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Old 08-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #196
EvanADV OP
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Orange, CA to Las Vegas, NV
July 17, 2010

I never really sleep well before something I’m looking forward to awaits me the next day. I was heading to Las Vegas the next day where I’d see my fiancée and family I hadn’t 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t 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 “dry heat”. Sure, there’s a lack of humidity. But good lord it is freakin HOT. I don’t 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 wasn’t 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 I’d 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 I’ve now come to understand sometimes just isn’t worth it.

The landscape really was beautiful. This was exactly what I’d imagined when I’d 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,”Man, they really did just pick a spot out here in the middle of the desert and build a huge city.”

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. I’d guess that’s 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 couldn’t get in because you had to have a key to open the gate. Oh, there’s somebody going in, thanks very much. There I was, 6 foot 4 monstrosity of a bearded man in full riding gear…boots, 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. Don’t think I’d 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 didn’t 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 fiancée Kelly was flying in the next day on a separate flight and hadn’t yet arrived. Lots of stories to tell and laughs to be had.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by EvanADV View Post
Orange, CA to Las Vegas, NV
July 17, 2010

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.


Really enjoying your ride report.

The squeamish may want to avoid reading the following:

I'm not a doctor, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but here's a trick for relieving much of the pain of a smashed fingernail like that. You can CAREFULLY take the tip of a knife blade and GENTLY twirl it back and forth to drill a hole in the nail. Once you punch through, the trapped blood will come out of the hole, and suddenly your finger will feel MUCH better. My dad did this to mine when I was about 12 and smashed my thumb in a car door. I was scared to death, but it felt so much better when he got through I've never forgotten the trick.

I've also heard you can do the same thing by straightening a paperclip, heating the end red hot with a match or lighter, and pressing the tip to the nail (again, CAREFULLY). It'll quickly melt a hole through the nail, relieving the pressure. You're on your own with that one though, I've never tried it.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:04 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by Hughlysses View Post
Really enjoying your ride report.

The squeamish may want to avoid reading the following:

I'm not a doctor, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but here's a trick for relieving much of the pain of a smashed fingernail like that. You can CAREFULLY take the tip of a knife blade and GENTLY twirl it back and forth to drill a hole in the nail. Once you punch through, the trapped blood will come out of the hole, and suddenly your finger will feel MUCH better. My dad did this to mine when I was about 12 and smashed my thumb in a car door. I was scared to death, but it felt so much better when he got through I've never forgotten the trick.

I've also heard you can do the same thing by straightening a paperclip, heating the end red hot with a match or lighter, and pressing the tip to the nail (again, CAREFULLY). It'll quickly melt a hole through the nail, relieving the pressure. You're on your own with that one though, I've never tried it.
Wish i'da heard that then. I rode the rest of the country with it throbbing most of the time and cringing in shareper pain anytime it bumped anything. Seems stupid, but something little like that can be extremely annoying. A new nail actually pushed it out and it fell off a couple weeks later. Makes sense a hole could relieve the pressure. I would have tried anything at this point.
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First Trip on 2 Wheels. 10,000 miles. 21 years old.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:15 AM   #199
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The paperclip is a lot easier to do then carving a hole with a knife... It will burn through the nail easily and is less painful than using the knife.

BTDT!
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:38 AM   #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hughlysses View Post
here's a trick for relieving much of the pain of a smashed fingernail like that. You can CAREFULLY take the tip of a knife blade and GENTLY twirl it back and forth to drill a hole in the nail. Once you punch through, the trapped blood will come out of the hole, and suddenly your finger will feel MUCH better. My dad did this to mine when I was about 12 and smashed my thumb in a car door. I was scared to death, but it felt so much better when he got through I've never forgotten the trick.
My dad taught me how to do the same thing with a small drill bit,,,
Works really good and is easy to control,,

Les
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:48 PM   #201
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Originally Posted by lm248 View Post
My dad taught me how to do the same thing with a small drill bit,,,
Works really good and is easy to control,,

Les
You might want to mention that you don't put the drill bit in the drill, but instead you twist it between your fingers.
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:29 PM   #202
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You might want to mention that you don't put the drill bit in the drill, but instead you twist it between your fingers.
Oh sure, if you're a pussy.

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:38 PM   #203
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July 17, 2010 – July 26, 2010

This was the first time my family had ever been on a vacation like this. We usually drove from NC to the beach in SC, to see family in FL, or to see family in TN. Las Vegas was quite a change of pace for them. That said, I was now a different man than the one they knew before I embarked on this journey. They’d been following my blog and heard from me periodically, but they hadn’t experienced what I’d experienced. I’d seen, felt, smelled, and breathed over 6,000 miles of this country. I’d navigated emotional and spiritual challenges and learned more about myself and God than ever before. I’d truly found what some would refer to as wanderlust. And I wouldn’t ever be the same.

I can sort of compare the situation to that when I returned from several months away in Nicaragua. You feel a bit like a stranger to society coming back from something like that. This time it was similar, but different in its own way.
My family has a very basic concept of what “vacation” is. You go somewhere to stay for a week or so. A nice hotel with a pool. You sleep in, get into your swim suit, and head to the pool. You stay at the pool until 3 or 4pm and go back to the room for a shower. Then you go to dinner. Then you come back to the room and hangout, maybe watch a movie something. Then you go to bed, and do it all over again. This schedule is occasionally interrupted by an outing of some kind, but the bread and butter of the trip is pool time and dinner out. Are you seeing how my little adventure broke the mold?

Thankfully, though my family did spend plenty of time at the pool (something I’m not a huge fan of –maybe 1hr per day, tops), we got the chance to do some pretty cool stuff.

I realize I haven’t mentioned yet we were accompanied by our newfound yankee freidns from New Jersey. I use that term endearingly. Yes, the lady my parents met in a hot tub the year before in Orlando, Mary, was now with us in Las Vegas, this time with her two sons Martin (3-4 yrs younger than me) and Scotty (about my age). This added to the fun, no doubt.

I do have a few stories to share, though I will admit my bike only left the parking garage once during the time in Vegas, and that was to give my fiancée and sister each a quick up and down the strip (they brought an extra helmet all the way from NC just for that).

Kelly arrived the day after I got there and I went with my mom to pick her up in the rental car. Because of my age, the cost was way too much to add me as a driver. Bummer. It was quite an ordeal. Kelly had only flown on a plane with me before this, and that was to Nicaragua. I was proud of her for doing this on her own – flying across the country and navigating airports is no easy task for a novice traveler, but at least this time everything was in English and she had a cell phone. And she didn’t have to worry (as much) about being abducted. My sweet wife is somewhat directionally challenged, so 3 or 4 phone calls after she got off the plane we finally found her. At long last, we were together again. Queue fireworks. For real though, it sure was nice to see her.

About halfway through our time there we decided we’d go see the Grand Canyon. I’d already decided I was going with or without them, but I was glad to have the chance to go together. This would make for one of the funnier experiences of the trip and something our family laughs about often.

As you probably know the most common places to visit the Grand Canyon are the North Rim and South Rim. Both of those are about 275 miles away, though, which was just too much for the family and friends to bear. Enter the West Rim option. This is the one on the Indian Reservation with the glass Skywalk out over the canyon, and it was only 180 or so miles away. Hey, it’s still the Grand Canyon. Let’s go.

We load up in our two rental cars and go. Outside of Las Vegas it is almost immediately flat, featureless desert. Then we get to Hoover Dam. I noticed signs saying “Report any suspicious vehicles” as we approached – remember that, it’ll be important when I write about leaving Las Vegas after our time there. We all got out and took some photos of the family at the Dam.







Other side of the dam is back to desert desolation. Finally we make a left turn off the highway toward the Hualapai reservation. Then we drove down about 5 miles of twisting gravel roads. I was very thankful not to be on the fully loaded Bandit.

Shortly we arrived at the visitor center, a big inflatable tent that was pretty cool, actually. There we paid some crazy amount for tickets to enter. Tickets for the Skywalk were out of this world, so we passé and opted for the standard option. We boarded a charter bus which drove us out to the canyon.





Exit to see one of the most awe inspiring views in creation. And take lots of photos.







http://dixoncreations.smugmug.com/photos/i-8zHNfcT/0/XL/i-8zHNfcT-XL.jpg[/IMG]



From left, Dad, Sister, Mom, (now) Wife, and Me. Yes, I’m well aware I’m the sexiest.



Then it was back to the bus and back to the rental cars. Now everyone is starving and not shy about sharing their desire to eat. Thankfully there’s a multitude of eatery options out by the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Not.

On our way out, just as we’re about to get back on the main road to head back east, we noticed this little spot.





The Wishing Well. Little did we know, it was very appropriately named.

It is essential to understand that this sort of thing is totally out of character for my family. This is justa tad too adventurous. They'd much prefer a Chili's. But, options were quite limited. So, all 8 of us enter this little hole in the wall, half from the south and half from the north, half of us kind and polite, and the other half, well, you get the idea. Seemed like we filled the whole place up.

There was one waitress on duty and another person in the kitchen, just behind our table. Both weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. The waitress passed out the menus and everyone looked them over. We ordered drinks. She got most of them wrong. I’m easy to please and really didn’t care, but a few others in the group were beginning to get irritated. We started to order our food. Each time someone told the waitress her order she’d yell at the person in the kitchen and ask if they had any of that left. She said something about him bring the breakfast cook, too, and he didn’t know how to make everything. We’re talking basic sandwiches and bar food. Anyway, most people had to accept their 2nd or 3rd choice because other options either weren’t available or the cook didn’t know how to make it. By the time she was done taking the table’s order most everyone had moved past the point of irritation and into bewilderment. It was hilarious. The place was called the Wishing Well, for goodness sake.

When she borught out the food I think about half of it was right and the other half wasn’t, but nobody cared. We all had a good time with it and left cracking up about how funny the experience was. We often refer back to our experience at the Wishing Well. I'd love to go back someday and see what they've done with the place.

We did a lot of normal vegas stuff. Went to a few casinos, went to the old strip.













Even went to the Pawn Stars pawn shop with my dad. Yeah, the bald guy was a jerk. Surprisingly the place was small, too, and didn’t have as much neat stuff as I expected.





I did see the 2wd (front and rear) trail bike.



The time with Kelly and the family was, like I said, sort of like a mini version of being home. Knowing I was there for over a week with those I loved felt really good. I was extremely thankful for the chance to have the little break of being a road warrior. But, like all things, it came to an end and reality set in. We said our goodbyes, the family flew home, and it was back on the bike for several thousand more miles of adventure for me. I hit the road feeling refreshed and re-energized.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:37 AM   #204
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July 27, 2010

The morning I left Vegas I was alone in the hotel. Everyone had left early for their flights back home. Back on my own for another month or so. The reality was setting in of the remainder fo the journey ahead of me. I was on the home stretch.

I was able to shed some unnecessary gear and send it home with my family, so I was packing a little lighter this time. I went downstairs to get a luggage cart but they wouldn’t let me have one. Had to use the bellhop. Liability concerns. WTF? So up he came with me to load up my pelicans, tank bag, and other misc stuff. I bet that was a first for him. After that, I went to the deck and rode the bike up to the check in area to meet him. He assisted me as best he could, even though I insisted I didn’t need any help. Persistent little bugger.

He watched shockingly as I bungee strapped my right case on and explained that it was broken, and then proceeded to bungee on the rest of my junk. After we were done I tipped him and I was finally alone with the bike. The area was very fast paced in order to prevent backups, and new tourists arriving in their expensive cars gawked in shock at me redneck rigging bunch of crap onto a strange looking motorcycle. I could feel the stares and curiosity. Didn’t let it phase me. I knew if I did I’d forget something or worse, knock the bike over again in the stress of the moment.

Zip the jacket. Put in headphones in. Put on helmet. Sit on bike. Set navigation. Phone into tank bag. Gloves on. Kick stand up. Ignition. 1st. Throttle. Clutch. Go.

Like that, the next portion of my journey began.

Not sure where this pic is or why I have it, but it's dated 7/27 and I don't have any others from the day



I was following the same route out of Vegas that we took when we went to the Grand Canyon just days before. Like I remembered, the landscape quickly changed from city to desolate desert. Soon enough I was approaching the Hoover Dam again.

This time was different than before, thgouh, in that there was an insanely long line of traffic leading up to the dam, several miles long. And this time, obviously, I wasn’t being blasted with cool air from an air conditioned car. I was baking. After around 10 minutes I’d moved maybe 10 car lengths. I swear the bottoms of my boots were melting. This was crazy. Screw it.

So, taking a lesson from California, I let the clutch out and coasted down the wide paved shoulder. Ah, it felt good to move. The airflow through my sweat filled jacket was like air conditioning. I maintained a very slow pace as to not offend anyone, and many cars moved over and seemed understanding. That is, until I was no more than 200 yards from the entrance.

That’s when this little white Honda with California plates jerked over into the shoulder and the passenger door opened. I didn’t miss a beat, just filed into line right behind them as if nothing happened. I was close enough now that it wouldn’t be too much longer.

No, they weren’t having it. A woman got out of the car on the passenger side and began to berate me.

“You’re not getting by us you f*ing a**hole! You can wait like the rest of us” She yelled.

I ignored her, just facing forward. I thought to myself that she just6 didn’t understand. I didn’t just want to get ahead – I just couldn’t bear to sit motionless in the baking sun any longer. Traffic continued to move a car length or two every few minutes. I never tried to go back to the shoulder for fear that they’d do something stupid, so I just stuck in line. The children in the back seat stared out at me the entire time.

Suddenly the passenger car door opens again.

“You need to back off man! You’re getting way too close to our car a**hole!” Yelled the woman again.

“Are you serious?” I thought, “This lady is out of her mind. I’m not even close to the car. What kind of person harasses another person like this? Especially a guy on a motorcycle – aren’t we dangerous?”

I didn’t respond in any way. Just took it. I seriously considered parking the bike in the middle of the road and letting all the air out of their tires one at a time.

The kids continued to stare and now the woman was turning around and glaring at me. I’d already decided what I was going to do. Remember all those signs I noticed the first time through the Hoover Dam that said to report any suspicious vehicles? Well, I was about to report one.

About 100 yards before the entrance the road split for RVs to go to the right and cars to the left. I went right. Rode right up to the guards. Pulled off my helmet.

“Yes sir, what can we do for you?” said the guard.

“Well, there’s a white Honda up there, early to mid 90s, California tag begins with blah blah, family of four. I’ve been behind them a while. They’ve been acting really strange and I thought you guys might want to check it out.”

“Okay sir, thank you for letting us know, we’ll take care of it. Go on ahead.”

I'm sure it was the highlight of their day to act on the report of a suspicious vehicle. I would like to think they were individually stripped searched, thoroughly interrogated, and had their car dismantled. At the very least, they were inconvenienced in some way. In retrospect it wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but they earned it. Aside from the Canada-US border fiasco, that was literally the worst interaction I had with another human being over the course of the entire trip.

I ran the bike hard up through the gears on the other side of the Dam and well over the speed limit for several miles in order to lessen the chances of crossing paths with the white Honda again.

The rest of the day was largely uneventful. I have written in my journal that I had almost a full minute of déjà vu at some point in the day, which sounds interesting but I don’t remember it. I listened to an audio book for a good portion of the trip from here on out, which really helped pass the time.

My destination in Tempe, AZ was an apartment of a family friend that worked for an airline. He had been laid off some time prior, and had a very difficult time finding a job. An opportunity opened up in Tempe and he took it, even though it meant leaving his family for extended times while they carried on with normal life back in Charlotte, NC.

But, when I was passing through, he wasn’t actually going to be there. He was back home in Charlotte at the time, but he offered up his place for me to use and left me a key at the front desk. The only catch was I had to be there by a certain time before they closed, 5pm I want to say. Well, I made it their 6 minutes before they were closing. Not sure what my plan B was, but I was very glad not to have missed it.

He’d left a note saying to help myself to anything. I remember I had fish sticks and a powerade while I watched Die Hard for the first time. I just brought my tank bag in and didn’t unload anything so I could be on the road quicker the next day. He had dark curtains that blacked out the whole place, which I figured were because he worked crazy hours. I ended up falling asleep pretty early. Tomorrow I was off to Las Cruces, NM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:01 AM   #205
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This is where you were


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Old 08-28-2013, 08:10 AM   #206
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Ah, thanks. Use EXIF data? Why didn't I think of that?
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #207
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Ah, thanks. Use EXIF data? Why didn't I think of that?
Yep!
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:50 AM   #208
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Man, you married up . Don't worry, I did too. I don't know what it is about big guys with beards but we seem to attract women out of our league sometimes.

Great report, keep it up!
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #209
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Man, you married up
Yep, no doubt. Thanks.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #210
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Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 901
I've done the heat a paper clip deal for a fingernail and if you're alone, it's hard to get the paper clip hot enough to pierce the nail. However, it is easy to get the paper clip hot enough to cause you much pain and distress.

Being a dentist, when this happens to me I go to my office, grab a drill and use it to drill a hole in my nail. It's completely painless, incredibly quick and makes relieving the pressure very, very easy.

You gotta go with what you have available tho...
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