RiverCat Journal : Awesome New Development

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

 

I’m still in shock — I’m just now starting to process it. Two years ago I was in financial ruin, barely able to limp into Vegas. The plan was to settle into a “normal” lifestyle of working for the casinos for 3 years while I start my business, again. For nearly an entire year, I couldn’t get my foot in the door, anywhere.

Incredibly, a year later, I’ve more than found my footing in Las Vegas. In fact, this summer, I was processed at 6 properties and ended up having time for only two. In fact, I’d processed for the World Series of Poker and never dealt there once!

This is all special event work, but there’s a lot of it. In fact, as a “temporary” employee, I’ve worked 5 major tournaments at the Venetian in the last year. I made the tough decision recently to become a “non-local” dealer there. It was finalized yesterday. This means I’m only required to work summers there. The rest of the time I’ll choose the events I want to work, and then be submitted into a lottery…

What does this mean? Total freedom for 10 months out of the year!!! I’m going to be choosing when and where I work an independent contractor. And I’m not limited to events only in Las Vegas. I can begin working on the road, again!

Things are starting to get real exciting…

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Change in Plans!

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails
Recently Updated: Written in Jello

Summer of Disrepair. Everything seems to be falling apart all at once:

  1. Van A/C. It’s shot and has to be completely replaced.
  2. Van Front End. Loose tie rod that my handyman hopefully won’t have too much trouble with.
  3. A/C on 48 Ugly. It trips the circuit usually within an hour or less. I’m being told that it should not be on a GFI breaker because any little surge will set it off. A friend of mine will try to replace it this weekend. 48 is now the Ugliest it’s ever been with an additional window unit installed under emergency conditions by Yours Truly. The mount consists of cardboard, duct tape, a 1 x 2 propped on a chair, and a heavy blanked for insulation. Working 7 days a week, I have no intentions of beautifying prior to just removing the atrocity when the repair is done.
  4. Turn Signal on 48 Ugly. FIXED!
  5. Back Storage Compartment. Won’t open/close properly.
  6. Tires. I clipped a curb one night and took out a huge chunk out of two tire sidewalls and bent the lip of one of my rims. I’ll need to get them looked at. Additionally, my friend Jim Dixon gave me a new set of tires for the rig that I’m going to get replaced on the day of my departure.

 

It’s very difficult to deal with these matters when I’m working 7 days a week! But I’m the ambitious sort, and I still fully intend to be on the road my first day off — probably July 24th.

 

A Slight Change in Plans.

A little change in direction. I’ve determined once again that this is not the year to attempt setting up as a vendor in Quartzsite. I have to deal with health issues (vision, skin, chiropractic, kitty issues) and paying off debt for a few more months. Sinking a few grand into this venture with the additional stress of a month-long recruiting trip to Arizona in August was simply wearing me down.

Northern California, here I come! I’m going to start with a 3-day unwind only an hour away in Pahrump. From there I’ll take 4 days to make my way north of Sacramento. There, I’ll stay 4 nights and play poker at a special event at Thunder Valley Casino. Most likely, I’ll end up staying 2 weeks but I’m leaving most of the 5 weeks completely open to do whatever the heck I want!

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : Working, Organizing, and Planning

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

 

As usual, I have very little time to blog in the summers. Seven-day workweeks leave just enough time to get my errands and chores done. Towards the end of July I’ll have 2-3 days off to prepare for my departure.

Up until this point I had not been terribly excited about my journey in the scorching heat in August — it was more of a necessary recruiting trip for my Q-Town RubDown crew. But now, as I’m actually into the planning phase, I’m getting the hitch itch! Here’s how it’s breaking down…

5-6 nights in Laughlin for mostly unwinding, playing poker, and water sports.

4 nights in Yuma, my first time. I do some sightseeing and visit a nearby casino.

6 nights in Tucson at one of my favorite all-time parks, Desert Trails.

7 nights in Apache Junction. This is the biggest stop on my Q-Town RubDown recruiting campaign, and I’ll mostly be commuting to Phoenix on a daily basis to conduct interviews. As it turns out, this part of the calendar also landed on the exact week of the Arizona State Poker Championships — so I figure it’s destiny I at least try to qualify for it. This will be a very busy week, but I still intend to make my way to Fish Creek Canyon to find that rain forest in the middle of the desert!

14 nights in Cottonwood. Here, I’ll finish hiring, processing, and then do whatever the heck I want! I can’t wait to explore the Sedona area again, and  I’ve heard this particular Thousand Trails is one of the most awesome campgrounds in the system!

7 nights back to Las Vegas. I’m leaving this part completely open. Maybe the Grand Canyon or some slot canyons in Page? Lake Havasu? Laughlin again?

 

I still in disbelief at how well Thousand Trails and Passport America memberships work together to save tons of money on camping. I don’t think I’m staying anywhere for more than $17 per night, with the exception of Laughlin (where I’m only paying $22). Everywhere else is 50% off or $3 per night!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : Mandalay Bay Shark Reef

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef is a must-see when in Las Vegas. The first few exhibits feature crocodiles, reptiles, piranha, and this beauty…

?

Then you see sharks — lots and lots of sharks. You’d think with a dozen species to take aim at, you’d capture at least one good shot. Nope, not even my video did them justice. I did have better luck with the jellies…

?

And I couldn’t get enough of these guys…

Some of the larger sharks get to roam around in a 1.3 million gallon tank, one of the largest in North America.

While most people would agree Las Vegas is more of a Disney for adults, there are clearly some world-class family attractions here, as well. It was refreshing to witness children of all ages having a great time here. By the time I finished the tour, I felt like a child again, myself! A fun day.

I get so intensely focused when I’m in Vegas sometimes, I’ve admittedly missed a couple of my monthly One-Day Fun-Days. These are days I do nothing work-related, project-related, or gambling-related — just fun. I really intend to commit to this the remainder of 2016. It’s important!

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Recycled Percussion

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

I’m really beginning to settle into my part-time residency in Las Vegas. I’m preparing to rent a mailbox,  a storage unit, and eventually apply for a Nevada drivers license and tags — it’s a process.

I’m also realizing that my June/July summer jobs really requires my presence in Vegas for most of May, as well. I need this time not only for meetings and credentialing, but also for catching up on any projects that need attention before I begin working 7 days a week.

Most importantly, I’ve determined it’s a time for enjoying Las Vegas entertainment! I rarely have to pay anything for tickets, thanks to my connections. And when I do, it’s either a good locals’ deal or a Groupon that gets me in the door.

Recycled Percussion was formed on kind of a fluke when the group competed at their high school talent show with some drumsticks and buckets. For the next ten years they toured the country before landing on America’s Got Talent and then making Las Vegas their home base. These days they perform at Planet Hollywood.

Just be aware that when you attend this show, you are expected to participate! Prior to entering the theater you’re given a drumstick and asked to select a pot or pan. I selected a nice-sized pot to produce a solid bass sound…

drum

After some fun audience-participation numbers, Recycled Percussion went to work and really showcased their talents. I’d recommend this show to anyone…

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Whitewater Vegas

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

 

You rarely see more than a sprinkle or a spit in Las Vegas, but when it actually does rain…

An hour later I nearly got stranded a couple miles from camp as the flood channels began pouring over the streets. With as many flash floods as there were in the valley yesterday, it’s amazing there were only a handful of rescues! I’m going to enjoy the wet weather while I can — there’s only a couple more days of it…

There aren’t many amenities at my Las Vegas home base these days.

?

After a wind storm planted a tree in our clubhouse a few weeks ago, it was pretty clear our activity center would have to be rebuilt. More bad news followed, however. Our pool’s foundation was cracked. And the structural integrity of our welcome center, office, and store was also compromised. The entire hub of this campground will have to be demolished!

Not having access to any amenities, it’s as good a time as any to set up camp in the back row against the wall. With only a quiet retirement community a fair distance behind my campsite, I’m able to set up my nifty 10 x 10 popup tent and create a cozy little yard for myself. With no RVs directly behind me and plenty of space, this is the perfect spot to do some home improvement projects.

?

So I’ve decided to settle in for the summer! Work starts on May 15th, and it’s time I dig in and get things done during the next 6 weeks rather than travel. And where will I go at the end of July? To seek even warmer temperatures on a 5-week tour of ARIZONA! Well, it’s certainly not the first place I’d choose to spend the entire month of August, but it’s largely a business trip.

I suspect, much like my last business trip to Fresno, parts of the journey will be an absolute blast. But I’ve already made a decision that my fall adventure will be spontaneous fun only — no business!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snapshots : Arizona Oasis RV Resort : Ehrenberg AZ

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
” * ” Definition on Common Terms Page
Current Venue: Ehrenberg, AZ
Campground: Arizona Oasis RV Resort
Recently Updated: Written in Jello

reeds

 

palmriver

 

pool

 

myspot

 

riversunset

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Palm Springs : Regular Exercise

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
” * ” Definition on Common Terms Page
Current Venue: Palm Desert, CA
Campground: Palm Springs RV Resort

 

palm road

Typically when I spend a few days in a new town, I get caught up in all the tourist attractions and do quite a bit of exploring. So every morning here in Palm Springs I’d get out of bed and hop on the computer to check out all the neat things I was going to do…

palm pool

And then I gave up. Why? Because I was simply having too much fun taking advantage of all the amenities and activities Palm Springs RV Resort has to offer! At least a dozen activities take place every day here. I got pretty caught up in water volleyball and “pickleball”, which is sort of like tennis played with wiffle balls and paddles.

palm pickle

In one of the activity centers, I participated in a card game called “65”, which is kind of like rummy except nearly 1/3 of the deck are wild cards. Needless to say, there is very little skill involved, but the conversation was certainly interesting.

palm trees

I’m learning more about the Thousand Trails culture. It seems many of these activities are common to several of the Southern California properties and many of these full-timers sort of bounce around and enjoy each others’ company everywhere they go. It’s kind of a neat way to retire.

One of the things I’ve always worried about being on the road a lot is regular exercise. I’m now finding out the privileges of this membership. I don’t think I’m going to have any excuse not to get back into shape…

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snapshots : Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
” * ” Definition on Common Terms Page
Current Venue: Acton, CA
Campground: Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails

 

 

pond

 

mini golf

 

clubhouse

 

arcade

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RiverCat Journal : Fresno : Tiny Houses and Pirate Ships

Click Any Photo To Enlarge!
” * ” Definition on Common Terms Page
Current Venue: Fresno, CA
Campground: Fresno Mobile Home and RV Park

 

While there isn’t much selection in Fresno, I chose this particular park over the state park because it doesn’t offer any distractions that would keep me from accomplishing the task at hand. It worked. While it is a cozy little park, it’s kind of in a ho-hum area.

I managed to get my booth set up in quick fashion. While preparations afforded me little time for recreation, I did get to swing by Selma, the raisin capital of the world. The Sun-Maid gift shop not only offers a wide array of x-covered raisins at reasonable prices, they give away free samples of the very boxes of raisins I grew up on. And the raisins tasted exactly the same as I remember — kinda ho-hum.

My first trade show event in many years was also ho-hum. Our booth did not do particularly well even despite the event being well-attended. It was a learning experience in which I realized I’ll have to diversify and make certain adjustments at fairground-type venues. (I’m grateful that I had a poker room at my disposal. My earnings will easily pay for the trip).

The feature attraction at the Fresno Home and Garden Show is the “Tiny House Village.” This is where people flock to stand in line and tour a bunch of tiny little cabins and comment on how “cute” they are. They are cute, just highly impractical. This one, for instance, has a shower but apparently no drain.

Fresno boasts the most impressive county fairgrounds I’ve ever seen. It seems all the locals have fond memories here, and I can see why — it’s very kid-friendly and offers several places to sit down and relax. And if you can’t afford the theme-park attractions, the pirate-ship playground is absolutely spectacular.

?

pirate ship

I look forward to visiting Fresno again when I’m not working. There’s a lot of exploring to be done and poker to be played here. This time around, I have to start heading back towards Vegas, but I think this area is going to be calling my name in a few weeks…

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment