26 July, 2012

Day 22, 331km: I've been through the desert on a bike with no name

Today, short day! I had "just" 300km or so to do from Kanab to Las Vegas. Started the day looking for accomodation in Las Vegas.

Campsites? No tenting spaces there. Surprising. So I looked for hotels and found that they are extremely cheap. (Like $30) It sounded a bit too good to be true so I had a look at Wikitravel and learned about the concept of "Resort Fee".
Basically hotels here advertise a very low price and then charge you a resort fee of $40 or more.
But eventually I found a nice, cheap motel without resort fee not too far from downtown.

I will stay here two nights, as I have to do the 10,000KM service on my bike, plus want to visit the city.

Here we go
Las Vegas is somewhat mythical for me, 90% of that myth being due to the book/movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". I am really hoping I'll see remnants of "the wave". I understand that the very attraction I have for the myth is part of what the book describes as absurd and worth of pity but I can't help it.

First wave I felt was a heat wave
To go to Las Vegas, I had to take a portion of the same road as yesterday. So I looked up for an alternate road and found a route accross the "Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park". The name itself deserved a visit.
The road that crossed the park had a 30km or so gravel/sand section.

And I saw precisely 1 car on that 30km section
So it was a good opportunity to get more training on gravel and sand driving. Gravel, I am starting to feel comfortable when it's relatively packed. Sand, however I am still having a hard time. The hardest for me is judging the depth of a patch of sand. I never know if there's 5cm of 50cm until my wheels are in.
And if there's 50cm you're in for a good surprise!
But I took it very easy and slowly and went through without dropping the bike. Which was welcome, considering the heat.

I had the park for myself!
Oh and the only car I saw was actually a FedEx car. These guys take their business SERIOUSLY.
Once I crossed the park I was onto the Interstate 70 towards Las Vegas. The heat at that point was seriously intense.
It went up along the way, from a "cool" 35 degrees C to a burning 44 degrees C arriving in Las Vegas. My camelback saved my life I think and I filled it with cool water at every occasion.

Interstate 70, 42 degrees C
Plus there was a really strong side wind on most of the way. That plus the heat made the drive exhausting.
Finally arrived, checked-in, showered and decided to do the errands today rather than visiting the city in this heat.

So I'm having a good rest and will head out tomorrow to try and feel the wave (that will probably be at night!) and finally print these pannier stickers.

Wish you have a great weekend everyone!

Cheers,
Guillaume

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