On 19MARCH2022, one year ago, we arrived home in Las Vegas. After one year, we are happier than ever about the move. Indeed, the year seemed to fly quickly, but with contentment. Before our arrival, we flew from Spokane to Las Vegas in early February to explore the possibility of moving here. Though the weather was cool in Las Vegas, it was much warmer than in Spokane. We did several days of home hunting with a realtor when Betsy identified several homes in Sun City Aliante which seemed promising. Both homes were acceptable, but the second home seemed to hit home with us. We made an offer on the home, and it was immediately accepted.
The decision to move to Las Vegas was somewhat complicated. We were living in Puyallup, and with the progressive liberalization of the Northwest, decided we had to get out. My two brothers Lewis and Gaylon were in the process of moving to Ocala, Florida, but I wasn’t quite so convinced that Ocala would be the best place for Betsy and me. We put our house up for sale, and within a week it was sold at our asking price. We had a while before we needed to vacate our house, but I wasn’t sure where we should go. The decision-making process included a number of factors. 1. We wanted to move to a more conservative area of the country. 2. We wanted it to be mostly warm. 3. We wanted a state that was tax-friendly to retirees. 4. We wanted a place that had a relatively low cost of living. 5. We wanted to live where it would be very easy to catch an airplane to either Sioux Center, Iowa, or to Puyallup, WA. 6. Housing costs had to be affordable. 7. Acceptable churches had to be available with the possibility of becoming involved in that church. 8. There was a strong preference for being close to mountains. Our list of possible states included Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, and Florida.
We decided that we would start by renting, and then exploring from there whether the area would be favorable to settle. With Las Vegas best filling the above criteria, we went apartment hunting in LV. The area was appealing, but Betsy and I both were not feeling at peace with LV. “Sin City”?? Living close to the Strip?? We almost felt like something must be wrong with anybody who would choose to move to Las Vegas. Clearly, ulterior motives must be present in those that chose to settle in Sin City. We found several apartments that appealed to us but felt we had to think it over some more. On the plane flight home, we both decided to try somewhere else. I suggested that we check out Spokane since it was close to Idaho as a great state to move to. A quick drive from Puyallup to Spokane gave us the opportunity to find an apartment to our satisfaction. Using Sarah, Ken, and the Flanagan kids, we loaded up our belongings and unloaded them in Green Acres, WA, a suburb of Spokane.
Spokane was wonderful in many ways. There were mountains, though the best hiking would require travel into Idaho. The weather in the winter was frigid, leading both of us to decide this area (eastern Washington or Idaho) might not be the best choice for our retirement years. Flights to visit our children were not convenient. So, after about 4-5 months, we decided we better start thinking about alternative number two. Florida was high on the list, with the appeal of Lew and Gaylon. Yet, Florida had no mountains, minimal hiking (unless one enjoyed hiking through swamps), it was very humid in summer, and there were bugs… lots of bugs to contend with. So, our second trip to Las Vegas was made as described above.
I decided that a moving service was way too expensive for something that we could do ourselves. Thankfully, Gaylon was available to help with the move. We flew him up to Spokane, and after hiring a couple of young folks to load a large U-Haul truck, and with Gaylon driving the truck, we headed off to Las Vegas, filled with anticipation. The trip went through Montana, Salt Lake City and down I-15 to North Las Vegas, now to be called our home. We again used an “unloading” service to put everything in the house or garage. Some furniture did not survive the move, but that was okay. Gaylon soon afterward returned to Ocala, and we were left with the chore of creating a home out of a house.
Though the house was in good shape, we desired modifications. A list of a few follows. 1. We had all of the carpets (in several rooms) removed and replaced with plank flooring. 2. We replaced an aging air conditioner/heater. 3. We had solar panels installed to save on electric costs. 4. We installed a water filtration system. 5. We had a landscaper install a brick patio in the back. He also replaced most of the flora with cactus plants. 6. We purchased more furniture, especially in the living room, to better fill out the house, while making use of the furniture that we brought from Spokane. 7. We had cat6 cable strung throughout the house. 8. We installed a security alarm system. 9. I installed a workshop in the garage. 10. We had security rolling shutters placed on all of the main windows. 11. Multiple minor repairs were done. In all, it’s been a great adventure. We have a feeling like we are perpetually on vacation in our new home. There are no bugs. There are mostly sunny days, though it does rain here in winter, with occasional summer monsoons. It is mostly warm. The two hot months of the summer afford an excuse to get out and go hiking or visit family. Several months of the winter were cold and rainy enough to induce one into book-reading mode.
Slowly, we are making friends. Our next-door neighbor is a friendly couple who are wonderful Christians and a total delight to get to know. For churches, we started with a Reformed Baptist church, but eventually migrated back to the PCA denomination, and now attend Spring Meadows Presbyterian Church, which is close to the south side of the Strip. It’s about a 1/2 hour drive for us. Though we wished for a more formal liturgy, beggars can’t be choosy. Hopefully, we might develop a ministry in the church.
My outdoor adventures in the area of the world are just beginning. I’ve hiked and biked the Red Rock Canyon area many times. Mt. Charleston is 1/2 hour from home and has dense pine forests, though it is snowed in for four to five months of the year. We’ve tried to explore many other areas of the state, including the Extraterrestrial highway, hopping I-15 to San Diego to visit friends, running down to Lake Havasu, and checking out the most southern portion of our state, visiting the Grand Canyon, driving to Phoenix to visit family, and exploring Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire. We still have a lot to do. Southern/Central California remains on the list, Southern Utah with its National Parks, as well as exploring central Nevada, remains on our to-do lists.
Las Vegas is properly titled the entertainment capital of the world. That is not a hyperbole. In 1950, Las Vegas was barely a town. With investments from Howard Hughes, the mob, and the Mormon Mafia, the town exploded. It is constantly a town in transition so almost nothing remains permanent. Yet, Las Vegas provides some phenomenal dining opportunities, as well as clean forms of entertainment. We got to meet Rich Little, who is a conservative that rubbed shoulders with all the high and mighty of Las Vegas. Still, the Strip remains about as far from our minds as anything, and our main excuse for going there is the desire of curious guests who come to visit us.
Why would anybody ever want to live in Las Vegas????? Isn’t it Sin City? Don’t you have to be some sort of pervert to want to move here? Isn’t Nevada synonymous with gambling and prostitution? No. It is not. Certain vices are legal here according to the state, but not according to God. Thankfully, there are many Christians in Nevada and an abundance of churches. There is also an abundance of Moroni churches here, remembering that the Moronis were some of the first permanent settlers in Las Vegas valley. Las Vegas is a veritable mission field for Christians, and it is with shame that more Christians are not flocking to this area. Even Paul considered it necessary to visit immoral cities in the Roman empire, including Corinth, Athens, as well as Rome itself. Truth be told, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle far better fit the description of “Sin City” than Las Vegas, and Christians that use the pretense of sin in Las Vegas to not move here should feel deep shame.
We move into our second year in Las Vegas with a bit more knowledge of what to expect. We’ve been blessed with lots of visitors this late Winter and early Spring. I anticipate that I’ll be able to start hiking training in earnest in the next month or so. It has been an unusually cold winter for California, Nevada, and Arizona, so outdoor activities will be a touch delayed. We hope to visit family in Iowa as well as in Washington this summer. I also hope to get in some more extended backpacking, completing more of the Pacific Crest Trail. Betsy and I have no idea what the future will hold for us, but at the moment, we will stay in Las Vegas and use it as a “base camp” to venture out into God’s wonderful world.