We knew that it was going to be hot in Nevada so we got up super early and hit the road before sun up. Our plan was to make as much progress as possible and get to Vegas before the hottest part of the day. We had ridden for over an hour when the sun finally started peeking over the mountains. We stopped at a gas station for coffee and gas and sat there for a bit watching the sun finally come up.
Utah is a beautiful place. I would say that to me it’s one of the most beautiful places on our entire trip. The ruggedness of it, the texture, and the colors are just amazing. It’s like landing on another planet almost, and the times I’ve been through it I have just sat there and wondered about the forces that created such odd and beautiful formations. One could easily spend a few weeks in Utah alone just exploring and taking it all in.
We blasted across the state as fast as we could. We had over 500 miles to cover, our longest ride day yet, and it was expected to be 112 degrees in Las Vegas. We did make a few picture stops because you just can’t ride past all that beauty without getting a picture, but we made them quick. We finally slowed down a bit at a rest stop before crossing the Arizona border. The weather was still relatively comfortable but we knew once we got back on the bikes we’d be literally riding into Hell.
And this is where I heard that question I’d heard at least a dozen times on my trip; “Boy you must be hot in that jacket!”. I’m just talking about it now so you non-bikers don’t ask it and look stupid. Here’s the deal folks, motorcycle clothing is a compromise between comfort and safety. Generally, the more comfortable the clothing, the less safe it is. I’ve chosen the classic motorcycle jacket for several reasons. First, it’s not all that hot. Really. The leather keeps the sun off my skin and it’s got vents to let air in when I’m moving. Secondly, yet most importantly, if I were to hit the pavement, which could be several hundred degrees hot in the sun, at 70mph, all of my skin would be torn completely off my body. Now I ask you, don’t you think it’s worth it to be a little hot in a jacket? I do.
Anyway, we got back on the bikes and started toward Vegas and the desert. Folks, it was HOT. By the time we got to Vegas it was 104 I think, which is better than 112, but not by much. At one point I had pulled out a water bottle and was squirting myself while riding and thinking what a smart guy I was, until the water in the bottle heated up to 100 degrees and then it was like squirting jacuzzi tub water on myself. Awful. The good thing was that we only had about 2 hours of really hot weather to ride through. Our plan to leave early had at least saved us from any hot riding through Utah and the worst of Vegas. We pulled onto Fremont Street, checked into our hotel and then went looking for a beer.
We ended up going to a bar called Mickey Fynn’s where my old bass player Rich from South of Shaw was playing. We had a few beers and listened to his new band for a bit, then we went strolling down Fremont street. They had a Styx cover band playing that was really good so we kicked it and listened to Mr. Roboto, Blue Collar Man, and a few other old rockers.
At one point we noticed that there was some dude in the crowd dressed like Prince. Weird. Then we saw a dude dressed like Paul Stanley, except he was the sorriest looking Paul Stanley I’d ever seen. His costume was lame looking and all baggy on him, he had a bad wig on, and dude, if you’re going to do Paul Stanley, you had better have some super manly chest hair. This guy was a loser. And then his loser buddy who was dressed like Brett Michaels strutted up. Apparently a Brett Michaels costume just consists of jeans, a cowboy hat and tons of eyeliner. Apparently these idiots were taking money for pictures with vacationers. Holy crap. Vegas is the only place in the world where people actually pay to take pictures with a bad copy of a famous person. Lame.
However, Vegas is Vegas, and it was fun just people watching. We decided to hit the sack early and hit the road at the break of dawn again the next day. We didn’t quite get off before sun up though since I had been watching my diet and I had not yet had a scrumptious plate of Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. So we had a killer breakfast and then we hit the road.
The ride back to Fresno was uneventful as expected and we rolled up to my house in good time. We had our daily cigar and some of my home made American Biker Ale and then Robert headed home to hang out with his kid who he hadn’t seen in two weeks. It was a great end to a fantastic adventure. Robert, thanks bro for riding it with me. It simply would not have been the same without you.
I’ll wrap up this blog series in my next post.