The Greenwater Report for February 12, 2001

Greenwater Provincial Park - February 12, 2001 - By: Gerald Crawford




February 11th, 2001: It turned cold about last Thursday, with temperatures as low as -40 being reported. I believe Frank Duhaime said it was -36 at the Park yesterday. The sun is out, though, and the forecast winds stayed away, so itís pretty pleasant.



Thrill of
the Hills

Yesterday was Perigordís snowmobile derby: "The Thrill of the Hills" and rumor has it that the cold weather didnít keep anyone away. The same rumor says that they fed almost 300 at their banquet last night.




We just got back from a bus tour to the sunny south. We left at 6am on Monday, the 29th, from Saskatoon, spent the first night at Helena, the second at Jackpot, Nevada, and the next four nights at Laughlin, south of Las Vegas. Then we had two nights at Las Vegas, one at Jackpot, another at Helena and were back in Saskatoon last Thursday evening.



high winds

We had good weather the whole time, but the day after we left Las Vegas they got high winds, enough to blow down some signs, and snow.



du Soleil

The original purpose of the trip was to take Doreen to see the Cirque du Soleil at Las Vegas, a belated birthday gift. It was okay but we really enjoyed the side trips, and Doreen loves to gamble, preferring nickle machines.




tI was dreading the trip. Last time we went on a bus tour I swore it would be the last - I spent the whole trip scrunched up against the window, feeling like a sardine. This time, Doreen sat by the window and was quite comfortable, while I sat on the aisle seat, and could sort of overflow into the aisle. I had to turn anytime anyone went by, of course, but that wasnít too often. My faith is restored, though, and we are already starting to think about other tours. It is certainly the economical way to travel, and we find we see things we never would have found on our own.




We were very pleased with our tour director, Bea Ortman, and our driver, Randy Bell. Besides being a very professional driver, Randy spent most coffee breaks cleaning the bus windows, and that was really appreciated.




Laughlin (pronounced "Lofflin") is just ten or twelve casino hotels and a shopping mall, along the Nevada bank of the Colorado, across the river from Bullhead City. Bullhead is in Arizona, so has no gambling. I guess that is where the hotel staff live, because I didnít see any houses in Laughlin. One feature we enjoyed was the water taxi, that would take us from one casino to another.




We took a side trip to a mining ghost town called Oatman. As soon as we pulled in, a tough-looking bearded gent came on the bus and told us to move the bus because there was going to be a gunfight. Out in the street, four crooks who had just held up a stage were having a difference of opinion on where they should go and who should carry the gold. They settled it in the time-honored way, by a shoot-out which left one crook standing. Then the sheriff came along and said he was going to take him in for littering (bodies all over the street). That didnít scare the crook, because he allowed as how he was faster than the sheriff. So, they had it out. After the shooting, both men were standing. The crook said: "I knew I wuz faster than yuh!" Then he twisted a bit and started to fall, saying: "But yuhíre more accurate!" and died. Then they passed the hat, saying that they donate the proceeds to childrenís hospitals.




There were wild donkeys and burros all over, begging for carrots. Half the stores sold carrots to feed them, the other half had signs warning that the donkeys kick and bite. The ones we saw were quite placid, though. It was a very enjoyable stop. There were lots of souvenir shops; we were amazed at the reasonable prices in a leather shop and also in a store selling luggage. The only bargains we saw on the whole trip, and we didnāt need either leather or luggage!





From there, we went to Lake Havasu City, where London Bridge now stands. I didnāt dream the bridge was so big, but they took it apart, stone by stone, from London, shipped it over here, and re-assembled it. I got a few photos of it, then we had some genuine English fish and chips. Great!




heart attack

One downer during our stay in Laughlin - one member of the tour took a heart attack and was flown to hospital in Las Vegas. His wife kept us updated on his progress; at the beginning I donāt think they expected to be able to save him, but by the time we started home, he had rallied; they did some angioplasty and were going to fly him back to Saskatchewan.




We had another side trip to the Wal-Mart in Bullhead City; to me it was just another Wal-Mart; and there were no bargains to be had. When we left Laughlin, we stopped at Hoover Dam, which was very busy with tourists, and at Henderson for a bit of gambling, since we couldn't arrive at our Las Vegas hotel until after 3pm.



Las Vegas

We had been to Las Vegas several times, most recently in 1988, but saw very little that was familiar. Many hotel names were the same, but the buildings had been rebuilt; thinly built-up areas were crowded and the place was lousy with neon signs. Things like a half-size Eiffel Tower, a half-size Statue of Liberty; regular battles between pirate ships and British galleons, including the sinking of the British ship right beside the side walk. Erupting volcanos, which we waited an hour for and never did see; dancing waters, again that we missed. A taxi driver told us that when he moved to Las Vegas, in the mid Ć80s, it was less than a million people; now it is 3.3 million. They canāt build schools fast enough, so the kids go to school in shifts. That taxi driver was about six feet tall, four or five across the shoulders, a weight lifter, and an amateur boxer, but he confided that he also carries a gun. Our tour director referred to Las Vegas as the City of Lights, and claimed that it uses as much electricity as the state of California.




We had a good evening tour of the Strip, including a visit to the old district on Fremont Street. They have built a canopy over about four blocks of the street, arched and about 100 feet high in the centre. I think it is lined with reflective material. Every hour, they shut off the lights outside all the casinos in the four blocks (no wheeled traffic), and project lights and images on the inside of the canopy, along with some very loud music. Very interesting, and impressive! Itís referred to as the Fremont Street Experience.




We saw the Cirque du Soleil and enjoyed it, but in retrospect it was mainly impressive props and effects with some acrobatics and synchronized swimming thrown in. Sort of like Phantom of the Opera. I donít think I would spend twenty bucks to see either of them again.




We both got in all the gambling we wanted (about ten minutes, in my case), read lots of books, and saw some great country. All without having to worry about finding my way through town, or not being able to see the sights for watching the road. And, I donít think we put on more than a couple of pounds each!

Gerald B. Crawford
Box 100, Chelan, SK S0E 0N0 (306) 278-3423
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