Cottonwood Cove ... are you sure?
127 miles - estimated 3:06 hours
8:30AM or 9:00AM. I don't know exactly what time it is but I'm
up. Already the morning sun is beating down on my tent and
heating things up. It's definitely going to be hot today.
The forecast says it's going to be in the upper 90s. We'll
see. From the way it feels, I think it's going to be in the
triple digits. The
Captain is the first one up. I can hear him milling around before
I declare myself as being up. Last night sleep wasn't too good,
but I managed about 6 hours or so. The first order of business is
to boil water for some much needed coffee. We have to get the
morning started some how. This is the perfect way to do it.
Nothing like a double dose of coffee to get the juices flowing.
this stuff smells and taste so good.
Today's plan is to pack
things up, ride to various places around Lake Mead, and then eventually
setup camp at
Cottonwood Cove, just east of Searchlight. In this way, we will
have less of a ride for the trip home tomorrow. Among the
packing, bullshitting, and more coffee, we finish the packing process
at around 10:30AM. That's a little later than I had hoped, but
it's OK because today's ride promises to be a short one. It's
estimated to be around 160 miles or so. The first stop for today
is Hoover Dam. We're at best 15 miles west of the dam. It
should be no more than 15 to 20 minutes to get there. But before
we head to Hoover Dam, we might as well go down to the shores of Lake
Mead and check things out.
For $10 a night, these accommodations
are really good.
The campsite is well maintained and very clean.
Proof we paid.
Yup, pack it up because we're not coming back here again for the rest
of this trip.
We make our way down to the lake. Yeah, Lake Mead is being
sucked dry by Las Vegas. The water is at least a hundred feet
below the original water line.
Proof we are here.
There's really not much to see at Lake Mead. Just a lot of
boaters, mountain bikers, MX riders, and other people performing
similar activities. So we put our gear back on and headed out to
have a look at Hoover Dam. As we near the dam, we notice a road
being built just to the south of the 93 HWY. It looks like a
freeway system with east and west bound lanes. The freeway is
going to bypass Hoover Dam. The closer we get to Hoover Dam, the
more we see construction in progress. Even though we haven't seen
any brochures, it's obvious they're in the process of building an arch
bridge that will span the Colorado river just south of Hoover
Dam. Cable guides and cable haulers are busily moving equipment
and forth between the Nevada and Arizona sides. I imagine this is
really going to mess up the beautiful aerial view of Hoover Dam.
However, as we ride over Hoover Dam we can see why the new freeway
necessary. The amount of traffic on Hoover Dam is alarming.
Be it because of tourist, like us, or because of people wanting to get
from point A to point B, Hoover Dam definitely needs some reduction in
congestion. It's stop and go traffic from Nevada to
Arizona. It's easily 15 or more minutes to travel 1000+
Regardless of the hydrolic clutch, my hand is getting
tired. I'm also a bit concerned about the R12R over heating
because of the stop and go traffic, but nothing much came of the
hot situation. The bike did get a bit warm but it wasn't anything
be concerned about. We try to find general parking but there is nothing
to be had. In the end we went to the paid parking area. $7
per vehicle. Despite the
fact all three of us can squeeze into one car spot, each of us are
pay this fee. Frack! If that's the case, we're not going to
be polite motorcyclists. We're going to take up one parking spot
bike. That's exactly what we did. Despite this cut throat
this turned out to be a smart move. We now have covered parking
so there will be no worries about hot seat riding when we
get back. Plus, any level of UV protection is better than no
level of UV protection for the bikes.
Getting ready to tour Hoover Dam. We should have brought our
This is one of two enormous spill ways for when the dam reaches maximum
water capacity. It doesn't looks like it has been used a lot.
It's not enough that Nu is trying to make sure this guy doesn't fall ...
... the Captain also jumps in to help out.
We're hungry. We haven't had breakfast and it's already
11:45AM. We spot a cafe and decided to see what they might have
to eat. Once we got there, it's obvious it's more like a
cafeteria than a restaurant. Looking at the menu, there's nothing
truly appealing. Instead we decided to get a drink and some ice
cream to cool us off. It was pretty hot wading through the crowd
outside to get to this eatery. The Captain got one scoop, Nu and
I got two scoops each. When you say "one scoop of ice cream",
what do you normally envision as being one scoop. I normally
think of half the size of a fist. If you're 6'5", then I envision
1/3 of your fist. When we went to get our scoops, the employee
us a single scoop equivalent to a fist of a 8' 10" giant more buff than
Mr. Universe could ever dream of being. Man those scoops were
huge. I swear my two scoops worth of a cup looks like a pint of
ice cream. In the end I only finished one scoop and gave up on
the rest. Even the Captain was hard press to finish his single
scoop. Noticing this the Captain make the comment that the ice
scream scooping guy must have been a disgruntled employee.
Otherwise why would he give us so much ice cream. He's trying to
get back at his employer. Sure enough, when we walk pass the next
people getting ice cream, their scoops are nowhere near the size of our
scoops. Dude must be really pissed.
You've got to be kidding! $35 for a DAM tour?
"Alright, let's head back to the casino we passed on the way
here. They should have a buffet there." was the Captain's
recommendations. Sure thing, even a mediocre casino buffet is
better than this little cafe. We got back to the bikes, suited
up, and double back. Man there are a lot of biker going through
here. We see cruisers, sport bikes, and enduros. You name
it, it was here. As we were heading back, an R1200GS joined the
group for a short while until we reached the casino. $29 for a
helicopter ride. At $4.50+ for one gallon of premium gas, we're
all wondering if the ride was trimmed down to just a vertical take off
type of ride. I can't imagine how much it cost for airplane
fuel. It's already bad enough as it is with the stuff we put into
our bikes. How can they possibly turn a profit if it's only $29
for a ride? Plus, I'm not going to take any helicopter ride
the Captain mentioned one of the Grand Canyon helicopter tours recently
crashed killing all people on the ride. I've
entertained the idea of a helicopter ride, but I'm not keen on a death
The Hacienda Hotel and Casino. It's almost 1:00pm and we are
going to eat brunch. It is better than
the little cafe, but not by much. Once done, we linger around
the casino and gamble a bit. I broke even while the Captain lost
a bit of
money. It's expected. You're really playing for the fun,
and not really to strike it rich. If your luck is good and that
happens, that's fine too. Right before we got
into the Casino, the Captain mentioned the Valley of Fire.
Something to the effect that we should visiting the site today.
Unfortunately we're doing too much of that
lingering effect at the casino. We even sat in on a makeshift
cinema area showing a film about how Hoover Dam was built, or was that
an opportunity for Nu and the Captain can catch up on some
ZZZzzzs? By the time we got out it's about 3:30 at which case I
reminded the Captain about the Valley of Fire. "Oh yeah, we
should go!" he says. It's kind of late in the day, but Valley of
Fire it is. Who
knows when we'll be out here next. We might as
well make the trip regardless of the time/timing. The original
plan was to make our way to Echo
bay, but seriously, I don't think there is really much to look at in
Back into the park we go. This time, we have to pay the entrance
fee because it's early enough in the day and there are park rangers
attending the entrance booths. $6 per bike. We make our way
north to go to the Valley of Fire. Man it's hot. My bike
shows 100.2F at one point on the road. When we reach a vista
point, we pull
over for some photos, drinks, and perhaps a soaking of the cool
vest. Unfortunately, there is no water faucet so no cool vest
Advertising a Pepsi? He's not doing a good job because he's
covering the label.
I think the sun and heat is getting to Nu...
Photos taken, "OK. Let's get moving." We're off once
more. This time it's straight to the Valley of Fire. There
is a decent head wind so my R12R's handle bar is vibrating a bit more
than usual. This sometimes causes my hand to go numb, but it not
too bad this time around. At
least the road is really well maintained so that helps to reduce some
of the vibration. From where we are, it's
only 53 miles to reach the Valley of Fire. However, it's
eventually slow going because of traffic. Being so close to Las
Vegas, we see a lot of cars from there. About 15 miles left on
the stretch of road to the Valley of Fire, the road turns ugly.
We reduce our speed because of loose tarmac and rocks. There are
cracks everywhere on the uneven road. I guess not too many people
venture out to Echo Bay. I was doing a bit of standing up on the
bike to save the rump, and I get reminded by the Captain that I can get
a ticket for doing that. Yes I know. The next thing I know,
the Valley of Fire State Park.
Aside from the fact that these rocks are extremely red, they have the
curious characteristics of having numerous cavernous chambers. As
you can see, some of these caves are capable of housing at least one
adult. Good sleeping accommodations if you ask me.
Unfortunately we can't take long at the park. The sun is starting
to set and we need the time to go all the way to Cottonwood Cove.
It's already past 6:00pm. The shadows are getting really
long. At this rate,
we'll probably end up setting up camp in the dark again. Just
like last night. Oh well, we do what we have to do. Right
before we head out, the Captain mention he wanted to stop by one of
the natural springs we passed up on our way here. He is thinking
of going for a possible dip. Hm... I don't know about that.
Some of these
springs and ponds are known to harbor life forms that can potentially
alter your life towards the bad. Still, we'll stop by a spring
because the Captain is so
insistent. As for me, I just want to make it to reach Cottonwood
Cove in time to set up camp.
The first spring. There is no spring in sight. It looks
more like a dried out creek. To that, the Captain mention there
is another spring just a mile or two down the road. We get to the
second spring. Upon parking the bike, I can smell the foul odor
of the air. For me, that's a clear sign we shouldn't be getting
into the water. At the least, there is a heavy level of algae in
the water. Upon closer inspection, there are signs posted all
over the place indicating there is a bug in the spring that will cause
death should a person decide to wade through the water. The note
said something to the effect that you shouldn't submerge yourself where
the water can enter either the mouth or the nostrils. If such an
event were to take place, you are liable to introduce a single cell
amoeba into your system that will cause brain damage and death.
There you have it. It's a clear sign to listen to your
nose. I walk along the spring's edge at a little water fall and
what to I see? An item no modern woman would do without.
It's that monthly female hygiene product. Even here, out in the
middle of nowhere, the human presence is ever visible. Not that I
really need any type of convincing, but I'm definitely not going
anywhere near this water source. Aside from the death dealing
amoeba, my stinky feet will probably kill all the fish in the spring.
It's a nice enough looking oasis, but you don't want to go wading
There are a plethora of little fishies in that little pond.
We pull out and are making good time heading back. We reach and
pass Echo Bay in no time. Our luck, however, doesn't last
very long. We encounter a mini van that refuses to pull over for
faster traffic. He stay on the road and skips turnout after
turnout. Obviously this guy doesn't know how to be a polite
driver. What's even worse is this guy doesn't know
how to drive curvy highway roads. He's having problems with the
simple windy road at Lake Mead. He won't survive Yosemite if he
ventures there. Every approach of a corner, the breaks are
engaged. Corner after
corner, the same thing. I was pressuring the the van a bit but I
didn't want to be a jerk so I hang back giving him plenty of
opportunities to take one of the turnouts. This game keeps up for
until the driver nearly runs himself off of the road. "Dude, you
suck and you need to go back to driving school," was the thought in my
head. This scared the crap out of me so I backed off even
further. I'm not in a hurry, and definitely
don't want to be the cause of an accident. If a vehicle does
crash in front of me, who knows what piece(s) I might inherit from the
idiotic incompetent driver's vehicle.
By the time we reach the three way junction between 147 and the 166
HWY, it's already 8:00pm. It's dark. Then I get a squelch
on the radio from Nu that the Captain is signaling for us to pull
over. So we pull over. "I think you're head light is too
yelped the Captain to Nu. "All is can see is head light and
nothing else. You need to adjust your headlight so it doesn't
blind people." Poor Captain, his mirrors just happen to be at the
same exact height as Nu's F650GS's headlight. As for me, I'm fine
because my mirrors are higher up. We're attempted to kid the
Captain about his mirrors, but he's too busy being adamant about
things. We're all
getting tired so I don't fault him. Oh well, the
headlight has to be adjusted later. Now is not the time to do
it. I look at the clock and it's
showing 8:10PM. According to the GPS
we'll be at the Cottonwood Cove campsite around 10:45PM, and that's not
stopping somewhere for dinner. I then pose the question to the
Captain, "Cottonwood Cove. Are you sure you want to go to there
tonight? If we
do go, that means we'll get there around 10:45. It's probably
better if we stay at this campsite tonight." To which the Captain
replied, "OK, let's not
go to Cottonwood Cove. Let's stay here for tonight."
"OK. So we'll just go to the casino for dinner and then come back
here can camp out." "Yeah, that sounds good." said the Captain.
With that we head out of the Lake Mead Recreational Area once more to
the Hacienda Hotel and Casino for dinner. Ugh... dinner is no
better than brunch. Then again we already knew that so it's not a
surprise the second time around. I'm still filled up with water
so once again I'm finding it hard to eat. This coupled with the
not so tasty food doesn't help the appetite at all. I downed a
roast and thought it needed some serious helping. I paid the
money but didn't eat much. Recalling what dessert was
like for brunch, I didn't have high expectations for anything
exotic. As a result I stuck to the normal stuff.
We're at the gates of the Lake Mead Recreational Area once more.
I thought there might be a ranger at the gates so I prepped myself
to hand over the recites for the three bikes. 10:00PM, there is
nobody in sight. It's just like the night before. This
time around I made sure the kickstart was down. Again Nu and the
Captain went in tell what campsite we're taking. Guess what
number they gave me? First guess doesn't count. Campsite
32. We're right back where we started this morning. No
matter, at least we're familiar with the campsite so setup should be
really quick. Sure enough. 1/2 hour later, the campsite has
tents pitched, lanterns lighted, and we're going to the restroom to
OK. The restroom has a sign that says "No bathing allowed"
at the one sink, but do we have a line outside waiting to use the
sink? No. Not only that, we're practically the only people
up and about. Still, the Captain kept on telling me I'm not
suppose to bath at the sink. Easy for him to say. I don't
want to spend another night sleeping with my sticky self. So I
gave myself a quick wipe down and I'm good for the night. Now why
does the Captain have to scream to the world that I'm not
suppose to bath at the one sink? We have to do something to
this heat. This is as good a method as any.
Once I'm done defying the law, with the Captain in tow screaming about
me breaking the law, we all head back and close down for the night.
Greater than 10 tons at 80MPH - Day 1
Should have used the Coolvest yesterday -
Written on: June 2, 2008
Last modified: July 5, 2008