Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012-37 Pahrump Nevada


Pahrump Nevada
Las Vegas day trip

Campground:  Preferred RV Resort, 1801 E. Crawford Way, Pahrump NV, 89048 (800) 445-7840
Local: (775) 727-4414 PA rate: $16.50, Normal Price: $33.00 for the PA rate one gets a gravel site with a concrete pad and picnic table.  Full hookups w/wifi and over air tv stations available.  Good cell phone service.  Swimming pool, club house, work out room, and workshops.

I’m here for 10 days on my way south for the winter.  I discovered the other day when I went to check up on my mail that had not gotten delivered to the previous campground, that the folks at Silver City Rv rejected my mail and had it sent back. While I was staying at the campground.  Of course they never told me that, as I continued to extend my stay there, waiting for my mail to arrive.

Lesson learned for full-timers.  Always have your mail sent General Delivery to the Post Office at your next destination and for an added 75 cents the USPS will provide a tracking number for your pkg.

I filled up with diesel today at only $3.999 a gallon.  Seems like ages since in was in the $3 range… I think I remember when $2.50 was high.

Luxor Hotel/Casino

Here at the Preferred RV Resort, which is member owned, I’ve been talking to some of those members.  Now each owner can buy a share and stay in the park for 30 days each year.  Initially it sounds pretty good even though a member has to pay yearly dues of $300, so that works out to $10 a day for your 30 day stay.  But they have added a few extra dollars per day to cover electric costs etc. so it’s closer to maybe $13.50 a day.  My next door neighbor bought out someone else who was leaving the area for good and got his membership/owership for about $200.  Initial owners/members paid $5,000 to join.  At dinner this evening, they have lots of food events here, one couple has purchased a home in the area and sold their RV.  But they are still owners in the park.  So for the $300 yearly fee they basically have a club membership and join in all the activities that go on in a park like this.  It also sounds like there’s a lot of turnover of owners/members.

mock up of the tunnel digger for Yucca Mt

Between Beatty and Pahrump is the Nevada Test site, part of the Nellis Airforce Range complex.  It is also the site of the Yucca Mountain Project where they were building all those tunnels into the mountain to store nuclear waste in the future.  The program was cancelled in 2009 by President Obama with the belief that it was better to spend the money repurposing the nuclear waster for use in the newer nuclear reactor plants.  You see the nuclear waste from our old nuclear plants in the U.S. which are first generation plants can be configured and used in the second generation nuclear plants that our scientists developed.  Of course we haven’t built any of those second generation plants in the U.S. but we apparently have shared those designs with other countries like Japan and European countries who did.  So rather than store nuclear waste it could be used, even if we don’t have the nuclear power plants to take advantage of that repurposed nuclear waste, other countries do.  I know, it’s crazy isn't it.

map showing earthquake activity in the past

yucca Mt project was being built on an active military test site

This all leads up to the extensive display that the Pahrump Museum has put together to explain this whole project, but mostly ignoring the info presented in the previous paragraph.  You see the site was contested by a whole bunch of folks from environmentalists right down to the State of Nevada itself.  But the county of Nye, which Pahrump is in, seems to be pretty much in favor of the original plan.  After all, it would create and has created a ton of high paying jobs in the local area, that is until it was all canceled two years before the final studies on it’s feasibility would have been completed.

Tests were done on water seepage into the newly constructed tunnels.  Water being a bad thing when storing nuclear waste.  Heat tests were done on the tunnels to see how they would react to 400 degree temperatures which is what the nuclear waste would produce.  Charts showed where past earthquakes appeared in the area.  What caught my eye on the displays is that the Test range is still being used today.  Meaning they still drop “munitions” for testing etc.  Which  to my mind doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do if one is going to be storing nuclear waste underground in the area, but what do I know.

The Yucca Mountain project is dead in the water as the saying goes and has been locked up real tight.  I was kind of hoping I could get a tour of it.  But it was not to be.

Another spooky aspect is that the Nellis Airforce range, some 3 million acres in all is also home to area 51.  No wonder one of the campgrounds in Beatty NV is called “Space Station Rv park”.   So I learned about yet another piece of the puzzle that makes up our country and some of the odd decisions we make along the way.

Las Vegas, day trip

A few days later in the area and I decided to drive into Las Vegas.  About an hours drive from Pahrump.  I had also wanted to drive hwy 160 into Vegas as it will be my route heading towards the Bullhead City area at the end of the week.  For much of the way it becomes a 4 lane divided highway through the desert, then it narrows to a two lane road over the Red Rock Canyon range.  There is a 7% grade descending into Vegas for 3 miles, though it didn’t seem bad considering there were wide gentle curves as it went through the mountainous area.  None of those tight sharp curves I’ve encountered going over some mountain passes.

My goal this time was to head to the Luxor Casino and hotel.  I love the fantasy architecture of the Vegas strip.  It’s been on my personal bucket list of places to visit for quite some time and I made it on today’s day trip.  Heading north along Las Vegas Blvd. I pass the famous Las Vegas sign and just as the congestion of Vegas begins to overwhelm, I arrived at the Luxor.  Parking was easy in their free parking garage.  Heading across one of the many skyway bridges, I entered the Luxor for the first time.  The black pyramids exterior looks a bit dirty from the desert dust and the black glass appears to be sagging just a bit.  Overall it’s still a most spectacular sight.  The interior is as to be expected, a series of ascending floors forming the interior of the pyramid, showing the walk ways and doors to each hotel room.  No windows face inward from those hotel rooms only the doors and walkways on each floor look out over the expansive interior.  And the interior is filled with a mash of fake tall buildings, shops, entrances to the Titanic exhibit and the Human Body Exhibit, both costing about $32 to enter.  A nice food court sits in the back with everything from a Mc Donald’s to Nathan’s Hotdogs.  Making for an inexpensive place to get a quick bite to eat.  Starbucks is there as well with their $4.50 cups of coffee, but I opted for the Mc Donald’s coffee which is pretty darn good as well and only 63 cents at the senior rate.

After my tour of the Luxor I hopped onto the three stop free monorail out front.  Ok, it doesn’t go all that far but it’s free.  At the Excalibur stop, I got off, walked across another sky bridge to the MGM Grand which is an entire block in size.  I know because I walked through the whole darn thing to get to the other end that has a link to the Vegas Monorail which costs $12 for an all day pass.  Figured it was better than hoofing it up and down the main street where on street level it’s very congested on the road and sidewalks.  Ok it wasn’t as great as Disney Worlds monorail being a bit more bumpy and also the views were often obscured by construction and parking garages.  But otherwise a fun little journey through the heart of Las Vegas.  I hate to say it but a number of us monorail riders had a good chuckle as a guy pushed his wife onto the car in a wheel chair and as the train took off the wheel chair started to roll down the isle.  She locked herself in place and then upon exiting, he bumped just about every chair and post like it was a pinball machine with the wheelchair.  I know, I know, we shouldn’t have been chuckling, but we couldn’t help it.

Circus Circus

New York New York

view of new condo's from monorail

inside the MGM

Vega monorail.  $12 full day pass

So there you are, another week on the road.  After having settled in for a week and exploring a bit of southern Nevada, I’ll be heading to Bullhead City and Lake Havasu next before reaching Desert Trails around the middle of the month.  So just a few more stories before landing at my winter destination.

do you think too much sun?

a few more pictures on PICASA

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