<< Shasta to Vegas

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Vegas '06

We arrived in Las Vegas to meet up with the RV'ing Families and the ABC Nightline film crew!  Elijah was so excited to be here, this is one his favorite places to be!  VEGAS! VEGAS! VEGAS!  Elijah drove us crazy and was chomping at the bit to park the RV and hit the casinos.  The kid is eight!  We were all glad to be here together and got ready to hit the casinos!


But first, drive the strip!  Nothing better than "Gilley's COLD BEER... DIRTY GIRLS"!  Really, Las Vegas claims to be a Family friendly place!

Vegas has many RV parks from parking lots to dumpy trailer parks to RV resorts.  When we were trying to find an RV park that would accommodate all of us, we swore we would NOT stay at the Circus Circus RV park, again because it's a gimmicky way over-priced KOA asphalt parking lot piece of crap. We despise it and there are so many better, cheaper places to put your RV.

...so we're staying at the Circus Circus RV Park again and we decided to toast Las Vegas with some of Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Tequila we picked up in some freakish truck stop in Nevada where an entire warehouse was fireworks and alcohol and no cell phones were allowed.  We were happy asphalt campers!

 Walking across the stinky sewer drenched parking lot into the casino at Circus Circus, we went in to catch some of the free circus acts.  Elijah begged Salem to stop in the casino and try a slot machine.  He really is way into it.

Circus Circus has a midway where there is a stage for circus acts complete with tight rope, trapeze, and clowns.  Kesley got picked to be a part of the clown show.

And there's some proud mamas ~ Salem and Jenn's favorite picture.  For two different reasons. Or four.

But not this one... Las Vegas ~ the Family friendly place!  This girl made us feel weird.

Then off to the kid friendly gambling part of the casino.

Mr. Papa-Giorgio at his happiest.  He walked around the casino looking for the hot machines to spend his money in.  Walking through a casino with Elijah is like other kids walking through a toy store.  If it were up to him, he would stay here all day.

Elijah finally hit the hot machine and scored some new sunglasses for all his women!  This was his proudest moment in Las Vegas!  He even got himself a really cool pair, though he was going for the fancy watches.

Later that day, the Airstream of Consciousness Family showed up and all three Families took Austin to Las Vegas Hooters restaurant and Casino for his 14th birthday!  Yep, Hooters.

Here's the deal ~ when the kids were younger, they always wanted to go to Hooters because it was fun to say and owls are cool.  We never went... then ~ the McBee's experienced Orange County with Family and it was just too... much.  They had to get away one night and ended up at Hooters in Orange County as a Family and had a blast!  They were able to Let Go and Get In.  What more could you want for a Family?

All the girls came over to sing happy birthday to him while he just smiled and laughed. After the girls left he looked over to us and said 'That girl has a really small... face!'  We love how that's where his focus was in the middle of all the Hooters action.  Just goes to show that if you have good communication and let the kids be kids, they will adjust as they need.  By the way, the food wasn't that great and the service sucked.  The waitress and manager actually argued with us about what a Cobb salad is! According to them, everyone else is making the Cobb all wrong. Apparently they're successful because of their branding... Owls are that cool?

We hadn't seen this thing in years and it shows up in the Circus Circus parking lot... er, RV park?!?  This European tour bus holds about 24 tourists and sets up for the night.  During the day they all ride in the front part of the bus and at night sleep in the bunks in the back.  They have a huge pullout kitchen complete with all the pots and pans to make breakfast in the morning.

While we are still waking up and working on our make some coffee... make some coffee...

We love waking up to the sound of your voice.

Ava is the daughter of Ezra and Amrita of the Airstream of Consciousness Family.  We met them while Greg was working the pool guy job back in Austin.  Ava is sporting one of the Hooters hats that Brye bought for all the kids.

Kesley in her Kid Rock Hooters hat.

The FreeRangeFamily showed up the next day and the four Families went to the Circus midway for some world class air hockey tournaments. We spent an hour or so playing air hockey between all the Families.

Later that night, all the Families settled in at the campsite(?) after a day of circus acts and gambling!  No S'mores tonight kids, we live on a parking lot.

Greg ended up winning Kesley this awesome pink guitar.  She was thrilled to have her own acoustic guitar and it came in handy for an impromptu musical jam with all the Families in the parking lot we were living on. 

After we put all the Families to bed, Greg and Jenn snuck off to go find the Sahara Hotel where Greg proposed to Jenn fifteen years ago!  We intended to get married in Vegas that next day but needed the $50 for gas to get back to San Antonio.  So we got married alone in front of God the next day in front of naked Indians in the desert.


And thus started the whole barenakedfamily thing (to be named in 2002).  A simple place to share our pictures and stories with our Family and friends that became a really weird place to meet stranger Families.  For a funky little Family website, it drew stats and comments that boggled our minds.  Families told us they were inspired and en-couraged to take back their Families' lives.  Our guestbook is a simple taste of what we have personally experienced through emails, phone calls, and meetings.  We are humbled, inspired, and grateful to be a part of their Families changes.

Then the media calls.  That one started good and we would share our story and have been lucky in the way that we've been portrayed.  When reality TV started hounding us, we lost differentiation between the forms of media ~ so when ABC Nightline contacted us for a story about Families that have jobs taking them on the road we declined and offered up some other Families that might interest them.  Nightline came back about a month after that and informed us that they would really like to profile barenakedfamily.  That the storyline they wanted to capture had changed to portray more of what we're about ~ working, learning, and playing together as a Family.  To us, what we do is much different than taking a job that puts you on the road or being on 'vacation'.  What we do has very little to do with RV'ing and more to do with living simpler to enable ourselves more freedom and flexibility to be together.

So we told 'em NO again. We just weren't interested in media at this time in our lives... hell, we're not even updating the website much and we're not really traveling at all. We're living in 'Mobile Manor' near the airport in Austin and working on FamiliesRock.com stuff; staying local; working as 'Gregnando, the Pool Gringo' fixing pools; doing P&L planning with the pool group; seeing TX Family on a regular basis... geez, we're just not that appealing anymore...

Then the universe had somehow convinced us to invite them into our lives, but beyond what anyone could've expected.  After the third call from the Nightline producer back in August some things had changed, all in the same week:  First, Jenn and Greg were working together as Gregnando the Pool Gringo when we stretched our long day out to take one last pool fix order and met some of the most inspiring people we've ever known.  They had created one of the most fabulous properties in Austin and were planning on selling it to wander in their Airstream to spend more time together as a Family.  We discussed our dreams and barenakedfamily and the media.  They encouraged us to share our story because it needs to be shared.  Second and later that week, we were at a Guy Forsyth concert in Austin when he agreed to do a Families Rock show, we thought Nightline could be a good opportunity to share our passion of what we do outside of Gregnando the Pool Gringo. Thirdly, that same night of the concert the Unplugged Family invited us to fly to Northern California to ride back with them to Austin in the RV.  If these things don't make a great story...

...so John Berman, ABC Nightline correspondent shows up at Circus Circus to do our story.  He won some money at the craps table the night before and treated all of us to drinks at midnight of our first meeting.  Those correspondents sure know how to look bright after a late night, huh?  He was excited to travel in the RV with us to Zion National Park.

Brye and Salem graciously agreed to let us use their RV for the film crew to document life on the road.  So we started filming with the usual tear down and getting ready to travel to the next location.  They always love to film this kind of stuff!

Till we told John that he would have to dump the sewage before we left.

He was a pro, with his rubber glove he dove right in.

Inside, we got Elijah to jump on the floor to explode the tanks onto Berman. Salem Sumrall is hard to impress...

After the pooper exploded from Elijah's jump, we all enjoyed John's initiation into the RV lifestyle.

Ha-Ha!  John Berman had to dump the poop!

Getting ready to head up to Zion National Park we worked out the details of the footage they wanted to get.  We used Brye and Salem's RV and they were going to follow us in the Jeep.  Sounds easy but it created some tension with the kids because they didn't wanna be apart since we had been living together and having so much fun for over a week and a half now.

Brye giving us (and his RV) a farewell.

Steve, the sound guy and Sam, the videographer piled into the RV with us and John Berman.

And Sunny was disappointed that she is not allowed to drive on camera.

They filmed as we pulled out of the park and got all the other RV Families ready to follow for the ride to Zion. Here, six year old Ava explains to John that RVs have heaters and you don't have to actually run the engine on cold nights to keep warm, John.  Sorry we laughed at you ~ it was real fun for us to initiate your city'ness into the RV life.

Even Sam knows this!

Though we're thinking Sam was real impressed with the couch and table used for 'camping'. She struck us as more of a tent camper, adventure type. Maybe she should stay with us...

Off to Zion!  You can see the Airstream of Consciousness Family behind us and the FreeRangeFamily pulling out!  We had to pull over and wait while the film crew went up the street to set up a shot of all of us driving off.  That would become something we did all the way down the strip.

John Berman ended up playing Battleship with the kids for the first part of the drive.

Then hung out and got some well needed rest after flying out from New York and staying up late gambling!

This is how we all felt after leaving Las Vegas!

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Zion '06 >> 


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