While in Las Vegas for the MoneyShow last May, I wanted to do something fun outside the Strip. The new River Mountains Loop Trail looked very inviting. The nearby towns have put in a 34-mile paved bike trail that loops along the shores of Lake Mead and through the desert. (Hi-Res Map of Whole Trail)
For me it will be a 22-mile out-and-back jaunt along the main paved trail from Boulder City to the Alan Bible NPS Visitor Center and then on the Historic Railroad Trail to Hoover Dam.
I rented a nice mountain bike (since I like to be upright and the Railroad Trail is not paved) from All Mountain Cyclery. They were very helpful — let me in when I showed up early and got me on my way quickly.
From the bike shop it is a quick uphill on Yucca St to join the trail at Bootleg Canyon Park.
Lots of mountain bikers use the dirt trails in Bootleg Canyon. Here’s some artwork they left behind:
I stick to the paved path which heads downhill in a big way — sometimes sailing down the sluice channel for desert flash floods.
The trailhead for the Railroad tunnels and Hoover Dam is relatively easy to spot out of the Visitor Center Parking. What gave me pause was the gate on the dirt trail because the rocks seem to lead the other way and the gate makes it look like a private construction site. But yes, going through the gate is the way to the dam.
The tunnels were constructed for the railroad to bring the materials to build Hoover Dam. Here I am looking forward to checking them out:
And here’s the view from inside. Nice and cool with no trolls!
At the dam, they make you lock up your bike
Way up here above the dam.
But the walk down is worth it, and not only for the ice cream in the cafe!
Couldn’t resist a side-trip onto the walkway on the new O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge across the Colorado River which gives traffic a way to bypass Hoover Dam. Here’s the view back to the dam. Amazing they felt the need to paint that danger warning on the top of the concrete dam, isn’t it?
Finally, its time for the looong climb back to the bike shop. I did this on a sunny late spring day — perfect clear skies and temps in the 70s. Still, a dip in Lake Mead looks very inviting.
I settle for a stop in the shade of a culvert because I fear the extra 1000′ climb up from Lake Mead is more than enough for one day.
Along the way, I get to study the “Trail Closed” signs I flew by on the way down. I wonder what that’s about as I wasn’t the only rider to ignore them. Considering this path is my best route home, up I go.
Back to my car and then a stop at the Railroad Pass Hotel. This old-school casino offered $7.99 prime rib for a hearty refuel after the ride.
They are also right on the bike trail — will remember that for next time.
Maybe because I’m blogging on a rainy day again. Or because staying on Oahu where even the west coast — usually the dry side of a Hawaiian island — means a brief shower that put us under a grass mat almost every day.
Anyway, here comes the storm on Oahu.
And the storm cleared (most) of the tourists from Hanauma Bay, freeing up parking and beach space for us late-comers.
What started as a way to beat the southern heat of summer by visiting Cherokee…
…turned into an exploration of the woods of the Blue Ridge mountains…
…that lasted through the change of the seasons in the Great Smoky National Park…
Can’t get enough of this panorama of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.
While in the area for the Traders Expo Dallas, I stepped off the beaten path and back in time during a visit to the Fort Worth Live Stock Exchange. I’d arrived too late in the day to see the actual livestock but outside found some of childhood’s favorites: Coin-op ponies!
You can clearly see their different personalities. Look at this perky pet:
This guy is looking a little stressed out:
And check out this serious worker pulling the cart. He’s a far cry from the comical cow in the background. As a kid I wouldn’t have been caught dead riding that cow.
THIS is my idea of a serious steed:
Here’s why: a real stirrup.
The 911 memorial is under construction, but meanwhile we have this one:
Of interest to traders and train riders:
The subway mosiac leads to NYSE behind protective fences:
No tours of the exchange, so back on the train:
NASDAQ on Times Square:
Finally, a little rest and refreshment in the room:
So rather than ski the mega-steeps, I got to photograph them from afar. Here is The Brink – the steep run on the top right – a favorite from last year.
Its was tough (sarc): 11 inches of new snow on my birthday and I had to ski green groomers. At least the cake was good!
In 2010 I did’t post to this blog as often as I’d like. For 2011, will at least post a note on my travels. With this post, I actually go back to 2010 for the Las Vegas Traders Expo….
Even though I wasn’t presenting, I decided to go to the Expo and attend the sessions. As a bonus, my cousin Kris was in Las Vegas the same week and so my mother decided to come along. Here’s the three of us in the cafe in front of the Paris hotel:
A good time was had by all !
Burbank Alamo, for reasons of their own, decided to rent me this Cadillac. Maybe they were out of compacts. Oddly, for this trip I had hastily grabbed a CD from my car on the way to the airport — Foghat’s Greatest Hits. Packed with enough classic rock to get the Caddy down the Ventura Freeway to Pasadena.
Would never have thought the two go together — luxury auto and 70s rock — but since Led Zep Rock ‘n’ Roll powers the commericals, I get the surprising message: this kind of car is supposed to be for me now.
Next day, I had a couple hours between show and airport. Took a ride up Mulholland Dr, because…why not? Maybe a better freeway car but I wanted to see the view from the hill.
Wound up at a Pinkberry on Ventura Boulevard, snacking on tart fro-yo there at a tiny table between the man with $800 loafers and the lady who maybe inspired the book “When I Am Old I Shall Wear Purple”. That’s L.A. and that’s okay.