I got started at sunrise in Lake Havasu State Park. I packed up camp and headed to Dennys for breakfast and wi-fi. Dennys had no wi-fi, so I swung by Burger King, which also had no wi-fi. Then I just had to suck it up and head to the one place that I knew would have it, McDonalds. During my visit to Lake Havasu City, I felt like I was at one of the safest stops of the trip. Like Florida this place is infiltrated with “Silvers” or you could call them snow birds. Everywhere I went, young folks seemed to be quite outnumbered. Just a quick look around and you’d find a person of retirement age zipping around on a golf cart, scooter or some other non full-sized vehicle. (Since I arrived in Surprise Arizona, I’ve noticed the growing use of golf carts on all of the roads in any town. Locomoting by golf cart is pretty big out here.) With a deluxe breakfast down the hatch and another post up and running, I was off, north again toward my goal of Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. My route would take me back through a portion of Route 66 that I rode just days earlier, then it would veer off and follow the Colorado River thru Bullhead City. After fueling up in Bullhead city and sticking my M&M’s in my tank bag I took off only to make it about 10 miles before my log book flew out of my tank bag. It hit me on the leg on its flight off of the Goose. If not for that I wouldn’t have noticed that my tank bag was unzipped and priceless notes and contact info would have been gone forever. Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling when you are riding a motorcycle and something unseen hits you. When the log book bumped into my leg, my first thought was “Oh crap! What just came loose on the bike?” In the first couple of seconds you race to figure out what the problem was, hoping that it is nothing big. Luckily this time it was only an easily recoverable piece of cargo. After that I put the log book back in the tank bag, zipped er up and headed off with no more issues.
Folks have been telling me about a little ghost town called Chloride for a few days now. My route just happened to pass right by, so I had to visit. I had no idea what to expect from Chloride, but I hoped that it would be like Oatman. Well, Chloride is no Oatman, but has its own unique ghost town charm. It seemed much smaller than Oatman and without the wild burros. Chloride, like many towns here in the west, features a giant letter on the hillside, marking its place in the world and was once a bustling gold mining town. Today it draws business from being a site to see for its left over ruggedness from its better days of the past. I walked from one end of the town to the next (about 500 feet) and the only noise was the squeaky spinning of an old decorative wind mill in someones yard. A few locals walked by my bike and stooped down to check out my license plate, but didn’t take the effort to say hello. Instead they just stared at me lol. I stared back. With all of my riding gear on, I probably looked like an astronaut without the bubble helmet. Being the only tourist in town that day, my experience was rather strange, so I made tracks out of there and rode north in route to Las Vegas. At this point I still planned to make it to the Valley of Fire State Park.
That plan was shattered about 60 miles later at the Hoover Dam. Sunset had arrived, the Dam was right there, and my curiosity got the best of me. In my head, I wanted to wait until my family got to Vegas next week before visting the Dam, but I just couldn’t drive by it. Hoover Dam is as iconic as anything else in this country. By itself it is so impressive as to make it unforgettable. However, in recent years, the 890 feet tall, Pat Tilman and Mike O’Callaghan bridge, has been constructed right beside the Dam making for an incredibly interesting little spot on the planet. Not to mention, Lake Mead and it’s white washed border. The whole place is breathtaking and really clean-looking. From my only previous impression of Hoover Dam, the television, I did expect it to look a bit wider in person. By no means, was I disappointed and if the family wants to go back when they arrive in Vegas, I’ll go in a minute. The Hoover Dam marked two other situations for me. One, I’d made it to Nevada for the first time ever, and two, I was officially three hours off of my native time zone. This is going to make keeping in touch a bit more difficult and my posts will seem later to my friends and family back home. Sunset at the Hoover Dam is a great time to visit. The sky works perfectly with the dramatic surroundings. When I left, it was completely dark and I knew my plans would have to change to an overnight room in Las Vegas.
A few miles from the Dam, I crested a hill on interstate 93, to see the sin city and all of its lights in action. In hindsight, I’d rather see it like that for the first time anyway. I’m sure in the day time it’s a lot less impressive looking. I was in pursuit of a Motel 6 when I stopped by a local pizza joint for directions. They told me to forget about a Motel 6 and look for this casino called Fiestas. They told me I could get a room there for about $32. I took off in that direction, found the casino, and got a quote of $169 a night. It turns out that the casino had a huge convention scheduled and only a few rooms were left. After that I rode around until I found an old familiar friend. The Americas Best Value Inn. The room was cheap enough and I was exhausted and starving so I checked in, found a sub shop (Jimmy Johns, my favorite) and hit the sack early. I really really wanted to go out since I was in Las Vegas, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I’ll just have to wait for my peeps to get here on the 16th.