Featured 42 Years Celebrated With 440 Miles And 3 Nights In Vegas

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Jun 11, 2022.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Last week Mr. Sandi and I hit the road to Las Vegas to properly celebrate his retirement. He had an incredible 42-year career as a school psychologist. It was either drive the truck to Coronado Island near San Diego or ride the motorcycles to Vegas and he let me make the final decision. Yep, Vegas won by a nose partly because we'd be riding there! We don't even consider riding to San Diego because it's all interstate and parts of the route are always extremely windy. Well, we hit wind anyway but our Vegas route has little interstate and lots of beautiful backroads through the desert. :):heart_eyes:
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    Day #1

    We've done this route previously and really enjoy it other than the white knuckle hour-long "race" across Phoenix from the SE to the NW corner. We ride three big freeways through the metro area--U.S. 60, "the 101, and I-17. It takes a little over an hour going 80-85 mph the entire way. We move into the far left HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle), sometimes referred to as the Car Pool Lane, as soon as we are able to move there. Then we hit the gas and hang on! Many, many cars pass us like we're going 50mph and there's nary a cop to be seen. The great thing is that once we're through Phoenix the ride from there to the outskirts of Las Vegas is very beautiful and peaceful.

    Our first stop was to gas up, stretch, use the restroom, and drink some water. We were stunned to see the gas prices--and on top of that the station was a wreck. Half the pumps didn't work and the one we gassed up at had a broken card reader. A "sign of the times" I guess.....
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    Our next stop was much more pleasant. ;):) There's a great little sandwich shop in Wickenburg called The Local Press which is one block off the main street. We read about it in Sunset Magazine four or five years ago and now make it a point to eat there when we're passing through. On this trip we "managed" to eat there both going to Vegas and on the ride home. :grinning::yum It's a small little place with some umbrella covered picnic tables outside. I think they do a brisk take-out business. IMG_9233.jpeg

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    The train tracks are just across the street near where we'd parked our Street Glides. There was a little girl there with her mom and dad who was deliriously happy about the train and, in particular, took great delight in the caboose for which she waited patiently. :)
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    Our next stop was in the town of Kingman, Arizona which is known for being quite windy. We just stopped briefly for gas as we wanted to get to hour Las Vegas hotel before rush hour began. The temperatures on the day we rode up to Vegas were wonderful. It never got out of the 80's which, with such low humidity, feels more like temps that are 10º cooler.
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    While gassing up, this very cool and immaculate car pulled up behind me. :cool:
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    From Kingman to Las Vegas is only 100 miles and a chunk of those miles roll us through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and past the Hoover Dam. The lake is at its lowest point ever since its creation due to the years-long drought here in the Southwest. We didn't stop at Hoover Dam this time around but have in the past. If you ever have the opportunity to see it, it's well worth it!

    We had pretty smooth sailing through Las Vegas and missed rush hour easily since we'd forgotten about the time difference. Vegas was an hour behind Tucson so we "gained" an extra hour and arrived at our hotel having to fight very little traffic, even on the portion of The Strip that we rode. We stayed at the Encore which is part of the Wynn complex near the northernmost end of The Strip. I think we've stayed there four times previously. The last time was back in 2019 when I did the Keith Code Riding School, a birthday gift from hubby. :):kissing_heart: We chose this hotel again because we like it but primarily because we got an outstanding deal. The room we were in, a suite on the 63rd floor of our 63-floor hotel, was part off a "Spring Into Summer" promotion. It's typically $600 (ridiculous). But....we got if for $119! Sweet. :)
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    In the past we've had views of The Strip but this time we were on the other side of the hotel. At first I missed the views of The Strip but I grew to like this one quite quickly. We could see out into the desert for miles and miles!
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    Looking towards the far right of our view we could see part of the Wynn Golf Course. There was to be a match play event the following day with Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady competing against Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
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    Day #1 continued...
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #1 continued...

    After unpacking and relaxing a little, we headed downstairs to poke around and to have some dinner. Mr. Sandi had made dinner reservations for the next two evenings but on this day we had decided to play it by ear. That's not tough here as there are over 20 eating establishments in the Wynn complex. We saw this place and the menu looked very enticing. They also had some outdoor seating which we continue to prefer when available, partly due to Covid but we also love alfresco dining.
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    Part of the interior of Le Cave.....
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    And the view from our table.....
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    The menu was California inspired and there were lots of small plates and "shareables". The menu made my selection sound so tasty that I ordered the kale salad and roasted beets! That's some good marketing. But my food, as well as Mr. Sandi's, lived up to the delicious-sounding descriptions on the menu. Excellent!! We will definitely go back there again the next time we stay here.
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    Dessert was a s'mores flatbread. I was going to order the whole desert for myself but the waiter subtly but clearly indicated the size and suggested that we share it. Boy, was he correct! Again, excellent. :yum
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    After dinner we walked around the Wynn part of the complex. The people-watching is particularly good in Las Vegas but the sheer extravagance of this place (the Wynn--Encore and The Strip in general) always stuns me.

    This carousel is covered in flowers!
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    One of many hallways lined with designer shops
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    The bar that's attached to the High Limit gambling area on the casino floor of the Encore
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    The Lobby Bar in the Encore...we spent some time here each of the three night we spent at the Encore. I think it was the best people-watching seat in the house! :heart_eyes: Excellent after dinner drinks, too.....
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    And a sliver of the nighttime view out our hotel room windows
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    To be continued with Day #2
     
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  3. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.
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    Brilliant, looks like you were slumming it with that terrible room you had. Wish the man of the house a long and happy retirement from me. Maybe he could become your secretary and help write your write ups. It'll make him feel wanted. :joy::joy:
     
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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #2

    Our bikes were tucked into a back corner of the Encore's valet parking area. There was a bit of confusion and even a little consternation when we pulled up to the Valet area outside the Encore's entrance the day before. But all was resolved and we were graciously escorted to our "special" parking space. The young man that showed us where to park asked (with furrowed brow) whether we were "going to be leaving the bikes there for our stay or would we be coming or going?" We assured him that we were just going leave the Harleys parked and not fire them up and rev off down the street. :joy: Mr. Sandi and I had discussed this previously and decided that we'd ridden in and around Vegas so much that we'd just enjoy the amenities in and near our hotel. I did leave that final choice up to him since it was, after all, his retirement we were celebrating! :heart: What we did decide to do was have a couple of lazy mornings, shop a bit, hang by the pool a bit, then have a relaxing and long dinner each evening. And that's what we did for the two days after we arrived. It was lovely. And I've not seen Mr. Sandi so relaxed and mellow on a vacation EVER! :heart:

    On this day we went "next door" to the Venetian--Palazzo hotel complex. The obvious theme of that hotel and casino is Italy and it certainly shows in The Canal Shops where we browsed shops and spent some time in some amazing galleries, including that of photographer Peter Lik. Have you heard of him, @andyc1? Truly amazing photography--and so many photography honors it boggles the mind. I'd have taken a photo to share here but no photography was allowed in the gallery. You can check his work out here. https://lik.com
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    A definite photo op spot with a lovely waterfall
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    We didn't make it down to the south end of The Strip for a photo of the "real" famous Las Vegas sign so made do with a photo in front of a little shop in The Canal Shops.:joy:
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    Treasure Island is also near the Wynn--Encore and across The Strip from the Venetian--Palazzo. It definitely has a different vibe than the others!
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    These young ladies were out early and quite friendly. ;):) In the background is a huge shopping mall called The Fashion Show. And behind that spaceship looking signature Fashion Show structure is the Triumph tower all off by itself...and looking quite lonesome. :joy:
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    All our walking and shopping (which culminated in one purchase--a crisp, blue collared shirt for Mr. Sandi for dinner) made us hungry so we went back into the Wynn to a place next door to Le Cave with the same sort of outdoor patio seating. Again, a fantastic meal. I don't think we've ever been disappointed in a meal in the Wynn-Encore over the years.
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    Our view from the patio--similar to Le Cave because it sits on the edge of the same pool area.
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    As good as the food was, the most memorable thing about today's lunch was this hawk and his falconer. I went down to talk with her and ask about the hawk. She said that she and he are part of a pilot program that the Wynn has going to see if using hawks can mitigate the "nuisance bird" problem as she called it. There are many small birds in the complex that love to come over to beg some food. She told me that this particular hawk was a Harris hawk, a type with which I'm familiar as there are many Harris hawks in Tucson. They typically hunt in a family of three but this guy was on his own. The woman had been interested in falconry since she was a teen and got her falconry license not long after her 16th birthday. She said that the falconry community is fairly small and someone in that community who knew she was looking for a job told her about the pilot project gig at the Wynn. And here she is! It was interesting to watch them at work during our lunch. She would release him now and again and he'd fly into a tree or fly towards some other birds. Then at some point she would call him and he'd land on her gloved arm. :grinning: Talk about a unique job!
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    Day #2 continued in my next post
     
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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #2 continued

    After a delicious lunch we relaxed a bit in our hotel room until we felt like we had enough energy to lounge by the pool. :joy::joy::joy: I'm not a huge "hang by the pool" gal but I have to admit it was really nice and very relaxing. I did search out a couple of lounge chairs in the shade. It was fairly easy to pick out those who haven't seen the sun and wanted a tan (or burn) in two days vs. those of us who see so much sun that we cover up and/or find a shady spot. Either way, again, the people watching was outstanding! :D Here was my view. Evidently at night this pool are serves as an extension of XS, the Encore's "swanky" nightclub
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    Our dinner reservation this evening was at my favorite restaurant at the hotel, and perhaps anywhere, Sinatra's. When we checked in at the Registration Desk the previous day, we'd been helped by a delightful young man, Antonio. He was intrigued by the fact that we'd ridden our motorcycles to Las Vegas from Tucson to stay there and said that he loves motorcycles and really wants to get one. He asked us if we would like him to make reservations for us at any of the restaurants. Mr. Sandi said he'd already made one at Sinatra's. Antonio responded, "That's my dad's restaurant!" It turns out that his father was Chef Theo, the executive chef at Sinatra's. :) So Mr. Sandi and I had agreed we would talk to Chef Theo, if he had a few minutes, to let him know what a great kid he had when we had dinner.

    Frank Sinatra is a big part of the history of Las Vegas and still has a presence and impact. This restaurant does a nice job of creating that feeling of "swankiness" that speakeasies and bars of that era seemed to have. The music selection was a lot of Frank balanced by other singers of that era.
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    We requested a table on the patio which we didn't even really know they had until this trip. In the past when we've dined here we've always been inside the dining room. The patio was gorgeous and we'd certainly choose it again in the future. The temperature was like Baby Bear's porridge...."not too hot, not too cold, just right". :) So began one of the most memorable and delicious and dinners either one of us had ever had. :D:yum
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    First off, cocktails! I typically order a Hendrick's gin martini and Steve did order a martini (he likes vodka). I opted for the Danny Ocean which was Hendrick's based and very delicious and refreshing.
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    We told our server, Chris, that we'd met Chef Theo's son the day prior and would love to tell him about our positive encounter with his son. About two minutes later, Chef Theo came out to our table. Not only did we tell him how well we were treated by his son and how engaging and gracious he was, we wound up talking for 10 minutes about motorcycles (he has one and has ridden lots in Europe including the Alps) and Forumla 1 (Las Vegas will be an F! venue in 2023 and go right down The Strip past right past where we were sitting). Chef Theo was an engaging and gracious as his son. :)

    A bit later, as we were looking at our menus, Chris came out with two plates with small portions of three appetizers and informed us they were compliments of Chef Theo who was very happy that we took the time and initiative to share our compliments about his son. :kissing_heart:
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    Our main courses were as outstanding as our appetizers.
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    But the most amazing thing was that after we finished our scallops (mine) and branzino (Mr. Sandi's), Chris came out with two desserts and again said they were compliments of Chef Theo! He is not only gracious but also generous. And the desserts were fantastic!
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    The bar at Sinatra's. I love that "swank".
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    After dinner we decided to do some people watching from our perches at The Lobby Bar. I had a delicious Scotch from Glenmorangie and Mr. Sandi had a coffee drink with something new to us called Liquor 43. And this was our view from the bar. I'd taken this photo early (relatively speaking...it is Vegas) that morning so I didn't catch anyone who'd prefer not captured in a photo (it is Vegas). ;)
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    Day #3 in my next post
     
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  6. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.
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    Again, a brilliant write up, and it just goes to show what can happen when you just take the time to talk to someone. Been to a few places in your pictures back in 2017.
    Keep having fun. :):)
     
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  7. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #3

    Our general itinerary today was pretty much the same as yesterday. A lazy morning followed by a bit of shopping followed by lounging by the pool followed by a nice dinner then a bit of people watching on the rail at the lobby bar. Hey, "when it ain't broke, don't fix it". :grinning::joy:

    Today we crossed The Strip to do some shopping at The Fashion Show mall with its unique canopy at the entrance.
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    In many places along The Strip, you can't cross the actual street as a pedestrian but instead have to navigate escalators and bridges. However, evidently there are far fewer pedestrian fatalities than there were in days past. It also serves to route people to places they might not otherwise have explored.

    Or to meet people they might not otherwise have met. ;)
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    The Strip from the bridge over the roadway. This is looking to the south.
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    And looking at The Fashion Show and the Wynn-Encore from that same bridge
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    Las Vegas is definitely the land of excess...even when it comes to gelato selections! And (pseudo) motorcycle jackets. :eek::joy:
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    I did manage to find a few items to purchase today but made sure that everything was packable on a motorcycle--a casual dress, a top, and a pair of shorts. Nothing motorcycle related although I tried yesterday. There is a Harley-Davidson boutique of sorts in the Venetian but nothing that interested me particularly...or that would fit. Most sizes were Large and on up!

    A few more snaps from the Wynn--Encore

    An eye-catching window display in a high end boutique
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    A unique alternative to slot machines, blackjack tables, and roulette wheels
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    An artistic peacock at the entrance to the High Limit betting room
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    And a small subset of the manicured gardens between the pool area and the casino floor
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    Day #3 continued in my next post
     
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  8. Eldon

    Eldon Elite Member

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    Harris hawks are very agile and capable flyers. I remember watching someone once demonstrating this by flying his bird through his armpit hole with his hand on his hip.... very impressive.

    Nice hotel room you have there
     
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #3 continued

    We lounged by the pool again this afternoon for a couple of hours. And we did notice an appreciable increase in traffic and a decrease in the number of available lounge chairs. Today was Thursday so perhaps folks come in early for a long weekend. Shady spots were definitely at a premium no doubt because the daytime temperatures were hotter than earlier in the week. No pool photos today, I'm afraid. There were plenty of guests who many of you might have been interested in photos of, though! ;):joy:

    This evening Mr. Sandi had made reservations for us at one of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas, The Capitol Grill. This place is at the north end of the Fashion Show mall and directly across The Strip from our hotel. We elected to go out the main entrance where we actually could walk across the street in a regular old pedestrian crosswalk. :joy:
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    This place is a very traditional steakhouse, Mr. Sandi's favorite type of restaurant. I really like this place, too. Like Sinatra's, we ate here when we were in Vegas for my Keith Code track school. As I said before, "If it ain't broke...."
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    My original view from our table
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    And my view as I switched seats after the sun went down :heart_eyes:
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    And a wide angle of the view from The Capitol Grill at The Strip end of the restaurant :D
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    My cocktail on the evening, The Capitol Grill's version of an Old Fashioned. Old school and delicious!
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    I had filet mignon sliced and served with braised onions and mushrooms and "fig essence". Not sure how they pull off that last aspect of the dish but it definitely worked. :yum We had scalloped potatoes and creamed spinach as shared side dishes and proceeded the whole thing with salads. Gotta sneak some veggies in there somehow! :p Mr. Sandi had a regular filet and pronounced it "perfect".
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    We took the long(er) way back to the Encore and decided to find a scoop of gelato to top off a delicious but filling dinner. Near the entrance to the south end of the Wynn is this beautiful waterfall.
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    We did top the whole day off once again with a drink at The Lobby Bar and a last bit of people watching then retired fairly early to do some packing for our planned 7am ride home the next morning.

    Day #4 in my next post-- a few closing photos
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #10 Sandi T, Jun 12, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2022
    Day #4 -- Heading home

    Our goal was to depart at 7am to time our riding to avoid rush hour both in Las Vegas and in Phoenix and to ride fewer miles in the heat...both of which we managed to accomplish.

    We woke earlier than usual as as a result got to see the sunrise from our room. :):heart_eyes:
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    We really did beat the traffic in Las Vegas and had a very smooth ride out of the city. The temperatures were already fairly warm but the biggest deal for our ride home was the wind. It really kicked up, enough to kick our butts nearly all the way home.

    We made a very welcome stop (again) at The Local Press for another yummy sandwich. This time I had the grilled cheese which I need to remember to order every time. It's that good. In fact, I'd say that it's my favorite grilled cheese sandwich of all time although it's hard to tell from looking at it. It's a stealthy grilled cheese. Mr. Sandi had the Club Sandwich which he's clearly enjoying. :joy:
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    These temperatures were about 15º higher than the ones we had riding up to Vegas and we definitely noticed it. Both of us broke out our cooling vests and donned them in Wickenburg after we finished our sandwiches. We soaked them again when we stopped for gas at our usual station in Apache Junction.
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    Home safe and sound in our Tucson garage. This was our total mileage on my bike. Interestingly, Mr. Sandi's bike read about 20 miles less. Any input from any of you on what might cause that would be much appreciated so we could solve that mystery.

    We had a fabulous time both on the rides up and back and during our time in Sin City. I'm so proud of Mr. Sandi for his great career and for finally making the decision to retire. This trip was definitely a great way to mark a special and important occasion and Mr. Sandi's entry into a different phase of his life. :):heart:
     
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  11. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Bikerman! Yeah, wasn't our room a dump? ;):joy: I think your suggestion for Mr. Sandi being my secretary is a good one. Not only will it make him feel wanted--but useful too. ;):joy:
     
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  12. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Yes, Harris hawks are pretty amazing. As I mentioned, we see them quite frequently around where we live and most often we'll see three together or near by each other hunting as a group. Pretty amazing that you saw someone had his bird fly through his armpit hole! But having see what Harris hawks can do, I can definitely picture it.

    Yes, we were well please with our hotel room...and with the summer rate price, @Eldon! ;):) I do love a good deal.
     
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  13. Vulpes

    Vulpes Confused Member
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    Excellent write-up as usual, and nice to see some familiar images. I stayed at the "Imperial" last time I was in Las Vegas, which I thought was nice.

    Harris Hawks are amazing - I got to fly one in Scotland years ago. The local golf course had a rabbit problem, so they asked the local falconer to help solve that. As he knew I was in to birds of prey he asked me to help. He would flush out the rabbits with ferrets, whilst I waited with the bird. As soon as the a rabbit appeared I would release (the birds vision is incredible) and he'd be on it in no time! A great experience.
     
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  14. andyc1

    andyc1 Lunarville 7, Airlock 3

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    Just had a look at his Instagram @Sandi T some really nice stuff. I see hes been to the dark hedges here in Northern Ireland, a place I used to ride through quite often till they closed the road due to growing popularity. Looks like an amazing trip your having :cool:
     
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  15. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.
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    Well as many have said before, another brilliant write up and pictures to boot.
    Glad you got home safe and sound, now all that's needed is for you to give the man of the house his, 'to do list'.
    :):):)
     
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  16. Dougie D

    Dougie D Crème de la Crème

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    Brilliant write up and photos @Sandi T :heart: i stopped off at Kingman the first time i did a bike trip for fuel at the old gas station where they have the red corvette from the old route 66 series, i guess most tourists do! that was a great deal you got for your hotel, if I'm ever planning to go to Vegas I'll give you a shout and you can get a similar deal for me! i loved the outdoor/indoor photos, the hotels really are amazing in Vegas i could spend hours just looking around them!
     
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  17. Iron

    Iron First Class Member

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    Enjoyed that. Thank you @Sandi T
    Looking at the shopping pictures (magic mile is it? I only know this as I was looking up one of the shops) - I noticed a shop there called Steve Madden.
    As I was a fairly big fan of John Madden (Go Raiders!) I looked up Steve Madden. It's only a shoe shop. Pffft. :confused: Rubbish heels as well.
     
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  18. Armando Morales

    Armando Morales Senior Member

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    Congrats to Mr Sandi, and a fantastic write up
     
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  19. Markus

    Markus First Class Member
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    @Sandi T: Congratulations to your husband and all the best for his new phase of life!
    Thank you for your great pictures and impressions. In the next few years, my wife and I may also fly to Las Vegas and visit one or the other of your recommended restaurants. Thank you!!!
     
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  20. Ducatitotriumph

    Ducatitotriumph Crème de la Crème

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    @Sandi T ! You've just saved me $6k to go now as I can just use your pics (without mr sandi t in of course!)
    However, I fancy a ride out so I might use the $6k to get a gallon of full fat fuel instead....!
    As above posts, thank you for taking the time to show us.
     
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