Las Vegas, here we come

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Saturday, May 21, 2011


Douglas to Las Vegas

A few of us were up bright and early today and got away by 5h30. It was a real chilly morning and a jacket and gloves were essential. The road out of Douglas was wonderful as it made its way through the hills. We passed a wonderful old cowboy town called "Nogales" where I was tempted to stop and take photos but with the speed the rest of them were doing I knew I would never catch them up again so decided against it.

The mountains got less and the road became a long straight line through the open desert kind of land with not much to see at all. We headed up through the city of Tucson and onto "interstate 10" towards Phoenix. Today we were eating up the miles like mad.

As we headed up interstate 10 through the flat lands there in the distance was a wonderful pointed mountain. As we got closer I took a few photos of this rather strange mountain in the desert. As we got closer and were alongside this this unusual mountain John who was leading pulled off the motorway and went into some services for breakfast. I then saw a sign saying "Red Rock".

A full English breakfast was had by some or a simple beacon burger as I had, fill up the tanks and get going was the order of the day as we still had over 300 miles to do before we reach Las Vegas.

We headed on up interstate 10 towards Phoenix at slightly higher speed than the speed limit of 75mph but we were still being good as every other car on the freeway was overtaking us.

John was leading us using his sat-nav as we entered Phoenix. There were motorway junctions everywhere in this city and one had to know what interstate to follow otherwise you could get well and truly lost.

One road I was warned not to take across the city was the "101" but instead was to follow interstate 17 North and then cut over onto the 101 at the North of the city. Slightly more distance but much quicker. But John did not get this info and turned off at the first exit for the 101. I stopped him at the junction where we joined the 101 road and sure enough all we could see was trucks all the way and red traffic lights.

We U turned and went back towards the freeway where we found the others waiting. They had decided it was better to stay on "Interstate 17" and head to Vegas via Flagstaff. This route was about 50 miles longer and was freeway all the way and in my opinion was not worth it. We took a vote and the secondary 101 road won and so that was the way we went.

I lead the group around Phoenix but somehow missed the off ramp for the 101 and just after that Andy came flying up behind me and took us off the next off ramp. Even though I had missed the 101 it was simple to get back onto it and so Andy with his sat-nav took us from here. As it was the weekend there were loads of folk out on there Harley's for a trip. When we pulled up at a petrol station we got chatting to a few of these riders. They were sure quick in telling us just how mad we were at what we were doing. After a long chat with them one rider wanted to ride with us for a while. He lead the way for about 20 or so miles but after that I had to overtake him and get going as he was just taking his time and plodding along..............then that's about all a Harley can do otherwise it will fall to pieces;-)

With me up front we pressed on towards Vegas. Much of the time the speed on this 101 road was 65mph and so I sat at about70 all the way but again we were being overtaken by everything inc large trucks.

Thank goodness whenever went freeway as this road was great with just about no traffic at all on it. It had a few curves now and again and was certainly much more scenic than the freeway.

About 30 miles before the town of Wikieup I looked in my mirror and noticed the others had pulled over and stopped. I pulled over and waited and soon Andy on his BMW came along and told me his bikes engine just cut out. I suggested as it was now running that we try and get to Wakeup and check it out there. We get going but a few miles further and his bike is playing up again and again but finally we made it to Wikieup where we pulled into a petrol station and filled up.

His bike seemed ok the last few miles here and so we decided to just get going but after he filled up his bike just did not want to know and simply refused to start.  "It's the fuel pump controller" shouts Andy, "I have a spare one".

Within 5 minutes it was all hands on deck and we had to take off crash bars, side covers etc just to replace this faulty electronic item. About a hour passes and the new unit is fitted and the bike is back together and sure enough one push of the button and the bike fires up.

We are off and heading towards Vegas once again. By now the sun is beating down on us and the cold morning has turned into yet another boiling summers day. I had been riding since Red Rock without gloves or jacket but here at Wikieup I decided to put my jacket back on simply for protection!!

This protection was not from the elements of the sun or in case I fell of the bike or anything like that but protection from some massive flying insects that seemed to come in swarms along this section of road. You could see these swarms coming straight for you and one had to duck and try to hide behind the screen to avoid them. When they hit my bare arms it was like a stone being thrown up from a car ahead. The other problem as I was to find out is that they had a good mighty sting on them and when one got down my T-shirt and stung me it was agony to say the least. Hell only knows what these large insects were but I think they were Hornets.

We head on up the 101 towards Kingman where we once again stop for a fill-up. Its only been 50 miles since the last but its another 100 miles to Vegas and Scott's XT660 will only just do about 150 miles on a tank and so we thought we better not take any chances.

I travelled this road a number of years ago and what a change they have done to it. Then it was simply a two lane road full of cars and trucks. It had tailbacks all the way and it was a nightmare to get passed the trucks and slow moving vehicles. Now its all freeway and duel carriageways and is 100% better. The town of Kingman is a totally different place with all these motorways etc running through it.

Its been a long day so far and we all just want to get to Vegas but there is one other attraction we all want to see before arriving into Vegas and that is Hover Dam. The new freeway simply passes the dam wall on a massive high concrete arched bridge. We cross this bridge and take the next off ramp and follow the old road down and over the dam wall. The place  is full of tourists and even finding somewhere to park our bikes is hard. I as usual run around taking photos while the rest chat with a group of Harley riders. I then head back up the road and set up my cameras and wait for the group to cross the dam wall.

As they drive on past me I load the cameras back into my bike and race after them only to find Scot and Andy stopped around the corner. Scott's drive chain has come off once again and again its all hands on deck to rectify the problem.

Once sorted and a quick trip up to the view point to see the dam and its off towards Vegas once again.

Another half hours ride and we arrive into Vegas. As always its as busy as hell and its stop go stop go all the way. Finally we arrive into our parking area of our hotel "Imperial Hotel". By the time we get parked up we are miles from the hotel. We unload our bikes and make our way to the lifts. Out the lift and we are lost. Trying to find our way around this place is simply impossible. We finally see a few signs saying "Front desk" and so we follow them. Our first impressions are not good as the carpets and all are just filthy and it sure looks like this hotel has seen better days. Its a mighty long walk to the front desk and after waiting in a queue I finally get to the desk only to find they don't even have a reservation for me!! "What about me booking a room right now?" I asked, only to be told the hotel is fully booked and no rooms are available. Great I think, what do I do now?? This is all one needs after a 500 mile bike trip. Finally John said he has a spare bed in his room and so I simply stayed there.

That evening we all headed to the top of the Vegas strip to the Harley Restaurant where I had a massive rack of ribs and a few Margaritas. I was certainly rather unstable when it came to walking back to the hotel.
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