on march 16th, we leave vegas. whatever hasn't been done doesn't need doing. we load up the KLRs and scrub the garage. rick's been here for ten weeks, sean four, dan two. our hosts will probably be glad to have the place to themselves again - with the amount of thanks we owe them, our absence is the least we can give.
we decide to head north out the door and spend two nights camped out south of alamo, nevada. in the mountain basins east of town we try to actually learn how to ride these bikes. we push them up gravel tracks, cruise dry salt flats, and drop them in the dirt. only apollo stays upright.
(note: our bikes are named after old action movie characters.)
we leave alamo and head back south with a bit of a glory ride down las vegas blvd. with dan leading the way, we ride up on to the sidewalk in front of the bellagio, and take our time reveling in the act of leaving, and toast our departure with some swisher sweets.
this is a long, windy day, and with the sun setting ahead of us we cruise from needles to 29 palms. there's nothing here but desert. this is riding! we pass two harleys and waving to fellow riders just makes so much sense out here. the only living person along the way tells us that 29 is a marine town, bars, tattoos, and haircuts. great - i need all three!
we grab some beer and ride up into joshua tree in the dark, camping among massive bouldery ridges. this is night three. in the morning we sleep in. we head to a coffee shop and take care of a few abandoned tasks. dan heads out to run errands and makes a sunset foray into the park. sean and rick fly up to a viewpoint above the coachella valley and deliberately disobey all posted speed limits. back at camp, sean heads out for some night time scrambling while dan and rick cook a feast. we wake for the sunrise with some travis tritt and caffeinated bouldering.
one more ride to the border. through narrow canyons and over the washes along the salton sea. we ride in through slab city, the desert community of RV outcasts. and then we're in el centro, making laminated license plates and drinking our last american beers. it's all spanish from here on out.