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...

    It turns out that we didn't quite miss the Friday afternoon rush hour of Las Vegas traffic as we had planned. But it was still better than riding through Phoenix! Mr. Sandi did a fine job of navigating the three of us safely to our destination, the Golden Nugget Hotel in downtown Vegas. Save for the last three miles of stop and go traffic on the freeway (where I thought my hand and/or my clutch were going to give out!), our ride into and through Vegas actually was relatively smooth sailing. We weren't sure what we were in for in terms of crowds and general vibe due to Covid. But when we stepped into the hotel lobby we realized that the place appeared to be just as busy as it has even been in spite of the motorcycle rally cancellation.
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    Nevada has a statewide mask mandate for all indoor locations and there were plenty of signs to that effect posted around the hotel. But there were numerous folks with their masks on their chins or under their noses or without one at all. Overall, though, it was still better than most places in Arizona! :rolleyes:
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    Vegas did feel rather subdued--relatively speaking of course. Hey, it's Vegas after all.:eek: I'd honestly have been surprised if it didn't. There were signs of the effects of Covid on the local economy and some of the city residents with business closures (particularly bars and restaurants), fewer street acts on Fremont Street, more homeless people holing up in alleys, and some clearly mentally ill people wandering the streets. We're hoping that things start to look up for Las Vegas' economy and business owners and particularly for those who have really struggles to just get by. You won't see much evidence of this in the photos I share but it was there nonetheless. :(

    But of course there continues to be a lot of money floating around this town. And we weren't even where the "real" money is which is on the Las Vegas Strip. The Golden Nugget is really a nice hotel with good rate deals to be had and Mr. Sandi and I really enjoy the place. However, it's nothing like the "big daddy" casinos and resorts on the strip the likes of the MGM, the Wynn, and the Bellagio. But for people watching and pure entertainment value, being situated on Fremont Street with "The Fremont Street Experience" right on our doorstep, you can't beat the Golden Nugget.
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    After unpacking the bikes and checking into the hotel, we changed out of our riding gear and met up with RT in the lobby to wander around the nearby streets a bit and see what there was to see. We were also curious to see what the deal was with the "Rally in the Alley" which has run as a sort of adjunct motorcycle rally in the shadow of Las Vegas Bike Fest for the past 16 years (other than 2020). This year would have been the 20th anniversary of the Bike Fest. In past years, the Rally in the Alley has grown with multiple bike shows in front of a famous local biker bar called Hogs and Heifers and about three blocks worth of vendors. This year the only activity that was part of the Rally in the Alley was bike shows. And drinking, of course. Today's show (Friday) was a chopper show. Here are a few of the entries.
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    I've learned that one must stay alert to all manner of interesting, unique, and often funny sights to be seen on the streets around downtown Las Vegas. The entertainment value is not only to be found among the paid entertainers! Here are a couple of those sights we saw this afternoon. And both on the same corner!

    A "booze cruise" of sorts....
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    And a "self segway tour"!
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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Brilliant write up again. Did you fancy ago on the zip wire attraction then Sandi, or is that in the next instalment I wonder. :):)
     
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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Definatly take you video camera for that one. :)
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #30 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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    CONTINUED
     
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  11. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #31 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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    CONTINUED
     
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  12. 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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    CONTINUED
     
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  13. 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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  14. roadrider

    roadrider First Class Member
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    Great write up as usual. Very jealous.
    Great pictures
     
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  15. 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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  16. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

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    Brilliant @Sandi T no other words required.:):)
     
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  17. 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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  18. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    I'm running out of words to discribe your ride reports, bloody brilliant, fantastic awesome, and down right jealous :sob:.
    You put so much time and effort into your reports, it's really very much appreciated.
    Just brilliant to read. :heart:
     
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  19. littleade

    littleade The only sane one here
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    Coming through.......
     
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  20. joe mc donald

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    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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