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Day 4: Ironically, Las Vegas thrift stores lack Las Vegas souvenirs. 

Since you can apparently get free drinks at casinos in Vegas, but not free Wifi, I'll fill you in on the last few days of RV fun.

We took in some Vegas strip sights after we got into town and got a drink or two to recover from the haul.  My Vegas-dwelling college friend Dave, whose home I'd planned to park in front of that night, apparently lives in a neighborhood where the HOA is not very RV friendly.  But good on him, I say! It speaks to how successful he's been in his post-college career.  Well done! 

Faced with no electric hookups for the RV's A/C unit and only one nearby campground with one that was frigteningly popular with truckers, not to mention the 100 degree temperatures, the three of us were not excited about sleeping in a hot tin can all night. We decided to wave the white flag and spring for the cheapest hotel near the strip that wouldn't give us recurring nightmares. So off to Hooters Casino and Hotel we went.  

After checking-in we headed down to a dive bar off the strip that Jason knew of that had karaoke and cheap pizza. The on-site brewed stout was delicious and only $1.75, so after about three of them I was brave enough to take the stage and belt out some Gloria Gaynor "I Will Survive" in front of a smoky bar full of country music lovers. IT WAS A BLAST, all though I don't think Jill quite appreciated the pitch of a drunken fan of Toby Keith doing his best to pay tribute.  Jason's version of "(Don't You) Forget About Me" was pretty damn terrific.

The next day we had a quick breakfast at New York New York Casino and bid farewell at the airport to my first brave co-piloting soul, Jill.  Her gift of being able to magically find pieces of equipment and things I was desperately hunting for in the RV will not be forgotten. I hope she joins in on another leg that will hopefully be a little less panicked than the first few days were. 

So Jason and I headed to a local children's charity thrift store where we met and chatted with Carol Quinn for a video portrait. At 82, she's been thrifting for a very. long. time.

Carol- Las Vegas, NV

She was an actress and wrote children's poems for The Weekly Reader, no doubt the first newspaper that planted the seed for a love of journalism as a grade school kid.  She's a regular at the shop and goes three times a week to check out the selection.  She enjoys picking up crossword books and was excited to find a new New York Times crossword book that day. She was great to talk with and we really had a good chat.  Jason found a cool new shirt and I found some handy-dandy thank you notes that are fill-in-the-blank style, like Mad Libs. LOVE!

Then we headed to a Goodwill® Superstore where it was senior discount day. The place was hopping!  Some of the employees introduced us to some regulars who became friends at the thrift store. Ivy and Yon couldn't stop telling us how much they loved the store, not only because of all their awesome finds, but also because it's close to their homes.  Ivy found some cute tops for her 30 year old daughter and Yon said she likes buying things for friends and was picking out some gifts for her sister, who was coming to visit soon.

I also ran into Maria, a teenager from Ohio in town visiting relatives, scouring the racks with her mother for cute stuff. She said she loves visiting the thrift shops in Vegas because their selection is so different and better than her hometown's usual fare.

I noticed a real lack of Las Vegas souvenirs in the stores, which are very common to find most any other place. Which led me to wonder where the Vegas-ites vacation. I have no clue. 

With our SD cards full of video, photos and audio, we headed over to the Rio to check out a fellow Mizzou grad that was competing in the World Series of Poker. (Go Rie!) 

After that it was time to say goodbye to Jason, my second brave soul to help out this nutty adventure and co-pilot HaRVey through the streets of Vegas with me. I have to admit, with two great friends suddenly gone, I got really sad and started feeling pretty lonely.

Luckily my husband Ed arrived at the airport a few short hours later.

Lonely RV driving crisis averted!   




Day 3: L.A. to Barstow to Las VEGASSSSS!

Jill and I gained a fellow photographer passenger in L.A. and hit the road this morning out of LA. We trudged west up the high desert to Barstow for a little rural thrifting. The thrift store we found benefits local seniors and met a great group of people who love what they do.  

We met Tom, a former Marine and long-time Barstow native who loves scouring thrift stores for Korean War era officer's silverware, which he collects. We also met Gus who told us about all the connections the store employees make in the community and a volunteer who has lost about 100 pounds just through the efforts of volunteering for the store she loves so much.  

It was a beautiful drive and one I've never made before. We pulled into Vegas and took HaRVey down the strip for a little Las Vegas sightseeing with the windows down and the radio up. 

I'm very much looking forward to thrifty finds in Las Vegas thrift stores.  I'm crossing my fingers for some showgirl costumes but I'd settle for a feather boa or even a Las Vegas souvenier FROM a Las Vegas thrift store, since they seem to be in every other thrift store I've been in!  ;-)

Tomorrow we're hoping to find a Goodwill to check out and maybe one more charity shop, then off to the airport to pick up the hubs for the next leg of the trip!

We'll be in Salt Lake City Friday afternoon and on to Boise from there!




Day 2: Beach, fish tacos and the Goodwill┬« on Sunset Boulevard

How do you start a day exploring the thrift culture of LA? By stopping by the beach for a stroll, that's how! Jill (my current thrifting partner in crime) and I went down to Redondo Beach for a moning walk after a long day of being cooped up during the drive in yesterday. As we walked down to the beach we took in the water and the salty air-- then a giant swarm of flies came out of nowhere and we went squealing back to the boardwalk.  I sort of wondered why we were the only ones there!

So we got on the 101 and headed north to Sunset Boulevard to a Goodwill® that was gorgeous and looked almost new. We did a video interview with Sheree, a longtime thrifter out shopping for wardrobe pieces for a short film, (Hi, Sheree!) and met a studio costumer shopping for her collection. It had an amazing selection of books, probably the largest I've seen. I was really impressed-- all labeled and put into sections. They even had photography books (swoon....) and a humor section. There were two cute older gentlemen in the back, sitting on furniture for sale just having a good ol' fashioned conversation. Totally adorable.  It was so great to see such a mix of folks in there shopping.  

I have to say though, LA, I was expecting a little more of a collection of spandex and definitely fewer winter items. I guess it gets colder here than I thought.


Day 1: Wind, wind and more wind. Did I mention it was windy?

Jill McNamara photo

We got on the road out of Phoenix around 3pm. The dozens of dirt devils that swirled around us on the interstate should've been a good indicator of what we were driving into. 

My steering wheel was turned 1/4 of the way to the left just to keep going straight for at least 150 miles.  I have a whole new respect for truckers.

We're staying in Torrance tonight and plan to hit some LA thrift stores tomorrow! 


Missing: Large magnets, probably lying somewhere along I-10

Missing: Two large Goodwill Magnets and two All Thrifty States magnets, seen here before they left Phoenix. Probably took flight during the high winds that nearly blew me off the road between Phoenix and Palm Springs.  If found.... I dunno.... don't tell me because it will make me sad again.