Death Valley, Las Vegas and the Hoover dam - 4 states in one day
Decided to give it a go and hope it doesn’t bite me in the backside if I turn out to be late for my bike drop-off on Saturday I. Chicago. I decided I really wanted to see at least some of Grand Canyon and I went for it. From Bishop in California I headed southeast towards Las Vegas by crossing the “infamous” Death Valley. In fact its not that scary and there is even a small basic petrol station and motel there. But the scenery is again really gorgeous, but in a completely different way as the others I have mentioned before. When in Redwood, Glacier and Yellowstone the nature seemed soft and pleasant then here it seemed rugged and almost alien. Lots if beautiful geology and of course there is the heat. That is one thing about experiencing the countryside on a motorcycle. In a car you are much sheltered from the elements while on a bike you are basically exposed, whatever weather, temperatures, senses … you are completely immersed in them. And here you were immersed in the scorching heat. No shade to hide in, no air conditioning to cool you down. The best way to keep fresh is to continue moving. The problem is that the air can get so hot that driving at speed doesn’t really help much.
Now it turned out Death Valley wasn’t that bad heat-wise. The next valley was much worse. As you rise out of the valley the air gets actually quite cool when you on the bike but boooy, did it get hot on the other side, where the ranger post is. It felt like I was immersing myself in a stove. It just kept getting hotter and hotter. There was a point when I got worried that I wasn’t going to be able to take it. But when I stopped to get the park pass it wasn’t that bad as there was quite a lot of wind moving the hot air around. After this I left California and entered Nevada. Took the highway to Vegas and then with the help of the Google satnav maneuvered my way through the fast and dangerous Vegas highways towards Hoover dam. It was soooo hot there but worth the trip. First I took a walk on the memorial bridge that gives you stunning views of the dam. Then I took my bike and drove across it to the Arizona side (changed the timezone briefly), turned back an returned to the Nevada side.
Returned back to Vegas and worked my way again through the highway system and desperately trying to stay alive by dodging speeding cars and trucks. I headed towards Salt Lake City and briefly passed through Arizona before entering Utah.
There is a very spectacular part of the motorway where it passes through a canyon at Mt. Bangs. At first it looks like the motorway will just hit the mountain or perhaps that there is a tunnel there. But then the road starts to weave through this very narrow canyon, parts of it were visibly man made. Really spectacular.