Christmas Tour to Laughlin, Nevada

It was raining when we woke up at 5:30 on Christmas Eve morning. We were planning to walk the short distance to our pick-up spot for the Worldspan Christmas in Laughlin Tour. We thought it better to leave the car at home, rather than in an empty parking lot for three days, but we could think of no one who would be up that early and willing to give us a ride! Fortunately the rain had stopped by the time we were ready to leave a half hour later.

The bus trip was pretty much uneventful. The rain started again just as we were boarding, and stayed with us all the way. We made a short stop at a fast food restaurant in Wickenburg for breakfast. We wished it could have been at the Cowboy Restaurant we’d visited before, but it wasn’t open anyway. When we got back onto the bus, a movie was cued and ready for our enjoyment – The Christmas Gift. It helped to pass the time, until our next brief rest stop in Kingman. At 11:00 a.m. we arrived at our Hotel – The Edgewater.

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We wouldn’t be given our room keys until 3:00 pm, although our luggage would be taken to our room at some time before that. We were given our Casino playing cards though, but not our promised food vouchers. So what was there for us to do for four hours? Within an hour, Jim and I had lost the meagre allotment that we allowed ourselves ($15.00 between us) on the slot machines. We’d checked our carry-on baggage and coats at the Valet desk, but Jim thought we should go for a walk along the Board Walk that spanned the distance between the Edgewater Hotel and the Colorado Belle. The rain had nearly stopped, but a cold wind still blew. I wrapped my scarf around my arms and dashed out. It was worth it.

On our way back through our lobby we looked into one of the gift shops and ended up buying a new weekender bag to replace the patched one that I’d brought with me. By then the rain had stopped and we retrieved our coats to walk across the street to the Outlet Mall, where we managed to do window shopping without spending much. We were tempted by all the bargains.

Back at our hotel lobby we enjoyed the complimentary hot chocolate and Christmas cookies that were offered, and commiserated with fellow tour passengers about the long wait, and the fact that the Christmas Eve Buffet that we’d been promised had been cancelled. One woman, who was on her own, had been looking forward to it.

At 3:00 we were given our room keys. We picked up our other things from the Valet desk and made our way to the eleventh floor. The elevators smelled of stale smoke and the halls were very cold, but our room was large and comfortable. There was no mini-fridge for the bottles of juice and coffee that I’d taken with us. I was exhausted and laid down, hoping to have a nap, but it was of no use. We’d planned to meet our friends (who had gotten on a different tour and were at a different hotel) for dinner. We walked to the Riverside Hotel and got to compare it with the Edgewater. It was bigger and had more amenities, like a movie theatre, a bowling alley and a ballroom for evening dancing, but our friends weren’t very pleased with their room. Both hotels are some of the older ones on the strip.

On our walk back to our hotel, we toured through The Aquarius, where we saw the first sign of Christmas lights, and took some pictures of the other nearby hotels that were lit up.

We were in bed early, too tired to keep our eyes open any longer.

Christmas Day was the day we looked forward to. Jim was up early, ready to meet the fellow from Second to None 220 Tours, who would take him to pick up the Polaris Slingshot that he’d reserved. He was so excited that he forgot what day it was until I wished him a Merry Christmas upon his return!

The rain had returned during the night, so we got showered and dressed and found the Breakfast Buffet to fill our bellies, hoping that by the time we got back to our rooms the clouds would be lifted. They weren’t. At 10:30 the sun began to peek through the clouds so we bundled up because we knew it would be cold, and climbed into the Slingshot and headed across the bridge, back into Arizona, with big smiles on our faces.

The sun soon disappeared and rain splashed on our helmet visors. I made use of the cloths that had been left in the glove box just for such purposes. We also made use of the woven blankets that were tucked behind the seats, to help keep us warm.

We arrived in Kingman in time for lunch and warmth. When we left, the sun was shining again and accompanied us the rest of the way up the mountain on a narrow, winding section of Route 66.

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Had to get this shot in KIngman before we left

There were signs of recent flooding, parts of the shoulder crumbled, and at one spot we had to drive slowly through a small patch of running water that was flooding the road. Fortunately, it was only a few inches deep. We were on our way to Oatman, which turned out to be on the other side of the mountain. I was grateful that Jim is a careful, mature driver.

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About half way to Oatman we came across this little museum, and some beautiful vistas.

Soon we were descending into Oatman. I think the photos will tell the story.

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We were back at our hotel in time to chat with family on the phone, and enjoy the complimentary Christmas Day Buffet, before Jim took the Slingshot back to Second to None 220 Tours, where the owner met him and drove him back to the hotel. Needless to say, it was another early night.

Boxing Day was a lazy day. The rain was back. We got bagels and cream cheese and coffee from the lobby donut shop to eat in our room. There were no tables or comfortable chairs anywhere in the lobby. There was nothing else to do, it seemed, but gamble. We stayed in our room until we had to be out at 11:00 a.m., but we were told not to board the bus until 1:00. We claimed our complimentary pieces of pizza from one of the restaurants. Jim did things on his iPad. I’d run out of data on my phone, and my tablet was just about dead, so I put another five dollars into one of the slot machines and played for twenty minutes to pass the time. I left with $4.97.

Other than a different movie, the trip back to Mesa was just the opposite of the one to Laughlin, including the rain.

Would we do that trip again? Probably not. But the Slingshot ride to Oatman made it all worthwhile!


Days 4 and 5 – Nashville Tennessee

Saturday morning was cloudy and cool again, a good day to be on the road again, heading towards Nashville. At the Tennessee Welcome Center we thought we should call to book a campsite. It’s a good thing we did. Our first two choices, the ones nearest the Grand Ole Opry, were already booked solid. Fortunately, KOA Nashville North had a spot with electric and water, but no sewer. It was twelve miles away from the Opry, but the shuttle bus was available. Jim had already purchased tickets for that night, so we took the site.

We arrived late afternoon (we were in a new time zone), giving us just enough time to hook up, make and eat a quick super and catch the shuttle bus. It cost us $35.00 and it took over an hour to get to our destination because there were other pickups along the way, but it was worth it to not have to navigate heavy traffic on the motorcycle. We had a bit of a walk from the drop-off point to the theatre, and our seats were way up in the nose-bleed section, which meant a few flights of stairs to navigate. After a day of sitting, it felt good to get some exercise and it was a beautiful night. I was glad that I had on comfortable shoes though, unlike one young woman on the bus who chose to wear five-inch heels, because they were “cute.” We had to wait for her to walk to the bus both going and coming.

Despite the distance from the stage, we enjoyed the evening. Large screens gave us a view of what we couldn’t see on the stage. It was mostly a night of old-timers, like 94 year old Little Jimmy Dickens, and 80 years old Jean Shepard. A few newer upcoming stars included Jon Pardi, One More Girl, and Charles Esten. I have to admit that while I enjoy all sorts of music, I am not a follower of Country Music Stars, so the names meant nothing to me. As long as I can tap my toes and clap my hands, I’m happy, and I did plenty of that. We almost missed the shuttle back because we got turned around when we got back outside and headed for the wrong parking lot! But the girl with the shoes saved us.

It was late when we got back to the RV, and cold. We had to turn the furnace on for a bit before climbing into bed.

In the morning my body was protesting the physical exertion and late night (arthritis has become a frequent companion) so it took some time for me to get going. Eventually I felt able to ride on the motorcycle. We ventured into downtown Nashville, which took us only about twenty minutes.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

One of the many bars/restaurants in the downtown

Waiting for the Trolly Tour

Waiting for the Trolly Tour

The sun was hot and we soon had to strip off our extra layers of clothing. We bought tickets for the Trolley Tour and then walked up Broadway Ave and bought hot dogs from a street vendor while we waited the hour for our turn. We got off the trolley only once, to take a look in the shop of the Antique Archaeologists. I was interested to learn that the historic Fisk University was founded in 1865 exclusively for the education of Blacks. We roamed some more on Broadway Avenue, poking around in shops and listening to performers through the open windows of Honky-tonks before getting back onto the bike to return to the Opry House area for dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant where we ate sea food while watching all sorts of exotic fish swim by in the enormous round fish tank in the centre of the room. That felt a little weird, but the fish were friendly and fascinating to watch.


An hour later we were once again ready to call it a day.