Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Las Vegas, Red Rocks

The drive into Vegas, the towns on the outskirts of Vegas took me by surprise. There is some shady activity going on out there. Mix the dry desolation of the desert with poverty and legal prostitution and people will make a way to get by. I might be making assumptions from the comfort of my car driving by on the interstate, but the area seemed really rough and I had no desire to lurk around the area.

We pulled into Las Vegas mid morning after a good two huge days of riding in Tahoe that were stacked on four days of riding before that. I felt my bits and pieces wearing down and even though the timing was perfect, we parked it in the trail head parking lot, I put my foot down and insisted that we take rest day.  It was turning out to be a scoarcher of a day and riding in the heat of the day isn’t the funnest way to spend time. John used a few hours to disassemble the back of the van to charge the AC and the extra love that a 25 year old German van needs which appently includes replacing fuel lines in the parking lot. John waned about the size of a tool box to pack, and after much consideration he packed a pretty hefty repertoire, including extra fuel lines that came in very handy. I love the Westy but I don't think I would feel as comfortable traveling in it without John and his mechanical savy. After cleaning up the yard sale we drove into the Red Rocks National Park.
Lucy loves the nomadic lifestyle

Neither of us had been into the park even though combined we have been to Vegas more than a dozen times. We enjoyed jumping out and snapping some pictures, saw a wild burro and looked for the alleged wild tortoises. Red Rocks is a major climbing destination (we have yet to climb there). It was fun to watch people gear up in the parking lots, knowing that this is what we must look like.

There didn’t seem to be much free camping in the vicinity so we camped in the one designated camping spot near the park. I think we hit them at a bad time but it felt like an incredible waste of money. There was no running water in the whole spread, it was under construction ( lets hope it was to bring water in) and a mess, no showers, no shade. The place was packed to boot, it would have been great to have been able to find a spot in the the main area and strike up a conversation with most likely other climbers but the place was at capacity. There was a spur for Rvs and we ended up finding a spot there and parked it for the night. It took all the will power we had to fight the urge to indulge in the city. Seriously. We were inches away. I made us a salad, John cracked another beer and we embraced being dirt bags. We invited a Swiss couple to share our site with us. They flew into LA and rented a cargo van and were hitting all the climbing spots in the south west.

The next morning we beat the heat and went for one of our shortest and fastest rides (for me) at Cottonwood and rode up to black velvet canyon. It was nice to be able to pedal hard for 90 minutes after being at elevation. The riding was fun enough but nothing to be blown away by.
I insisted on going to an In and Out burger in down town Vegas. I eat about one hamburger a year and for some reason I thought that today needed to be the day and I was under the impression that I was missing something by never have partaken in the chain. John tells me that I usually like the idea of something more than actually doing it. He knows me too well.  

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