Las Vegas, NV- We got in an early swim at the Oasis, and then packed up and checked out with full water and empty waste tanks. We get into trouble when we’re ‘hooked up’ because 2 days in a row we started to dribble gray water at about 24 hours… Fortunately I was next to the overflow when it dribbled both times. The solution is a to QUICKLY open the gray water valve and let it empty a little, the close it and go through the full procedure (black tank first, rinse a little and keep dumping, then close black and empty gray, then close and lift the hose so all of the slow moving poop and toilet paper, excuse me, the ‘effluent’ won’t get stalled in the 4” hose and get baked in place in the hose by the over 100 degree heat during the day. I would hate to be the one on sewer hose chores on that day! OK, so with the tanks drained and filled and everything in its place on the bus the electrical plug was the last thing to come off (so the AC could keep going until the last minute), and we rolled out at 11:03. We moved our show over to the Bass Pro Shops parking lot, locked up the bus and loaded up to have Kelly drop off myself and the 3 oldest kids at the Atomic Testing Museum after a quick lunch. They browsed a few places during the 3 hours we were at the museum and we met up and returned to BPS in time to catch the mermaid show and check out some good deals on gear we didn’t need. We did not make any purchases today, but it felt like we were dragging it out for no good reason. Well, we were dragging it out, but for a good reason: what the heat would do to our diesel motor if we started out too early for CA. We finally departed about 9pm, and enjoyed the city lights and fascinating stream of traffic out of California, headed North to Las Vegas for the weekend. Every time we’d crest a hill, the line of headlights was visible for miles, snaking through the desert and up the next hill ahead. The stream of traffic didn’t let up until we pulled off the highway at Victorville, CA for the night at a WM. We picked a good one, the cars were stacking up all around us come morning. Apparently we had parked in the exact location that the day trip bus picked up passengers. From the looks of it (carrying towels, coolers, dressed to the nines) the group was headed for Vegas for the day- a couple of guys even got out of their vehicles with half consumed beers, steadying their nerves for the ride at 8am. We pulled out and made our way to La Verne, CA- about an hours drive to some friends that we had traveled alongside to China during Anya’s adoption.

The population of La Verne, CA went up 9 while we visited our friends today.

Ed and Mo and their 3 pretty Chinese daughters were very welcoming. We were treated to lunch and Kelly said that ‘it felt like we were away from them for just a day’, we fit right back into conversation where we had left off several years ago. It was a pleasant day. I did learn however that when hooking up the van to the bus, one must leave enough room on both sides to swing left and right to lock the tow bar arms in place- if there’s a curb too close the van may climb the curb and behave wildly. We were able to get that under control with Trevor behind the wheel holding it straight, and get on the road to an adjacent community for an Old Navy return for Lauren. She’s been on us for 3 weeks to stop at an Old Navy and return a couple of shirts that didn’t fit. We crossed it off the list today. The parking lot was a bit smaller than I expected, which I realized after pulling off of the street and into the lot. We blocked no less than three columns of parking lot while I stopped and unhooked the van so we could maneuver a little better. While Kelly was in the store with 2 girls, the rest of us made our way to WM, and parked in our first of 3 spots. The first one was OK, but we could do better, and the male security guard said- “Anywhere’s fine”. I moved to a location facing West (away from the upcoming sunrise). Dead tired, I must have lost consciousness when I went to the back and laid down head first on the bed- because the next thing I know the kids are shaking me awake  to tell me about the police being at the door. I jumped up and made  my way to the front and discussed our current location with the blondish streaked heavyset security woman that had parked her squad truck about 3.5 feet from the door of the bus, at just the right angle to get the flashing amber light to cover the whole side of the bus while we spoke. She had a different opinion of where we should park, so we moved the bus a few spaces in a better direction while Kelly was making dinner and called it good, I think. Hopefully the next security shift change will be after I get a full night’s rest. We’re going to try to NOT run the generator again tonight. Kelly reported sleeping well without any engine noise or AC vent blasting air down on us. I like it, covered up against the cold air- but Kelly is a big fan of quiet. The quiet’s actually really nice, as I type this the crickets are going crazy outside, the sounds of a river seem to be just feet from the door (the sprinklers have come on) and the train tracks that are about 60 feet from the side of the bus? I’m officially going to say that the male security guard has no firm grasp on reality, as he assured me that it was a spur that never got used. For the record, it does get used at 12:10am by the fastest train I’ve ever seen in a congested area (must have been going 50MPH), and their horn, while not hitting all 5 tones, was an effective safety device. This afternoon, I was very frustrated by the disorganization surrounding our departure from our friends. I wasn’t paying attention to the details, which will not happen again- I failed to activate the lube pump on the van (we only drove 4.5 miles without it which should be OK), but that frustrated feeling rippled over into dinnertime and I ended up getting nothing done as far as planning for tomorrow… It’s good Kelly and I work together- tonight she kept herself together and covered me dropping out of view for a little while, while I just did nothing. As she lay down for bed she reassured me that we didn’t have to have a good plan for tomorrow because ‘it would come together like last week. We didn’t have any plans for church at 930, but we were in church at 1030!” She’s right. So now, another day down. A mediocre day I’d say for me personally. We did get to see friends, but I feel like today was kind of out of control and I didn’t like the feeling much. I have been reminded that we will plan our routes when towing with the utmost precision, that we will have a good idea of what’s ahead when traveling separated, and only when we’re in the van can we make random U-turns and dart about….. Right! We’ll see how that plan goes. [We have been making a lot of plans based on what we think will happen on this trip, which are subject to change,  that are now being reviewed and rewritten for what we are actually doing.]wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww Uh oh, that string of W’s is from where my eyes closed briefly and my left pinkie got heavy. I left it in place to share the touchy feely part of trying to get everything done before bed. Tonight we’re in La Verne, California. Good night!

**For the permanent record, we DID have fun at our friends home. There were water fights and Wii and swings at the park and tasty burgers and chit chat and kids connecting and having fun and adults catching up and... I was focusing on the part that didn't go well because at the end of the day I was trying to make a plan for things to go better the next day, and that's where my mind was. I apologize to my wife for making it sound rough. It wasn't!