May 21st through June 8th, 2017, Bryce Canyon UT, St. George (Yosemite) Utah, Las Vegas Nevada

Early up and off we rolled to our next destination, Bryce Canyon in Dixie National Forest Utah. I could hardly wait to reach our next extended stay campground. Excitement kept my spirits joyful in spite of the nasty roads.

Cold, but as predicted, sunny morning, our travel across Native American Indian country roads were reminiscent of those we traveled across on our trip to Alaska. They appeared to be in a state of constant repair. Bouncing over areas of haphazardly patched asphalt shook housewares from our countertops and skid them across our floors. In some portions of the road, the asphalt had disintegrated and the partially dirt packed gravel caused us to slow to a snail’s pace. I took my accustomed position leaning over the kitchen sink area to alleviate the pounding on my spine and attempted to keep loose items in place. In hindsight, as enjoyable as our stay in the Grand Canyon had been, I wished this had been “The Road Not Taken”. Unluckily, this road was our only choice from our current position to our next.

As horrid were the roads, the beauty of the scenery passed was amazing.  Glen Canyon with a high level of sparkling sky blue waters.

Glen Canyon

Black Hills of Arizona and beautiful stone formations as we neared Utah.

Black Hills AZ  Nearing Best Friends

The Stair Steps mountain formations in Utah

Stair Steps (2)   Stair Steps

A shout-out to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary where we volunteer,

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

and onward into the Red Hills.

Red Stone   Red Hills

A few more hours of travel before we snugly slipped through The Twin Tunnels

The Tunnels

and into the Red Canyon,

Kanab, UT  Red Canyon

rolling out onto the flatlands of the Red Canyon Forest with snow in the distant mountain tops

Red Canyon Forest    Snow on the mountain

and passing more charcoal colored Black Hills.

More Black Hills

Finally, we were approaching Dixie National Forest and approaching our campground in Bryce Canyon City.

Entering Dixie Nat'l Forest   Bryce Canyon City

Early afternoon we arrived at Ruby’s Inn and RV Park. For the next five days and nights we would experience the front-runner of my favorite destinations, the breathtakingly beautiful and mysterious, Bryce Canyon. This visit, I was determined to make the climb down among the Hoodoo’s. Nowhere else in the world do Hoodoo formations exist and I was not going to miss the chance to experience them up close and personal.

As we entered our requested Big Rig pull-through site, I noticed our RV was in close quarters with several trees.

Ruby's RV Park

My excitement over nearing the Canyon stopped momentarily. Commenting to John, we wouldn’t easily be pulling through this site with all the large tree branches hanging down.  I received the typical John response, no worries. Too excited to argue, we set up camp and drove into the park for an afternoon stroll through the Visitors Center.

Bryce Canyon Entrance

After inquiring which trails were less than moderately difficult and being told The Rim Trail, I disregarded common sense choosing to tackle something slightly above my ability. Back at LilyPad, clothes laid out for an early rise, I slept with dreams of hide-and-seeking around Hoodoos.

Next morning my eyes popped open early, we dressed for hiking and were off to the trailhead. Caution thrown to the wind, I set my goal on trekking the Navajo Trail. The hike was approximately a mile of switchbacks descending nearly 590 feet down to the relatively flat lands among the Hoodoos.  The first set of switchbacks appeared less strenuous as seen from the trailhead.

Start and first set of switchbacks

I kept my eyes glued to the dirt and gravel path knowing a wobble or stumble might send me over the edge, reaching the canyon floor quicker albeit less comfortably than planned.  The second set of switchbacks were steeper but shorter in length.

Second set of switchbacks (2)

Periodically stopping on switchbacks to take in the view, concentrating on the steep climb downward, I had to remind myself, there were no elevators at the bottom for returning to the Rim. We forged downward, John slightly ahead.

Reaching the bottom, we rested under shade of tall pines and strolled along the flat path.  Neck craned skyward, I marveled at the gigantic hoodoo’s and their compressed through the ages sandstone stripes of fascinating multi earthen colors.

Down among the Hoodoos

Documenting our accomplishment with a Hoodoo Kodak Moment and gathering up as much determination as I had left, we began the long steep upward climb.

Bottom looking up

If I had possessed the ability to balance, we would have continued through Queens Garden but the sheer drop offs on either side of the trail, no guard rails with which to grasp, had scared any chance of continuing completely out of my mind.  Next visit, with two walking sticks, Queens Garden shall be conquered.

The switchbacks rising back up to the Rim Trail were as steep as expected but the view was extraordinary.

Half way up Navajo Trail

Slow and steady, resting at several bends with other elderly folks, the top came into view.

Switchbacks were steep

Nearing the lengthy set of second tier switchbacks, Thor’s Hammer appeared before us.  I snapped a close up picture to show details.

Thors Hammer    Close up of Thors Hammer

Coming within one final stretch of the Rim Trail, I glanced back down to measure my progress.

Switch backs

At the trail head, perched on the Rim Trail wooden bench seats, John admitted he had worried I wouldn’t make the climb back out.  Dusty, hot and thirsty yet joyfully exhilarated that a major Bucket List item of mine had been conquered, I was happy I made it out unscathed.

Resting and catching our breath, we looked across the canyon and spotted Inspiration Point, the highest elevation in the park.

Insp Pt from Navajo trail

In the morning, John and I would make the hike up and John would join me in looking out from the Point for his first time. Our previous visit, John stayed with KatieBug when I hiked up alone as dogs were not allowed on the dirt trails.   This visit, KatieBug would be snug as a bug in a/c while DH (the initials we use for dear husband on RV forums)  climbed with me to the top.

Back at LilyPad, after a hot shower and a lite dinner, we drove back into the park and walked out to Sunset Point for the view.

Sunset Point at sunset

Dozens of visitors from around the world joined the stroll along the Rim Trail.  When we arrived at the overlook, a couple from India sat next to me. A group of Germans were chatting and laughing while snapping selfies and group shots of the Canyon view. A large Asian family was having dinner at the rangers presentation area while waiting for the sun to set. The extensive assortment of foreign chatter brought back memories of walking along the Woodlands Waterway in our home town.

Sunset views were not exactly what I had expected but the night was mild, the air was clear and clean so John and I sat near the rim and watched until the sun disappeared. A memorable day followed by a peaceful night.


Refreshed and ready for another adventure, this morning John and I would hike to Upper Inspiration Point together. Breakfast first, then getting KatieBug settled before leaving, the ride to the parking lot was brief.  The elevation rise is less than walking among the hoodoo’s but the grade is steeper in the 200 foot climb.  I inched slowly upward, passing several ladies perched on the fence beside the trail, several refusing to go further. Knowing how amazing the view, I rested then continued on, John slightly up ahead waiting for me.  The view from the top is stunning, multi hued Hoodoo’s jutting out of the canyon floor.  The Point looks down into Bryce Amphitheater, the largest grandest and most colorful natural amphitheater.

Inspiration Point 1 8100Inspiration Point 2Inspiration Point 3

Crowds preceded us so we waited our turn then gazed out over the extensive view.  One can truly appreciated the depth of the canyon after having walked on the canyon floor.  Pictures do not portray its magnificence, stretching outward into forever.

Slowly making our decent down the mountain side by side, we sat in the car resting before the drive back to LilyPad.

Bryce Canyon has visitors from around the world but parked in front of our car was a tour bus from Campbell California, the town in which I grew up.  With each year that passes while we roll on, the world becomes smaller.

Campbell CA

Before reaching home, we paused to watch the endangered Prairie Dogs popping in and out of their burrows.

Endangered Prairie Dogs

Another open field had Mule Deer grazing.

Mule Deer

My frame of mind was not in a cooking mood so we dined at Ruby’s Buffet and Steak Room Restaurant. Plenty of healthy choices and reasonably priced.  Afterwards, a short walk with KatieBug and to all a good night.


This morning I slept late while John enjoyed an early bike ride along the trails.  When he returned, we finished our everyday chores, escaping in the afternoon for a visit to a few must-see overlooks, areas all reachable via walking The Rim Trail.

Fairyland Canyon

Fairyland Canyon 1Fairyland Canyon 2Fairyland Canyon 3

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge 8627

We passed a large section of burnt trees from a forest fire on the edge of the park.

Forest Fire

Farview Point is located near the end of the park canyon road.

Farview Point 8819

Mule Deer out for an evening veggie bite.

Mule Deer with horns

I have mentioned this before but it bears repeating. The Senior America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is one of the best deals the government offers. Both John and I bought one as it is only good for the person who purchases the pass. Considering the daily entrance fee for Bryce alone, we saved $120.000 over our near weeklong stay.

Canyon Fees

Out of the park, into LilyPad and asleep by 9:00 pm.


Another day of cool mornings and restful afternoon visits to Bryce Canyon. Stopping to visit The Bryce Canyon Lodge, we marveled at the beautiful vintage structure.  Our visits to national parks require a look-see at the interior details.

A short walk to the entrance.

The Lodge

Inside, the omnipresent focal point stone fireplace facing ample cozy cushy couches, a gift shop with a full range of items for sale and a restaurant.

Grand Lodge Fireplace

Driving back to LilyPad we spotted more local mule deer out grazing.  Note to self, check KatieBug thoroughly for deer ticks.

Mule Deer in pm

Tonight we pack up for our early morning roll out.


Becoming our tradition, the exit was delayed over an hour. When we slowly began to sneak out from under the trees, LilyPad got caught up in the overhanging tree branches. Armed with a ladder and hack saw, John attempted to free us of the small branches but waited while I summoned the Park maintenance men to chain saw us out of the big tree limbs.

Stuck again

I called and spoke with the manager to express my dissatisfaction of putting us in a site too narrow and branches too low for an exit without tree damage. I reminded them I had called on several occasions before arriving to confirm they were aware of our height and width.  When we arrived, I mentioned my concerns but was told “no problem, you will fit fine”. After getting caught up in the overhead Pine limbs, I gave the manager my opinion of their casual disregard of damage we would suffer to our full time home. Suggesting they may want to designate appropriate sites for larger rigs, I asked that she please not include the site she had given us. After the chain saws set us free from the branches, we hooked up and left.

Traveling via the Old Spanish Trail, the scenic views closely resembled those we had seen over the past few weeks.

Old Spanish Trail

Over more flatlands, twisting through mountains and rolling back out onto flatlands.  Hot as the weather we were experiencing had been, snow on the distant white capped mountain tops still teased us into the belief we would eventually reach cooler weather.

Twisting through the mountains   Snow on the mountains

Our next stop would be St. George for nearly a week. We were staying at the St. George Elks Lodge, electricity only, not a problem for our fully self- contained LilyPad.

The St George Elks lodge

Temperatures pushing 100 plus, the weak 50 amps struggled to cool us off so during the hottest part of the day, we used our generator to keep KatieBug a cool pug-bug.

The first day we rested. I searched TripAdvisor to plan a few outings, the first being to satisfy my craving for anything “religion or church”. We were in The Church of the Latter Day Saints territory. Tomorrow we would visit the church and other local sites.

Relaxing under the shadow of the red rocks of Utah, we watched as the Elks Lodge RV Park filled to capacity under a setting sun. John walked to the Lodge bar for an evening nip, took KatieBug out to potty and we fell asleep to local TV.

St. George Elks Lodge site

After breakfast next morning, we drove to town. Our first stop was St. George Tabernacle, closed for remodeling.

St. George Tabernacle

Parking across the street under cover of shade trees, we momentarily entertained ourselves watching mom’s, dad’s and children playing in the adjacent water park.

Town water park

The LDS Temple complex can be seen from almost any point in town, brilliantly white and gleaming. The Temple, with its tall slender steeple, radiated in the sun and complimented the deep red and brown hues of the mountains.

LDS From the hills

Although they didn’t allow us to enter the church, their Visitors Center had pictures of the temple interior, a senior volunteer gentleman showed us the history in pictures and a young recent high school graduate volunteer guided us through, answering questions along the way.

LDS Temple

We listened to a video speech of the Second Counselor and peeked at a play town with videos showing subjects dedicated to children.

Childrens video's

Sitting for a short religious talk in front of a giant statue of Jesus before our departure, we had been warned by other TripAdvisor reviewers not to give out our address at any time during the tour. Not a problem for us, we live on the roll so not even the LDS can track us down!

Jesus Statue

Their hierarchy listed First President and Profit, First and Second Counselor and a Quorum of 12 apostles, somewhat familiar for John and I, both of us being Catholics.

Speaking with the young lady, we learned she volunteered for 18 months, the place being chosen by elders.  For her, St. George Utah was their choice. She was friendly, informative, genuinely happy to be of service to visitors wandering into the center.

One unusual piece of trivia told to us about how nearby Flood Street got its name.  The Temple was built on top of underground springs.  When rains filled the springs, they had to pump the water down the street.  It kept the name Flood Street although water is no longer pumped out into the street.

Flood Street

Thanking, then leaving the company of our young tour guide, we departed for our next destination, St. George Dinosaurs Discovery Site.

St. George Dinosaur Discovery

In the parking lot, a two story Century Plant, appropriate landscaping.

Agave plant

The museum gift shop is well stocked.  Introduction to the museum comes in the form of a short video.  Inside are hundreds of dinosaur footprints preserved on the original site of discovery.  After paying our nominal senior price and sitting through the short video, we walked up the ramp.

Inside the museum

Up the incline, we found ourselves walking alongside Jurassic muds with dinosaur foot prints forever imprinted in sandstone.  Some dinosaurs were running,

Tracks of running

some were walking,

Largest single specimen of dino tracks

a Eubrontes was in a sitting position,

Eubrontes  Sitting Eubrontes

one showing swimming prints,

Dino swim tracks

and all were incredible.  The docents were extremely knowledgeable, full of fascinating facts, willing and able to go into detail when answering questions.

A total Do-Not-Touch area, there were up close and personal footprints at the entrance.

Dino Foot  DSC_3347

We found the plant for which our LilyPad was named but no toad.

A LilyPad

Scanning through the hundreds of dinosaur footprints, John found a small print of a baby dinosaur.

Baby dino prints

One of the cases displayed 100 million year old teeth.

100 Million year old teeth

The idea for the museum began when Dr. Sheldon Johnson was leveling an area of his property.  After removing large blocks of sedimentary rock, he began tearing up the sandstone in large blocks.  While doing so, he discovered three-dimensionally preserved dinosaur tracks. They were significant enough for the excavation to continue and the findings would be used to start the museum.

The sandstone and mudstone formed almost 200 million years ago on the shores of an ancient lake in the vicinity of St. George.

Layers of the tracks

The discovery was the first of thousands of well-preserved indentions of dinosaur tracks, plants, fossil fish, shells of small aquatic animals, seeds of plants and rare dinosaur remains.  Below is a Semionotid fish fossil, nearly complete.  Its body covered with heavy enamel-coated diamond shaped scales.

Semionotid fish fossil with scales

In the rear of the museum, behind a glass wall, lab volunteers prepare finds for research and display.  Below is a Phytosaur skull found at another site and brought here for preparation.

Phytosaur scull

Also containing invertebrates traces and important sedimentary structures, the site has been described as “one of the best dinosaur track sites in the world”, one of the most important discoveries in Early Jurassic paleontological history.

Back wall 1   Back wall 2

Near the gift shop were touchable dinosaur related items, some real but some obviously plastic.  A fun area for the kid in all of us to encounter a tactile experience.

Bone pieces to touch

There were several enclosed cases.  One contained fragments of fossils, allowable to collect for personal use.


Another case held Jurassic backbones and ribs from an aquatic dinosaur.

Backbone and ribs

Having had a dose of the Heavens and walking where dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we drove back home to cool down, unwind and keep the sweltering desert sun from boiling our brains.  Tomorrow morning we will stroll through the Red Hills Desert Gardens.


The desert is best tolerated in the morning before heat turns walkways into bar-b-q grills.  The Red Hills Desert Gardens are a slice of land banked by the sandstone hills and skirting the highway. The forecast was for another scorcher, not good for fur baby paws.  KatieBug took her position as guard dog of our LilyPad while we drove off to explore the Gardens.  No crowds, the gardens were ours exclusively.

Red Hills Desert Garden

Climbing downstairs for a look at the fish, we realized the tanks must be difficult to keep clean with the heat and sun shining through the glass.  There was so much green algae, nothing fishlike appeared to be in the tanks.

Virgin River Fish tank

The paths were cement, clean, level and  easy to walk along.  In tepid weather the Gardens would be enjoyable to visit any time of the day.

Flowering path   Overlooking the water

Stopping to smell the bright yellow flowers, we watched several types of bees fly in for pollen.  I backed slowly away but they showed no interest in us.

Several types of bees

Several shaded swings provided rest stops along the pathways.

John on one of the swings

One of the gravel paths crossed a stream with tiny fish squirming through the shallow mucky bottom waters.

Path over water

A few sections had names posted of several prominent desert families of plants.  They grew more types of aloe than I knew existed.

Agave Hesperaloe


The sun was merciless but blooms were brilliantly colored and thriving.

Lots of color   Cactus flower

My favorite plant in the garden was the chocolate plant.  The aroma was heavenly.

Chocolate Flower

Back home to cool down and begin the process of preparing for departure in the morning.  After five years, the time assigned for the task hasn’t declined.


Leaving the desert sands, we navigated our 65 feet long home and car between mammoth peaks and valleys holding a thousand years of prehistoric fossils between their layers. Remembering the mud prints of Jurassic dinosaurs, I could imagine herds of Scelidosaurus, Dilophosaurus and Megapnosaurus wandering through the area leaving behind tracks and traces of their lives pressed between layers of earth for humans to one day uncover and display to future generations.

Mountains    through the mountains

The river trickled along the roadside until we left the mountains and flat sandy desert lands spread out before us.  One turn before pointing LilyPad’s direction towards Las Vegas.

River alongside

Sandy loam, as far as sight could see, with Joshua Trees dotting the landscape until we neared the voracious electricity consuming town of bright lights, gambling and “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.

Joshua Trees

The long thin black line that appears to separate tan desert sands from layered rock mountains, banded unceasingly across the desert, are masses of solar panels for the ravenous appetite of neon nightlights required by “sin city”. I couldn’t begin to imagine the price tag for the utilities each casino complex consumes daily.

Solar fields   Vegas Skyline

Our next two weeks will be spent in 105 to 112 degrees of dry heat during the day and cooling to a mild 80 to 90 degrees at night. We jumped from Houston’s frying pan temperatures into Nevada’s and California’s burning desert fires.

I thought I was over being surprised by the differences one experiences when living in a motorhome compared to a sticks-n-bricks home but I was wrong. Taking a shower one afternoon, I waited a seemingly endless amount of time for the water, which I had entirely twisted in the cold position, to become less scorching but refreshingly cool was not arriving.  I soon realized if it is 112 outside, your entire water tank will be hot so cold is not an option.

We set up house at Las Vegas RV Park, away from any road noise and tucked securely behind solid stone walls topped with barbed wire and a full time 24 hour gate keeper. The high crime rate of the area and the dismal poverty level becomes intimidating if you look closely. The city ignores derelicts, not bothering to remove drunks who pass out in front of neighborhood grocery store entrance doors. In the heat, the stench is overpowering.

Our first venture out will be an afternoon trip to the Downtown Container Park and a daytime visit to Fremont Street.

Container Park

The concept of a container park is a brilliant idea. Sturdy, easy care, recycled containers put to use as shops, eateries and outdoor bars. In the middle, a giant play area for children and in the rear, a stage for outdoor entertainment.


At the entrance sits a giant praying mantis and at night, we were told it shoots fire.

Praying Mantis

Near the mantis, a huge red heart iron sculpture art piece with hundreds of love locks attached within its metal boundaries.

Metal heart and locks

We wandered through the enclosed area realizing daytime was not prime time to see the rock and roll activity of Vegas bar scenes. Most stores were open, my favorite being San Miguel Collection. A houseful of this décor would entirely fit my personality.

San Miguel Collection

Fremont Street was a short two block walk down from the Container Park. Prominently displayed mid-street were vintage refurbished signs, those I remembered from my early adult years when John and I frequented Vegas.

Vintage Vegas Sign  Vintage Vegas Signs  Vintage Vegas

Wacky, wild, slightly obscene but the perfect place for people watching, we strolled down the no auto pedestrian friendly “Strip” at a relaxed pace.

One of the stranger sights, the Heart Attack Grill restaurant offering people over 350 pounds to eat for free.

Heart Attack Grill

Thrill seekers were zip lining high above Fremont Street,

Zip Lines over Fremont Street

Partially dressed entertainers vying for attention.

Dressing up less is more   Fremont Street Entertainers

Magicians floating in air, all were part of the bewitchery of old Las Vegas

Magician floating

This year, because of the heat, we didn’t venture onto the strip.  Walking long distances for hours, even in the cooler 90 degree night heat, for me was flirting with heat stroke.


Back to LilyPad with groceries, the temperatures kept me inside the balance of the day. As the sun began to set, we dressed for our nighttime dinner date.  Hugo’s at the Four Queens on Freemont Street is my favorite Italian splurge whenever we visit Las Vegas. It remains one of my fondest memories of our visits to Las Vegas during the conferences John attended for 10 plus years while employed by GeoSouthern Energy.

Candle lit tables in cozy bricked alcoves, sharing a bottle of Argentine Malbec, exceptional service,  knowledgeable and entertaining career sommelier, salad prepared tableside with a dozen choices of add-ins, raspberry sorbet to cleanse the pallet, fresh sweet perfectly grilled seafood and gratis chocolate dipped fresh and dried fruit to end another unforgettable dining experience.


This morning we were off to tour the home and horse stables of Mr. Las Vegas. I had purchased Groupon tickets for the Diamond Tour of Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah.  The style of the front gates set the tone of the tour.  Casa de Shenandoah, meaning house of beauty, has welcomed presidents, kings and countless celebrities.The 52 landscaped acre grounds are a manicured perfection in tranquility.

Entrance gates

Opened to the public in 2015, the tour reveals acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, several artesian wells bubbling up in the lake as the water supply, a mansion, guest homes, barns, arenas and a collection of exotic animals, all originally completed in 1976. Modest for Vegas, the mansion and some areas are open for tours.

The draw for me was seeing his Aramus Arabian stables and horses.

Aramus Arabians stables   The stalls

We toured the immaculate stables, then watched an exercise session with an informative explanation by the tour guide.

Arabian exercizing   the exercize pond

One of his younger horses was brought out into the arena and his spirited prancing and alert pose provided excellent Kodak Moments.

Running the Arabian       eye makeup

We toured Wayne Newton’s modest 1950’s original home where he, his older brother and parents lived.  Wayne began his singing career as a child.  He sang with his older brother until the 1960’s when he sang a solo song written originally for Bobby Darin.  After hearing Newton sing, Darin insisted that Newton sing the song, “Danke Schoen” and at the age of 21, his solo career began.

The entrance to the home is elaborate, the house well furnished but comfortably down to earth.  His father began with five acres and the original home, purchasing land as it became available.  Our tour guide told us the family loved to entertain.  There was a pool in the yard and an extensive workout room in the rear of the house.

50's entrance   50's den

The living room was formal and contained many personal items belonging to the family.

50's livingroom

His collection of exotic animals was our next stop.  Although there were dozens, I took photo’s of my favorite.  The enclosures were clean, roomy and designed for the protection and comfort of each animal.

One of the Wallaby’s was bouncing happily around his area but stopped to stare while I took his picture.


I love the looks of the African Crane.  There were two, but only one wanted to pose.

African Crane

The Capuchin monkey Boo and his dog were my favorite.  Boo walks the dog around on a leash and they live together in a huge enclosure with everything a monkey and his dog could ever want or need.  Neither were interested in us or the tour guide.

Boo and his dog

The grounds had several peacocks, brought in by a past guest and are allowed to stay or go, whichever they chose.  The white peacock is rare and not an albino.

grounds peacock  white peacock

A short cart ride away, we arrived at the mansion.  Although Wayne no longer lives here full time, he visits daily.  This mansion has glitz and glamor, rare wood ceilings, crystal, secret rooms, what you would expect of Mr. Vegas but not enormous in size.  A grand entrance and exquisite Baccarat and Waterford crystal chandeliers welcomes you into the living room.  For safety, the gorgeous crystal banisters to upstairs had to be replaced with metal before opening the mansion to the public.

Casa de Shenandoah    The mansion livingroom

Warm and expansive, the dining room is set with Waterford crystal and 14-karat gold leaf chinaware personally designed and signed by Mr. Newton.

Wayne's gold dinnerware    Wayne's custom dinnerware

The custom chefs kitchen is small but packed with every necessity for entertaining.

Catering kitchen

An impressive heart shaped pool can be seen through the living room windows.

Big House heart shape pool

The house contains many rare original artworks including Renoir, Van Gogh and Keane.

Rare art  Keane drawings

Newton purchased several of Keane’s paintings after learning the wife was the actual painter.  She was grateful for his support and painted a picture of his animals as a gift.

Keane of Waynes animals

A rare antique billiard table from India, complete with Baccarat crystal legs, sat in the room nearest the living room.

Crystal pool table

Red Skelton’s famous clown paintings, with beloved Lucile Ball painted as a clown, decorated one wall in the billiard room.

Red Skelton's paintings

The “Red Room”, his office, contains memento’s ranging from a flag flown over the Alamo in his honor, his portrait on a Wheaties box and robes for knighthood, two showing in the background. His collection includes pictures taken with presidents, kings, statesmen and movie stars.

Wayne's Red Room   Flag over TX for Wayne

The museum was our last stop. Wayne’s life is entwined with the history of Las Vegas, his family first, then his home for so many decades.  The people he has helped, those who he befriended, all the kindness he has shown throughout his career have filled his warehouses with incredible memories but only so many will fit in the museum at one time.

His car collection is extensive and includes a station wagon from a friend who he teased about using it to drive around on shopping trips.

The car collection

Lucile Ball left the station wagon to him in her will and it is displayed with love, next to the others in his collection.

Lucy's shopping car

Stage props, the boat from On Golden Pond and Vivian Leigh’s couch in Gone With The Wind are a few of his collection pieces.

Film props

Not having much knowledge of Wayne Newton outside my mother being a fan and having seen him several times, our guide provided enough information for us to realize what a generous, giving person he is, still performing to this day several times a week and continuing his tradition of honoring our American service men.

We toured his former plane, his museum and viewed some of his memento’s of the performances he gives to service men overseas, spanning several decades.  Below are some of his USO jackets and a few award cabinets.

Wayne's USO jackets   Awards and recognitions

Wayne Newton is still admired by thousands of loyal fans, continues to entertain crowds and is truly Mr. Las Vegas.  As we left the grounds, we decided our next visit to Las Vegas would include one of his performances, now enjoyed with a greater understanding of the person behind the performer.

Our nighttime entertainment is Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson One. Thoroughly enjoyable for me, a longtime Michael Jackson fan, acceptable as entertainment for John. A walk around the casino to stretch out after sitting down for an extended length of time and back home for the night.


Today will be dedicated to cleaning and preparing for the next leg of our journey. Shopping, laundry, checking fluid levels and air pressures, securing anything that may become airborne and plotting our route, all to be completed before bedtime.


Bye, Bye Sin City, hello California.  Rising early to beat the 100 plus degree heat destined to torch its way across Nevada, we turned onto Interstate 15, the highway that stretches across hundreds of miles of arid rain-shadow desert and set the navigation for Boron, Southern California, the home of 20 Mule Team Borax.

Interstate 15, a.k.a. Mojave Freeway, crosses the torrid valleys of the Mojave Desert, the driest desert in North America. Little more than sand, rock and scrub brush with wind distressed landscapes and mountains off in the distance, stepping outside will cause a sweltering heat flush stronger than a major menopausal hot flash.

Said to parallel the approximate route taken by Mormon pioneers traveling from Salt Lake City to San Bernardino, it is unimaginable how anything alive would survive this heat using a cart, equine drawn, as their mode of transportation.

Swales, ditches cleared to direct water flow, appear every mile or so, running under the road and out into the Mojave National Preserve. Whoever in San Bernardino County named these ditches must have had a humorously jolly outlook on life to dream up so many playfully creative names. Prominently displayed signs with entertaining twisted names were given to the gentle crevices that slightly indented the desert. Names such as Moby Ditch, Bangla Ditch, Sonofa Ditch all provoked a chuckle while rolling across hundreds of miles of parched bare uninhabitable land.

Tonight we will arrive in the town of Boron, near the Mojave Desert, the closest town to the freeway with an easy pull through RV stop for our next set of overnights.  If weather reports of predicted temperatures for the next few weeks are to be trusted, the coming heatwave will make a Texan summer feel practically artic.