The trip started with a major descent, and a crazy, swirling wind. I got going over 42 mph before the wind made it feel like my front wheel was coming off. It was a pretty squirrelly feeling. I really wasn't totally under control, so on at least two other occasions, one going down to the Hoover Dam, I had to ride my brakes some to stay under 35 mph. Even with those steep descents, the corresponding ascents were not real steep, and at times I felt I had a tailwind. Once I had passed the Hoover Dam on the new Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, there was a 1000 ft. climb into a good headwind to get up into Boulder City. As I looked back, the view of Lake Meade was fantastic.
The entire area had changed so much since I had been here in the 1980's. You used to be able to drive...you had to drive...over the dam. Because of 9/11, a new super highway and bridge were built pretty far from the actual dam. I could actually look down off the new bridge and see the Hoover Dam, but because of a concrete wall, most drivers could not see the dam at all. The observation and parking areas are all redesigned and are much bigger.
As I was riding through the mountains, before I got to the dam, I noticed three new bridges crossing over the highway, which was a four lane, all the way into Vegas. The weird thing about the bridges, was that there was no road on either side of them, and they were in places where a road was not going to be easily built, and even if it was, it couldn't go any where because of the steep mountains. I was puzzled for a time, but then I noticed a truck pulled over near one of the bridges. A guy was doing something official looking, so I stopped to get answers. It turns out that the bridges were for big horn sheep to cross the road safely. The guy said that there were video recorders, and he was checking the tapes. He said in three years, 1800 big horns had used the bridges, and that it was one of the biggest populations in the world. He said they liked to stay high on the peaks where it was safe, not down in the canyons, therefore, the bridges were built high on the peaks. Unfortunately, I haven't seen one yet.
After the climb into Boulder City, there was a steady descent towards Las Vegas, through the city of Henderson, and the strip was visible off in the distance for twenty miles. As I came into town, I did not ride on the strip, but came in sort of parallel on the Boulder Highway. It was a nice ride, with a bus lane for me to ride in, so I had a lane to myself as traffic thickened. The KOA we are in is right on the strip, right behind Circus, Circus.
Pam and I spent the evening walking a little over half the strip, and wandering through Treasure Island, where there was a free outdoor pirate show (sort of... One ship of scantily clad women, and one ship of scantily clad men... With singing, canon shots, high diving into water, and singing.). We wandered through Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, Harrahs, and Bally's. We ate at Gilleys of Las Vegas, and wandered home, totally exhausted, by 12:30.
|Indian woman selling handmade jewelry|
|Looking at Lake Meade|
|Big horn sheep crossing bridge|
|On the bridge crossing above Hoover Dam|
|Looking over the side of the bridge|
|Hoover Dam - doesn't look so big from this view!!!|
|Getting closer to Vegas!|
|Looking out from the mountain top|
|Viva Las Vegas!!!|