The Saaris’ (Sorta) Safe Sojourn – PART 7: Mellower at Lake Mead

Our last episode ended at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort, where we were vacillating about where to go next. We finally made a decision – we took a short hop back to the Lake Mead RV Village, where we had stayed previously during our 2018-19 Adventure and also on this Sojourn. In fact, we were staying at Lake Mead right before we went to the Oasis Las Vegas resort. The unimaginative decision to go back there was essentially a punt – we just couldn’t decide on a new place to go, so we went back to a nearby place we’ve enjoyed in the past. We ended up staying at Lake Mead from January 29 until February 15. While there, we did some hiking and biking on the excellent trails in the National Recreation Area, took another drive to the Valley of Fire State Park, and drove around enjoying various scenic spots along the lake. I also played golf a couple of times a week, just because that’s what I do. While there, our angst about what to do next dissipated, and once in a mellower mood we were able to lay out a plan for subsequent travel through March. Below, I’ll briefly summarize our stay at Lake Mead, and I’ll also answer the question I posed for regular readers last time.

The RV Village: The Lake Mead RV Village is a campground operated by a federal contractor. There are 119 RV sites available, all with power, water, sewer, and cable TV hookups as well as free Wi-Fi. There are also perhaps a couple hundred permanently sited mobile homes that are privately owned. Most of those are located in the surrounding area and do not directly abut the RV sites, but more on that later.

For the first 12 nights, we stayed at one of the so-called Lake View sites, which in fact do provide very nice views of Lake Mead and have large, level concrete pads for parking RV’s. We had to move to a different site for the last five days because the Lake View sites were all booked, and we ended up right next to the site we stayed at back in December. Since our 2018 visit, the laundry facilities have been upgraded with new machines, which interestingly don’t take coins – I needed to download an app for my phone in order to pay and operate the machines. However, the other facilities, including the restrooms and showers, are rather shopworn, and the access roads are in bad shape. Somehow, the seedy nature of the place does not detract from the overall ambience. In fact, we soon began to feel quite mellow while staying at the RV Village – except for one thing. There is one row of permanent sites between the Lake View RV sites and the other RV sites. Most of the occupants of said sites were quiet and unobtrusive, but as luck would have it, the folks directly across the road from us loved to play country music and watch right-wing TV. One day a twangy singer was crooning away, asking “Why are you so angry all the time?” I burst into song myself: “Because of this bleeping country music you play all day long!” The move away from the Lake View site brought more peace, and we were even serenaded by a pair of Great Horned Owls on our last night.

View from our Lake View Site

Valley of Fire State Park: True to our earlier vow, we returned to the State Park for a visit during our stay at Lake Mead. Our drive from the RV Village to the State Park followed a very scenic road entirely within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, rather than the boring freeway route we previously took from the Oasis Las Vegas campground. While there, we hiked the White Dome Loop trail (where we enjoyed a picnic lunch), stopped at several scenic overlooks, and visited the Atlatl Rock with its dozens of ancient pictographs.

Scenic Route to Valley of Fire State Park
White Dome Loop Trail at Valley of Fire State Park
White Dome Loop Trail
Lunch stop along the trail
Ancient alien aircraft?
Pictographs on Atlatl Rock
Stone Beast overseeing the State Park?
Scenic overlook at Valley of Fire State Park

Boulder Dam Hike: Another day, we hiked from a trailhead near the Lake Mead Visitor Center to Boulder Dam. The trail follows the old railroad line used during construction of the dam back in the 1930s. As such, it is mostly quite flat, with many spectacular views of Lake Mead, and there are even five railroad tunnels along the way. Near the dam, though, the trail gets hillier and I have to admit to some huffing and puffing along the way. Due to Covid restrictions, tours were cancelled and there were very few people at the dam itself, allowing some excellent views without the need for jostling with other visitors. We even stopped for lunch at the cafeteria, and I enjoyed a delicious hot dog at an outdoor table, well isolated from other people.

View of Lake Mead from Old Railroad Trail
Old Railroad Trail
Bighorn Sheep grazing along the trail
View of Lake Mead from Boulder Dam
Colorado River outflow from Boulder Dam
Statue of Construction Worker

By the time we got back to the RV Village, my feet were complaining – in fact my “barking dogs” nearly drowned out the country music. I noted on my phone app that I had taken more than 22,000 steps and covered about 10 miles, which is a bit much for this septuagenarian. But the fond memories of the outstanding day made it all worthwhile.

Scenic Drive: Another day, we retraced a portion of our drive to the Valley of Fire, this time stopping at each and every scenic overlook along the way, including Sunset View, 33 Hole Overlook, Las Vegas Bay Campground, Callville Campground, and some others that I can’t remember the names of. Most of the spots had beautiful views and nice hiking trails, and we stopped at the Callville café for lunch. Yet another nice day at Lake Mead.

Sunset View scenic overlook
Pelicans at 33 Hole Overlook
33 Hole Overlook
View from Callville Marina cafeteria

Golf: Of course, I had to continue golfing. As I said, it’s what I do. I tried several times to book tee times at two nearby Boulder City courses on my Golf Now app, but I was never actually able to get it done for some unknown reason. The nearest course with available tee times turned out to be the infamous Wildhorse course I reported on last time, where I shot an “awful” round and vowed not to return, “unless I decide to prove that I can do better …” I ended up playing at Wildhorse four more times, carding a “semi-decent,” a “pretty stinky,” a “not too bad,” and a final “pretty darned good.” Persistence pays, after all.

The Question Answered: In the previous post, I wrote: “Also, we did add something to our traveling retinue that you can get a glimpse of in the photo below …”

I asked if regular readers noticed something new in this photo

I had also written, “… we rented a car when we got to Las Vegas, and we still do have a car parked at our site.” But I didn’t say the car parked at our site was a rental car. In fact, as you can see in the differently cropped photo below, the car is a brand-new Tesla. (Andy Lindsay was the only regular reader to correctly guess the new item in the photo.)

Now you can see it!

Here’s a full photo of the car at our subsequent location.

We still do have a car parked at our site

We’ve been talking about getting a Tesla for years, wanting to do at least one small thing to help advance the inevitable conversion to electric vehicles. Besides, Teslas are really cool. During our various stretches driving the RV during this Sojourn, we continued to talk about the possibility. When we got to Vegas, we went to the local Tesla dealer to look at one. After several more conversations, Pat convinced me that now was as good a time as any to actually do it. So, we ordered a Model Y on-line (the only way to buy a Tesla), which required a whopping $100 deposit, not knowing when we would actually get it. The estimated delivery on the website was stated as something like February 15 to March 31, but the person at the dealership told us they sometimes become available much sooner. And, lo and behold, we took delivery on January 13! I’ll report further on the Tesla in future episodes.

That’s enough for now. We are still feeling safe and well. Stay tuned as the adventure continues …

4 thoughts on “The Saaris’ (Sorta) Safe Sojourn – PART 7: Mellower at Lake Mead

  1. I have lived in Southern Nevada for the past 50 years. I have lived in many places in the area all the years.
    I just happened across your site and find it be most excellent!
    Thank you for such a very good report of the Lake Mead area and others roundings here.🙂

    Like

  2. I’ve visited the lake mead area for 25 years and have always wanted to stay on dry ground and see what it would be like and now i may just do that, I’ve been a boater for all these years and every time we stay on the water, thanks for the great story

    Like

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