What wonderful weather for mid-March today (March 18, 2017).  Temps hit 90°F with clear blue skies in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I was happy to come away with a first place win in the “Main Dish” category.  Serving up BBQ Pulled Pork, to take home a trophy Plaque and a free annual pass to Nevada State Parks for the year.  That pass will certainly have some mileage put on it.

A group of us have competed in this annual cook-off for 3 or 4 years now.  We saw attendance go way up this year.  I came with 144 sandwich buns to serve the pulled pork on.  (12lbs of Pulled Pork).  I remember buying the buns and thinking I was practicing “over kill”.  When I saw the eating line start to form I started cutting buns in half.  Right before show time I started changing to 1/4 bun per serving.  I as well as many of the other cooks were wiped out.

The unofficial report I got this evening from someone connected with the fort put the headcount at 300.  A far cry from the 25-50 we had seen in previous years.

The 10lbs of coleslaw that never made it to the end.  It was just a bonus side dish to go with the BBQ.  Gone before the line finished passing the first time.

I also entered the dessert category with a double batch Cherry Chocolate Cake.  It didn’t even place with all the competition and great cooks.  Though it too was wiped out and only crumbs left.

Hopefully others that attended email me their photos for use on this site.  Also the winners for each category and the dish they served up.  Its tough when you cook, to find the time to take some photos or even sample all the great food.

I didn’t even have the time to enjoy the live music and fiddle players that were just out of ear shot.  Below is a portion of the cook set-ups.

Thanks goes out to Kathleen & Dave LeBlanc for serving up a Mountain Man breakfast for us early birds that were setting up at 7:30am.

Also thanks to those at the Fort that put this all together, then their task to get their park back to normal for the next business day.    There is lots of behind the scenes work and effort going into this event people never see.


Full Moon Photography Camp-out


When: Feb 10-12, 2017
Where: Boulder Beach Campground-Lake Mead, Boulder City, Nevada.

This is a family friendly weekend.  While we do partake in adult beverages, if you are not well behaved around other people, kids, and our grandmothers, please seek out another event.   🙂   We don’t tolerate rowdy or loud  types that may bring other camper complaints, ranger visits, and situations that will result in being asked to leave.

This is a no cost involved meet up.  Other than your own travel expenses, National Park entrance fee’s and National Park campground fee’s.  We collect no money.

Saturday Potluck attendance is optional but if you attend we please ask you brings some type of food to be shared.  Anything such as a main dish, side dish, appetizers, chips, salad, etc.

Also be sure to bring firewood.

Disclaimer: We hope we have the moon timing correctly plotted for the area 🙂

Map to Campground

Are you a photography buff wanting to photograph the moon rise?  Want to camp?  Enjoy a potluck meal?  Or sit around a campfire?

Secure your own camping site in the dry camping area of Boulder Beach Campground inside Lake Mead NP, near Las Vegas, Nevada.  These dry camping sites are not open to be reserved in advance.  But this time of year there should not be a problem with availability.

RV sites with full hook-ups are available in an area adjacent to the dry camping sites and I believe you can reserve these in advance..

Dry camping sites are first come first served and all attending must make their own arrangements to secure their site and pay directly to the park.  This is in the Lake Mead National Park.  There are entrances fee’s at the Park main gate even if you come in for the day.  Annual, senior, and other passes may reduce your entrance and camping fees.  The group meet up does not charge any additional fee’s.

Link to NPS Website Fee’s Page

Some will be in trailers, camping out of their vehicles, in tents, and RV’s.  RV’s can set up in the dry camping sites if you don’t need full hook ups and want to be closer to the group.

There is a Full moon, moon rise timed with sunset Friday evening.  We are combining this photo op with Camping all weekend.  We will be on the western shore of the lake.  There is an open area that offers full view of the lake and distance mountain peaks across the lake to the east.

We are putting together a very informal group Photography, Moon viewing, Dutch Oven Potluck, & Die Hard Camping Event for this February 2017 Weekend.  You can interact or not, as much as you wish with others attending.  On Saturday afternoon we will have a Potluck meal get together in the dry camping area.

Camp with us for the weekend or come out for some photography.  If you can’t camp all weekend, at least bring a chair and your hot chocolate or favorite hot beverage to share the evening campfire.  At a minimum don’t miss the potluck.  We are close enough to Boulder City, Henderson, and Las Vegas that some may just want to drive out during the day or evening?  Since this is one of the cooler months I expect this group to be rather small.

Contact me if you want an invite, or view the details. The event is set to private in Facebook. I will have to send you an invite.  Email to:  info@toponautic.com   (In the subject line type: ATTN Rick I want in on Shoot the Moon)  If you don’t hear back within 24 hrs please attempt another contact.

Some of our regular member campers and Dutch Oven Cookers are already invited.  This is camping, Potluck Dutch Oven Cooking (other cooking techniques gladly accepted).

This time of year in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, the weather can be nice or on the cool side.  Prepare accordingly.  Bring firewood for evening campfires.

For a personal invite and access to more details on our Facebook event please email:   info@toponautic.com   In the Subject line of your email type ATTN Rick:Add me on Facebook/Shoot the Moon .   I will have to send you a FB friend request.  Once you approve it I will add you to the event.  If you don’t see it happen please send me another email and let me know.

We charge no fee’s to attend this group event. This is just an informal gathering of like minds taking care of their own arrangements.  (you do have to make your camping reservations, pay that to the park, as well as park access fee’s)


Old Gold Mine site: Techatticup Mine, Nelson, Nevada

One of the most interesting old mine sites I have kicked around is the Techatticup Mine area, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.  In current time it is host to endless settings of photo ops as well as a mine tour.

Prior to the late 1700’s this arid area near the Colorado River was home to several Native American tribes such as the Paiutes and Mojave.   In the late 1700’s the Spanish came through in search of gold.   The Spanish called the area Eldorado.  They never found the gold and moved on.

Prospectors again returned to the area.  Steamboat travel on the river had been established.  Nelsons Landing became a stopping point.  Nelsons Landing was a community on the Colorado River bank and would become one of the most active ports on the river.  Up the huge dry wash several miles from Nelsons Landing, somewhere around the year 1861, gold was discovered.   The Techatticup and Queen City mines sprung up.   These along with some others, formed one of the richest mining districts prior to Nevada even becoming a State.


As you wander through old rusting vehicles and weather worn wood buildings you would never image this area as being one of the wildest western towns to ever spring up in the search for gold.  Complete with double crossers, Civil War deserters, partner poisonings, gunfights, murder, and mayhem.

The area was also home to several notorious Native Americans that lived in this area.  They also dealt in trouble and death.  If interested, research Ahvote and Quehoe, or spelled Queho too.

There is a whole legend surrounding Queho.  Along with Sheriff Frank Wait and posse attempting to find and capture him.  The story would make a true western movie, but with a weird twisted ending.  He eluded everyone.  His mummified remains were to be found later by prospectors in 1940.  In this strange tale, his remains where then put on public display until the 1950’s.   He was finally laid to rest in 1975.

In today’s equivalent, billions of dollars’ worth of Gold, Silver, Copper, and lead were mined.  There are miles of existing tunnels in the mountain at this site.   Current owners, the Werly’s, purchased some of the area in 1994.  They have restored many of the buildings and lead tours into the mine.

The area has been used as the setting for several Hollywood movies and TV shows.

If you are in or visiting the Las Vegas, Nevada area be sure to take at least a half a day and explore this area.  If you have the time, follow the road down the hill to the gravel parking area at the base of the huge dry wash.  Then hike a few hundred yards to the bank of the Colorado River.

At this location on the river, five large dry wash channels converge into a final small outlet where Nelson’s Landing once stood.  In 1974 heavy downpours sent runoff water rushing down these channels.  Some reports say the wall of water was 40 ft high.  The entire landing and village were destroyed, washed into the river, killing 9 people.