USA travel blog 2022

Blog #1, May 2022, Arriving in US and Las Vegas

It seemed like a big job putting our lives away in NZ for 5 months.  By the time we were ready to leave for the airport, we were both slightly frazzled and reflected on how long we had been preparing for our US trip, and whether we could go was determined on the very last day getting a negative Covid test.  It was all supposed to have been easy to head overseas each year but Covid grounding us for 2 years made it all seem harder.  We were very excited to get going but it’s also a lovely time in NZ.  The autumn this year has been so mild and dry.  I love the mornings in our house when the low sun catches the crystal light shades in the kitchen and makes prisms all over the downstairs area!

Morning sun through kitchen window

The insurance on the coach and car had to be renewed and because of the time lapse, we needed new plates for both vehicles.  Getting those delivered to the storage facility from NZ proved difficult as the address for the storage facility is the same as another nearby building.  When we queried the storage facility about this, they said stuff goes missing all the time…!  You can’t drive a vehicle over here without insurance certificates and plates.

Stuart had a feeling that after 2 years of the coach not being moved/used that we might need some work, and we might have a hard time of it if we arrived only to find lots of issues, so he had the storage facility engineers give the coach a thorough testing to make sure everything worked.  The fuel additive we have to put in the diesel needed to be removed, the tyres on the car were flat, the battery was also flat.   A couple of issues on the coach like taps and steps seizing.  Getting both vehicles back on the road was a rather costly exercise!

We had a night time flight over from NZ.  We left at 8:30pm and had an 11 hour flight, an ok flight, we both managed some sleep.

Flying into Los Angeles

We arrived in LA with a night in a hotel by the airport so we could recover from jet lag before flying to Las Vegas to collect the coach.

We wanted to get our phones on a US cellular plan so we thought that on our spare afternoon in LA we would walk to an AT&T store that was about 3 miles away.  This was our introduction to being back in the US.  We thought it would be hot but there was a cold northerly blowing.  It’s so different to NZ.  But we love it here,  the horizon is far away, this is big sky country as most of the US is flat, I love that.  There are shops everywhere that sell everything, one shop sells only things with cinnamon!  So much variety because there are so many people.

There is a rich mix of people, it’s all very fascinating.  There’s so much going on in LA, we passed the stadium where Paul McCartney was due to play in a day or two, then Red Hot Chilli Peppers etc.  These big acts rarely come to NZ, especially of late.

It takes a little while for small town Kiwis to get used to all this.    We walked along Century Blvd all the way.  LA is a great big freeway, I mean to say that this is a very busy road, 6 lanes wide and goes under some overpasses.  Walking through these underpasses always feels a bit dodgy, lots of homeless people. Seeing a slightly unwashed person walk towards with one hand in their jacket you think Oh God, he has a gun, then he flashes you a big white smile and wishes you a great day and takes out his chocolate bar.  Yes, we are back in the land of the friendly American.

We couldn’t get our phones sorted, I never seem to have fun in a Telco store!  Never mind it was exercise.  Back to the hotel to crash.  Up at 5:30am the next day to catch an 8:30am flight to Las Vegas.  

Flying into Las Vegas you get such a great sense of a city in a great big desert, it seems crazy really.  

90% of the city’s water supply is Lake Mead via the Hoover Dam, and with Mead dropping to all-time lows I’m not sure this place is a good investment…  In fact the lake is now so low (fed by the Colorado) that they are finding long ago dead bodies-yes, this is the drinking water source!  The other 10% of water comes from natural aquifers underground.  Most of Vegas still resembles the desert, a typical house lot here only has desert type plants.  Most lawn is artificial.  Some areas of the city though are like a green oasis, there are tall palm trees everywhere.  Many blocks of land are vacant and there are new buildings going up all over the city.

Flying into Vegas, green in many areas

Most houses have roofs covered in solar panels.  It has a great infrastructure for getting around and has beautiful mountains in the distance.  It really is a lovely place.  

From the airport we taxied to the storage facility.  We wanted to wash the coach so we could give it a good look over, and because coaches cannot be washed at the campsite.  We also washed the car so we could see out of it!

Inside National Indoor RV storage facility, just one small section of it.

Dusty car

Looks shiny but the coach was filthy!

All the time we were working in this north las Vegas area there are jet fighters constantly booming overhead, not something that happens back home, don’t think NZ could afford one!  I guess the Airforce here gets discounted fuel rates.

Jet fighter

After a full day getting the coach and car ready we prepared to get underway to our campsite.  What a laugh, we couldn’t remember how to do most things, how do we get the slides out, jacks down, etc.  It was a bit like picking up a new coach again.  We figured it out pretty well together.  The car tyres got pumped up a few days before and they jump started the car so we could tow it behind the RV as we usually do and made our way to the campsite where we will now stay for a week.  

This campsite is one of the nicest we will stay in while we are in the US.  It’s a quiet and comfortable place to relax and we have great stores and services around us in this area.

We have been here for 3 days now and have got most jobs done and are starting to feel like we can relax and start to chill out.  

The cold wind stopped blowing and the very next day it shot up to 100 deg. We are finding that temperature challenging but will soon get used to it.

After 4 days at the RV park we have settled in very well. We thought there were a few issues with the coach-air con, tumble dryer etc not working, just to find we couldn’t remember how they worked. We’ve had the car serviced and the tyres replaced, been shopping at Costco and are now playing pickle ball and running each day, getting back into a rhythm. Consumables are noticeably more expensive here than in 2019 but food is still quite a bit cheaper that in NZ, fuel seems to be about the same as NZ.

We head out on Wed towards Arizona.