Viva Las Vegas

Not to disappoint anyone, but I am probably one of the few people who try to avoid Las Vegas. But due to circumstances beyond my control, I found my self there, and then tried to leave as quickly as possible.

But let me rewind a bit. Last post I had just arrived in Fallon, NV after a long strenuous trip across Nevada. I headed south on highway 95, a busy truck-filled thoroughfare whose only benefit was it forced me to listen to podcasts all day, which I did and for the third time, listened to the entire History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan. I feel like I am almost an expert on the subject now.

I went through the small town of Shurz, then Hawthorne, which was unusual due to it being a huge army station in the 1950s. there were dozens of barracks and storage huts for artillery. Very strange place.

After Hawthorne I continued to the small town of Mina, where I arrived just in time to take shelter from a rain storm. While waiting for the rain to abate I had a few beers at the local pub. A dog came by with a ball and would not leave me alone. I could have thrown that ball for hours, but his owner came and took him eventually.

This guy, Gary, stopped by and we chatted a bit about the area. He owns some land there and was stopping by to check on it. Typical Nevada resident.

While talking with Gary I happened to notice a black widow spider directly underneath the table I was sitting at. Got to be careful around here.

As I was leaving Mina, I noticed a sign that said “VACCINE.” I had been wondering should I get a second covid booster so I stopped in they said yes, I was over 50 and had my first booster in January so it was recommended I get another one, so I did. Here are the nice people who administered the vaccine from the fire station.

My campsite near Mina.

Food Insecurity?

I ran out of food for the first time in my cycling career. In the past, I always made sure I had an emergency ramen noodle or freeze dried food in case I came up short. But this trip, I was determined to lose weight, so I was not too careful about provisions, thinking, well, if I run out of food, that’s OK, I need to lose weight anyway. But I still kept a bare minimum of ramen noodles, trail mix, crackers, nuts, or something.

But when I left Hawthorne I did not check my inventory of food. I had a couple packs of ramen and some trail mix and granola bars but that was all. But I knew in Mina I could get some provisions so I did not worry too much. But when I got to Mina, after the thunderstorm, the power went out. The only restaurant in town had to close so I could not get my dinner there. I ate one of my two ramen packs for dinner that night in my campsite. In the morning, the restaurant was still closed, and there was no other store in town to buy food, so I had to leave with only a granola bar and a pack of ramen to get me to the next food source, which was the town of Silver Peak.

Silver Peak was 70 miles away, so that’s 2 days riding. I camped out that night and cooked my last pack of ramen for dinner. Then when I got to Silver Peak at 11 am the next day, the general store was closed and the only pub was closed until 4 pm. The sign outside said ICE, PIZZA, BURRITOS. I had to charge my battery anyway so I just sat outside the pub for 5 hours waiting for it to open while I charged my battery, my stomach grumbling the whole time. Finally at 4 they opened and I rushed in expecting to get a nice hot pizza. But the dour bartender said the kitchen was closed. No food, and no ice, either. I wanted to cry. But he did have a few bags of Doritos, so I got those at least.

So I left Silver Peak with no ice and just a couple bags of Doritos. I think I had eaten only one granola bar all day up to that point. I rode 15 miles then camped out and had my dinner of 2 bags of Doritos and one last granola bar. The next day I rode 25 miles to the small town of Goldfield, arriving around 11 am. Google maps showed a few pubs, a general store and a diner so I was sure I could get some food there. But when I arrived, everything was closed. The diner: closed, the general store: closed, the bars: closed, the visitor center: closed. I finally found a gift shop that was open and asked where I could get some food. The proprietor said the Santa Fe saloon opened at 2 pm and served pizza. So I went to the saloon and waited 3 hours, faint from hunger. Finally they opened and I devoured a pizza. Wow, I had never been so hungry in my life. I probably ate less than 1000 calories in three days. But I hope I lost a few pounds in the process.

Here are some pix of Goldfield. It it an interesting place. Not much there now, but in its heyday it had a population of 20,000 due to the gold mines in the area.

My hotel. It was a great deal for $69. A/C, microwave and a fridge.

The saloon where I got my pizza.

Some views of Goldfield.

Some campsites over the past two weeks. Nice and dry, nice and quiet. And hardly any bugs.

So my original plan was to ride through Death Valley, a place I had heard about all my life but had never been to. But by the time I got there I was having serious doubts due to the heat and lack of services. Thankfully, the decision was made for me. Gary told me that a few weeks earlier a heavy rain had washed out the road. Just as well. I’ll get there in a car some day.

I passed this gruesome memorial on highway 95. It appears five members of the Hernandez and Campos family died in this crash. Not sure what happened but, please, everyone, drive safely.

I stopped at this cheesy tourist attraction to rest from the heat and charge my battery. It was goofy but I enjoyed people watching—lots of foreigners–and resting during the heat of the day.

Next door to the store was a brothel. Remember that prostitution is legal in Nevada. And in case you are wondering, no, I did not patronize the establishment.

It has been so hot I’ve had to stop during the day for a few hours to rest in the shade. Here is the forecast for one week.

Here I am after a long hot day riding in the Nevada desert.

My campsite just before arriving in Las Vegas. Nice and quiet.

So yes, I am in Las Vegas, but I don’t plan on doing anything exciting. I was here years ago for business meetings and I stayed at the Bellagio, where they charged me $12 to use the gym. Reminded me of Miami Beach—they just want your money. I remember then thinking that it looked like a Walmart with slot machines. Enough said. Just not my kind of place.

Leaving Vegas, I had to chuckle at this defaced sign. There must be elections going on in Nevada because I have passed hundreds of political signs. Some graffiti artist had fun with this one.

That’s it for now. I will cross over into Arizona tomorrow. Here is my route so far.