An accomplished day… Getting it all together… Stormy weather in the desert…

The yellow Costco bag was filled with the remainder of the packages we handled yesterday, including the new portable scanner we ordered when our old unit broke in Minneapolis.

Lately, we’re reminded of those last two months we spent in the US going back and forth between Scottsdale, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, after we’d left Minnesota on October 31, 2012. But then, we had so much to do.

Now, as we wind down our last less than two weeks in the US, we find ourselves making phone calls, straightening out several pesky issues and concerns that were difficult to handle on Skype with an often poor signal. 

Yesterday, I spent 52 minutes on a phone call with a financial institution in correcting an excess of security/password access issues that we were never able to restore from afar. As much as we’d like to believe that “everything” can be conducted online, it’s not always the case. A phone call may provide a better solution.

Yesterday, we drove to Stephanie Street to take a few photos before the storms rolled in.  Sunset Station.

With our current SIM cards through US provider T-Mobile expiring shortly after we leave the US, the luxury of picking up the smartphone to make a call will be gone. In addition, as we purchase SIM cards in each country, they don’t include making international calls at reasonable rates. 

Calling internationally is often as high as $2 to $3 a minute, making no sense for any calls we may need to make. So instead, we use our Nevada Skype phone number ($5 a month), from which we can call anywhere in the world for approximately $1.20 per hour.

Making these Skype calls requires a decent Wi-Fi connection, uses considerable data, and may or may not have a clear connection. Unfortunately, at this time, until cellular service is international, this is what we have to work with. 

“Sunset Station opened on June 10, 1997. While Station Casinos had successful openings with Boulder Station and Texas Station in the mid-1990s, Sunset Station was considered a demonstration of the company’s ability to develop and market a locals casino that was upscale. Following the success of Sunset Station, Station Casinos continued to open locals casinos that were more upscale, such as Green Valley Ranch (2001) and Red Rock Resort (2006).”

Some have suggested we use a SAT (satellite) phone, but these phones are heavy, costly, and impractical for our use. However, once we install a SIM card in our unlocked phones upon arriving in any country, we have local and emergency cell service. 

As for phone data, we usually purchase an amount of data for those times we’re out and about and need “Map” services or other online access. Then, once we’re inside our vacation/holiday home, the whole house WiFi allows us to use data on our phones. Generally, this works OK.

As an avid listener to podcasts when unable to sleep, which seems to lull me back to sleep, having data on my phone becomes an important feature. We both read news and books on our phones while in bed. 

It wasn’t hectic in the parking lot, enabling us to take photos of the massive casino located on 98 acres in Henderson.

Yea, we know about all the warnings staring at any screens at bedtime may inhibit sleep, but we’ve both found doing so seems to aid us in getting to sleep. We don’t necessarily pay a lot of attention to what “they” say when so much “they’ve” said is proving to be inaccurate and misleading through more current and comprehensive research. So, no, I won’t get off of my soapbox on this topic.

Yesterday was a highly productive day. First, we went through all the mail we’d collected the previous day from the mailing service, which included several pieces of snail mail and no less than 20 boxes, mostly small items we’d purchased for the next few years of travel.

Included in the boxes were my Africa boots which I’ll be wearing again in seven months. To keep my total number of pairs of shoes down to five, I’m going to leave my tennis shoes in our oversized mailbox at the mailing service for future use. Once we were done in Africa in 2019, I’ll send the boots to the store until I need them again.

Inside this massive structure is “Sunset Station’s Strike Zone Bowling Center, opened in April 2005. At the time of its opening, the 77,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) 72-lane bowling alley was the largest in Las Vegas and, at the cost of $26 million, was also the most expensive in the country. In 2007, the alley hosted the PBA Tour‘s Motel 6 Classic.”

Today, I was hoping to visit Susan if the weather improved. But, unfortunately, there’s what’s considered “monsoons” transpiring right now, including flash floods in areas of the freeway I’d be using to drive the long distance to her home. 

After speaking with Susan, we decided it made no sense for me to come today with the flash floods on the freeway and traffic slowing accidents. But, so far, I haven’t missed visiting her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So instead, I’ll see her tomorrow.

Last night, we had a great dinner with Richard at an old favorite, Cheesecake Factory. None of us ordered desserts, but we enjoyed our meals; spaghetti and meatballs for Tom, Cobb Salad for me, and a chicken dish for Richard. The portions were huge, more than we needed, but it was hard to resist “cleaning our plates.” 

Since we chose not to gamble while traveling the world, fearful of losing money and impacting our strict budget, we don’t bother to go into casinos. Although sometimes, while here, we plan to tour a few of the new casinos of the strip if time allows.

After a long hiatus from bread and gluten, Tom ate his share of the complimentary bread along with the massive plate of pasta. Later, back at Richard’s home, he suffered from awful indigestion from the carb-laden gluten-rich meal. I guess that says it all. I didn’t comment. He knows what’s good and not so good for him.

Tonight, we’ll dine in making bun-less grass-fed beef burgers and turkey burgers (Richard doesn’t eat beef) with lots of vegetable sides and salad. We’ll be back tomorrow with more!

Again, thanks to our readers for hanging in there with us during this less-than-eventful period in the US. In 13 days, we’ll be returning to our world travels!

Photo from one year ago today, July 19, 2016:
There was no post one year ago today due to a continuing poor Wi-Fi signal aboard the Viking Mekong.