Star Wars, Again (hint) and California

Last Friday we walked in without a line to a 2:55PM showing at the theaters at the Riverside Casino in Laughlin, AZ. 3D to boot. About 30 people were in the theater at show time. With the senior discount it was $9 a piece. The emptiness was quite bizarre as we watched long lines at theaters in NY (we get NYC network TV). Not even a line for pop corn. I guess dropping quarters in slot machines is more fun.

In 1977 Star Wars was mind blowing. Actually, the light speed visual was the killer for me. Tripping without the acid. In 2015, I’m looking for a little more, maybe that procto-tazer to pop up from the seat and really light up my life. Maybe some wookie smell, you know, super-sensorama. Oh well, the 3D was ok. Now about the movie….no comment until everyone has seen it. Y’all seen it by now? We hadn’t planned on seeing it in 3D but Bullhead City, AZ is on mountain time and sister city Laughlin across the river is in Nevada where they are on Pacific time. So we were an hour early for our show at 3:55 but just in time for the 3D version.

Seems like the southwest is not the place to be this winter. It dropped down to 29 degrees last week in Bullhead City. Not a day over 63. It was warmer in NYC. The wind factored into the nastiness ruining the couple of nice days. On one of the milder days we took Luna to a dog park. It was closed. Andrea found one point of oddball interest – the Laughlin Labyrinths. My vision of 8 foot shrubbery – in the desert? Ha! – was brought down to earth, literally, upon arrival at the location on a hill overlooking a couple of the casinos. As you can see in the photos, the labyrinths are made of rocks. Somebody certainly put some time into them.

A note of apology to all football fans for the behavior of my favorite player (and top fantasy pointman), Odell Beckham. At least he keeps his violence on the field, so far. And how ’bout those Giants. Five losses with 10 seconds or less to go, including the Pats and Panthers. Good teams win those games.

We left cool and windy Bullhead City (friggin’ auto-correct keeps making it Bulkhead) yesterday and minutes later it was an hour earlier. Better than light speed! A few minutes later and we were in California. That southernmost tip of Nevada is pretty narrow. The 200 mile drive to North Palm Springs passed around mountain range after mountain range through the vast Mojave Desert. Not the most boring drive but nothing spectacular. We realize we are pretty jaded when it comes to scenery. Along the way we noted many different types of cacti. That was kind of interesting. Not many trees. I also worked on my distance estimates, as in, ‘wonder how far it is to that next cell tower’. And you watch the odometer for 8 miles. Or, measuring distance in songs – ‘it’s Dazed and Confused’ to that next big hill’. On long drives your mind really wanders.

Remember the song, “It Never Rains in Southern California”? Maybe not, 1972. It was always on the radio, still is on classic rock stations. Well, its rather pathetic and depressing lyrics are overshadowed by a very upbeat, catchy tune. I remember the irony of it playing on the radio at midnight as I was driving out of rainy Escondido in 1976. It’s in my head now because it’s been raining all day off and on. What hasn’t been off and on is the wind. It has been relentless at a pretty steady 15-20mph with gusts around 40. Truth be told, we could see it coming. As the GPS was winding down the miles to the RV park, we were beginning to grasp the enormity of the windmill farm on the west side of the street. It streches miles to the west, up and onto the top of a mountain/hill. No wonder there is no residential or commercial development anywhere close by. I brought down the satellite antenna for fear of it bending. The awning over the large slide out has been roped down but it still flaps. Big gusts shake our 17 tons quite easily. We are facing north and thus completely sideways to the wind. It’s a bit unnerving.

The geography has created a giant wind tunnel, the San Gorgonio Pass. Take a look at Google Maps in satellite mode. Find Desert Hot Springs and then look west. Interstate 10 curves up to go through the pass between San Gorgonio Mountain to the north and Mount San Jacinto to the south. Now imagine a low pressure system moving in from the northwest, churning counterclockwise. Voila, the perfect storm. Or at least the perfect place to build a wind farm. It is the oldest wind farm in the US. You could look it up (but I already did).

Three of my favorite subjects in one swoop – Classic Rock, Geography and Meteorology. OK, now the photos. Nothing spectacular here. I have a very shaky video that I won’t include – walking by a decorated front window of an RV at night. The window included a backlit 3D image of Jesus – wait, let’s keep him out of this for fear of offending anyone – it was an image of a serious Russell Brand and he always looks at you no matter what direction. So when you walk by, his eyes, actually the whole face follows you. It’s creepy. So I named him Creepy Je.., I mean Creepy Russell. But it’s too big, datawise. Sorry.

First pic – driving over the mountain range to Bullhead City. A very short stretch of that ride is really awesome. Wish the picture was better but that was a big turn.

2 – Laughlin at night, mini-Las Vegas Sorry about the quality.

3 – Andrea and Luna on the shore of the Colorado River in Bullhead City Park looking over to the last casino on the Laughlin strip, Harrah’s.

4 – the Riverside Casino movie theater, 7 minutes from the start of Star Wars on opening day

5 – the entrance (ha!) to the Laughlin Labyrinths. It’s the only indication that you have arrived. There’s just dirt, sand and rocks – looks like a vacant lot from the road. Google Maps found it.

6, 7, 8 – the labyrinths

9 – view of a couple of casinos from up on the hill by the labyrinths

10 – the Colorado River from the river walk outside the casinos

11 – fourteen of eighteen Ortega tacos were broken. Come on, man! I’m writing to them. Back to Old El Paso.

12 – view west from our RV’s window today. Rain and windmills

Hoping to have some decent photos soon. Hiking in Joshua Tree NP later in week.

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