Farewell to My Best Friend

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Laughlin/Avi Casino KOA

 

Rest Peacefully and Visit Me Often.

 

Jeepers Nest

 

“Jeepers”

2001 – 2017

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RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : Walking to Work

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Main Street Station

It’s been nearly a year since we lost our clubhouse and pool at the Las Vegas Thousand Trails in a windstorm. Being in no hurry to get back to my “home base”, I’ve spent around $600 in campsite fees this last month — more than I’ve spent on lodging in a long, long time. It just felt the right time to splurge a little and, so far, no regrets!

While spending 3 weeks in Pahrump, I discovered a park (Preferred) not far from my hub that I can spend month-long layovers and be productive. And now, while staying 6 nights in downtown Las Vegas, I’m realizing how convenient it is to walk to work!

My commute to The Golden Nugget is only a 5-minute stroll. I’m following this up with a stint in Laughlin where I will also camp next door and walk to work! Other camp-next-to-work possibilities include special events in Jackpot, Nevada and Pendleton, Oregon later this spring.

Things continue to take shape nicely. I’m very eager to see what’s next…

 

 

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RiverCat Journal : Pahrump : Preferred RV Resort

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Current Venue : Pahrump, NV
Campground: Preferred RV Resort

 

It was a nice, short drive from the rural Lakeside Casino RV Park to Preferred, right in the heart of town. From here, you can walk across the street to the town’s main casino, Pahrump Nugget, as well as Gold Town Casino. Also in walking distance is Smith’s, McDonalds, SuperPawn, Taco Bell, and much more. Preferred allows you to stay at the 50% Passport America discount for up to two weeks.

 

preferred-campsite

 

I wasn’t sure I’d love this park at first. The smaller back-ins have strange setups. The electric and water is situated way in the back, while the sewer is situated near the front. Even with the sewer hose extension everything was quite a stretch — my electric cord elevated a few inches off the ground. (I may need to buy a second sewer extension next time around). But when it was all said and done I found myself set up in a terrific spot between two lovely trees.

And things kept getting better. Despite the park being less than 100 yards from a “major” intersection, Preferred is surrounded on 3 sides by a quiet country setting. During my first stroll around the resort, I instantly felt at home. This koi pond makes a nice centerpiece…

 

pond

 

I’ve never featured a propane station before. But when you find $2 propane on the West Coast it is newsworthy. Unfortunately, it was discovered this time around that my tanks were expired! I made my way to Shoshone Propane  and discovered one of my valves had to be replaced. After the repair, 2 fills at $3.20 per gallon, and re-certification; my eagerly-anticipated discount gas bill turned into a $100 pop. Oh well — next time.

 

propane

 

The pool is fantastic! Outdoor by summer, indoor by winter, this retractable structure seemingly has it’s own weather system — with condensation falling off the ceiling creating light rain showers from time to time. There are water aerobic classes daily so some of the elderly ladies have a place to gossip, and water volleyball 3 times a week for us serious athletes.

 

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How’s this for an intimate hot tub setting! Another Perfect Ten…

 

hot-tub

 

My recent stay at Lakeside Casino RV Park was a little disappointing. Despite having a beautiful bi-level clubhouse on the lake, I never saw the inside of it in 2 entire weeks. There was not one activity aside from a private rental and it just seems to me that over the Christmas holiday they could have opened the doors and maybe offered the campers cookies and kool-aid. The message is clear: Want to have fun? Join us at the CASINO. It’s a beautiful campground, but in the future I’ll only visit for fair weather outdoor activities.

There isn’t a lack of activity at Preferred. Not only are there card games in the clubhouse every night, but several activities are offered throughout the day. Special breakfasts, dinners, and pool tournaments are among some of the other offerings here. In the TV room it’s not uncommon to see 2-3 different people working on jigsaw puzzles.

 

clubhouse

 

But there’s another facility on campus devoted to activities more related to hobbies: A workout room, sewing room (where the nightly poker games are held), stained glass classes, and a woodworking shop!

 

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In fact, some folks even camp here specifically to enjoy the access to this little operation. I texted a picture of the woodworking shop to a recent full-time-RVer-convert of mine and he swears that when he makes his way up here he will spend every day right here in this room.

Very pleased with this one. I’m currently writing this post on a desktop computer enjoying high-speed internet! In 5 days I’ve gotten more done than in the two previous weeks and I see this being a perfect month-long spot where I can have fun and be productive. In fact, I intend to make this home during my next short work layover…

 

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Snapshots : Pahrump : Lakeside Casino RV Park

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Current Venue : Pahrump, NV
Campground: Lakeside Casino and RV Park

 

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dock

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RiverCat Journal : Pahrump Winery : A Vineyard…Campground?

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Current Venue : Pahrump, NV
Campground: Lakeside Casino and RV Park

 

I was aware before making my way to Pahrump that there would be little in the way of public Christmas celebrations or extravagant displays. In a town of over 37,000 people and only 3 stoplights, you get the sense folks really enjoy the quietude of this sprawling little town.

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That said, I found myself utterly amazed standing in line at the post office a few days ago. I watched no fewer than 20 people genuinely greet each other with a “Merry Christmas.” These are some of the friendliest locals I’ve ever encountered, and it’s clear most of them enjoy the holidays.

While I’ve certainly enjoyed the lodge-style setting of the casino at Lakeside Casino, what truly put me in the mood was the Pahrump Winery.

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Here, you can sample 7 different wines at no charge. The staff was very knowledgeable and seemed truly eager to educate.  I tried several of their fruitier concoctions, one with a surprisingly delicious apricot flavor. A truly enjoyable experience!

pahrump-winery-lounge

I’d visiting many vineyards in Napa Valley, but I don’t recall any that had their own campground!

Not only do they offer full hook-up campsites with spectacular views of the Spring Mountains, they also have many cottages for rent, as well! There’s also evidence of a tight-knit community, with many clubhouse activities offered throughout the week. I’ll have more to report when I actually stay here on my next visit to Pahrump but, for now, let me just share a sneak-peek…

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What a concept: A winery with an upscale restaurant and full-blown resort! I really enjoyed my visit here and definitely foresee a 3-or-4-nighter happening in the foreseeable future.

 

 

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RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : The Magical Forest

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

 

On the Right Track…

Despite a year of disrepair — broken vehicles, broken Jeepers, broken RiverCat — it still seems things are falling into place! I feel I’m on the right track.

I played very little poker this year. I eliminated small buy-in tournaments and focused more on “satellites” into big buy-in Main Event tournaments this fall. On my first try at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, I qualified for a $1600 buy-in Main Event. Recently, I qualified for a $1000 satellite into the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour event at the Bellagio…

bellagio-chips

I fell short of the Main Event in this one. However, I’m qualifying for these events at a fraction of the actual buy-in — and covering the cost in cash games. I’m going for the big time AND covering my business expenses in “cash” games. I certainly plan to shoot for 4-5 more Main Events in 2017.


Enough Poker, It’s Holiday Season…

Last night I enjoyed a lovely date at The Magical Forest. Who knew there was such a thing as Christmas in the desert?! Fortunately, there is. I also consider myself lucky to share this with someone enjoys the holiday season. You can catch a glimpse of my friend leaping into my Christmas Tree Video…

There was a beautiful full moon this evening. Everyone seemed mesmerized by it.

In an age where folks seem to think laser lights are a replacement for Christmas lights, I was absolutely delighted to find the one tree with good old-fashioned big-bulb Christmas lights. Honestly, where did these ever disappear to? I present to you, the dinosaur of holiday decoration…

big-lights

Our evening began with some friendly competition at mini-golf and a giant slide race — which I managed to win by overpowering my opponent. We then enjoyed the Christmas-themed 3D haunted house and a leisurely stroll. But hands-down, the main attraction in the Magical Forest is the train!

With one of the two trains arriving at the station every 5 minutes, the lines moved quick. Despite the efficiency of the staff getting folks on and off the ride, it moved at a very relaxing pace, allowing us to easily take in all the wonderful colors of the holiday season. We were so enchanted, we rode it 3 times! We maybe could have hopped this empty one at closing time but thought better of it…

The Magical Forest is a production of Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit that provides vocational training for people with severe disabilities.

It sure helped me get in the Christmas Spirit. So much so, I even posed for a rare cameo appearance on my own website. Get a good look at Fat RiverCat…I intend to lose 30 pounds next year!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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RiverCat Journal : An Epiphany!

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

A lot is happening right now. Let me see if I can sort it all out…
A Quiet Thanksgiving

I had a simple feast. Wine and cheese and crackers. Potato salad. Pumpkin pie and cool whip. I watched football. It was good.

The mood was melancholy, however — Jeepers is still not feeling well…


Jeepers

The good news that he’s not scratching aggressively anymore. He is no longer coughing throughout the day. His new vet prescribed a wipe that did miracles on his skin infections. We ditched his nasty Z/D diet and switched back to his favorite — Friskies Patte.

But aside from his feedings he is very lethargic. He doesn’t play anymore. He purrs only occasionally. He still loves me to death but is spending more time in his room — looking uncomfortable and clearly feeling icky. Of course these symptoms probably have to do with the meds that keep his itching and coughing to a minimum.

Jeepers, like me, is adventurous. I feel like he’s trapped in this little body that’s breaking down and can’t come out to play, anymore. It’s not right. The thing that really tears me up is that so far, none of this appears life-threatening and yet — to me — it seems the right thing to do is put him down if he doesn’t improve. Other cat-lovers may not agree but I don’t feel my cat should not have to suffer permanently on any level. His energetic personality gone, I don’t see how I can allow this kind of existence for him much longer. This is not who he is and it doesn’t seem acceptable to me.

This is the one area of my life now that really stinks.

 

Fantastic Realizations and a Fun 2017 Ahead…

Despite this emotional time, I allow myself to have intermittent periods of excitement surrounding my lifestyle changes. I had an epiphany! This realization led me to do lots of figuring and, after going over and over it again, it seems can’t-miss — this full-timer is gonna’ be on one helluva’ fantastic adventure soon! Here’s what I realized:

1. I have just enough savings and enough work to really hit the road 3 months at a time when I want to. This is largely because my camping expenses are so low and because I have the ability to make money on the road with poker. By summer I should have my debt paid off and, when I really try, I can keep my monthly expenses under $1000 per month whether I’m travelling or not.

2. Additionally, work is more plentiful than I’ve allowed myself to believe. I guess it’s because my first year seeking employment here was so difficult, it’s hard to imagine I’m set up so well now — but I really am! Even if I managed to lose one of these jobs I’d be all right. Additionally, my expenses are so minimal I could even take a low-paying job whenever necessary.

3. It’s time to get in a true week-to-week adventure mode (rather than plan meticulously and then get disappointed when I can’t follow through with an entire trip). I’ve had the ability to do this but just didn’t realize it! I’d always worried about my long trip plans that could ultimately interfere with a job — not knowing if I’d get the gig and then not have enough time to get back if I did. This is nonsense! I always have 2-3 weeks notice for my Vegas jobs. Therefore, if I stay in the western third of the country, I can always get back this way easily in ten days — even with Jeepers and driving only 3 hours per day. (We’re on the 1-2-1 plan where every other stop is a two-nighter).

4. This upcoming 2017 adventure will be not only about living the dream more spontaneously again, but also one of simplifying, learning, unwinding, and self-improvement. I’m going to allow myself one more year before focusing on starting my business again. I need this time for myself to do the fun stuff — freedom, adventure, photography, and a few shots at major poker tournaments.  I need one really fun year before I re-evaluate and decide which direction I need to go with RiverCat Productions. There’s time for business later — like after I pay off my debt!

 

I had a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I hope you did, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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RiverCat Journal : Uncertainty in Vegas

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Sam’s Town KOA

 

Wow! It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged. As my year of disrepair continues, it’s been a struggle to get a grip on high-speed internet. I’ve signed up for a new data plan that won’t allow me to incur additional charges when I exceed my limit, but instead drops down to a slower speed. The slower speed is, of course, absolutely worthless. And now, instead of taking an entire month to use all my high-speed data, I’m all-of-a-sudden using the same amount in one week. How does that happen?

I’ve been too busy to deal with it. I’m working steady this month and trying to keep up with my sick kitty. Jeepers seems to find a new affliction every week. And, instead of finding answers, each day leads only to more questions. I won’t lie — I have fits of depression over feeling helpless in this situation. I’m already dreading the thought of cancelling my holiday reservations in Sedona, but some pretty steady visits to my new veterinarian seem very likely at this point.

One thing that’s been cheering me up a little while my “home” park is still in disrepair from the windstorm, is that I’ve rediscovered my favorite “out week” resort — Sam’s Town KOA. I’m having a lot of fun here nestled between 3 casinos, especially at the Sam’s Town Monday Night Football viewing parties (where they have prize giveaways during every commercial). More on the resort another post, but it’s the perfect spot at the moment, with excellent wi-fi at the pool and general store. I have to say — the view of Eastside Cannery Casino ain’t bad, either…

cannery-moon

Now, in addition to a mailbox and storage unit in Las Vegas, I’m also a full-fledged Nevada driver! Being here 6 months of the year does make me a part-time “resident” here, after all…

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Nah, still a nomad. My uncle recently adopted the full-time RV lifestyle, as well! He recently came for a two-week visit, our last excursion being a drive around Red Rock Canyon…

uncle-steve

Busy, Busy. I’m thrilled to have Thanksgiving off, though. That will be my One-Day Fun-Day with no work, chores, or errands. Just pumpkin pie, football, and fun. Work will end 2 days later, followed by a week of trying to qualify for a World Poker Tour event at the Bellagio.

I’ll hopefully determine during this time I can hit the road, again. If not, Vegas isn’t the worst place to spend the holidays. The casinos offer dazzling Christmas Village displays and excellent giveaways for their regular players (I would probably select some Home Depot gift cards again. Very handy). And there’s plenty of fun to be had in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.

So, either way, I’m prepared to have a fun holiday. If I can’t travel until after the first of the year, that’s okay — it appears work will be scarce for awhile and I’ll have plenty of time to do it!

 

 

 

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RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : Airstream Bowling

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Sam’s Town KOA

 

Over the years I’ve visited Silverton Casino probably a dozen times. I’ll save some of the fun for another post; but this resort features an aquarium with mermaids, a Bass Pro shop with a gorgeous waterfall display, and a lodge-style concert hall. But despite my many visits here, I’d never once noticed the full-blown travel trailer hiding in the corner!

Honestly, it’s difficult to notice. The shiny Airstream looks like an afterthought in a dimly-lit sports bar. And why is it there? Is it a storage room? A museum or tribute of some sort? Nope…

It’s a bowling alley! Awesome.

Okay, fast-forward. My friends Jim and Sandie Dixon were in town. And there was no way I could let them get away without sharing my new-found discovery! Here are some action shots of the Dixons bowling strikes (the images are somewhat blurry because these kids are too QUICK)!

 

As always, a fun time with the Dixons. We bowled and had two nice meals (yes, Hash-House-a-Go-Go), and I look forward to possibly seeing my friends again in Arizona during the holidays.

This week I’m hanging out at Sam’s Town KOA. Other than a meeting and some evening plans this Friday, I’ll mostly just unwind here at the resort as I prepare for a month’s worth of work starting next week. I’m really enjoying it so far.

 

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RiverCat Journal : Las Vegas : WTT Celebrity Tennis Tournament

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Current Venue: Las Vegas, NV
Campground: Thousand Trails

 

Every year Elton John and Billie Jean King face off in a team tennis tournament to raise money for the AIDS foundation. For the second year in a row, it took place at Caesar’s Palace. With absolutely perfect weather, it turned out to be an awesome setting.

After Elton John made a nice shot in the preliminary rounds, the pros took the court. The players included John McEnroe, Maria Sharapova, Mark Phillippoussis, Martina Navratalova, Liezel Huber, CoCo Vandeweghe, Andy Roddick, and Mardy Fish.

Here’s the great Navratalova streaking across court for a backhand winner…

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Unfortunately, that was about my best shot of the night — I’m in a photographer’s slump. My video looked fantastic until someone inevitably walked in front of me on each take. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it…

McEnroe delighted the crowd with some old antics.
Phillippoussis and Roddick faced off in a singles match that featured some rocket serves.
Sharapova looked just fine — at least from where I was sitting.

Tennis is such a great spectator sport. I just love watching these athletes play singles because it requires so much mental, emotional, and physical toughness. I passed on an opportunity a few months ago in Palm Springs ($40 parking), but will add that one back to my bucket list along with the U.S. Open.

I just got word recently that I’ll be working from October 25th – November 25th. So, the new plan…

  • Stay in Vegas early December and attempt to qualify for the Bellagio World Poker Tour event.
  • Head towards the Sedona area mid-December.
  • Stay in Cottonwood, Arizona for the holidays.
  • Either work in Oklahoma or Vegas in early January.
  • Hopefully work in Atlantic City late January. If not, I might be playing/traveling in any number of places including Los Angeles, San Diego, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona.
  • Back to Vegas in February.
  • Atlantic City in March or West Coast trip for the spring.
  • Summer grind in Vegas June and July.
  • Straight to cooler weather in the San Francisco area in August and play a HPT event in Sacramento. (My goal is to pay off my remaining debt at this time).

 

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