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   As I prepare for winter in Canada with sub 0C temperatures and plenty of snow and ice I dread the annual ritual of putting away my bike for the season, not to be heard or ridden again until spring arrives. This winter was going to be a little more bearable for me because I was heading out to Las Vegas in January for some warmer weather, a Vintage Motorcycles auction and some desert riding.

     Las Vegas is well known as the gambling capital of the world with all the neon lights, mega hotel/casino's, shows, shops and all you can eat buffets your heart can imagine. But how much fun would riding a motorcycle in the tourist filled streets of Las Vegas be for this frost bitten Canadian?

Viva Las Vegas !

    As the sun gleams over the desert mountains my excitement grows as thoughts
of my days adventure about to begin. I walked over to one of Dream Car Rentals two locations on Las Vegas Blvd. to rent my motorcycle for the day. I was greeted

with a variety of Ferrari's, Vipers, Porches, Muscle cars, Harley Davidson and Custom Choppers. Waiting for my decision was a Sportster, a Fat Boy, a Heritage Softail, Deuce, a Wide Glide, a Road King and 2 custom hardtail choppers... decisions, decisions, decisions. I originally wanted to rent the chopper but needed storage space for my cameras, rain gear & gloves, so I decided to go conservatively and picked the 2003 Anniversary Heritage Softail with saddlebags and windshield as my ride. The day was turning out to look like a good one with picture perfect riding weather in the teens Celsius or lower 70's Fahrenheit. My plan is to ride as much as I can for the day because my next ride wouldn't be until the spring.

      I sat down with Rich the owner of Dream Car Rentals and asked him what places he would recommend for my ride. He explained that Las Vegas is set set up as a grid and very easy to get around in. We have a lot of great places to ride to. If your going out for the day I would recommend Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, Valley or Fire, Mount Charleston a ski resort is great but a little cold in the winter. Roswell Area 51
and it's secret military base is about
2 hours away. Hover Dam is another

Some of the bike's and cars available to rent.

place you can ride to and also take the walking tour of the Dam when your there. If you want to go further you could ride to the Grand Canyon stay overnight and come back the next day. Los Angeles, Palm Springs, St.George is a nice place to ride, Rice Canyon and Zion National Park is absolutely gorgeous. I would also recommend you to bring your own riding gear but if you don't we can supply you with your helmet and leather jacket at no extra cost.

      Sal from D.C.R. explained the process of starting and locking the Harley. It sounds simple enough but I forgot that you don't need the key to start the big Harley only to lock and unlock it, so don't forget to take the key out of the ignition when riding. Nevada has a helmet law so I picked my helmet and jacket from the rack and asked Sal what his recommendation would be for my ride within a 200 mile range. He outlined a path on a map that would take my ride down the strip, over to Red Rock, Lake Mead, down to Hover Dam and back up to the strip to my starting point, sounded good to me so that was going to be my journey.
      I stuffed the saddlebags with my gear and headed down the crowded strip. A new bike

     in an unfamiliar city always make me ride cautiously for the first few miles. As I passed dozens of casinos and flashing lights I quickly felt comfortable with the bike and my surroundings with courteous drivers not seeming to be in any rush to

get to their destinations. Red Rock Canyon was my first destination it's 13-Mile Loop with over 197,000 acres within the Mojave Desert offers sightseeing, Picnic sites, vistas, wooded canyons and desert overlooks all within an hours ride west of Las Vegas. With every mile I traveled I was quickly leaving civilization behind me. Straight roads became winding roads and buildings became desert cactus. I couldn't help but feel I was being transported into the wild west, where Cowboys and Indians ruled the day. Names like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Wyatt Earp and The Ok Corral all came to mind. My daydreaming quickly came to a stop as a winding curve suddenly came upon me. I quickly squeezed
my front and rear brake to slow my speed before leaning the bike into

Rode this puppy for almost 6 hours, stopped only for fuel & photo's.

the curb. I kept the big bike on it's two wheels and kept my daydreaming in control from then on.

Local stop area for a photo up
and information
    Over hills and around red sand-stone mountains layered through gray limestone I went stopping occasionally at designated areas like Calico Vista point to admire the crossed-bedded Aztec sandstone and Pine Creek Canyon and Red Rock Wash to take a few scenic pictures of my timeless surround- ings. As quickly as I left civilization it reappeared again as Route 159 turned into Charleston Boulevard where the expansion of Las Vegas and surrounding areas was evident by the construction everywhere I looked. By this time I was riding for almost two hours and decided to take a break and fuel up for the
next stretch of my ride.
After shutting off the Harley I suddenly realized the key was missing from the ignition, after a few "choice

words" I calmed down and searched my pockets with no luck. I convinced myself that I must have put the keys in my camera bag or left them in my hotel room for safe keeping.

    The second part of my ride was going to take me into Lake Mead and Hover Dam. After a half hour of riding past shopping malls and fast food restaurants my exit for Lake Mead arrived. Lake Mead is very large National Part that is open year round for visitors It offers marinas,campgrounds motels and boat rentals. It is also home for Bighorn sheep, Mule deer, Coyotes, the Kit Fox, Bobcats, Desert Tortoise a large variety of birds and various reptiles and several kinds of rattle snakes. There
is a $3 charge when riding through Lake Mead and I can

Entrance to Bonnie Springs Ranch in Old Nevada offers horseback rides, wild wild west shows & a petting zoo

tell you it's well worth it. After riding a few miles I decided to bypass the direction to Hover Dam and just ride as far as I could into the desert with daylight and fuel being my only limitation. As a Canadian accustomed to riding in traffic the isolation of the

A welcoming sign at Lake Meads National Recreation Area
Desert is appealing to me, with the sun behind me the view of the winding roads and mountains were spectacular. An hour of riding had passed in sheer isolation with no more than a few motorists and an occasional bird of prey seen up above. The scenic ride along the North Shore Road, approximately 40 miles from Lake Mead Blvd to Overton Beach seemed endless, just when I thought civilization was around the next corner, it wasn't, I felt like I could ride forever on smooth roads that never had the misfortune of dealing with freezing temperatures

or salt kept unfolding in front of me. As all good things must come to an end my fuel gauge is telling me I should turn around, I haven't seen a gas station, store or anything for that matter for over an hour. I knew I had an hour and a half before darkness set in and that would give me just enough time and fuel for my ride back.
     I have been to Las Vegas a few times in my past but this ride has opened up my eyes to a Las Vegas I never knew existed and will gladly visit again.

 I want to thank Richard, Sal and Nick at Dream Car Rentals for
making my ride a memorable one.

p.s. I never did find those *&%^# keys

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