I had to be in Las Vegas this past week for some training and it worked out where I had one day to do what ever I wanted. I had never been to this part of the country and thought I would take full advantage of it.
First thing first, I called BMW of Las Vegas and rented the R1200RT. I have a BMW F800st that I ride everyday and I can't get enough of it. My first choice ( the F800st) was rented so next on my list was the R1200Rt. The second thing I did, I came here to ADVRider.com and did several searches to see where to go. This is my first trip report here and using the tips I found in the forums, this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy!
Lastly BMW of Las Vegas was great to deal with!!! It took no time pick up and drop off the bike. They were professional and did a couple of things for me that was above and beyond. I would recommend them to anyone and will do business with them again!
Let me fill you in, I stayed near the strip in Vegas and I decided to leave around 5:30 am to get to the Valley of Fire by day break. Leaving Vegas it was still dark and the temp was around 60 degrees. I fired up the boxer, plugged in the GPS and hit the strip. Now riding the strip when there is traffic was not what I would call motorcycle riding, but riding it early in the morning is great. There was little traffic and it gives you a chance to see it with out having to watch for the insane drivers there. As I headed north I left the bright lights of Vegas and before I knew it, I was in the desert. The sun light was just starting to break over the mountains and the fog was just lifting off of the desert floor. What a sight this was!
The R1200Rt was in its element, no buffeting, great wind protection and it was cruising along at 80mph like it was nothing. Since starting to ride a couple of years ago, I thought these big bikes with the huge plastic fairings and enough electronics to fly the space shuttle was a little over the top. Well, I was wrong. First, I didn't understand the meaning of over the top until I saw Las Vegas and second the heated seat, heated grips, cruise control and adjustable windshield paid off big time. As the temps fell into the upper 40's, I found myself adjusting this or that, turning on and off heated portions of the bike and at no time was I cold or uncomfortable IN MY SUMMER GEAR.
The first pic of the day, the entrance to the Valley of Fire.
I really can't explain what this is like to see in person, I was taken back by the colors.
Now here is a tip that I found here and I want to make sure that I pass it along. Once driving through the Vally of fire, you think you are finished. Well that was not the case. There is a visitors center half way through the Valley and it just has a little sign that says something about the visitor center and a couple of more sites. What it should say is" Visitor center next left and BY THE WAY, you haven't seen nothing yet TURN LEFT!" I was so amazed at what I saw, I didn't take not one picture. I couldn't stop riding! So I have left all of you a little surprise/treat if you ever get the chance to go to the Valley of fire.
Leaving the Valley of Fire the temp had risen and the electrics was off. I had lowered the windshield but discovered I liked it up about half way. I made a right into the next leg of the journey, hwy 167. It was around 9 am and I thought I would find a nice little diner to get some breakfast. I also thought I might stop at a gas station somewhere and top off the the bike. Well this is what I saw for the next 2 hours,
For the next two hours, I was by myself taking in all of these great sites this road had to offer. You know you are on a good road when you want to stop to take another picture but don't because you can't take a picture of everything you come to. Then after you pass it, you realize you just made a mistake by not taking that picture.
I also need to mention that hwy167 is rough in places. I would even go so far as to say it was the roughest road I have driven with a 50mph speed limit. However, the R1200Rt took it like a champ! The bike always felt planted and soaked up the major bumps with no issues.
As I was traveling down this great road, I really started to appreciate the R1200Rt. I had found earlier that the bike did really well on the interstate but I noticed it really really liked sweepers. The more south you go the road becomes smoother and the turns tighter. The next thing I know I am near triple digit speeds just sailing through the turns.
Next on the list, Hoover Dam. If you continue south you eventually make it to the Dam. I finally found a gas station just a couple of miles before the dam and grabbed a couple doughnuts and hit the road. I found the road leading to the Dam a little technical. It has some tight turns, traffic and construction. Nothing horrible but you just need to pay attention.
Last leg of the day, Red Rock Canyon. Now this is a good place to end the Day if you rent from BMW of Las Vegas. The dealer ship is only 15~20 miles away and when I returned the bike, there was little to no traffic. It also lets you save the best for the last! I guess the only way I could describe my first thought when I entered the canyon was I couldn't believe what I saw.
This is an overlook you can stop at. These photos don't even come close to what it is like to see this in person. I returned later in the day to take in the views once again and read a couple of chapters in a book I am reading. I had time to kill before my ride to the airport was to meet me and I wanted to take advantage of this. It is a very peaceful place to say the least. Thinking I was the only nut case that would break out a book to read, another rider pulled up at the other end of the over look to do the same thing. I guess I am not the only crazy one.
Here a couple of tourist asked if they could take a picture with the bike? I thought it was funny that here in the middle of all of this they wanted to take their picture with a motorcycle. They seemed like they was getting a kick out of it, so I snapped a picture of them.
Lastly I took several unusual pictures of the R1200Rt and I liked this one.
This trip was ~270 miles. I started around 5:30am and I had hit the mileage limit of 250 miles around 2 pm. Not having a good feel of time, I didn't take the tour of the dam and I did not stop at every little place on the side of the road. I could have easily spent more time exploring and taking in what was offered here. Normally when I travel on my bike, I am alone and I always meet people along the way. With that comes stories to tell and experiences to share, but while traveling in this area I met no one. Actually I was by myself most of the time. The roads and attraction were for the most part empty. I don't know if it was the time of year or just that day, but I had most of this all to myself. If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be renting a BMW motorcycle in Las Vegas and traveling to see these places, I wouldn't have ever believed them. This was an experience that I will never forget, Dean.