We have been BUSY BUSY BUSY! There is so much to tell you about! So, if all of a sudden you are inundated with AwesomeSauce Blogs, it’s because we finally had a chance to sit down, catch our breath, and do some writing.
Come check out Santa Monica with the Duo, as they get to hang out at the End of the Road!
Thanks to a super friend of the Duo, we were able to go to COMIC CON!!! Follow us as we navigate our way through Nerd Mecca!
Of course there are card rooms to tell you about. Turns out SoCal (as the cool kids call it) is home to a couple of the best card rooms in the world! Did the Duo win all the Dollars? Find out!
We spent a day hiking through Hollywood! Horrors! Heroes! Hand prints! Hooray!
SoCal – Freeways, Highways and Byways, OH MY!
Keep your eyes out for invaluable Travel Tips! Such as, “Three Cats in a Smart Car – A what not to do story.”
There will also be a couple of blogs about how we got to Vegas in the first place. What was Santa Fe like? How was Flagstaff? Is seeing a Giant Hole in the Ground worth it?
Finally, come with us to NoCal (Northern California, again, as the cool kids call it), as we check out a couple of breweries, and start adventuring in the City of Trees (and AMAZING HOUSES)!
All this and more coming soon from your favorite Adventure Duo!
Here at AwesomeSauce, we have some pretty incredible family and friends. You should know, you are in that group!
There is Mama AwesomeSauce (AwesomeK’s Mom). Santos is the Head of the AwesomeSauce Fan Club. Sir Christopher is our official Mews Knight, and Protector of the Realm. Mr Hart is Head of Nerd-istics.
We may not have ever mentioned, however, the incredible Pants’. Mr. Fancy Pants (AwesomeK’s brother), is a world-class photographer, and is currently working as a Digital Strategist for Four Kitchens, which is one of the coolest sounding jobs ever. Ms. Smarty Pants (the Worlds Greatest Sister in Law) is literally a Rocket Scientist. Which isn’t intimidating at all. Her mind-blowing resume includes working at MIT, Ball Aerospace, and she is currently doing amazing space stuff with Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Yup. Our Sister in Law works at JPL. Again, not at all intimidating.
Our adventures landed us in sunny and fabulous Altadena, California, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from JPL!
What is JPL, you ask? One person there described it as the “Disneyland for Nerds.” Which is pretty accurate, actually. If you are unfamiliar with JPL, we recommend you watch the movie “The Martian” with Matt Damon (you could probably read the book, but as we have not actually read the book yet, we cannot say one way or another if JPL is featured. They probably are…). Poor Mr. Damon gets stuck on Mars, and the top scientists in the world have to figure out how to get him home again. Where does NASA go to find these top scientists? JPL! Who works there in real life? Ms. Smarty Pants! So…Ipso-Facto-Presto-Changeo, that makes Ms. Smarty Pants one of the world’s top scientists! Which she is. Which is slightly intimidating. If you want a REAL history of JPL, you can check that out HERE. Needless to say, some of the top scientists in the world are at JPL.
The Worlds Greatest Sister in Law, Ms. Pants, blew our minds recently by taking us on a personal guided tour of JPL!!! It truly is the Disneyland for Nerds. It was…hard to put into words just how truly Awesome it was. The campus itself is HUGE. JPL might as well be its own town. There are streets running through the campus, each named cool names (no we won’t tell you what), multiple cafes and cafeterias, two gift shops, at least one museum, their own fire and police departments, and SO MANY SCIENCE PLACES! All they need is on-campus housing, which they might have, but we weren’t privy to that information. We got a tour of the museum, and watched a quick movie about how JPL came up with, and executed, the Mars landing for Curiosity. We saw a cube of Aerogel – the worlds lightest solid – that was used to collect meteor dust on the Stardust Mission. The best part of the museum was that we got to see some of the projects that Smarty worked on! Actual space missions, like Kepler and Maven. Her official super amazing space missions are: GOES-R (and the computer they used was named Zuul. THAT is how awesome she is!), Deep Impact, Spitzer Space Telescope, WorldView 3, MAVEN, TSIS, NPOESS, Kepler, OTB, and LADEE.
On our tour, we saw replicas of Curiosity, the Mars Rovers, and SMAP – the Soil Moisture Massive Passive that unfolds in space, and calculates the Earths moisture levels! We got a good look at what the wheels of Rover looked like, because they use 3D printed versions of them as sign post holders, which is pretty rad.
The Worlds Greatest Sister in Law then took us over to the COMMAND CENTER! We got to see the door to Launch Command, and look through a window. Which was AMAZING! Then we went up some sneaky stairs and got to see where the Deepspace Network was! There were a ton of screens and huge monitors on the wall (yes, like in TV), all monitoring different satellites and missions. You could see data coming in and data going out and sort of what was happening! That area is manned 24 hours a day, always collecting and sending data, monitoring missions, and doing a whole lot more stuff we aren’t allowed to talk about here. IT WAS AWESOME!!
The next stop was to sneak a peek into one of the Clean Rooms. Everyone that goes into a Clean Room has to wear what was affectionately refered to as a Bunny Suit, which consisted of a mask, hat, coat, and booties in this case. They can be full suits with full masks sometimes, like a clean hazmat suit. The clean room we went to was not the “cleanest” of the clean rooms, which was evident from the Bunny Suits, and this room was allowed to have 10,000 particles (of whatever there are particles of…here is a technical site that explains stuff) per cubic foot of air. For some perspective, there are usually 1,250,000 particles in a cubic square of air. Some cleaner clean rooms can only have 1000, or 100 particles per cubic foot! The temperature and moisture are also closely monitored, always kept cool, and there must be a certain amount of humidity so that static electricity doesn’t build up and fry the electronics. The air is circulated through filters in the ceiling, pushed through the room, and collected at through more filters in the floor. In her past, Smarty has worked in a clean room – and was a little nostalgic remembering her time there, until she remembered how uncomfortable the full hazmat type bunny suits are.
We didn’t get to see the official workspace of Smarty, but she DID point out her building! It was large, brown, and had no windows. There, she is currently working on the Mars2020 Mission! Each piece of a satellite, or Rover, or mission, usually has its own team. There are teams for Every. Single. Piece. The drill and drill bits that drill into the ground, that collect samples to analyze. The camera on the drill. The arm that the drill is on. The wheels, the windows, the everything. It is truly awesome!
On our walk we noticed a group of young men huddled in a corner, under a tree. Smarty chuckled and said that was one of many Pokemon Go gyms. Apparently there are a few gyms, and spots, on the JPL campus! The greatest minds in the world, huddled together on a break, training their Pokemon was a fun sight to see. Turns out rocket scientists are just like everyone else! Well, almost.
Speaking of work, after our AMAZING tour, the Worlds Greatest Sister in Law had to grab a very quick noms, then was off to a super secret mission meeting. We squeezed her (but not until her eyes popped out, she needs those for science), thanked her profusely, then we parted ways. We did a little shopping in the super cool JPL/NASA gift shop, then headed on our way.
If YOU want to get onto a tour of JPL (granted, not a personal guided tour from Smarty), just click this LINK to find out more! Be sure to plan WELL in advance, as tours are usually booked at least six months out.
We want to give a HUGE thank you to Ms. Smarty Pants, the Worlds Greatest Sister In Law, for the personal tour of the Disneyland for Nerds! Getting to be at JPL was the tour of a lifetime, and we couldn’t be more impressed! Thank you!!!!
AwesomeSauce Rating: ARE YOU KIDDING?! This is the Spades Royal Flush. This is the best of the best.
Days have gone by. They have turned into weeks. WEEKS have gone by. Then we get a phone call! Hooray! Joy! Something is happening!
Wait? What? No. Nothing is happening.
We told the Big Box Store that we would be leaving for California, and if we needed to do ANYTHING before we left, they should let us know. Being told there was nothing we could do, we drove four hours away.
By the way, you don’t know what fun is until you, your spouse (neither of which could be described as “svelte“), and three cats (one of which is also not at all svelte), cram into a Smart Car. With the rest of what you own. For four hours. Through the desert. In July.
Probably shouldn’t help AwesomeK drive.
ALL the cats on Saucy G
Matilda Pants is NOT amused.
Lana stole the bed. Matilda plots her demise.
After the ride of a lifetime (or the ride that felt like a lifetime? Either way…) we ended up Altadena! We settled into our very nice Air BnB, and waited. After about a week and a half, we finally got a phone call! YAY! Something was happening! Wait…no…no..instead we were told that we needed to come back to Vegas. Apparently they hadn’t had a chance to look at the RV yet, because of all the debris. Oh? Is this not something that could have been taken care of BEFORE we drove away? Yes, it could have, by the way, but we were told everything was cool. It wasn’t.
So, we hopped back in the car (sans Mews), and drove the four hours back to Vegas.
Do you want to know another way to have ALL the fun? Clean out the carcass of your dead dreams, throwing away ruined and broken goals, all the while in 115 degree heat. OH, and the carcass of your dreams is at least 120 degrees or more? By the way, the holding tanks have probably melted, because they sure smell like they have. That is a very distinct, and unique, smell. Rotten fridge, boiled waste, melted plastic, and despair all mixed together under the Nevada sun.
After about two hours, uncountable trash bags, blood, sweat, tears, and only a little bit of gagging, we finally got all the trash and ruined things out. We moved the rest of the things to the bunk area, and out of the way of anyone who needed to get in and get to work.
During all this we found a few more things were missing. There was the weird stuff – like the coffee press, the rack of knives was literally torn off the wall, and the jar of cooking utensils. Then there was the devastating. That term gets used a lot when describing all this, but there it is (and Saucy G doesn’t feel like using a thesaurus right now). We mentioned previously that the thieves had desecrated the urns we were transporting, and that they had tossed the urns around. Turns out they also STOLE one of the urns. STOLE. AN. URN. Who does that? After finding the first SIX urns, they get to the SEVENTH URN and thought, “you know what? They can’t ALL have ashes in them, lets just take this one.” Maybe they thought they needed an urn. MAYBE they were just trying to hurt us as much as possible.
WHO STEALS AN URN?!
We packed up what was we could into the SmartCar, and got ready to drive the four hours back. Stopping into the office of the Big Box to let them know we were done, we were then informed that they would not be able evaluate the RV for three weeks. THREE. WEEKS. Just to ASSESS IT! All the while, it is sitting in the Vegas sun, tires exposed, wires exposed, holes in the hull…then when they DO finally assess it, then the insurance company will decide if it going to be totaled or if they are going to fix it, and what they are going to fix. Which might not be everything. THEN it will take AT LEAST another couple of weeks JUST TO GET A WINDOW! Not any of the other parts, or fix any of the other things.
Want more good news? Well! Worry not! There’s more!
Remember the Casino where we were parked? Where we were assured by security that the RV would be ok? Parked under a camera, under a light, where it was stolen in broad daylight? Under the “watchful” eye of security? Who then LITERALLY LAUGHED IN OUR FACES? Oh yeah, so, we got a letter from them this morning stating that they found themselves not liable. Surprise surprise. They thought they didn’t do anything wrong, and we are outta luck. No, there was no number to call or any way to appeal. Thanks a lot, Casino. Again, a real kick in the gut. Not even a comped meal, or a “hey, sorry your entire house was stolen under our watch, and your dreams crushed, here is a coupon for a buffet.” Nothing. Just a one page letter telling us to go away.
Now we are back to hurry up and wait, while wallowing.
This is the exact opposite of awesome. UNAwesome. The Anti-Awesome.
Thankfully the Mews are happy and healthy and safe. We are safe. So, here we are, and here will wait until something else happens with the RV and we can move a step forward. Maybe. Hopefully.
Anyone want to go sit on the beach with some (possibly adult) beverages? We need a beach day.
Rating: You sit down at a table, then get moved to another table. The table you were just on, and got moved from, just one a Jackpot, and everyone at the that table gets $400. You get no dollars.
Adventures hardly ever go according to plan. That is easily an understatement when it comes to ours, but lets not get into that here.
Due to circumstances (STILL looking at you, Thief. May you step in cat barf every morning…) beyond our control, we found new ways to adventure in Vegas! We found ourselves in a Casino Hotel on the Strip, which is fancy, AND expensive.
Adventure Pro Tip: If you are thinking of going to Vegas, and will have access to a car (which is a good idea and a bad idea), then it is best to stay OFF the strip. There are a plethora of other options, and some even have a shuttle service to the Strip.
When we go to Vegas, we usually stay in a Caesar’s Entertainment Property. We have had decent luck with comps, and they are familiar territory. What are comps, you ask? WELL! What a wonderful and weird world you are about to embark on! First off, whenever you go to a casino, make sure you get a Players Card. You can get one at any Customer Service Desk, or they can tell you where to go to get one. You will need a photo ID, so they know you are you. They will ask for a mailing address – you are welcome to decline – or you can give them one. We always give them a mailing address, because they will send fancy coupons in the mail! As far as we know they don’t sell your address to anyone, but don’t quote us. These fancy mail coupons will offer COMPS! Comp is a lingo way of saying complimentary, or comepleaseplayhere. Sorta. The fancy mail coupons usually have comps for free buffet, some free “slot play” where they give you fake money on slot machines that you can turn into real money, or table play, which works the same. Fake money to possibly earn real money. The best comps are when they offer you a free stay! These are becoming more and more scarce, but they do still happen.
To earn these magic comp points, you use your players card at EVERY SINGLE THING in the casinos. Buying an overpriced coffee? Make sure to ask for points and give them your card. Eating dinner? Grab those points! Of course, the easiest way is to use your card whenever you play. You can put the card in all the slot machines, and leave it in during your play. You can also earn points (maybe?) playing table games and poker. Be sure to hand them your shiny new card so you get credit for your play. The card itself can also be used to redeem points at buffets, gift shops, and sometimes on your hotel stay.
WHEW! SO, after your not-so-brief comp tutorial, now you are ready to find a place to stay! As we mentioned, we usually stay at a Caesar’s Property, because of the magic comps, and what nottery. However, this year we had a CAR! Traffic can be mildly terrifying on the Strip, but the rest of Vegas is pretty easy to navigate, and opens up a whole new realm of places to go, places to stay, and ways to adventure. After we left the Strip, we went to our very first Air BnB, just a ways off the Strip. It was amazing! Well, it was different, and cheaper, and amazing in that we had never stayed at an Air BnB before.
Air BnB is a fancy new way to stay places. You can rent almost anything from a person, from a couch to crash on all the way to a penthouse suite. If a person has a space available for you to stay, they advertise on Air BnB. We found some interesting listings, to say the least. Luckily we found a place that allowed our Mews, was less expensive than a Casino Hotel, was a private space (not crashing on a couch or a spare bedroom), and was inside a gated community. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good for a week. (A coupon for you! A coupon for me! Hooray! www.airbnb.com/c/genevieves161)
With the freedom of our little tiny car, and the Air BnB all set up, we set out to adventure a wee bit! We were still a bit shaken, not stirred, about our recent defilination (Saucy G decrees that this is now a word. Defilination – When something has been defiled recently, in the past tense, to an extreme. You’re welcome), so we kept to places we were somewhat familiar with, or that seemed safe. We also stuck pretty close together, and not just because our car is the size of a Matchbox.
One of the things we were able to do was to check out Casinos NOT on the Strip! The Orleans is probably the closest to the Strip, and the nicest that we found. If you like slot machines, this place has A TON. There is also a decent sized poker room, LOTS of table games, and a who slew of other things to do! They have a bowling alley, movie theater, kids areas, and lots of different food options. We heard from a reliable source that their laundry service is also very reasonable. They DO NOT, however, allow pets. So, keep that in mind when traveling with your own pet crew. With the re-introduction of UBER to Las Vegas, you can also grab a quick ride from there to the Strip, if you were feeling so inclined. This really is a nice one-stop-shop if you are planning on a stay. Clean, nice, we give it a solid Flush (rating based on the fact that we did not actually stay there, and cannot speak for the rooms. Also, the whole No Mews for Yous policy is a bummer). (Here is an Uber Coupon for you, and one for me! Hooray!! https://www.uber.com/invite/genevieves489ue)
Another place we checked out was Arizona Charlies. This is a local favorite, so we had to see what there was to see. If you are a smoker, this is the place for you! Also, if you prefer low lighting, this will also be high on your list. The slot machines were ok, and the people were VERY nice. The poker area was…well…it left a lot to be desired. Poker, however, is not their main focus. If you want Bingo, then look no further! Charlies has the biggest, brightest, and wildest Bingo Hall Saucy G has seen in a while. It is very clean, well lit, seems to be smoke free, and there is a game every odd hour, so you never have to wait long to get into the action. The Bingo Hall is located on the second floor, next to the 24 Hour Buffet. If Bingo is your Bag, then Charlies is for you. The dining there also surprisingly spectacular! At Ron’s Steakhouse they have (or had, hopefully it is still there when you go), an incredible three course steak dinner deal for $27.99. You get an appetizer, then you get a starter of salad or soup of the day, then you can choose from a few different steak options. Sides can be added for an extra fee, that might be $2? THIS is a hidden steak gem, and is not to be missed. Reservations not necessary, however they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, opening for dinner at 4pm to 9pm the rest of the week. Ron’s Steakhouse gets a Flush with a Straight Flush Draw. Arizona Charlies (without rating Bingo, and Ron’s is a separate rating) gets a high Pair. The smoking, poker area, slots, and lighting left a lot to be desired. Like we said, though, the people are SUPER NICE, so they get the higher rating.
Finally, we decided to go to a place that was literally calling our name…the ADVENTUREDOME! The Adventure Dome is located inside Circus Circus, which is a whole different world of entertainment. If you have kids, and don’t mind crazy crowds, Circus Circus might be worth a look. Above the main slots area is a whole area dedicated to kids. It is JAM PACKED with carnival games, arcades, a McDonalds, and everything a kid could want. It is very camping (camping = Where do you sleep, when you go camping? In Tents. Intense. Camping is the AwesomeSauce way of saying something is intense. Again, you’re welcome), and very loud. The arcade was pretty sweet, with a lot of different games. Most games were $1 to play, so keep that in mind. We didn’t play any carnival games, so we don’t know their prices. The most notable thing at Circus Circus, however, is the live circus acts that go on above the gaming area. They have high flying acrobats, jugglers, a hula hoop lady, and they all perform above your head as you play. Shows are generally every half hour, but worry not. They will announce when they next show will begin, so you won’t miss a thing. Now, lets get to the meat and taties part of this adventure, The. Adventure. Dome.
AHHH! TIGER! *Not a real tiger
This is amazing, and I need him in my house
This place is AMAZING! Granted, it is not the largest theme park in the world, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in awesome. We highly recommend you get the All Day Pass. The All Day Pass covers most of the rides there, and if you plan on riding rides, it is the best deal. It pays for itself after three rides, basically. It does not cover mini golf, but we got a coupon for a substantial discount when we got our passes. It also does not cover the Sponge Bob experience, which we were ok with. Probably the best part about the Adventure Dome was that there were virtually no lines. At all. We went on a weekday, so that probably had something to do with it, but it even with school being out the lines were almost non existent.
The rides. Oh the rides. Turns out AwesomeK is a bit of a rollercoaster junkie, which is awesome. If you want to see a grown man light up like it’s Christmas and you just gave him a puppy, take AwesomeK to rollercoasters. The first ride we dared was the Canyon Blaster (spoiler video HERE). It is a wee whip-lashy for Saucy G tastes, but it was AWESOME! It took two late 30s somethings, and turned them into giggling, screaming kids again. That right there is worth the price of admission! The second coaster, which is conveniently located at the exit of the Canyon Blaster, was the EL LOCO! There are no words, really. It was, well, Loco. This is probably one of the best coasters Saucy G has been on! Not at all whip-lashy, and it has all the things you could want in a ride. Upsidedowns, corkscrews, screams, all the things. It was AMAZING!!! THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS! LOUD NOISES! *ahem* Anyway, El Loco is not to be missed. If you go, and only pay for one coaster, make it this one. Adventure Dome also has the “take you straight up in the air, then drop you like a silly” ride, which is always a favorite. The going up was scarier than the coming down, and the up is VERY high in the dome, which is pretty sweet. They have other standards, such as the swingy boat thingy, the ride that takes you up then flips you upside down a few times, the one that is all the spinny, on a spinny, which has more spinny (too much spinny for Saucy G), and a few others. There is also a great kid area, with less camping rides for smaller folks.
That guy can’t believe how awesome Canyon Blaster is
They have a couple of theater style adventure rides, which (we think) are also covered in the All Day Pass. One of which was the “Pacific Rim” attraction. Rarely will we ever give a very negative review. To each is own, and everyone likes different things. We don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, so unless something is so awful and should be avoided at all costs, we do our best not to be negative. The Pacific Rim attraction is one of those rare exceptions. Please, please do not do this. Learn from our adventure. The “ride” is the only real wait we encountered at the Dome, which had us a little excited. Saucy G really enjoyed the film, so this was going to be, hopefully, a highlight of the day. No. NO! First you wait in line, and watch a clip from the movie. Cool. Gets you excited. Right on. When it is your turn, you get filed into a small dark room. OOOH! EXCITING! THEN! WITHOUT WARNING! Nothing. Nothing happens. One small TV, which is awkwardly placed so that only two people can really see it, plays the same clip of the movie you just watched while waiting in line. After the clip is over, you wait in awkward silence, in this closed off black room, for what feels like an eternity. Finally, when you are almost done contemplating all of life’s mistakes that got you to this point, you are ushered into another small room with seats. You buckle yourself in and wait. Finally a projector that is in much need of repair begins to play a scene from the movie. You are supposed to feel like you are in the giant machine, fighting a beast from the depths of the ocean – possibly another dimension – but instead you are assaulted on all angles. You view is not that of the cockpit, but rather you are just watching the movie. The platform you strapped yourself to starts to move and jerk in what, we can only assume, is supposed to be in time with the good guy’s machine. Instead it just jerks you around sort of willy nilly. The hectic jerking could make anyone nauseous, which is the only thrill of the ride. Will I barf everywhere? Will I get a migraine? Who knows!
After being tossed around like a rag doll, while a broken projector plays a scene from the movie, and the speakers crackle with the familiar sound of brokeness, the ride stops. You are then ushered out, and back into the world. You didn’t even save humanity from the beast! At all cost, please please please avoid the Pacific Rim attraction.
Other than the complete assault on the senses from Pacific WhyGodDidIRideThat, the Adventure Dome gets a SOLID Full House. SOLID. Almost Quads. Absolutely worth it. Great family fun, and not TOO pricey. They might even have a Groupon available, or other such coupon, so keep a keen eye out.
There you have it. Our Post RV Apocalypse Adventures in Las Vegas! Overall it was a lot of fun, and we didn’t die! We will, of course, be back to Vegas. Next time probably without the Mews, and hopefully with less loss up front. Hope you enjoyed! If we missed something, if you have adventure tips for fellow travelers, or want to let us know what you think – please comment!
When you lose everything, it’s hard to know where to start. When your life goal and new “career” was to be an adventurer, and someone steals and destroys your house, it is very hard to know what to do next.
We are so blessed, and so lucky to have such an incredible support network. Friends, family, and a vast new network of people who believe in your dream, and are pulling for you. Our friend, and official AwesomeSauce Geek, Jason Hart, set up a Go Fund Me to help us rebuild after The Thief ruined everything. (Yeah, still hoping you read this blog, although now I believe you don’t know how to read. Or understand big words. Jerkface.) Anyhoo, we were overwhelmed with generosity, love, and support. Between Paypal and GoFundMe, we were suddenly no longer desperate to survive!
This, however, brings us to our current worry. Well, mine, let’s be fair (Saucy G here, Professional Worrier). What if we go on adventures, and we offend people who have supported us? Our savings did get depleted while we were in Vegas. Vegas is expensive, and sucks you in. One week in Vegas is a LOOOOONG time, two weeks is an eternity. We didn’t have a real fridge, or way to cook food in Vegas, so we ended up eating out a lot. That right there drains one’s account very quickly. Let alone trying to replace things (pillows, soaps, dishes for cat food, etc). That all adds up quickly. Thankfully the funds donated helped us get back to feeling ok, and not “oh God what do we do.” It got us back to feeling like we could do what we do best, adventure.
This was, and is, a huge dilemma for us. What if people who donated to our cause despise how we use the funds? Loathe us for going back out and doing what we planned to do with our lives, adventure? Do we post about adventures? Do we “check in” on social media and talk about things we are doing? What do people expect of us; adventure, or hiding out in a room? Granted, I have basically a PhD in Hiding Inside, but I was hoping to broaden my repertoire, and add outside to the list of places that we/I go. Is adventure a justifiable expense?
Here is what we have decided.
It is in our blood. It is in our nature. It IS what we are!
We will also be VERY frugal. For a number of reasons. We STILL don’t have any word on the RV, other than “it will be looked at soon.” Looked at. Not worked on. Looked at. It could be well over a month before we can even get in it again, IF they don’t total it. There are hints that it might just be totaled. So we are saving many pennies in case that happens (most of the Funds, actually, if not all). We are also not really replacing anything. At all. Not only because we have no place to put anything, but because we don’t know where we are going next in our lives. So we are saving to see where the road takes us, and what we need to supply for that adventure.
With all of the saving, and not replacing, we now have a reserve of monies for adventures. So we are going to do just that! ADVENTURE! We are going to check in at places, we are going to see the things, we are going to try the noms, we are going to do what we do best. Well, what we think we do pretty well, anyway.
We hope against hope that we are not offending any of our supporters, but we also believe that some of the support was to get us outside again. No one wants to read a blog about not ever leaving the house (well, they might. I hope they do, actually, because there are going to be MisAdventureous Agoraphobe posts, and it would be a bummer if no one read them).
We would like to thank you. Yes you. The outpouring of support, compassion, generosity, and the sharing of your own stories has helped us more than you know.
It’s not a lie. This has been devastating. Terrifying. Speaking for myself (Saucy G), I have had thoughts of giving up.
We won’t give up, though. We will never surrender!
First, we have to see about repairs. Insurance will cover some, but not all. We are going to have the Big Box Place look at it, and repair it if possible. This has us a little wary, but the work will be “guaranteed” by insurance.
Other than that, though, we are pretty much on our own. Insurance will only cover the minimum of what was lost, only $3000. That SOUNDS like a lot of money, but the impressive new pots and pans set cost $2500. Granted, we wanted to live a minimalistic lifestyle, but this isn’t exactly what we had in mind. Obviously we won’t be getting the impressive big kid pots and pans, but there is so much to replace! All the things! Literally!
We are also looking into where to stay in Vegas for the next week or so. It’s harder than one might think to find a room, that allows pets, over the 4th of July, in America’s Playground. *sigh* They are either WAY expensive, WAY sketchy, or WAY Don’t Allow Pets. Who knew.
We can tell you that we slept like babies last night, though.
Waking up every two hours crying.
When we awoke this morning, it was a brand new day! The sun was shining, the Mews were smiling (well, not really, they are starting to get antsy), and we started on “Operation RV Recovery” or “Operation BAD GUYS SUCK, We are AWESOME.” Not knowing where to start, we thought we would check out social media to see what the rest of the world was up to.
Turns out you were all trying to get us back on our feet!
Jason Hart has been a friend to Awesome K for over *cough lots cough* years. He is like a brother-from-another-mother. Well, Mr. Hart has set up a GOFUNDME page. This is so Awesome, and Wonderful, and Thoughtful. It is so, well, Awesome!
The name on the account is Saucy G’s real name. Apparently AwesomeSauce Duo isn’t a legal name. Silly.
Today we are feeling a little better. A little stronger. A lot more loved. Thank you, again, for lifting our spirits when we needed it the most. It can be a scary world out there, but it is also filled with wonderful people. Thank you for reminding us of that.
More to come soon. Maybe even an adventure post or two, since that is what we do after all!
Today has been a crazy whirlwind day! This is on top of a crazy whirlwind week!
A couple of days ago we found out that the Worlds Greatest RV had been stolen from where we parked it behind Bally’s. We weren’t even supposed to have parked behind Bally’s, but due to A/C issues, and melting Mews’, we had to get a hotel room. So there we were. Us and the Mews’ in the hotel room, and the World’s Greatest RV in the East Parking Lot, under a light and a camera, with security driving periodically through the lot.
We reported our loss to Bally’s security. Metro PD. Most importantly we reported to you. The wonderful world of social networking! Thank you! Your sharing of our story, your keeping your eyes peeled and ears to the ground (not literally, it is 1000 degrees outside). A wonderful person out there FOUND our BABY! Metro was alerted, and officers responded. Without you, it might not have been found. Certainly not as quickly. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you!
It was found in what looks like a residential neighborhood close to the Sam’s Town Casino. I don’t think Metro asked around to any of the houses, but who knows. Maybe they did. IF they did, no one mentioned it to us. Anyhoo…Before we could get to it, the World’s Greatest RV was towed. At first we were upset, but it turns out that it is a LOT safer in the tow yard than it is anywhere else. The lot has barbed wire, electric fences, and 24/7 security. It LOOKS like RV jail, but it should be safe there.
So, we rallied ourselves together, and headed down to the tow yard to assess the damage. We were honored to have Michael Burton of Action News Las Vegas on scene with us, covering our story! Michael and his crew mate (who was amazingly nice, but we don’t remember his name) did a very good story on our blight for the evening news. It didn’t really have the happy ending they, or we, were hoping for.
Seeing the RV was terrifying, wonderful, and nerve-wracking. Going inside was sickening. Violating. We felt/feel defiled. Our home was destroyed. You hear about places getting “tossed,” but until you see it for yourself, you don’t really get the devastation. Every drawer was pulled out and emptied. Every cabinet thrown open. Literally thrown, some of the hinges were pulled off. What little furniture there was, was literally thrown around. A stranger, a “Bad Guy” literally touched, and destroyed everything we own. Most of the stuff was taken. Again, you hear anything not nailed down and don’t think about it, until you realize that most of the stuff wasn’t nailed down. If the couch wasn’t literally bolted to the floor, it probably would have been taken, too. Which would haven been fine, it’s not a comfortable couch.
A lot of the stuff we expected to be gone. The 400 DVD’s and Blu-Rays. The 100 or so video games. The PS2, PS3, and PS4, and original Nintendo were, of course, taken. The flat screen TV’s (the 32″, and the backup little 12″). Our printer/scanner/all in one fancy thingy was taken. Obviously, it was a fancy thingy. Jokes on them! That thing is nasty to connect to! HA! Take THAT BAD GUYS! *ahem* Anyway. They took our fancy new pots and pans that we had used only once. It was our first ever “big kid” set of pots and pans. They took dishes. They took shoes. Clothes. Our ottoman from Amazon. ALL of my fly-fishing stuff (four fly rods, some Abel fly reels ((one that was engraved with Saucy G’s name, and info from when she was on the Junior USA Fly Fishing Team)), flies – some that G’s Old Man had tied. They tossed books. They turned over the medicine cabinet. Everything was defiled.
Even the “tile” backsplash was ripped off!
Ripped cords out of the wall.
What’s this? Not worth anything? Let’s throw it on the floor and walk on it then
Our tiny bedroom trashed
Even cat beds were stolen. CAT BEDS!
The most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, disgusting part is that they torn open and ransacked our parents.
There were seven urns in the RV. Why? Why so many ashes? That seems morbid. Well. G’s great grandparents passed, and their ashes went to G’s grandparents. Then they passed before the ashes could be spread. The ashes went to G’s mother.
She was diagnosed with cancer, and passed before she could spread them. The ashes of five people were then passed to Saucy G to spread them.
She has her great grandparents, grandparents, her mother, and her cat, Secret Agent Sam. Awesome K has his father’s ashes.
One of our stops was to spread them in Catalina, CA, and Reno, NV. Looks like some of them are stuck in Vegas. Maybe some ashes got on the Bad Guys, and it freaked them out. Maybe now they will be haunted by a VERY angry Marine. Who knows? Mostly it hurts because we know they were looking for valuables, and the urns are boxes, but the urns are also clearly marked with their names, and their death dates. Now they are all over the RV.
The Bad Guys stole our home. They tossed it. They took everything we own (even some souvenirs, like crushed pennies from each of our stops), and what they didn’t take, they destroyed. The police treated this as a stolen vehicle, not as a robbed home. It’s true, it is a vehicle, but it was our lives. Our goals. Our dreams. Our family. Everything.
So here we are. We are staying at Bally’s until Saturday, then we don’t know where we are going. Next week is the 4th of July, which is a huge holiday. We won’t be able to be in the RV, so we have to find a place to stay in Vegas. We would take the RV, but the window was smashed, the ignition trashed, and who knows what else was damaged. We aren’t sure it is even driveable, and if it IS drivable it isn’t safe until we get things repaired. Even AFTER it is fixed, it still feels…wrong. Someone was in our home. Someone touched all our things. They sized us up and took what they wanted. They destroyed what they didn’t want and they destroyed our sense of safety; our sense of trust. People talk about feeling fear when they enter their home after it was robbed, and we feel fear. What if it happens again? What happened while they had it? There is so much uncertainty. There is so much missing. For goodness sakes they took socks. SOCKS!
So that is where we are at. Insurance probably can’t cover the thousands and thousands of dollars (roughly 40k) worth of missing things. No one can replace the urns and the missing bits of our parents.
We will figure out what to do next, and keep you updated. Thank you for sticking with us, and for helping us getting our home back. Hopefully the Bad Guy gets caught, but we doubt it. This guy seemed to be a pro, or ballsy. He took our home at 10:45am. Either way.
So here we are. In shock. Tired. Confused. But we are safe. The Mews are safe (they even took the cat beds. CAT BEDS! WHO DOES THAT?!). For now we will wash the clothes we have, put some food in our bellies, and be thankful that no one was hurt.
This is a High Card. They say they worst hand is poker is 7, 2, two different suits. This is that hand. If there could be a worse hand, this would be it.
Thank you again to everyone who shared our story! You got our RV BACK! You got our story out there. Without you, we wouldn’t have even gotten our home back. Thank you. We are humbled and honored to be a part of such a wonderful community of people. Thank you for the love and support. We love you, too.
Sitting in an (almost) empty house. The Worlds Greatest RV, Trailer, and Smart Car are on the street, (almost) ready to go.
It is such a strange feeling! Being so ready to hit the road we could burst, while at the same time being so terrified we could feel sick. Terror, Jubilation, Anxiety, Excitement! It’s such a mix of emotions!
Tomorrow is it. We hit the road. Two people, three cats, probably too much stuff, and a lot of hope. Hope that the adventure is as amazing as we have been dreaming it could be. Hope that the engine doesn’t fall out of the RV. Hope that the cats don’t explode. Hope that we can actually do this. Thankfully we have found some AMAZING people on forums, which have given us a lot of encouragement. That, and the planning planning planning, we should at least last a week or two. Probably longer. Hopefully a lot longer.
Matilda Pants and Archer Funnyfoot couldn’t be more ready. Matilda has been planning this adventure for years, and she can’t wait to get it started. Archer just wants to go where Awesome K goes. Lana, on the other hand, is nonplussed. I have a feeling Awesome K and I won’t be sleeping tonight. In a lot of ways, this is the night before Christmas. You know you should sleep, but you can’t because tomorrow is filled with wonder and delight, and you can’t wait to see it.
So. For now we will get ourselves ready for the morning, and try to get some sleep tonight.
This whole “let’s buy an RV and hit the road for the adventure of a lifetime” thing has been quite the undertaking. I mean, duh, right? It’s a total 180 from the life we’ve been living; a lifestyle change from top to bottom. But, man, nobody can prepare you for what you actually go through.
Buy an RV
Remodel RV to our liking
Hit the road
Seems pretty simple, right? Here’s how it actually went down:
Buy an RV. Oh, you mean this RV? Well, this one doesn’t actually have an engine that works, but it’s right in your price range. How about this one? It has 150,000 miles and the oil’s never been changed. This one? It’s seven feet shorter than what you want. That one? That’s a van. How about over there? It’s the right length, has the right mileage, but it’s double what you want to spend. And this one? It’s got a leaky roof, but the toilet works like a charm. Fine, what about that one? The dinette was replaced by a bunk bed made for a 4-year old, every nook and cranny is filled with moth balls that have been there for two months, the dome over the shower isn’t finished, and the back-up camera has been removed. Perfect, we’ll take it!
Remodel RV to our liking. Sure, not a problem we’ll just get you on the schedule and the work should be done in about two days. Oh, wait, sorry, I meant to say two plus two plus two days. There are your solar panels and there are your new batteries and they’re hooked up to the inverter and the watts and the amps and the volts should all work, okay, see you, bye. Was that English? The interior painting you want done? Well, because the other work took two plus two plus two days, the painting will have to be rescheduled, and now it’ll take four days instead of three. Okay, that’s fine, we’ll just do some light handy work in the meantime. I mean, no we won’t because we don’t know what we want to do until we start moving in and we can’t start moving in until the painting is done.
Fine, fine. Let’s investigate alternate modes of transportation so we don’t have to drive the rig into major metropolitan areas. Bikes! Won’t it be wonderful to be able to bike the trails in Yellowstone? We can put a basket on the front for groceries. What if we want to drive Going-To-The-Sun Road? It’s 50 miles and two lanes. How about a scooter? Do they have two person scooters? Not in your price range. Do they have trailers for scooters? They’re all too heavy. Besides, what if it’s raining and we have to go to the store? Alright, let’s look at cars. Too big, too heavy. SmartCar! You really don’t want to pull that behind with all four wheels on the ground. You really don’t want to tow that with only two wheels on the ground. Let’s get a trailer! Sure, you can get a trailer made for a SmartCar…if you live in Europe. Found one! Yes, we custom made this trailer for a SmartCar, but we didn’t put any d-rings on it for tire straps, but you should be able to just drill a hole and install them yourself. Oh, and we used a 7-pin plug on this and you’ll need a brake controller.
The painting is done and looks amazing! Sweet, lets start moving in. Well, now that you need to get the hitch on your rig re-wired, maybe you don’t move all the way in, because where will you sleep?
Cool, let’s start figuring out how things work. Look, RV forums on the interwebs! We’re saved! “Make sure you have some water in your black tank so sticky stuff doesn’t stay sticky.” Ok, how much water should we put in our black tank? “Make sure you have some water in your black tank so sticky stuff doesn’t stay sticky.” Thanks, we got that part, but how much water? A cup? A gallon? Should we just leave the hose permanently attached? “Make sure you have some water in your black-” Never mind! How about pets? Do any of you have pets and utilize pet tracking devices? “I can’t condone you letting your pets run about freely outside, especially since they’re cats.” We aren’t thinking of letting them run about freely outside. “Because if you let them out they could get eaten by predators.” We know, we’re thinking about tracking devices JUST IN CASE they happen to get outside. Do you have any suggestions? “Oh, I don’t have any pets.”
Uh-oh, our permit for parking on the street is about to expire. Let me just email and ask for an extension. No response. I’ll call and talk to the guy. Voicemail. Voicemail. Voicemail.
Hit the road. Results pending…..
And now here we are. We were supposed to leave today. We were moments away from starting this adventure. But moments have turned into more moments which have snowballed into more moments. These aren’t the moments we were looking for.
We want sunrises through the trees and sunsets over an ocean. We want roadside attractions and festivals and Christmas on a beach. We’re pretty sure we’ll get there. I mean, we’ve sold a condo and bought an RV, so what choice do we have? We knew going into this there would be frustrations, but we also thought we’d encounter them on the road, not while sitting in a living room staring at our rig that’s parked on the street.
Deep breath. Everything will be okay. And if something goes wrong, we’ll deal with it. Because that’s what we’ve so far and that’s what we’ll continue to do.
Not just any RV, but the GREATEST RV IN ALL THE WORLD!
Ok, well, maybe not, but it is to us.
How did we end up with the Greatest RV in ALL THE WORLD? Well, it wasn’t easy. We (Awesome K and I), had to change a lot of things in our lives, so that we could change our entire lives. We sold off everything we owned – which is actually a lot harder than people would lead you to believe. I found I had an emotional attachment to a lot of things. THINGS. I had to keep telling myself that these were just things. The Grandfather clock was NOT my Grandfather, and letting it go didn’t mean I was letting him go. Just sending the clock off to a better home. These things, while wonderful, were just things.
Now, to be clear, there are some things that we are keeping forever, because they cannot be replaced. I have a family chair that a relative rode to the New World on, Awesome K as medals that his father earned in Vietnam, and we have a TON of pictures and other things we are hanging onto. Mostly everything else, though, was sold! Or donated! Soooooo much stuff was donated. It is really eye opening and shocking to see just how much STUFF gets accumulated, and how most of it you don’t need. Ever.
Just Un-Stuffing was a huge change, and a huge relief in a lot of ways. I still find myself wanting stuff, just to have it. It’s a major life change to get out of the shopping, wanting, having lifestyle! There is always some new thing I think I can’t live without, before I snap back into realizing that I don’t, and that it won’t fit. That, for me, has been one of the biggest things that has changed. “Will this even fit in the RV?” No. It won’t. Whatever it is. You know why? There is only about 180sqft to work with.
Selling everything we ever owned wasn’t enough to get an RV, but it was a start. Another thing we did was we registered for one for our wedding. Instead of pots and pans, napkin holders, a blender, and all the other things new couples register for, we opted for something different. We already had all that stuff (and soon we would be getting rid of a lot of it), so we started a wedding registry for the things we really needed, an RV Registry! We went to Honeyfund.com, and were able to quickly and easily create a registry that was perfect for us: http://www.honeyfund.com/wedding/kevinandgen
So when we say we wouldn’t have gotten the RV without help from our friends and family, we mean it! We were very lucky to get many “gifts” that helped us toward our eventual RV purchase.
Finally we had one last thing to sell. Our condo. Luckily, the housing market in Colorado is CRAZY, and it took less than 24hours to get an offer. Talk about stressful, though! Selling your home is one thing, selling your home to move into an RV is another thing totally. It’s madness! IT’S SPARTA! Oh…wait…that’s something else.
In addition to saving all the pennies we had, we got very lucky in a lot of ways, through selling the condo, a LOT of help, and good ol’ fashioned determination.
Now what do we do? What are we doing? What is going on?!
First off, we are making some upgrades and renovations to the RV. While she is the Greatest RV in the World, we are out to make her a little bit greater. We are adding a full solar upgrade, so that we can truly “live off the grid,” and still have power. We are also making sure we have a tire pressure monitoring system, because driving with ten tires is bananas. We also plan to trade in our car for a much, much smaller version. I REALLY want a Smart Car, but we’ll see how that goes. We are also going to paint, make places for cats to hide, add some flavor, and maybe a decal or two. You know, make it ours. We are going to be living in it, after all.
Wait. What? Living in it? Like. All the time? This is the number one reaction we have been getting. When we tell anyone that we are going to hit the road in a super sweet RV, everyone sort of assumes it’s for the weekend, or for when we can. They ask what we are going to go do, and when we tell them everything, we often get a “deer-in-the-headlights” expression. This is so outside the norm that it literally does not compute.
That is what we are doing. We are becoming “full timers.” We are moving into a 31ft Class C RV, and will live in it full time. When I say we, I mean the entire staff here at AwesomeSauce Adventure. Granted, that staff is two humans and three cats, but still.
When we say we are going to see all there is to see, we mean it. The tentative plan is to have no plan at all, but to sort of go where the wind takes us. There are some things we really want to do during specific times, like be in Salem for Halloween, or the Florida Keys for Christmas, but other than that we are mostly going to follow the weather, and drive around the country. Probably for a couple of years.
Sounds pretty Awesome, if you ask me. Terrifying, amazing, life changing, but most of all Awesome.
We’re ALMOST ready for our adventure. Are you ready?