Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oh dear, I forgot a day. . .

Oh dear, I forgot a day, and it was fun, at least the evening was.  The day following the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, we headed farther (or should that be further???) west to Las Vegas, NV for Clay Carnival Las Vegas, 2012.

I also forgot to mention the truck problems we started having after leaving Amarillo.  We weren't sure at first if the problem was the altitudes, the truck having trouble with pulling the Fifth Wheel up the mountains, but we finally (after much frustration and testing) determined it was a tank of bad diesel fuel (it apparently had water in it) we got in Amarillo.  So for the rest of the trip to Las Vegas, we lived in fear that the truck was going to give up as it sputtered it's way onward and upward.  It coughed and sputtered and tried to stall several times and we kept saying, "I don't like this, we'll have to have it checked out in Las Vegas" and things like that.  But we started putting Diesel 911 in it to try to get the water out.  Once we finally reached Las Vegas we drove the truck until it was almost empty and then put in more 911 every time we got fuel and made sure we got fuel at high turnover places like truck stops (a bit more expensive, but when you consider the amount of money we spent on the 911, we didn't save a penny by going to Murphy Oil at Walmart, LOL).

We saw a lot of lovely scenery, much different than Illinois' flat crop landscape.

We crossed the Continental Divide, which divides the West side of America from the East side of America.

There were deserts and beautifully colored hills and rocks.
We were at 6000 feet in this photo, but you can see the mountains went much higher and there was snow at the higher elevations.

The scenery was so varied, desert scrub in one area and lovely high desert scenes like this one with the small trees scattered here and there.

There were lots of sign for deer and elk, but we didn't see any in person.

There were LOTS of up hills and down hills and I mean HIGH uphills and downhills.

Since to drive straight through would be longer than we really like to drive (with the fifth wheel) in one day, we decided to stop and spend the night in Flagstaff, AZ.

We found an interesting campground called Black Bart's Steakhouse, Saloon, Musical Revue and Campground.  Pull through sites, full hook-ups and a restaurant right at the campground.  Just perfect, for us.  However, it was cold that night, the people in the office told us to disconnect our water before we went to bed due to a freeze warning.  We don't hook up water or sewer on one night stays, so it wasn't a problem for us, but it was below 32* F the next morning.

Black Bart's story goes something like this:     "Black Bart, a taciturn road agent, achieved legendary renoun because of his many successful stagecoach robberies and the bad poetry he left behind.  When he stopped a stage, Bart invariably used just four words to tell the driver what he wanted:  "Throw down the box?".  In the years between 1875 and 1883, twenty-eight drivers ultimately did throw down their express boxes for Black Bart, and after nearly every robbery he left behind a taunting verse signed "Black Bart, the PO-8".

So here I've stood while wind and rain
Have set the trees a sobbin,
And risked my life for the damned stage
That wasn't worth the robbin!"

Bart never wounded nor killed anyone, never took a lady's purse, and always used an unloaded shotgun for the holdup.  He was eventually apprehended, and sent to San Quentin.  He served a five year sentence, after which he disappeared forever.  Or did he?"

There was also a Musical Revue, which Mr. C thought I would enjoy, the description reads, "While you dine, the Black Bart's singers provide a nightly musical revue of old time favorites and foot tapping show tunes."  So, we decided to spend the night there and did go to Black Bart's for dinner and some entertainment.  It was fun, but not quite what I expected, LOL and it was VERY expensive compared to what we usually spend for a meal (but then, we're rather cheap diners, LOL).

I somehow expected it to be a show that would start at a certain time, the people would eat and the show would end at a certain time.  No, it was nothing like that.  It opened at 5:30 and it was recommended we get reservations as soon as we got our rig parked, which we did.  It turns out that this is a "bus tour" stop, also and they ended up full the night we were there.
The part of the room with the piano was smaller tables for individual patrons.  The side of the room with the bar picture, had long tables designed for bus tours.

The way it works is that you go in, sit down and it's a regular restaurant.  You place your order, the staff brings you your food and you eat and leave when you're finished.

In the meantime, the staff goes up to the front by the piano and performs as they are available.  There was a fantastic piano player who kind of directed the

"show".  He would play a song or two and then find a wait staff member who happened to be "free" and he'd motion them to come up and they'd go through their own "book" of music choices, they'd put on appropriate hats or simple outer costumes (aprons, jackets, hats, canes, whatever) and perform their choice with the piano accompaniment.

It was all interesting and very well done.  The only complaint I had was that most of the music was too fast paced.  It was almost entirely show tunes, which I like, but from other reviews we had read, in the past there has been "oldies/barber shop type music", also, which I would have enjoyed, too.  Loving musicals as I do, I knew most of the music, although it was nearly all double time and they took "poetic" license as to some of the musical timing and "arrangements".  I suspect the speed etc. was deliberate to keep it upbeat and "move the diners" out since it wasn't a start and end type of show.  As soon as one table left, other people came in and took the seats, as it was a restaurant that happened to have musical accompaniment.   When we finished eating (the food was good, simple, steaks, potatoes type of food) we were too full for dessert but I told our waiter that I wasn't ready to leave and he said we could stay and enjoy the music as long as we wanted to.  We were probably there for about an hour and a half (which those of you who know our eating habits--bad habits of eating too fast--was a LONG time for us to sit at a restaurant).  We gave the piano player a tip (he was really good and he asked if we had any requests, which we didn't, we told him we were just enjoying what they were doing).  He went around to many of the tour groups asking for requests etc.  It was a lot of fun.

Then we went "home", went to bed and got up the next morning and took off for Las Vegas.

We stayed at the Las Vegas RV Resort.  It was a gated campground, so we felt very safe and secure there.  It also had lots of nice amenities, but with Clay Carnival I was too busy to use them.  The sites were plenty long for truck and fifth wheel and were all paved and level.  It was a very nice "city" campground.  We'd stay there again in a flash.  We looked around and found some a bit less expensive campgrounds, but I said, no, if we do this again, I want to stay here again.

Now I'm all caught up to Clay Carnival again, so the next couple posts will be about the wonderful classes, instructors and fun of Clay Carnival.  So stay tuned.  Smiles, Sue C


  1. The review sounds like it was nice. I agree, if you were there that long, it must have been good.
    Look forward to your next installment! ILY!

  2. Did the truck problem get cleared up, I would be worried too.Great review on your trip and stops. It makes us feel like we are traveling right along with you. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.