Day 30: July 2: Las Vegas to Glendale

I gathered up all my stuff (amazing how spread out I can become with a couple of days staying somewhere) and managed somehow to pack it all back on the bike. I said goodbye to Cathy; it was nice to meet her and great of her to put me up for three nights. It was about noon before I finally got on the road, after having had lunch and gone shopping for some food. My water bag was full this time, as I didn't want to chance running out of water somewhere in the desert when daytime temperatures would probably be above 110 degrees F.

The first challenge would be to get out of Las Vegas. Cathy had given me a route along Charleston, Buffalo, and Lake Mead that would get me out to Las Vegas Boulevard (route 604), which parallels Interstate 15 for about 21 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Luckily, traffic was fairly light, and the flag sticking out to the left of my bike seemed to help people remember to give me some room. I passed through neighborhoods that got steadily worse, going from estate homes to apartments to cheap motels and apartments, finally to a lightly built commercial sprawl. Eventually I was going past Nellis Air Force Base and the Federal prison there, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (one of the newest of the NASCAR speedways), and then I was back in mostly flat desert again. The route had some gentle climbs, but I had a tailwind that kept changing to a gusty crosswind, and I found riding fast (even if I had to lean a bit into the wind).

At about the 30 mile point, I had to use Interstate 15, as Las Vegas Boulevard had ended. Riding on the interstates is actually not too bad, as they tend to have wide, smooth shoulders. This one was no exception. Other than avoiding shredded tire pieces, riding it was easy. The only drawback to the interstate is the sound of all the traffic as it passes. But many people honked their horns and waved (with all their fingers!), making it not so bad.

At the 42 mile point, I found a store operated by the Moapa Indian tribe (on their reservation at Crystal). It was doing a brisk business selling fireworks (this being the 4th of July weekend, I remembered finally). I spoke with Nick, a young guy who called himself a hippie nomad. He was amazed by my bike, but thought it looked like a great way to travel. I had to agree with him. He'd been using buses to travel around from his home in Michigan, having come to Nevada to visit family. We wished each other good travels.

I kept getting a tailwind and good downhills. I was averaging about 14 mph, which is a record for me. Of course, this is the first mostly flat day of riding I've had so far. Even while I was going south on route 395 in CA, I found a number of climbs that slowed me down.

As I rode between Crystal and Moapa past the Valley of Fire State Park, the desert started to change. I saw hills in the distance, and the landscape started to become more interesting, developing mesas and eroded cliffs. I suspect that tomorrow's riding is going to have some hills to climb.

At about 58 miles, I found Glendale, which is small town (population 8) that seems to consist of a couple of houses and a store/motel/gas station/bar. Since I couldn't find anywhere to camp, I rented a motel room for $35 that proved to be pretty nice, and plenty spacious for parking my bike and trailer inside. I bought a hamburger, fries, and a milkshake, but found I couldn't finish it all (the milkshake was so big it came in two glasses). I felt guilty eating all that food, considering that I hadn't done too much work. But my muscles were a little sore, so I got over the guilt quickly.