As I had mentioned before, the demands of work brought us to Las Vegas. We didn’t have any particular desire to head this way, and if I had my choice we would have gone west to the coast, but hey, we’re still traveling in the Airstream and I can’t complain.
Well, actually I can complain a little, because Las Vegas is not a place with great choices in RV parks. It’s usually a choice between overpriced asphalt parking lot and inexpensive noisy eyesore asphalt parking lot. I’m sure there are exceptions, but we haven’t found them yet. Read RVParkReview about the situation here and you’ll find lots of similar comments: “basically a parking lot,” “noisy,” and “overpriced.”
The place we tried this time was particularly disappointing. Cramped sites, extremely noisy traffic from the road nearby, dilapidated rigs in half the spaces, zero appeal. It was, as so many RV parks are, just a place to park and get hookups for a short stay, not a place you’d choose for your vacation. The low-rent motel version of an RV park. Convenient, but otherwise unimpressive.
It was a forgettable stay, with a few exceptions. The big one was that our traveling buddies Kyle & Mary took Emma for an evening and so Eleanor and I got to go out on the town for dinner. We walked The Strip and found it more crowded and money-hungry than ever. Growth over the past two years has been so massive that at some points The Strip now resembles downtown Hong Kong. It was interesting to compare the changes to our last visit, but I have long since lost any desire to remain there for more than an hour or two.
This trip has been extremely useful for identifying little issues with the Airstream. For the most part our recent work has proved out well. The refrigerator is staying put, the new laundry bin is useful, and the new floor is great. But I’m finding quite a few things that need attention before we head out for the big summer trip in May. Obviously I need to finish the new cabinets, and that will get done in the week or two after we get back to home base. We’ll install a new microwave oven at the same time.
Also I’ve been finding lots of small things as we travel, like the rusty latch on the propane tank cover, that won’t budge anymore. There’s also a Hehr window gear mechanism that has stripped (so the window won’t open). These are little things but they require parts that I will have to order or get from a dealer, so I’ll fix them when we get home too.
It’s time for some upgrades, too. The rear view camera is mounted too low. I put it on the bumper and it doesn’t get a good view there. It needs to be relocated higher up on Airstream, above the rear bedroom window. If I could find a compatible camera with a narrower field of view, I’d change it out too.
The cellular router we have used for the past few years, a Cradlepoint CTR500, has become obsolete. The new Verizon 4G card we use makes the Cradlepoint go batty when we hit some 4G service areas. Despite firmware upgrades and “locking” the thing into 3G mode, it just won’t work under all circumstances, so I’m going to get a new model and at the same time install a good external antenna to replace the very obsolete 2G antenna (wrong frequency) that’s currently on our roof.
We’re also wondering about the LED lights. They are excellent except for an annoying strobing effect that occurs when the water pump is running. The pump seems to be causing a rapid series of voltage drops as it cycles, which causes the lights to go on and off very rapidly. At night when doing dishes or showering it’s like we’ve installed a disco mirror ball. None of our friends are reporting this problem with the same LEDs, so we suspect the pump—but the pump works fine. So I’m trying to weigh alternatives: do we replace it and hope a new one solves the problem? Do we install some sort of voltage regulator? This one needs more research.
This is all good stuff to think about now. I’ll have about 5-6 weeks to finalize everything in the Airstream before we head out again, which means I’ll be busy but we should leave in very good shape for extended travel.
Now that the bulk of the work we came here to do is done, we’ve fled the RV park in Las Vegas and moved to a much nicer setting along the shores of Lake Mead. We’ll spend two nights here, maybe go see the Hoover Dam, and then head out for a three day weekend at some location where phones don’t work.