Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coming out on top in Vegas

After the long road from St. George to Las Vegas wound through a canyon and over a hill there was nothing but a straight line of tar with small casino’s every so many miles to warm us up for the gambling capital of the world. Two hours later a yellow brown low hanging cloud formed before us. At first we thought it was a dust cloud in the desert but with sky scrapers becoming visible minutes later, we realised it was smog. As the skyline of Las Vegas became clearer, the lights of the casino’s beaconed from the “The Strip”. After all the movies and stories about Vegas I was ready for a lot of craziness.

Riding through “The Strip” was like riding through a Theme Park. It started of with a giant sphynx and a pyramid and then right after there was a fairytail castle. Next, a miniature
version of New York City appeared and the highlights of Paris took us to the famous fountains of the Bellagio, where the water was graciously “dancing” to the tune of the Titanic sound track... it was like whatching a live ballet. Luckily the traffic lights allowed us to enjoy the show for a while from the comfort of our bikes before traveling to Piazza San Marco in Venice. I realized I was truely enjoying myself. A lot of effort was put into creating this special atmosphere. 

We rode out of town to meet up with Michael, our host for the night. It was busy on the road and everyone was in a hurry. We were warned for the Vegas traffic and it lived up to the warning! It was like being on a race circuit with cars coming from everywere at different speeds. When we got in a traffic jam, it got even worse. Welcome back to city life! We missed the winding mountain roads and the fresh air, already. The recklessness continued and the crashed cars, dotting the side of the road were not having the same effect on all the drivers as they had on us. We rode close together and moved through the traffic as one, cautiously, the communication devices once more being well worth the money we had paid for them. 

We made it out of the madness and were welcomed by Michael and his father Chris. The Bikes where treated to a nice spot in the garage with 5 other motorbikes. After getting to know our hosts and enjoying a nice Thai meal, we crashed on our mats and fell asleep. 
Red Rock Canyon National Park
The next day, we met up with Annemieke, who we met in Moab, and went for a nice bike ride through Red Rock Canyon National Park. The weather had changed and it rained all morning taking much of the joy out of riding. Azure’s bike was not appreciating the rain and decided to call it a day. With only 160 miles on one tank of petrol it should not be running out of gas. There was still gas in the tank but it did not get it to the engine. After adding 2 liters of fuel we got her bike to work again, concluding that the fuel pump membrane must be worn. Another little repair for the to do list. We only just made it to the gas station when the bike gave up again. 

Hoover Dam
The girls decided to hit Vegas but I really wanted to see the Hoover Dam since we were here.
We split up and I made a quick run to the impressive dam where it briefly stopped raining. It was remarkable how many Chevrolet Camaro’s were riding around here. The Transformers movie, filmed at the dam, must have been a big succes for Chevy. I was escorted out by a “Bumblebee” convertible.

Back on the Strip, I got a quick glimpse of Vegas by night before checking into the Luxor. We decided that to experience the real Las Vegas, we had to spend the night there and since it was very cheap to stay in a hotel, we did. The first Hotel in 6 Months! We spend the night running around all the Casino’s, not spending a dollar and trying to see all the free shows. We had a great time but were exausted when we finally walked back into the sphinx that was guarding the entrance of the Luxor Hotel.
PC: Annemieke @ http://nennie.aroundtheglobe.nl/travel-stories/
The next day we enjoyed the luxuries of the Hotel and Azure managed to get us a late check out. In an effort to save money, I had bought some bagels for breakfast from a local grocery store. Since the hotel wants you to spend your money in their restaurants, they don't supply any coffee-maker or toaster so I had to get creative. The bathroom was equipped with a hairdryer and there was a steel champagne cooler in the room.
The two together made the perfect toaster and Azure wondered what on earth I was doing with a hairdryer for 5 minutes, until a nicely toasted bagel with cream cheese was served to her in bed.

We checked out and walked around for a bit more before setting off to Michael's once more. The weather would be bad for a couple of days and he nicely suggested that we stay with him until the rain subsided. That evening we went to his sister, Trina's, to have dinner. 

One of my best friends asked me recently how we can travel for such a long time not being with family and friends. I did
Checking the wiring of the TransAlp
not have the answer at that point but I think it is the traveling experience that makes it possible. You start seeing the world through your own eyes and not through the eyes of the media, always reporting about the negative events on this beautiful planet. Traveling shows you that people all over the world are amazing and meeting these people is what makes our travels. These people become our friends, for however brief the period we spend with them, or as in this case, our family. Michaels family made us feel like part of the family and we had a great evening enjoying a delicious meal.

\We are so thankful for all the people we meet on our travels and sadly we can not stay in touch with everyone but while riding our bikes we often think back and remember the time spend with our family and friends around the world. It is not places like Las Vegas that make our journey. It is the people we meet who welcome us into their lives. These people make it possible for us to make this journey around the world, away from our family and friends back home.

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