature!! Just stop it! We aren’t even a month into fall.

Next Blog: Portland, Oregon

Meet Matilda

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.

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

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.

Naps are the best idea for everything, really.

So anyway, meet Matilda.

Matilda is a 26 year old, 27 ½’ TropiCal motorhome.
She is just as lovely as can be, and was very well taken care of by her previous family.
Just look at her…*sigh*
She is a true BBW.

Rusty and Milo love the new home…as long as it isn’t actually moving.

The twin beds she came with. Milo and Rusty were sad to see them go…
Oh dog! Oh dog! Oh dog! We’re all going to die!

Matilda is exactly what were looking for, and we are so excited to add her to the family!

She came with the cute pillow!
The hallway leading into the kitchen, past the powder room.
Beautiful, bright paneling and cabinetry.

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.

Dear Serenity and Hoban, thank you for all the freedom!

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

Good news, bad news, just news, good news…

It’s been awhile. Hello readers…er…reader?

The last blog was about a month ago, just as we headed into the wild for our fire watch workamping gig. The gig was sweet! We had plenty of space, trees for miles, and easy work! By the end of the first weekend we were all set up to homestead for a few months. 

I do love me some Oregon greenery!
Lots of back roads to off-leash Rusty and Milo. They were digging it!
But…

after only four days were back in Coos Bay – at the hospital. Mike’s father was admitted through the emergency room and wasn’t doing well. We spent a few days seeing which direction his health was going to go, and then we called Rundell Inc. to let them know that we were unable to come back to work. And that is one of the best things about being full-time RVers;  when life is starting to storm, you can always just park and wait it out.

…just waiting it out.

Rundell Inc. was completely understanding about the situation, and we would recommend anyone in the Oregon area that is interesting in off-grid workamping to contact them about their fire watch gigs. 

As far as Mike’s dad, he is on the road to recovery and is doing well. So we bought a motorhome….

 

Up Next – 

Great News!