We are now in the state of Nevada, in the bustling tourist city of Las Vegas. Tonight is our fifth night here and we hope to leave tomorrow for the Grand Canyon in Arizona. However, slight problem with the RV means our plans may have to change slightly. We have driven over 8000 miles since we arrived at the end of January. Our contract states that we have to change the engine oil after 6000 miles. So today we phoned a mechanic and he came right out to the site to change the oil for us, a quick job, with a $75 bill for Cruise America. Two hours later the oil had not been changed and we were on the phone to Cruise America. The oil filter was well and truly jammed into position. The mechanic said he'd been changing oil for 35 years and never had problems getting a filter off before. The hire company gave him permission to hack away at the filter in the hopes he could get it out. He got parts of the filter off, but a new one cant be fitted. So now we are in an RV that can't be driven. Cruise America said that most likely they will have to bring us a new vehicle in the morning. Which is quite a hassle as we are supposed to be on the road to the Grand Canyon first thing. Plus it means we have to 'move house' into the new vehicle, which after 3 months of settling in will be quite some task.
Anyway, the kids have loved Las Vegas. We have been staying in a far too expensive KOA RV park behind Circus Circus on the main Vegas strip. But the park does have an excellent pool, spa and steam rooms. We have spent many hours in the pool here cooling off, as the weather has been really hot. One night poor Jimmie was struck down with some sort of tummy bug. He spent all night running back and forth from his bed to the bathroom, but at one point he didn't make it and so he puked out of his bedroom window all down the side of poor Thelma! He was out of sorts for three days, not eating, generally tired and lethargic. Dan got something similar the following day and had to spend a whole day in bed, but he recovered much quicker than Jimmie.
We have seen all the usual Vegas sites here. The free circus shows in Circus Circus, the water fountain shows at the Bellagio. We bought the daily bus passes for 'The Deuce' buses that run up and down the strip. The buses are so over crowded with so many tourists packed into them. They were regular most of the time, but crammed to capacity. Unfortunately a lot of the free stuff that the kids would have enjoyed was not on offer while we were there. The Treasure Island show was canceled, the volcano at the Mirage is out of order, the white tigers have been moved to a $15 entry location, the rain show in the mall was out of order. Fortunately the kids really enjoyed the free circus shows at Circus Circus. We saw a variety of performances from clowns, acrobats, contortionists, trapeze artists and some fabulous limbo acrobats from Africa. At one of the clown performances Jimmie and Annabelle made their Las Vegas stage debut as the clown called them both up to help him with his act! We clapped and cheered for them as the clown taught them to spin balls on the end of their fingers.
The Bellagio Hotel also turned out to be a lovely place for the kids. Not only do they have big water fountain displays to music every 30 minutes, but inside the hotel is a beautiful, magical botanical garden. Filled with creatures made from flowers, such as ladybirds, snails and frogs. It was such an enchanting place for the children. The walkway under a ceiling full of butterflies was lovely too.
One of the highlights for little Barney was beating his Mum at air hockey. We had quite a few family matches of air hockey and Jimmie is currently the reigning champion. But Barney enjoyed it the most and took great pride in beating his Mum 7-3. He also beat his Aunty Maddi today! Another memorable moment for Barney is his adventures in the campground pool. He has always been nervous in water and doesn't leave the steps of the pool. If there are no steps, he won't go in. But yesterday he ventured right into the pool with me and really started to enjoy the water. At first he was brave enough to walk along the edge of the pool, gripping tightly onto me. Then he walked on his own, without holding anything. By the end of our two hour swim he was leaping on and off of me, kicking his legs out in the water to swim, and feeling really proud of himself. He was so delighted that we had to come back to the pool a few hours later so that he could show his Dad his new tricks.
By pure coincidence we happened to be in Las Vegas the same time that my sister Maddi and her partner were here on holiday! The kids were very excited about seeing them, especially little Barney who made them a picture. I was also excited as they promised to bring me a jar of marmite! Wahey! We met them this morning at their hotel, went for a coffee, then went to the Bellagio to watch the water fountains and botanic gardens. Then we took them on the bus up to Circus Circus where we watched a show and then went to the indoor theme park there. Maddi, Tom and Jimmie were brave enough to go on a few rides, and Annabelle raced her big brother on the dodgems. Aunty Maddi helped Barney win a prize on a fishing game, a big cuddly frog which he has named Daphne. He is now in love with this frog. I watched his little face as he fished for the red magnets, and his delight as they caught one for a prize. It was so cute.
There are plenty more Las Vegas photos in the Nevada photo album, so do check them out, as I cant post them all on the blog.