Friday, June 5, 2009

Southwest Trip--Day 6 & 7

Thursday was the day to leave the grandeur and beauty of Springdale, and head back to the blight on the American landscape known as Las Vegas. We had ANOTHER breakfast as Cafe Soleil, then made our way back to Canyon Vista to do a phase 1 packing (not the final, "ready to board the plane" pack job), and load the up the car. The bikes were still assembled as we still had riding on the agenda.

We made a side trip through Santa Clara, UT, for Jean to look for some art supplies which eluded her. From there, it was back on Interstate 15 and Vegas.

Our section of I-15 rolled through the Virgin River Gorge, in AZ, but is otherwise not exactly noteworthy for its scenery. The drive was uneventful and we made our way to our hotel, which at the time of me typing this, I can't remember. I found the place via PriceLine because of Shatner's endorsement. Oh yeah, I think it was South Point...

Anyway, it was four stars of the typical Vegas "let's impress you with glitz and glass while we suck every penny out of you" design theme. Unlike hotels geared towards "guests," the hotels in Vegas are geared towards "gamblers," so to get to your room, you have to schlep your gear through the casino. At least the elevator was easy to find. I've stayed in some Vegas hotels where I'd swear the access to the rooms was behind hidden doors and secret passages (but while you're wandering, feel free to play a few hours of slots...). I hate Vegas, but I digress. The accommodations were adequate. We dropped our bags off and headed out to Red Rock Canyon to ride!

Red Rock Canyon is an oasis of natural beauty in a landscape covered by man-made overindulgence and pawn shops. It's also the location of a popular cycling route as there is a paved 15-mile scenic loop. The car traffic was minimal, the climbs were great, the heat was hot, and as advertised, the scenery was scenic.

When we finally got back to the car, it was time to disassemble the bikes to squish them into their travel cases. It's a fairly easy process, but doing two bikes while sitting on the ground in the hot desert sun isn't an ideal situation. But, if that's what has to happen so that we get to bring our bikes, pass the sun screen and tools. By the time the bikes were packed snug in their cases, the desert sun was setting and we dragged our dirty selves back to the hotel to finalize our other bags.

Sleep was next as our wake-up call was for 3:30am.

Day 7--Friday
Ugh. That damn alarm went off at 3:30am. There was a flurry of activity to get our stuff out to the car (after passing way too many people who's souls had been sucked out by sitting in front of slot machines overnight).

Our day went like this:
  • return rental car
  • shuttle to airport
  • long check in line to check our bags
  • long security line (yeah, I was pulled aside because my bike parts and tools required further inspection, but were ultimately okay'ed)
  • packed into a tiny airline seat
  • switch planes in Cincinnati
  • finally land in Boston
  • wait for luggage
  • call shuttle to get to my car
  • find my car in the Park & Fly lot
  • pack up and head to Ipswich to pick up the dogs
  • finally get HOME with our gear and dogs
  • prepare to jump back in to work the next day
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, right? Well, I can relax when I'm dead, for now, there's too much to see and do!

Now, it's time to plan our next adventure...

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