Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Happens In Vegas...

Las Vegas. What an interesting place. We are parked at The Oasis RV Park about two blocks off of Las Vegas Boulevard. It's a huge park on the south end of Vegas, about two miles from South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa and the site of the California Futurity Horse Show. The last time we were in Las Vegas we were treated to a lovely two night stay at Wynn, took a helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon and capped the visit with a night out at The Mirage Hotel where we saw "Love", the Cirque du Soleil show about The Beatles. Great fun with great friends! This time we are staying in Mary and attending the horse show, again, with great friends. It's going to be a fun stay for sure. We are trying going to try to see Cirque du Soleil's Elvis show while we are here and I'll see a friend who lives here. I'll update you on our adventures in my next post. So far, I have to say that I've never seen such a great place to have a horse show. The stabling is incredible, the arena and warm up areas are top notch, and when you arrive with your truck and trailer or van, employees of South Point greet you, escort your rig into the building where you unload your horses on mats, and take them to the stalls. They then unload your feed and equipment (I'm not lying!) and clean out your van or trailer. If you pick up a broom to sweep up they will stop you and insist on cleaning up themselves. We decided to have lunch today and walked through a door from the barn, into the hotel/casino where you can eat, gamble, bowl, shop, see a movie, get your hair done, buy a new wardrobe ... the list goes on and on. This is how to show horses!

Crater Lake, Oregon

When I last posted we were leaving the Redwood Forest in California and heading to Crater Lake in Southeastern Oregon. I keep saying this but I can't believe that I lived in Oregon for forty years and never visited this incredible spot. I'd heard about the blue water and seen photos of it but until I laid my own eyes on it I couldn't imagine just exactly what I was going to see. It is mostly an intense sapphire blue but depending on the sky, the time of day and where you are standing it can be deep royal blue, dazzling turquoise, or as John calls it, insane blue. I think his is the best description of all. We drove from Arcada, California to Diamond Lake in Oregon, which is close to Crater Lake, and stayed at the Diamond Lake RV Park. It was a delightful spot with lots of fir and pine trees, trails where we could walk the dogs, and an 11 mile paved path around the lake that you can walk or bike on. Of course we got lost on our way in but stopped along side the road and made a phone call before we had to unhook the car or something equally as stupid. The first night we went to the little pizza parlor that was across the road from the RV park and had a great pizza. The night was unreal, crisp and cool with a full moon. We slept with the window open to fresh mountain air and put an extra blanket on the bed.

Golden Mantle Squirrel

The next morning we got up and walked the dogs and had breakfast. We left the dogs at the coach and began the drive up to Crater Lake National Park. John has a senior pass to all national parks so we are exempt from paying to get in. He's very proud to hold the golden pass, using it to tease the rangers that are on duty at the gates. "I'll bet you want to see my ID because you think I stole my older brother's pass, don't you?" is one of his favorites.

Looking down into the insane blue water

Once we drove through the gate of the park we started up a long hill to the crater. There is a 33 mile drive around the crater with multiple turnouts and view points along the way. At the first turnout we encountered we pulled in and I grabbed my camera and got out. I was not prepared for what I saw. When we went to Mt. Rushmore I had the same experience. When we drove up to the gate to the park I looked back over my shoulder and saw the presidents faces in the mountain and it was startling. When we stepped up to the rim of the crater I was stunned into silence. We both stopped abruptly for a few seconds. The inevitable "Oh wow," came simultaneously. The rest of the day was one, "Oh wow," after another. We ate lunch at the lodge, a gorgeous place made of stone, timber, and bark, hiked to the rim on the far side of the park, and stopped at a waterfall where I had a moment. It was one of those like the one that John had three years ago on a perfect day at the coast in Oregon. I looked at him and said, "Let's sell everything and move back here." Then we come to our senses, understanding what that would entail. But you never know. Both of us tend to be rather unpredictable when it comes to life changes. If it strikes us both at the same time no telling what we might do!

Breezy taking in the mountain air at Crater Lake

That night we ate in and made a plan to go back up to Crater Lake the next morning. The weather cool that morning so we took the dogs. It was a perfect day and so quiet and peaceful up there that it was like having the park to ourselves. We both felt a special connection with the area while we were there. I took a hundred more photos and then we reluctantly said goodbye to the crater. We went down to the Diamond Lake Lodge and had lunch and then we took the dogs and went for a walk on the Diamond Lake path. It was a glorious afternoon and the dogs were having a blast. John got a phone call and he had let Breezy off of her leash so she was bopping along with Ransom and me while he talked. I spotted a small lake off of the paved path so the dogs and I headed toward it. Breezy, with her heavy coat, was thirsty and hot so she decided to take a swim. I watched as she eased herself into the water and then realized that she was slogging into deep mud. I was prepared to go in after her if she bogged down, but she slowly turned and and picked her way out of the water. She was a mess!

Breezy swimming in the muddy lake

Muddy dog!

John got off of the phone and rolled his eyes at us. Oh well. So we took off down the path, one clean dog and one dirty one. About a half mile down the path we came to a mountain stream. It was crystal clear and flowing gently. There was a bridge built over the stream and a woman came along on a bicycle. She stopped to admire the stream. John spotted the stream and said, "Breezy go clean up ... go get into the stream." The dog looks up at him and heads off to the stream where she gets in, swims out into the water far enough to wash off all of the mud, got out, shook off and came back to where we were standing. The woman on the bike was astounded. To be honest, so was I! She is such a smart dog and so attuned to us that she always seems to know what we want before WE know what we want, but that was just over the top! By the time we got back to the RV park she looked as clean and pretty as when we left for our walk.

Meadow by Diamond Lake

We really wanted to stay another day but we were expected in Springfield and it was time to park Mary and stay put for awhile, so we packed up on Saturday morning and drove three hours over to Arcuri's where we backed Mary into her usual beautiful spot on the farm. The dogs were free, Ransom to chase wild turkeys when the opportunity arose, and Breezy to work every day in the barn with John. I was able to visit my family and friends and we had a great stretch of beautiful weather while we were there. One afternoon we took off after John finished at the barn and drove to the coast where we visited the Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence. That was so cool, and then we had an early dinner at a little restaurant on the Suislaw River that runs into the Pacific Ocean, and drove back to Springfield. We were back at the coach by 7:30.

When Arcuris returned from the Morgan Grand National we all loaded up in our coaches and headed for Las Vegas.

Okay, I'll have photos of the rest of our trip in my next post. We are going to Scottsdale from here for the fall horse show and then we will be heading back to Kentucky.

Book update: It is now available on, Kindle, Barnes and Noble's website and on their electronic reader, Nook, as well as on iBooks. I'm getting some great feedback from readers and I'm so tickled by that! It was fun to write and people say it is fun to read. YAY! I'm working on book two and John is busy harassing everyone into reading Silent Partner. He's relentless and is having a ball at this show handing out the cards with the purchasing information and website. I'm sure I'll have to order more cards by the time we get home! If you have read it and liked it, spread the word! Thank you!

Happy reading!