Orange, CA to Las Vegas, NV
July 17, 2010
I never really sleep well before something Iím looking forward to awaits me the next day. I was heading to Las Vegas the next day where Iíd see my fiancťe and family I hadnít seen in over a month. I woke up and started to pack up. The family I was staying with was up and going around the same time. The man of the house, Sean, approached me as I was about to leave and handed me some money. He told me they thought what I was doing was really great and wanted to help out. It was $100. Things like that continue to amaze me. I expressed my gratitude and said my goodbyes, then headed out on the fully loaded Bandit.
Almost immediately the temperature began to rise as I made my way up I-15. By the first gas stop I had to stop and get a drink. I went inside to the bathroom and took my shirt off and soaked it in the sink. I think I read that tip here on the forum for riding in hot conditions. I asked the attendant if I could fill my CamelBak up with ice water from the soda fountain machine, and she said sure.
Back on the interstate my attempt at cooling off by soaking my shirt didnít help much. In retrospect, maybe that was because it was the quick-drying Under Armor.
I was a bit irritated with my CamelBack, too, because I couldnít really use it too easily with my helmet on.
The only thing I can compare the heat to was a blow dryer. People here in NC that speak of the high temperatures out west are quick to mention that it is a ďdry heatĒ. Sure, thereís a lack of humidity. But good lord it is freakin HOT. I donít care how dry or humid it is, 115 degrees is hot. Normally I was mostly comfortable riding in the heat as long as I was moving, but this was a whole different thing.
Anyway, I ended up stopping at a rest stop in the middle of the desert and rehydrating after only about 50 miles after my first gas stop. I got a good drink of water and decided to try riding with my half helmet and no jacket in an attempt to cool off. I know, terrible idea. That lasted about 5 miles and I realized it wasnít making any difference. Jacket and full face went back on.
The straight desert interstate was long and straight and seemed to go on forever. This was a super short ride in comparison to others Iíd ridden weeks before, but I think the heat combined with the anticipation of getting to Vegas to see everyone caused time to pass more slowly. The speed limit was high, and I was probably running 90mph the whole way, which can really take it out of you. It gets you there faster but you take more of a beating, something Iíve now come to understand sometimes just isnít worth it.
The landscape really was beautiful. This was exactly what Iíd imagined when Iíd thought of the desert out west.
Finally I crossed the Nevada state line and shortly thereafter made it to Vegas.
I remember thinking to myself,ĒMan, they really did just pick a spot out here in the middle of the desert and build a huge city.Ē
The place really is out in the middle of nowhere, which is odd, especially if you ride or drive there and experience the journey.
My Droid took me straight to the right place, the Hilton Grand Vacation Club right at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. I wondered what the tourists walking along thought as I rode by on my NC plated fully loaded bike. Iíd guess thatís not something you commonly see.
On arrival I took a screenshot of the weather condiditon:
I made my way to the parking deck in the back and found a spot to park. I got off the bike and called my Dad to make sure I was at the right place. I was. They were at the pool.
I grabbed my tank bag and set out to find this pool. I found it, but couldnít get in because you had to have a key to open the gate. Oh, thereís somebody going in, thanks very much. There I was, 6 foot 4 monstrosity of a bearded man in full riding gearÖboots, pants, and jacket carrying my helmet and tank bag, walking alongside a pool full of upper middle class vacationers enjoying pina colodas by the pool. I felt like I had a sign hanging over my head that said stare. Quite an interesting way to make an entrance into Las Vegas.
Anyway, I found my parents and sister along with our friends from New Jersey there in the rear corner of the pool area. They quickly offered to show me up to the room to get out of my riding gear, which I welcomed. Donít think Iíd ever been so glad to get out of my riding gear and into the AC.
I went back and pulled the sidecases off my bike to bring them in to unload. This was a nice change of pace. After sleeping on couches and air mattresses around the country for most of the month, here I actually had my own room. We would be there for around 10 days, so this was the first time in a while I felt like I could really unload. I remember immediately taking advantage of the opportunity to my two pairs of jeans, 5 pairs of underwear and 3 shirts. In some strange way it felt like I was home, in the sense that I didnít have to go anywhere for quite a while.
The finger, on the other hand, was looking worse every day and not feeling so great. I'd end up losing the nail in the next few days.
Nevertheless, I got changed into my trunks and headed for the pool to begin catching up with the family. My fiancťe Kelly was flying in the next day on a separate flight and hadnít yet arrived. Lots of stories to tell and laughs to be had.