On the road! to Nevada: Day 1

Today's destination

I left town this morning, beginning my last summer trip, on the way to Nevada and California. I felt carefree and happy, a feeling that I know will be a distant memory once work resumes. So, I seized the moment, knowing that I had a whole week to enjoy it. I met up with my riding partner, Hal, at one of our usual spots, and then we were officially on our way!

Gas stop in Wickenburg: my brand new tires still have fuzzy nubblies on them!

Our first fuel stop was Wickenburg, and then we got onto 93 toward Las Vegas, NV. It is one of my least favorite places, but we had to go through it to get to our destination. My riding partner said that 93 was double lanes except “for about 10 miles.” Well, he was wrong, it’s still the same crappy road that I remember. Okay, there were a few more areas with divided highway, but it’s still not great. The last time I was on this road, I was two-up with him on a wild goose chase to Las Vegas in 2008 when I thought I was going to purchase a motorcycle there and ride it home. The seller turned out to be a crook and needless to say, I walked away from that. A couple of months later I bought my brand new beautiful blue F800ST.

Joshua tree, one of hundreds in the Joshua Tree Parkway

Today I busied myself by stopping along the route in the Joshua Tree Parkway to get some photos. Joshua trees are so weird looking that I like how they look, each one unique. On the way to Bagdad, AZ last spring, I wanted to get some photos, but we didn’t stop. This time, I realized I would like to bring the big camera back with me and make a photo shoot/study out of it. At least I got a few today.

Up the road, we briefly were on I-40 to get to Kingman. I-40! Again! It’s become the bane of my existence this summer! And it was just as windy and horrible, filled with trucks, as it always is. I didn’t complain too much, though, because I asked myself the question, “would you rather be here on I-40 in the wind, or at work?” Of course, the answer was “HERE!!!”

After Kingman, I got the idea to attach the GoPro to the bike for my first trip over the Hoover Dam bypass bridge! So, that’s what I did, even though Hal said, “It’s just a bridge, it will have high sides, and you won’t be able to see sh*t.” Yes, he was right about that, but at least I can say I took video of the time I went over it for the first time. The thing about this bypass bridge is that three years ago we were on the dreadful old road below and looked far above to see the bridge and wish it were completed then. In the interim, it finally opened, and today was my first chance to ride it. Instead of the nearly hour-long ordeal it used to be to get over the dam, it took 10 minutes today, if that. It was amazing.

We pulled into the first casino over the state line to turn the camera off and save space on the (small) memory card, and watched a helicopter take off with tourists. It cost $29 to go on the helicopter ride, and they were back in about five minutes. It looked fun, though, at least for all five minutes.

It took a lot longer to go through Vegas than I thought it would, and the construction on the freeway didn’t help. But at last we reached the edge, and the town ended abruptly. It’s such a blight on the desert, all the while I was going through I kept glancing at it and imagining it abandoned, filled with nothing but dust, the buildings crumbling as they so rightly deserve to. I dislike it so much just because it is an ugly, gaudy place filled with plastic people and drunks, and people who needlessly lose money they can’t afford to lose. There shouldn’t even be a place like Las Vegas.

The desert was open and free after we left the town behind, and for the rest of the day we rode through miles of open road surrounded by open desert. The wind blew hard, and we saw mountain ranges in the distance, and some up close. There were some weird little abandoned places up on the side of the nearest range, and my imagination started to run wild, being so near Area 51. (Maybe the aliens abducted the people who lived there! What if they got me, and I just disappeared, and Hal looked back and I just wasn’t there!) I know, crazy. Or not.

As we pulled into the gas stop at Indian Springs, near Creech AFB, I noticed that Hal’s license plate was hanging at a slanted angle, about to fall off. A bracket behind the plate, to which everything, license plate, frame, helmet guardian, was attached, was broken. So, while I went into the food mart to get some provisions, Hal fixed the license plate as well as he could. It was good that he hadn’t lost the whole license plate.

Gas stop fix: Hal gets out his tools

We rode through more open desert, the vastness of the space surrounding me made me feel free and happy. Down the road, around 5 o’clock, we reached our destination of Beatty, NV. We found it to be a pleasant little town with a nice restaurant and a very awesome candy store!

Kid (me) in a candy store

It took all my willpower and resolve to not walk out of there with way more candy, especially the clear, traditional rock candy that is my favorite and in such short supply where I live, than would fit on my bike. But then I told myself it would be ruined by the time I get home in a week, so I didn’t get any candy. Darn it.

On to Bishop tomorrow. I know it’s not far, but the allure is some great roads and scenery, and enough time to shoot photos and enjoy it.


One thought on “On the road! to Nevada: Day 1

  1. I like rock candy, too. It brings back childhood memories that are equally as sweet.

    I had to look up the helicopter ride you referenced. I have seen that place whenever we’ve been to NV and wondered about it. So, I found that damhelicopterco.com does have a $29 flight that lasts less than 5 minutes. It is fun to fly in a chopper, but that seems a little expensive. We spent $75 to fly in one around Mt. Rushmore once, and that was well worth it, even though I am sure it must not have lasted even 10 minutes.

    I haven’t been across the new bridge yet. We will be passing through there in mid-October, so I will see it then.

    I’ve never been through the Joshua Tree National Park, although they are cool looking. Usually, when we pass, we want to get to wherever we are going.

    Interesting idea about Vegas as a ghost town. I am sure that, without the allure of gambling and the potential of big innings, it would already be one.

    Looking forward to your next “Final Fling ‘Fore Fall” tour.

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