Featured Touring Rally Or Not, Here We Come, Las Vegas!

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Oct 7, 2021.

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  1. Sandi T

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

    For dinner we decided to walk down to East Fremont Street which is east of Las Vegas Boulevard and starts where the canopied area knows as The Fremont Street Experience stops.
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    This area had really been on the upswing the last couple of years we were at the rally (2018 and 2019) with hip restaurants, terrific music venues, a cool container park with a concert stage, and a real vibrancy. Unfortunately, this area appeared to be the most hard hit by Covid with probably one of every four or five businesses closed. Many of the giant vintage neon signs were simply gone and many others than remained were unlit. The streets, formerly swept clean, were grungy. Many of the businesses in the container park were dark with Closed signs in the window. And this was on a Friday night. Nevertheless, as I said earlier, there were still lots of people out enjoying themselves and it was down relative to its normal packed and somewhat frantic self.

    We decided on a restaurant called "Eureka!" and were seated at a nice table outdoors. We're still feeling better about eating outdoors. And the big plus was that the people watching was great! And this place had a fantastic whiskey selection which didn't hurt either. ;):yum:joy:

    That's our buddy, RT, in the foreground. The scenes in my next photo are all taken of the street to the right. It was quite the parade!
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    This photo was taken in a different location over near Hogs & Heifers but the theme is certainly still the same! :joy:
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    This is the fire-breathing insect that stands guard over the entrance to the container park. The first time we ever saw this a few years back, none of us knew that it shot fire out of its antennae and it scared the sh*t out of us. :eek::scream:
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    We wandered around just a bit more on our way back towards the hotel. It was a beautiful evening and there was--as always--lots of glitz and lots to see with more lights on one block of Fremont Street than probably exist all told in my little hometown back in Minnesota. ;)

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  2. Sandi T

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

    This evenings sights were certainly different from the long and empty stretches of Route 66 we'd ridden just hours before. Here's a small sampling--no commentary needed--of the wild and crazy place that is Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. :p
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    Continued tomorrow
    Day #3 Episode: our ride around Red Rock Canyon Park and a visit to the Mob Museum
     
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  3. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Wow! What an amazing place, and captured so well.

    Another epic thread, Sandi - nobody does them like you :blush:
     
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  4. Ducatitotriumph

    Ducatitotriumph Crème de la Crème

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    It seems like you have to be on a circle on the floor to be a performer in the street in vegas?
    Just noticed that all of them were in circles on the concrete?
    Excellent job @Sandi T !
     
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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    I did fancy a go on the zip line, Bikerman. But neither Mr. Sandi nor RT cared to join me. Next time we're there, however, I'm going to do the zip line--and the higher "Superman style" one at that--whether anyone wants to join me or not! :grinning:
     
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  6. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Keen powers of observation, D2T. Yes, the street performers have to stick to their circle. I'm sure there's some sort of rent agreement. And, interestingly, it does seem like the street performers stay within their boundaries. Not so with a lot of Americans relative to other "boundaries" these days! ;):joy:
     
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  7. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #27 Sandi T, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
    Day #3: Saturday
    Golden Nugget Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area and back (55 miles)


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    I'm not sure just how many times I've been to Las Vegas since Mr. Sandi and I have been together but it's a bunch. I'd only been there once before Mr. Sandi and that was WAY back when. And my first impression wasn't good. But now I LOVE going to Las Vegas. As I mentioned, two nights (or maybe three if there's something cool going like flat track races) is plenty to get my fix. But whether we've stayed on the Strip or on Fremont, I always get a kick out spending time in Sin City.


    Las Vegas, which is Spanish for "The Meadows", is the 26th largest city in the United States at 641,903, and the larger metro area has population of 2,300,000. According to Wikipedia, "The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino-hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations.The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City", and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos."

    Mr. Sandi and I have no desire to gamble so that's not the draw. For me it's the energy, the "glizt", and the great food and drink. and the amazing people watching. And over the years we've traveled together, we've managed to get some good deals for very swanky hotel accommodations on the Strip. :heart_eyes:

    Here's an image I snagged off Google to give you an aerial view of the valley and with Red Rock Canyon in the background, the destination of today's ride. That stretch of high rises is the famous Las Vegas Strip.
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    We've ridden the Red Rock Canyon loop several times but didn't get out there last time we were in town for Las Vegas Bike Fest in 2019. Both Mr. Sandi and RT were equivocal about riding out there but I was determined to get out there this time around. I've learned that you never know when sometime might be the last time. Here's some info on this beautiful little part of the world.

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    It didn't even occur to us--though it should have--that we might need reservations to enter the park. That's been something that has occurred in Covid-era. So many people have been itching to do something--anything!-- that the national parks in the U.S. have been swamped with visitors. Well, we were in line to get to the entrance kiosk when a woman came over and told us that we had to have reservations to enter the park. She directed us to take a narrow little route to a parking area away from the entrance where we had to basically create an account with the park system, pay a reservation fee, then reenter the line to get in. It was a real pain in the butt and I thought that Mr. Sandi and RT would just say "screw it, let's leave" but we persevered. And it was worth it! :grinning:

    Here we are parked near the entrance and trying to create our accounts and make reservations. I think I was off taking photos while RT was working on my account after finishing his. :joy:
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    This is a map of the 13-mile one way loop that goes through the park. The posted speed limits range from 10mph to 25mph to give you an idea of both the terrain as well as the "leisurely pace" that the park encourages. And for good reason as the views and the grandeur are superb. :grinning:
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    There are multiple hiking trails in the park as well as places that are cherished and well-used by rock climbers.
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    One of our favorite stops in the park is Highpoint Overlook. It's probably about 2/3 of the way around the loop and is typically a bit less congested with cars and tourists (who have stopped earlier on) and the views are amazing.
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    An expansive view to the southwest from Highpoint Overlook.
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    I saw this jeep depart the parking lot of Highpoint Overlook and waited to see it on the road to snap this photo for some perspective of the scale of this beautiful place.
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #28 Sandi T, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
    Day 3 continued...

    One last shot of Red Rock Canyon--and my Street Glide. :) I love this bike for touring and big road trips!
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    From our ride through Red Rock Park we made a stop at one of my favorite Harley-Davidson dealerships, Red Rock Harley. It's a beautiful dealership with a small collection of cool vintage bikes and very nice staff.They used to have a larger collection of vintage bikes including a Vincent but those are now gone. I reined in my buying impulses and just purchased a cool textile hip bag for my wallet and other small sundries. RT bought a stocking cap. Mr. Sandi drank a free bottle of water. :joy:
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    After parking our bikes in the hotel parking structure, we changed into our jeans and tees and meandered over to the Mob Museum which we've intended to visit for several years now. Well, without the rally to occupy us, this was the year to see the museum. On the walk over we saw a few bikes that were parked in front for the Vintage Bike Show at Hogs & Heifers. The two vintage Harleys were part of a different vintage show that was happening after our time inside the museum.
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    For some reason I'm a sucker for Nortons. :blush:
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    A couple of the vintage Harleys that caught my eye...
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  9. Sandi T

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

    One of the highlights of this trip to Las Vegas was our visit to the Mob Museum. We'd always thought this would be fun but were in previous years too preoccupied with Vegas Bike Fest rally-related events to take the time to go to the museum. We found that it was well worth the time and the admission fee. Very interesting, informative, and well done. The photos here are just a small sampling of all that the museum documents and offers. It's covers three floors plus the Speakeasy and Prohibition posters and memorabilia in the basement level. It was really interesting to see how influential organized crime has been on the city of Las Vegas. I'm not sure how much still exists!
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    This is the blueprint of sorts for what is now knows an downtown Las Vegas.
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    This was one of my favorite exhibit areas. The looped video had amazing old footage of so many famous entertainers with a great period correct soundtrack.
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    A closeup of the old slot machine that's in the corner of the previous photo.
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    I could use a pair of these pantaloons that were popular (for obvious reasons) during Prohibition. ;):joy:
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    The basement had a Speakeasy that was serving food and drink. We didn't stick around for that but I really dug the vibe of the place. And so evidently did many others as the place was hopping at about 4pm in the afternoon!
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    When you bought your Mob Museum tickets you could add a variety of additional "experiences". This was one of them--a presentation about the stills and related alcohol production activities during Prohibition and shortly after it was lifted. This was taken through a window on the other side of the Speakeasy since I was a non-paying customer. :joy:
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  10. Sandi T

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

    In the past we've typically splurged on dinner at The Chart House, a seafood place that's the most upscale and elegant restaurant at the Golden Nugget. This year we opted to hit a steakhouse that was new to the hotel, Saltgrass. While Saltgrass didn't have any outdoor seating (which we've been opting for when available thanks to Covid), they had the next best thing which was a separate room with fans and very high ceilings. The atmosphere of this space was really nice as it was next to the pool area which had "closed up shop" for the day.

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    My dinner--a small(ish) filet, broccoli, a baked sweet potato and a Hendrick's gin martini. As you can see I strive to balance my meals. A steak and martini balanced out by broccoli and sweet potato. ;):blush:
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    The scales were tipped just a bit by this delicious carrot cake. But in this case the balance came from me sharing it with Mr. Sandi. I could have eaten the whole thing but I thought that would be a bit selfish and rude. :joy:
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    A last view of the canopy of The Fremont Street Experience for the day. As a scuba diver, I particular liked what was projected here. :heart_eyes:
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    Day 4 tomorrow--our ride home
     
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  11. roadrider

    roadrider First Class Member
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    Great write up as usual. Very jealous.
    Great pictures
     
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  12. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Wonderful, Sandi - I just LOVE these threads of yours and this one is as good as any of them.

    But wait... what’s this that I’ve discovered after all this time? You have... LONG HAIR??? :eek:
     
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  13. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

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    Brilliant @Sandi T no other words required.:):)
     
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  14. Ducatitotriumph

    Ducatitotriumph Crème de la Crème

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    I went to the local cafe in northampton. I won't be sharing the pics of my journey (17 miles..) as it'd make you jealous @Sandi T ;);):):)
     
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  15. joe mc donald

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    Sandi T / Steve
    Got one suggestion. Please take the long way home and keep writing. You are Brilliant and i can't stop reading and looking at the fantastic pictures and explanations and history. How do you do it so well.
    Lots of Love
    Joe.
     
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  16. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #4 Sunday: Las Vegas to Tucson (450 miles)

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    Sunday mornings in Las Vegas are very quiet. That's one nice thing about a "party town" when you plan to be on a motorcycle on the freeway system early in the day. :) Mr. Sandi and I had agreed to meet up with RT to have coffee and beignets at the beignet cart if it was open. It was! Just one more thing I like about staying there. I didn't manage to snap a photo of my beignets so you'll just have to believe that I ate several and they were, as usual, delicious and decadent! :yum

    It didn't take us long to pack up the bikes and we were winding our way down and out of the high-rise parking ramp by 8:30am. As we'd hoped, traffic was minimal on the freeways and this morning was just as beautiful as the previous three--the temperature was 70ºF, the sun was shining and skies were blue, and the wind was minimal. That last one is a biggie because the winds up around Lake Mead and Hoover Dam and also through Kingman are often wicked. Today was the most miles that Mr. Sandi and I had done in one day since we rode to Sturgis back in August of 2019 before my bicycle accident and before Covid. We weren't quite sure how we'd feel but weren't too worried about it since we planned to make a couple of gas stops along with a lunch stop in Wickenburg about 200 miles from Vegas.


    As you get to the edge of the Vegas metro area, the road starts to descend towards the Colorado River and you can get glimpses of Lake Mead, the heart of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the United States' largest reservoir. Or what's left of Lake Mead. :( Today, as a result of a drought the Colorado River basin has experienced for the past decade-and-a-half, Lake Mead has dropped to its lowest level since it was first filled in the 1930s. I learned on this trip that the average annual rainfall for Las Vegas is 5 inches! Wow, andI thought Tucson was an ultra dry desert at 12 inches of rain per year on average. Interestingly, the Arizona--Nevada border runs right down the middle of both the Colorado River and Lake Mead. I didn't take this photo (thank you Google Images) but we were on this road in this exact spot around 9:00-9:15am Sunday morning and this is almost exactly what it looked like from behind my helmet visor.
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    The Hoover Dam is about 40 miles from downtown Las Vegas. It was the Hoover Dam that created Lake Mead back when it was built in the 1930s. Some years back when Mr. Sandi and I were traveling with just the two of us, we stopped at the Hoover Dam Visitor Center and walked across the dam. The dam actually used to be part of the road to Vegas but now there is a massive bridge over the Colorado River and the dam is no longer part of the roadway. When you're driving or riding on the bridge you can't tell what it looks like but if you are on the dam, the view of the bridge is spectacular. And you can't see the dam from the bridge--which is a good thing because drivers would certainly be gawking at the sight and wreaking havoc with traffic. This aerial photo is another Google image that give you a sense of how astounding are both the dam and the bridge.
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    Part of why I like posting these ride reports for you all on the forum is that I also do some research and learn interesting new details and history about places or events or people that I may have seen or known for years. I've ridden over this concrete arch bridge probably at least a dozen times in the last ten years but never knew much about it. So here's a bit of what I learned from Wikipedia. Those of you who enjoy engineering and construction and the like may want to Google this for yourselves and read the rest of the article. I found it quite fascinating and had no idea how truly unique and special the bridge really is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_O'Callaghan–Pat_Tillman_Memorial_Bridge

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    Our first stop of the day was in Kingman, Arizona for gas for the bikes and to answer natures call for ourselves. Coffee and beignets --lots of coffee. :joy::eek: The gas prices on this sign are reflective of what we generally paid on this trip. The highest prices were in Las Vegas but were only about 5-10 cents more than what we paid everywhere else. Highway 93 that leads to Interstate 40 through Kingman has really become a traffic nightmare. I'm not sure why but it doesn't seem to matter what day or time we ride through there, it's always a complete tangle.
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    The next town we rode through was a little wide spot in the road called Wikiup. Wikiup's claim to fame has always been the Wikiup Trading Post where we've stopped for gas and lunch and to shop the curio shop many times over the years. Well, it is no longer. :( I was stunned to see it burned to the ground, the only thing left of it besides rubble and a bit of charred lumber was the sign for the place. It was a sad sight and made me feel sad. Stops at the trading post are a vivid part of my Laughlin and Las Vegas motorcycle trip memories. :sob:

    About an hours ride past Wikiup is Wickenburg. I love the ride between these two "W" towns with it's Joshua Tree forest and it's big wide sweeping turns through the rolling terrain. We didn't need gas yet but we did need a break and lunch. Our favorite place, The Local Press Sandwich Bar, is closed on Sundays and our other usual stop, The Horseshoe Cafe, was about to close when we parked the bikes. So we tried a new place, Bedoian's Bakery & Bistro, and actually really liked the food. Plus they had some outdoor seating which we'll opt for every time since Covid is still alive and kicking in Arizona. :rolleyes:

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    Back in 2012, the very first time I rode to my own motorcycle to a rally with Mr. Sandi (the Laughlin River Run) we stayed overnight in Wickenburg on our way to Laughlin. From Tucson to Laughlin is 370 miles but I'd never ridden even close to that far in one day. Plus it was also the first time I ever rode--white knuckled the whole way--through Phoenix. :scream: I still remember going to a movie at this wonderful small town theater where the owner took your ticket then also served up your popcorn and soda. He only shows one movie and it's at 7pm each night. :D For several years after that we made a point of overnighting in Wickenburg on our way to Laughlin or Vegas even though we could have done the ride in a day. We just like hanging out in this small, friendly Western town. :)
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    The remainder of the ride home was smooth sailing, even through Phoenix. We typically try to time our travels through there as best we can, and going through on a Sunday early-mid afternoon is a pretty calm time relatively speaking.

    The last portion of our ride was back down the road that was being chip sealed when we'd ridden it last Thursday. Thankfully all the chip sealing was done and it looked like all that was left to do was to do the paint striping. And fortunately the "chips" seemed well packed down this time around!

    We pulled into our garage at about 5:30pm. True to form, our "pace" (though not our speed!) including lunch, gas stops, and Phoenix, worked out to 50mph. We've found that has held true for nearly all the trips we've done over the years and it gives us a nice way to plan our morning departure times and gauge our afternoon arrival times.

    All in all, Mr. Sandi, RT, and I had a fantastic time at "The Rally That Wasn't". :joy: As Mr. Sandi told me when I started riding, any time you ride your motorcycle it becomes an adventure, even if it's just riding down the street for a cheeseburger. He was right! Great company, beautiful weather, and amazing sights and activities. And over a thousand miles of RIDING!!! Rally or not, what could be better than that? :D:heart:


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  17. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Wow, Sandi - that was a bit of a haul, and I'd say that an average of speed 50mph with all your stops (AND Phoenix!) was pretty good going.

    Thanks for another wonderful thread, and for introducing me to a new word/delicacy. I'd never heard of beignets before and now I want a plateful :heart_eyes:
     
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  18. Markus

    Markus Noble Member
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    Thanks for the great reports and wonderful photos of your trip!
     
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  19. Dougie D

    Dougie D Crème de la Crème

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    Brilliant report and pictures @Sandi T, you make us all feel we are all along for the ride :)
     
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  20. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

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