T – It got bloody cold last night. I had to get up at some god awful hour of the morning and have a piddle. It was pitch black and bitingly cold. Especially when I was wandering around the edge of the crater in my undies looking for a suitable pee spot.
As the sun hit the tent this morning I laid there and stared out the door at the bright new cloudless day. It was promising to be a glorious one already! The valley around the crater lit up in spectacular fashion. I could certainly have laid there and stared at it for hours!
But we had some exciting places to ride to today and laying in the dirt wasn’t going to get us there! So we stuffed our faces with warm porridge, and left over brownie cake, and raced off down the dirt track and back to the highway.
C – Whilst making my coffee, I managed to spill the whole cup in my lap. Thankfully, it had been brewing in the press for a few minutes so wasn’t burning hot. But I did have the pleasure of having wet jeans whilst we packed up… that stained nicely brown around the crotch and down my left leg once it dried. Oh, I must of looked a treat today!
T – It was at this point I had a real profound moment. Riding this particular track at this exact moment. It was a moment of pure joy. Right then and there was the best moment of the trip, the best riding moment, the absolute best. I have no idea why. We have ridden through some incredible scenery, seen some amazing places, but this moment was the absolute best. I just rode in silence and relished it.
C – As we were riding out, we rode in silence. I didn’t realise that Todd was thinking exactly what I was thinking until we were out on the bitumen. I can not explain it, but the view of the desert on the way out from the crater was simply the most exquisitely beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It was a phenomenal moment.
T – Then we hit the bitumen and turned south. Towards the beginning of the Extra Terrestrial Highway! I had read about this road and the places along it many many times over the years, and now to be actually heading there, well it felt weird and not real. Strange that!
There wasn’t much traffic on the road which was great! Just us and our little red demons. The mountains stretched away before us and the ribbon of road faded away into infinity in the distance. Truly this is a beautiful bit of the world.
We rode along chatting away, both of us in very high spirits today. Though we usually are to be honest! The road was so devoid of traffic out here that I stopped and parked in the middle of it while I wandered around with my camera.
C – We managed to make up a conspiracy story for every little thing we saw along the way. We laughed a lot as each story got story got crazier and crazier!
T – Then Rachel came into view. Just a small shiny shimmer on the far horizon. 25 km’s away. Yep we could see that far! We stopped at the ET Highway sign, which was so covered in stickers and crap that we almost couldn’t read it. So we added our sticker to it as well. When in Rome…
T – We pulled up at the Little A’Le’Inn which was a blast! There was a UFO hanging off the back of a tow truck and all!! We went in and ordered some food. I grabbed an Alien Burger and Chantelle opted for the Hot Wings. Which were hot she assures me.
C – The Inn was certainly a very cool place, obviously all decked out in alien related paraphernalia. It was a hoot!! They had signed prints on the walls from Simon Pegg and co from when they filmed ‘Paul’ out here – we had both forgotten about that!!!
T – We grabbed a few souvenirs and a special ‘map’ of the local area. The lady that served us gave us some directions on how to get to a place just up the road along with some very stern warnings. Don’t cross any gates, don’t park in the way of the gates, if you do cross the gates you will be arrested and deported and not allowed back into the US for 25 years.
Where were we headed? Area 51 of course!! Oh my god. Area 51 Channy!!!!! I couldn’t believe we were really going to drive up to one of the entrance gates to this extraordinary place. A place talked about on every conspiracy website. Where alien bodies, live aliens, UFO’s and reverse engineered alien technology abounds! And we were going there! Alien technology abounds! And we were going there! Can you tell that I was excited?
We rode a short ways out of town before heading down a dirt road. We skipped along this very wide smooth road for about 10 km’s before it suddenly became tarmac. We followed the sealed road all the way up to a set of gates set in the middle of nowhere. The entrance to this secretive place. We couldn’t see anything of the actually Groom Lake site, obviously, but it was super cool to ride up to the gates, do a Uturn and park right there! We saw movement in the guard hut as security people moved about checking us out. But I am sure they get people like us out here a lot. We grabbed a few pics and then left. What with photographing missile sites and secret government installations, well I didn’t want to push our luck too far…
C – It was completely ridiculous how excited we were to be going to the home of conspiracy theories! Honestly, if the area had devices that could hear the conversation over the communicators I am sure the ‘camo’ security guards would have been calling for some serious mental health professions to take us away!
T – We rode back to the highway and continued on towards our next destination. Las Vegas.
The road was super quiet right up until we hit the main south bound highway. Then it became a mad race of big trucks, huge cars, and a narrow shoulder strewn with junk to ride on. Oh joy.
Eventually it happened. Mabel picked up a massive 3 inch long nail in her rear tyre. It totally destroyed the tube. Tearing holes all through it and splitting it wide open. Damn it. Mabel always gets flats on the side of super busy highways, while Rosie always gets them in remote areas.
Not to worry. We have this rear wheel repair thing down pat now and soon had a new tube in and the tyre back on the bike. Then it was a slog down the highway and the back roads into Las Vegas.
What a place. We were here 8 years ago and it doesn’t look like much has changed. Though we were saddened and shocked at the amount of homeless sleeping on the sides of the road just blocks away from the glitz and glamour of the strip itself.
We eventually found a cheap and clean hotel to stay in and went out for a wander which lasted well into the night. We wandered down old Fremont mall and watched as people ziplined overhead.
C – This city of sin is such an intriguing place. On the surface, its fun and lighthearted, with copious amounts of food, alcohol and adult entertainment. But there is always a flip side… its hard to ignore that people are exploiting themselves for other peoples entertainment in order to make money. That this one strip is full of excess when no matter which direction you seem to look away from The Strip poverty reigns king. Last time we flew in and missed everything away from the few miles of the strip and the Freemont mall. Driving in this time though, we saw outside of the adults play area.
Todd and I both commented about how different the vibe of the strip feels compared to our last Las Vegas experience. On our last visit, we saw a lot of glitz and glamour, including super expensive cars, whereas this time it felt cheaper somehow. Perhaps its got to do with the fact that I didn’t consume one drop of alcohol.. hhmmm that was also very different to last time!!!!
T – Its a funny old place for sure and tomorrow night we shall get out and have a good wander though some of the more famous Vegas landmarks. Plus I want a photo of Mabel at the Bellagio fountains and the Vegas sign!