Although seeing downtown Las Vegas from my room at the Americas Best Value Inn was no problem, I didn’t realize until morning that I was actually within the Henderson Nevada city limits and not actually in Las Vegas. I wasn’t bothered by that fact though. One look at sin city in the morning from afar and you can be thankful that you are not breathing in that, not so cool, thick brown smog. Yep, smog. It was the first time in my life that I’ve seen smog. To say it looked just like fog but light brown would be correct. From where I was standing on the balcony of the hotel, I couldn’t yet smell it. That would come after I had my stuff packed up and made my way toward Las Vegas to find interstate 15 north. Las Vegas doesn’t smell like Irish Spring Soap, roses, fresh laundry, a pretty girl with perfume on, or an apple pie in a window sill. It smells like truck exhaust and hot asphalt. Even though, I’m still very excited that I’ll be seeing some familiar faces in a week and living it up for a few days in the wild ass city. For now though I’m planning to head a bit northeast to visit some parks in Nevada and Utah. I found 15 north and headed out-of-town. A short ride and I’d be in Utah again, I thought.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway sits on the outskirts of the city. I rode right past it, not knowing what it was until I was right beside it on the interstate. A crossover was about a half mile up the road and I used it to pull off a U-turn. I love motorsports and this was a prime place to get a bit of a racing fix. My step father Tommy is a huge nascar fan and I also wanted to get some pictures for him while I was there. I stopped at the ticket center and gift shop to find out what sort of cars were on the track. I could hear something going on in the distance. The lady at the counter told me that a Richard Petty driving experience was on the big track and the exotic cars were on the infield track. She said I could ride right over and watch, no charge. SWEET! The Goose and I found the infield and caught the last three laps of the guys driving the cars on the nascar track. That was a first for me. The driving experience claims to reach 160 mph. They may have been going that fast, but I just couldn’t tell. Anyway, they were not putting around by any means. They pulled off and took a break before I got my camera out. Then I heard the sound of the super revved up exotic cars on the other track. I rushed for the Canon and made my way to the fence in a hurry in order to not miss another opportunity. It turns out that you can rent these cars and give em a whirl. I never asked anyone what it would take to tear into a Ferrari because I’m sure it’s way out of my league. Those guys whipped around for about 15 laps before taking a break. I was in a motorheads dream world the whole time and from the looks of it, I could have been the only spectator there. Everyone else was right next to the cars and looked to be involved in the “workings” of the operation. I chilled out trackside for about a half hour before checking out the rest of the facility. Some motorcycling police officers were taking a training course, folks were learning how to drift their cars around corners and I noticed Rob Maccachren’s Rockstar number 20 trophy truck leaving the dirt track. Right before I left I called my friend Paul back since I missed his call earlier. He mentioned that while he was in Vegas a while back that he stayed at the Circus Circus hotel for somewhere around $19 a night. For that price I could hold off on traveling north and get a day in Vegas that wouldn’t break the bank. He told me to call them and check it out. I didn’t call first and paid for it. I just rode back into Las Vegas with the thought that even if the room would be twice that much ($38) then I’d still get it. Well, little did I know, there was a huge electronics convention going on in town and almost all of the hotels were booked up. Circus Circus, as big as it is, only had a few rooms left for the hefty price of $139 a night. Next time I’ll call first. On the way back to 15 north I noticed a KOA right behind Circus Circus. Perfect, I thought. Well, I was shot down again when the young lady at the KOA counter told me that they only cater to RVer’s. Shite! One more option was on the table. I could go pop my tent up with the homeless folks and their tents in the rough part of town that I noticed on my way to Circus Circus. (just kidding) I’m sure the Goose and I wouldn’t last a second. After that the day was getting late so I changed the goal of making it to Utah into a new goal of making it to Valley of Fire State Park, which was my previous days goal.
Valley of Fire State Park is roughly forty miles north of Las Vegas. I had no idea what to expect from this park, except perhaps some red rock. Red Rock is what I got in droves. Huge, deep orange, formations line the parks scenic drive. These massive monoliths were formed millions of years ago and are the remains of ancient sand deposits. Erosion has taken its toll here, making most of the craggy hills into swiss cheese like rock. The colors are brilliant and highly comparable to the reds and oranges of Sedona. It is for sure one of the more peculiar geological areas that I’ve visited. I set up camp as the sun was setting and again experienced an extremely bright night due to a large shining moon. Even at 2 am everything had a strong shadow. Reading the stickers on my bike was no problem without a light. The desert is a cool place.