Vegas: Get us outta here! - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

February 5, 2012

Vegas: Get us outta here!

The roads from Tucson to Phoenix to Las Vegas did not strike us as safe or comfortable for cyclists. We haven't tried to research a bike route, but honestly this is not the kind of area where most would feel a big incentive to figure out a way. (I hope I don't get flamed for that. I once also got flamed for writing something similar about Seattle.)

Entering Las Vegas with the van, boredom changed to fear as swarms of cars joined the road left and right. We were swept into town in the dark, straining for our first view of all the wonderful attractions while also trying not to be bullied out of our lane.

Finally we found ourselves on the Strip, and immediately found an entrance to a free parking structure that was part of Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon. Up we went to the roof level, and finally came to rest in a spot with a good view of Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, and other Strip establishments, with traffic swirling all around below. It was just about eight in the evening. As we would see, the action would intensify as the night wore on.

We hopped the elevator and the doors opened below to insert us into the heart of things. That fast, the hicks from the Arizona desert were bouncing from roulette wheel to craps table trying to figure out how it all works. We stared at one then another then another slot machine, and formed not the slightest insight into what their rules were. Readers of our last year's blog will know that we studied this same thing last year in Montana and felt we were making some progress. Having invested two dollars (spread across two establishments) we were down only 80 cents!

Inside the Flamingo
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But at Bill's and the Flamingo next door the variety and complexity of machines was greater, and the rules for various gaming tables (minimum bets, different coloured chips, and suchlike) were all too much for us. Also perplexing, we could not spot anyone much in glitzy dress, and no one looked much like a prostitute, a millionaire, a con artist, or any of the types we thought we expected. In fact we could not even spot the old white ladies who filled the Indian casinos. Rather, there was a youngish crowd including families and young children.

This changed when we crossed the street (not that easy!) and entered Caesars Palace. Here was the glitz, the taxis and limos sweeping up to the grand entrance, the glittery long (and short) dresses, the over the top statuary, the almost 4000 hotel rooms (the Empress, grandest hotel near our home, has 477 rooms), and the other excesses we expected. There were rooms where you could make a single bet of $200,000, and where the croupiers wore tuxedos.

Don't mess with these guys!
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Part of Caesars Palace
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There was an indoor shopping mall of 160 ultra luxury stores, done up to look like individual buildings under a blue sky. Except for some glittery diamonds, there was not a sngle item there that we would trade for a pair of MKS quick release pedals!

We didn't ask the price - clearly they did not come with pedal clips.
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We did, however, see a poster for someone from home (Quebec), though she is a bit of an embarassment.

Ah, at least there is someone from home.
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We are tough, but one thing in all this brought us down - cigarette smoke. We are used to smoke free environments, but apparently gambling, drinking, and smoking are inseparable. By midnight, with the action ramping up, we had had it. We fled outside

The Vegas strip
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and returned to our "campsite".

Our campsite in Las Vegas
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By morning things were much quieter, and I proposed a 2.5 km "hike" to the Luxor, another over the top theme park like casino. We had to admit, though, that we did not have the strength. Instead we fled the city. So that is the long and the short of our Las Vegas research. We do not expect to ever return. (Get your flames ready, if you think we gave the town short shrift. I am sure it has tons of great cycling!

How we felt the next morning
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The road from Vegas to Salt Lake has areas of no shoulder.
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The road North to Montana!
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We are now safely lodged with Avi and Violet (and family!) in Missoula. When we leave here it will be to go to Clever Cycles in Portland and pick up a wheel with dynamo hub. We will then review the hub, the "Reecharge " device that we are connecting to it, and a universal battery charger that promises to charge our two different Canon batteries from USB power that originates with the dynamo. Stay tuned, eh!

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