We were so eager to take off that we left the evening before, with plans to stop and park in Lethbridge on the first night. Parking is free at almost all WalMarts and Targets in Canada and the US, so we decided to stop there. The only problem, we hadn’t done our big grocery shop to stock the RV because we always do groceries in the US as they are cheaper. So when morning broke, we were sadly without any food and had to buy McDonalds for the family, which set us back $50.
I also forgot to pack mechanical pencils so that homeschooling could continue, so we had to stop and buy some of those. On the way out of the store, I saw some cool slingshots for the boys that simply could not be left on the shelf - $23.
With the extra time that we bought by leaving early and driving hard core for 16 hours the first day and 12 on the next, we were able to do day trip to Las Vegas. There’s nothing there that Clint and I really care about, but we wanted the kids to have the experience of being there. I set about immediately to find free things to do.
Chocolate & Cactus
The first was the Ethyl M Chocolate Factory Tour and Cactus Garden. So the factory tour was free, but…it was pretty short and you end up in a store with ridiculously expensive chocolates. After watching all the chocolate get made, it was impossible to say "no," so we got the kids one chocolate each. Then there was the Cactus Garden which had hundreds of varieties of different succulents. Jake and Faith thought it would be brilliant to rub the cactus and both had to have prickers removed with tweezers.
The Las Vegas Strip
Next we decided to show them the strip. All we planned was the M & M shop which had a 3D movie therein, and the Coke Store. We made it all the way through the M & M store without purchasing a single item. That was not an easy task. I am literally shocked by how much useless garbage can be stamped with the M & M logo and proceed to fill up four floors! The Coke Store was useless - we were in and out within a minute.
The next stop was the Rainforest Café at the MGM Grand to look at the fish, and so the kids could say they had been to a big hotel.
The Big Score!
Our family loves all-you-can-eat restaurants. Here we were in Las Vegas, the 'buffet capital of the world' and I was on a mission to find a place where the kids could stuff their faces, without breaking the bank.
Now, I was just not willing to pay $20 per child so they could have the luxury of picking their own supper, which is usually like a couple ounces of food, and, let’s face it, more desserts than they should have. After shopping around, I found a buffet that had 'kids under 3 for free,' and was only $10 for adults, if you signed up for a players card, which is free.
Our final bill was $38 for all 8.5 of us. It was one of my greatest scores to date. (blush)
We left Las Vegas and headed for Southern California. Spent the night at a truck stop because we were too tired to make it the whole way. Parking was free but it was $5 to do an RV dump.
Trip Tally from Calgary to SoCal
Here were our expenses for the trip from Calgary to SoCal:
- Dinner Jimmy John’s - $32
- Eagle slingshots and pencils - $23
- Ethel M’s Chocolate - $30
- Fiesta Buffet - $38
- RV Dump - $5
I’ll include all of my gas and campsite prices at the end.
Next: The 6,500 Disney Diaries Part 3: Disneyland!
The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736