Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

June 10th, 2003.-- 93,000 miles later...

Credit to Las Vegas!

-- Story by Erin --

Mon. June 2nd: Got up early and went for a walk to see the lower Zion Canyon. After passing through a 1-mile long tunnel cut into the rock cliffs, we found the trailhead. At sunrise, it was a perfect easy, cool walk. When we returned to the camp, Chris made his now famous egg-bacon-veggie scramble while I packed up the tent. Just when it started to get hot around 10am we set off for Las Vegas. About 200 miles later we entered downtown Vegas, while the temperature passed 105 degrees. I was overcome with heat exhaustion so we had to pull over straight away to get some air-conditioning and a cold drink. I have several members who live in Las Vegas and grew up coming here several times a year for a visit. The last time was about 12 years ago, so everything was bound to be different now, relatives and skyline included.

We finally pulled into my Uncle Bruce’s driveway in the afternoon. We were greeted excitedly by my grandfather Terry, Bruce, and Bruce’s girlfriend Patty. I was surprised that my grandfather looked almost the same as the last time I saw him, my uncle now looks like Hemmingway and of course Patty was new to me. The house looked almost exactly the same as I remembered it, except with some new lovely landscaping in the backyard.

We expected to stay 2 days and ended up staying till Friday. Time flew as we spent our time visiting with other family as well. My cousin Laurie has 3 girls, two of which Angelina and Cassie I had never met. Her oldest, Elaina (now 20) is my goddaughter and I was eager to see her and find out what she was doing. Of course, there was work to be done on the bikes as always. We changed all four tires---yikes that was expensive. Bruce got a lesson on how to change m/c tires, while Patty’s son Jason helped as well.

And, we couldn’t leave Vegas without a trip to the famous Strip to see all the new hotels and casinos. The biggies---- the Belagio with its huge choreographed fountain, the Venetian with its gondolas and painted frescos, the Mirage with its exploding volcano among others are just a feast for the eyes. It’s grander than Disney land, oozing with money everywhere. On our last night Bruce, Terry and ourselves went to one of the big cheap dinner buffets for $6.99 each and then toured the Strip afterward. We tried our hand at the slot machines and actually won $11! No game tables for us however since our budget is dwindling.

Friday, June 6th: We say farewell to our wonderful family and head for the state line with California. During the morning we skirt the outer edges of Death Valley, not daring to cross it. In the past weeks they’ve had temperatures over 120 degrees! At a small town called Beatty, we stop for gas and a sandwich for lunch. When we settle down to eat our sandwiches, Chris notices that his back tire is flat. It turned out that the new tube we installed with the new tire had a tear at the base of the valve. Good thing we had a spare because there was no place in this little town to buy one! On the bright side of things we were at a gas station under a big awning for shade!

Since Chris has had so much experience changing tires lately, this time it went pretty smoothly. We also have a new little air compressor that makes pumping it up really easy! After about an hour and a half we were ready to hit the road again.

We crossed more desert before slowly starting to climb in altitude and climb some mountains. Before too long we were seeing snow capped mountains! That night we decided to treat ourselves to a hotel room with cable TV and ate McDonald’s for dinner.

Saturday, June 7th: Off we go heading north now along the Sierra Nevada mountains toward Yosemite National Park. We entered via the Tioga Pass, which until 2 weeks ago was closed due to snow. It was a spectacular road that bisects the park starting at almost 10,000 feet at the east entrance going down to around 4,000 feet in Yosemite Valley. Since it was the weekend and very crowded we didn’t expect to find a camping spot. However, we got lucky and met two nice guys from San Francisco who gave us there spot in the walk-in camping area (popular with the climbers). They had gotten another spot in the drive-in campground, which has better facilities. So, we squeezed our tent in among the hundreds of others and set off to see the sunset at Glacier Point. It’s the perfect spot to see the wonderful huge rock formations of Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as the Bridalveil Falls. This time of year is perfect for viewing the many long, graceful waterfalls in the park since the snow is still melting, and there are wildflowers everywhere.

Sunday, June 8thth: Leave fairly late, around 11am. Decide to take the scenic, small-town America route on the west side of the Sierras and end up regretting it. Everyone and their uncle were heading home to San Francisco or Sacramento from their weekend getaways. Luckily we found a detour inland and headed for Lake Tahoe. The roads immediately became less congested and we began to enjoy the cooler climate change, the increasingly green landscape and the big sweeping curves into the mountains.

I had been to Lake Tahoe years ago for a ski vacation and thought at that time how wonderful it would be to be here as well during the summer. Well, I was right. It is just as beautiful in the summer and there are lots of hiking trails and sporting opportunities on the crystal clear lake. We found a nice little camping spot in the state park on the west side of the lake and settled down for the night.




Erin with Papa Terry and Uncle Bruce.


Bruce and Patty in Las Vegas.


Evening on the Strip.


Chris in front of one of the original hotels on the Strip, the Stardust.



Bruce hosing down Chris before we leave in near 100 degree heat.



Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Valley.



View of Half Dome at sunset.


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