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Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

  1. #1
    Lifer catamount's Avatar
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    Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    So, this past week I was in Las Vegas for a work related conference. There isn't much to be said about that, except that I lost a couple hundred on the craps tables and took this sorta cool photo of a storm rolling towards the city.



    Before I left for this trip I googled "ADV rider las vegas" and found a thread from someone who was in a similar position. A day to kill and a desire to get out of the city.

    Yesterday I took a cab to BMW of Las Vegas, a really nice dealership that has a well run rental program going on.



    Their cheapest rental was a 650 GS but I wanted a little more umph so opted for the R 1200 R.



    After a brief orientation with the bike, I hit the road. I had to have this thing back by 5pm so I could make it to the airport and catch my ride home. I brought my Zumo would with me and it made the navigation a million times easier.

    First stop... The Mike O'Callaghan Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.



    This brand new bridge has been under construction for 6 years and just barely opened for full traffic 2 days before my arrival.

    I'm afraid of heights and the many signs warning of strong crosswinds had me spooked. No issues though, and I crossed over into Arizona.



    The bridge is ridiculously high. You can see rafters on the Colorado below.

    I'm amazed that there is no suicide fence in place. Pedestrians are allowed to cross the bridge and there is only a 5' railing keeping you from jumping to your death 900 feet below.



    After the bridge excursion, I headed down the road to check out the Hoover Dam.



    THE HOOVER DAM IS AWESOME! See this before you die. It's an engineering marvel. The tour guide said that there's enough concrete in the damn to string a 4' sidewalk around the earth's equator.



    These pictures do no justice to the scale of everything. You have to see it in person.









    The water is fed through 4 of these large inlets and directed at 13 turbine generators below the dam.



    Don't fall, you might get churned up and turned into electricity.





    8 turbines. The three that have illuminated lights on top are currently generating.





    After the 45 minute generator tour, it was around 1pm and I knew I was going to have to hit the road if I wanted to put any miles on. I headed back to the bike and took off along Lake Meade and towards the Valley of Fire State Park....

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  2. #2
    Lifer catamount's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    To give you some idea of the route involved, here is my GPS track overlaid onto a Google map. I headed East from LV towards the Hoover Dam. After that, I headed North along Lake Meade.



    My destination was Valley of Fire State Park, which I had heard many good things about.

    Along Lake Meade (the man made lake created when Hoover Dam was built), I was treated to views like this and almost NO traffic. It was like I had suddenly dropped into no-mans land. Not a car in sight. It made for excellent riding.





    Then, without warning, crazy red rock formations all around. So awesome. As far as the eye can see. No people or houses, just crazy formations like this, desert and fresh blacktop.



    Eventually I reached VoF State Park. The place is really awesome. If you were go, there is a service road that goes 4 miles INTO the park. You must take this road.









    At this point I pretty much had an ear-to-ear grin and was really thankful that I had found that ADV post a couple of weeks back. The light was perfect, the traffic was non-existant and the roads were excellent. I was just carving it up and taking it all in.











    Here was the last stretch back to the interstate. 8 miles of perfectly straight road. The speed limit made me laugh.. 45 mph.

    I'm just glad that there weren't any NV Staties hiding behind tumbleweeds, because I'd finally found the perfect stretch to see what the R 1200 R could do.

    I might've ended up in prison if there had been a radar gun nearby.



    From there, it was back to the dealership with about 200 miles on the clock. An awesome day of riding. I really suggest this to anyone who finds themselves in Vegas with a strong desire to flee the sights and sounds for a few hours.

    Thoughts about the R 1200 R. It was very "meh" for me. The boxster engine was smooth-ish I guess (unless you were at idle when the bike vibrated uncontrollably) but seemed to run out of gear quickly. It really made me long for my Speed Triple. The BMW felt heavy, and sluggish. Eh, it's a Beemer; it's.......... practical (booooooring).

    Obama made things difficult for me by flying in last night and practically closing down the airport so he could stump for Harry Reid. Here is Air Force One from my terminal.



    The end!

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    Last edited by catamount; 10-23-10 at 05:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Hawk Is Respectable Now WordTooYoMamma's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Enjoyed every bit of this post, this might just deliver..

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  4. #4
    Posting Freak 06gixgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Awesome pix. thanks for sharing. I'll be heading there on Wed. I can't wait to go.
    I'm going to check out the Grand Canyon, VoF, Hoover Dam & other sites. I can't wait.

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  5. #5
    Just Registered Doc's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Epic man. I am definately goning to do this when I go to Vegas next year.

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  6. #6

    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    wow...those pictures are awesome

    when I was in vegas I visited the grand canyon and hoover dam as well...but then spent the rest of the time wasted in night clubs, card tables, and seeing shows

    that stuff is fun with good company, but honestly, I would've much rather done what you did

    ideal trip: include a dirt bike tour in the desert!

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  7. #7
    Humble Arrogance MotoFreak's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Guess I gotta make it up there since Im only 6 hours away! Great ending to a trip Justin, thanks for the write-up!

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  8. #8
    Spinner sandros's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Great shots Justin. Makes me miss Utah and the riding I've enjoyed in the southern half of the state. Just opposite the Valley of Fire (to the west of Vegas) is Pahrump, a great race track to play on as well.

    Hope you're home safely. Cheers!

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  9. #9
    09CBR600RR G/BL Fteac70's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Great pics. I grew up there and miss the desert. The lake has dropped about 35 feet in the last 20 years. You took a great route. I need to go home.

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  10. #10
    Bikeless in Blackstone The Snowman's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    One of these just won't do:


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  11. #11
    Lifer markbvt's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Nice pics, Justin! If I ever find myself in Vegas, I'm pretty sure I'll be itching to escape within about 5 minutes, so I will follow your plan.

    --mark

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    Daily Commuter Drewski's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    ideal trip: include a dirt bike tour in the desert!

    www.adrenalineatvtours.com


    My wife and I used these guys for an ATV tour in the Valley of Fire last year when we went. I think it was just under $400 for the two of us for the afternoon. Great outfit and great memories.

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  13. #13
    Lifer virtualbong's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Hey, I had a work related event in Vegas this past week as well. Got to Vegas on Wednesday and now I am here in the airport ready to get home. Red Eye baby! Would have loved to have joined you on this ride.

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  14. #14
    Lifer burnham's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    wow. how was the weather? mind if I ask how much the rental was, and did they have anything more 2-up friendly? thanks

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  15. #15
    Lifer catamount's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbong View Post
    Hey, I had a work related event in Vegas this past week as well. Got to Vegas on Wednesday and now I am here in the airport ready to get home. Red Eye baby! Would have loved to have joined you on this ride.
    Really? I was thinking about posting on here before I left and seeing if anyone else was going to be out there by chance. I guess I should have, it would've been much more fun to ride with someone else.


    Quote Originally Posted by burnham View Post
    wow. how was the weather? mind if I ask how much the rental was, and did they have anything more 2-up friendly? thanks
    The weather while I was there was unusually rainy I guess. But on the day I went riding, it was dry and 68 degrees. I couldn't have asked for better.

    BMW of Las Vegas has many touring bikes that would comfortably fit 2. Their K 1200 comes to mind.

    Their prices depend on model, but it's either $195, $215 or $230 depend on the bike. Mine was $215 including a $1000 deductible insurance plan. If I wadded up the bike and totalled it, I would've had to write them a $1000 check and went on my way.

    The price includes 24 hours or 300 miles, whichever comes first. I wish that I had more time to spend, but I had to catch my flight.

    $215 sounded really expensive to me at the time, but I'm really glad I did it. Who knows when or if I'll ever get to ride out there again.

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  16. #16
    that guy darkduc7's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    wow those pics brought back some memories, very cool. when i was at the hoover dam 7 years ago, that bridge was just getting started!! awesome thread!

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  17. #17
    Senior Member TimmyB's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    NICE!

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  18. #18
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Random limo in the desert...

    Quote Originally Posted by catamount View Post

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  19. #19
    Lifer obsolete's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Quote Originally Posted by bergs View Post
    Random limo in the desert...
    The house always wins...

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  20. #20
    Lifer obsolete's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Great pics!

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  21. #21
    Posting Freak yesterdayze's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Awesome man! Glad you had a good time. Kristen and I went over the hoover dam this spring too, you're right, it is a 'must see in person'. Absolutely insane! I have some pics of the drain vents.... big enough to fit a couple buses down... If I can find one I'll post it up if you want unless you have one, those are cool!

    You should also check out the skywalk. It's a hike out there as it is on the grand canyon in the indian reservation, but very cool. Big glass shelf you can walk out on and look down through the glass you are standing on to see the grand canyon floor roughly 4,000 feet down... yikes.... We did that and the whole time I was going "you sure this glass is strong cause I weigh a lot...."

    SkyWalk Link

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  22. #22
    Lifer DuncanMoto's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    Great thread.
    That 45 mph speed limit was only for the state park part. It's a national thing.
    We did the same route and encountered an area where the actually is no speed limit.
    Fun time.

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  23. #23
    Lifer nt650hawk's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    In for reference. Thanks

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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    gino, this is pretty much the loop i did with the wife on the HD we rented. only difference was the trip west to the red rock canyon. i forgot to mention that RRC is a 2 lane 1 way road. you get to see lots of rock climbers out there

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  25. #25
    Member dsmclown's Avatar
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    Re: Escape from Las Vegas (Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam)

    I don't wanna tread jack here, but I wanted to give a thanks and share a little too. I don't remember this exact thread, but others here led to me having tons of fun when I accidentally got stuck in Vegas for a few extra days.

    I ended up at the same dealer


    I went cheap with the 650... first stop the dam




    I intended to take that same loop you have shown there, but missed some turns and didn't have a map and I suck at knowing where I am. I met a chick at a club the night before that told me to head the opposite direction of the Hoover dam and check out some of the red rocks and cliffs out that way. So just kept riding and ended up in a few sweet areas on the other side of Vegas



    Got a little adventurous too...

    and didn't run over any gigantic turtles


    I went in late August too... wowzers was it warm. Cheers

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