July 29, 2005

The best laid plans...

Well, I am at the Grand Canyn National Park, where I spent the night last ight. I have nont been able to find internet access as of yet, so these entries are going to be posted at a later date. At any rate I should back up a bit.

Monday was spent puttering around getting things ready for the long ride. My father and I made sure we had all our bases covered as far as maps, GPS data loaded into the units, stamps, etc. We planned on leaving around 4 p.m. which would put us into Vegas at roughly seven or eight o'clock. We puttered and tok our time, and even took a little swim before finally mounting the bikes. And then our plans changed dramatically. As I watched my father pull away from where his bike had been warming up, I nnoticed a very nasty puddle of oil where it had been. It turns out that he had blown a seal or something in his oil cooling unit. This was a major problem which made his bike unrideable. His mechanic said he couldn't even ride it to the garage to have it looked at; he needed to trailor it over.

Well needless to say, we were both very disappointed. EAch of us had beenlooking forward to exploring the roads together as well as visiting some people along the way. He wasn't going to be able to get his bike looked at until Thursday, and that does even mean he would have it fixed then. We decided that I should go it alone so that I could make it back to Philly (actually Conshohocken) within the time I had available to me.

So my father gave me a run down of anything he could think of regarding the bike, and led me to the highway so that I could get underway. As we cruised onto the 30 we waved as I passed and I gave a holler to say I would keep in touch. That is as far as my father made it with me on this trip. And so I continued on, a little depressed by the way things worked out, but eager to make the best of an uncontrollable situation.

I cruised through the rushour traffic onto the 215, and eventually onto the 15 North which would take me all the way to Vegas. The temperatures continunally rose as I got deeper and deeper into the desert.

Now when driving alone like this with nothing to occupy the mind, sometimes the mind starts playing tricks on you. I started to worry that the bike was overheating because I could feel the heat of it rising into my ass, and a few time I swore I smelled burning oil, which made me worry that maybe I had blown a seal or something. But all of these things were just my imagination toying with me.

At any rate, I rolled up the highway admiring the beauty of the desert, and about a hundred miles into the ride, I noticed a rainbow in the desert. I figured that there was a rainstorm out there, which is something I did not expect at all. I had packed my rainsuit in such a way that it was easily accessible, but I didn't expect to need it until I reached Colorado at the earliest.

Turns out there were a few littl eshowers rolling through, but I didn't need the rainsuit at all. I rode through some very light sprinkles, and they were more refreshing than anything else. I entered the mountains and as the sun went down, things cooled off even more. I got worried that I was going to get caught in the desert after dark in the bitter night cold that I had heard about on documentaries, so I pulled over and put on my denim jacket. But it turns out that as soon as I got over the mountains I regretted that action, as the heat quickly returned. Rather than pull over again, I just dealt with it.

I started to see lights in the desert, but I knew it couldn't be Vegas yet. The little casinos just across the border were teasing me; fooling me into thinking that maybe I had the mileage wrong. But when I slowed down to watch an annoying car pass me, that's when I saw the unmistakeable beam of light shooting into space that could only be the Bellagio. Now I was entering the Vegas city limits. I jumped onto Frank Sinatra Blvd, and circled around to ride the strip all the way up to the Stratosphere, where I had reservations for the night. It took about half an hour to make the ride, but it was worth it. The lights; the people; it was all so beautifully strange and surreal.

I pulled into the Stratosphere valet/registration area and was greeted by a real asshole of a valet who asked "what are you doing here" with such an attitude that I was tempted to cancel my room and go elsewhere, even if it meant I was going to have to spend duoble or triple the cost of my room. I decided to just let ito go though, and I just left them a bad review when I left the room.

I found a nice Macanudo for later on, and brought my things to the room, and then went to get my first Hooters picture of the trip. It was a little late and it was Monday, so there weren't a lot of girls working. But my waitress/"entertainer" Natalie was very nice and frindly despite some issues the management was having with another waitress. The manager even bought me a beer because Natalie had to pick up the slack.

I ended the night back at the room with a couple of beers, a watered down scotch, the cigar, and an episode of SOuth Park on the laptop. I didn't even finish the second beer before starting to dose off.

Well I need to get back on the road. I'm loosing daylight and I have no miles under me today as I type this entry. I don't know when I will actually be able to post this, but I am hoping to have a room with internet acccess tonight. We'll see.

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