Las Vegas or Bust

The Plan

Have you ever wanted to do something just to see what it is like? Well once long ago I made the ride from Las Vegas Nevada all the way to Salem Oregon in one day. I never intended to do it in one day but I just kept saying, just one more gas stop until I was almost home. Well, it turns out, there is an organization that tracks these types of extreme motorcycle rides and issues certificates, patches and pins.

The Iron Butt Association has a ride called the "SaddleSore" which is 1,000 miles or more in 24 hours or less. They also issue certificates and verification of many other rides. Go check them out and see if there is something that interests you.

Well, after learning about this ride, and having plans to go to Las Vegas anyway, the plan was hatched to do the trip on Motorcycles in one day. The planning wasn't as simple as putting in our start and end addresses into Google Maps and just following it. We have to make sure we stop about every 100 miles to get a good stretch and we also need to make sure our route meets the 1,000 mile requirement. The shortest route between Salem and Las Vegas was only 970 miles. So by adjusting the route through Redding California, we added the needed miles to the trip and allowed for a nice buffer. The mapping software doesn't usually pick the highway exits as its milage indicators. We really want to be sure that we get the full 1,000 miles or more.

Day 1 - The journey begins

Eric, Tammy, Glenn, Abraham and Rockie (the dog)

Even though we planned things out, we weren't able to make the long run in a single day. That was ok, because that was expected. If we make the ride in a single day that would have been be a bunus. It was far more important to have a fun safe ride.

We started out from the gas station in Salem at 4:27am. Half an hour before our original plan. The weather was dry but cold. The ride south along I-5 was dark. But we knew riding in the dard was going to happen and having it at the start of the ride when we were rested was better than at the end when we would be tired.

On the way to our first gas stop we ended up stopping twice at rest stops for a few minutes to use the restroom but also to put on more layers of cloths. It was in the low 60s in Salem but as we moved down the highway it dropped to the low 50s and at one poitn we hit 44 degrees. Now that is cold while flying down the freeway.

The road south was rather boring until we got near Grants Pass. Then the road started getting interesting. The highway started to get curvey and the landscape became more interesting. We started to wonder if we would be able to make the run around Ashland. We had noticed that we were stopping more and for longer than expected but there was still a chance now that the weather was warming and we were getting more comfortable riding together. So we pressed on. It wasn't until we stopped at the rest area just before Susanville that we realized that there was little to no chance of reaching Las Vegas in one day. That worked out alright. The alternate plan came into action and our new goal was Hawthorne where we would stop for the night. For some reason, once we decided to stop at Hawthorne, we actually picked up the pace and started making shorter stops. It was probably the weather and the fact that it was getting much warmer. We really picked up the pace on day 2.

 Location   Time   Miles 
 Leg   Total 
 Salem, OR   4:27am   0   0 
 Roseburg, OR   7:11am   138   138 
 Ashland, OR   9:12am   119   257 
 Shasta Lake, CA   12:37pm   133   390 
 Susanville, CA   3:59pm   126   516 
 Fernley, NV   5:57pm   122   638 
 Hawthorne, NV   8:30pm   113   751 
750 miles in 16 hours

Day 2 - Hawthorne to Las Vegas

Eric, Tammy, Glenn, Abraham and Rockie (the dog)

With a fresh star and a good night of rest, we got off to a great start and made really good time. The only rough thing was a good deal of side wind we hit along the way.

One bit of excitement came some place between Tonopah and Beatty. We were driving South when three cars heading North all decided they needed to pass a mini-van and a semi-truck at the same time. Being in front, I (Glenn) started flashing my headlight to get their attention. The first car passed without any problem. We all started to slow and the second car excelerated and made it past the trick too. I moved to the fog lane and the others slowed down even more. The third car realized there was no way they coule complete the pass. Instead of slowing and safely returning to their lane, or just continguing on and letting us pass in the fog lane, the person in the third car locked up their breaks. Now that make me very nervious! I was fine until then because we could all safely share the road. But with the third car out of control I was worried that they might slide off my side of the highway forcing me into the desert. Well they got traction and shot back into lane at an angle and went right between the truck and the mini-van and off into the desert. I told Tammy and Eric to keep going as I turned around to check on them. They started to drive off so I returned to the trip and caught up with the others.

We went from Hawthorne to Las Vegas passing through Tonopah and Beatty covering around 315 miles in 7 hours. Once we reached Las Vegas, our party had different riding routes to take for the rest of the adventure. Rockie arrived at his new home with Glenn's grandmother.


Day 3 - Some hit the road, others enjoyed Las Vegas

On The Road - Tammy, Glenn and Abraham

We had planned on going to Hoover dam and Laughlin then on to Mexico, but without getting to rest the day before, we decided to ditch that plan and go right to Mexico. We drove down the east side of Nevada and California passing through Needles, Blythe and Brawley before reacing Mexicali Mexico.

The plan was to drive in well beyond the boarder to get a feel for the real Mexico or at least a little more than what you get right at the boarder. The only problem with that plan was that my GPS only has the major highways for Mexico. I didn't realize this fact until we got there and I zoomed in to see the surface streets and found none.

We had a little adventure and spent about 3 hours in Mexico. We visited one of their shopping malls which are similar to ours in construction, but the environment and mix of shops is very different. We got to check out a bank where we struggled with the ATM to get some local curency. I am the only one that speaks any spanish and that is very limited. I read almost none. We picked up some souvenirs then headed back to the states. Had the maps been more help and we gotten to a better part of town, we would have had dinner in Mexico but we decided to skip that idea.

We got hassled a little at the boarder because we got into the wrong line while exiting Mexico. Two boarder guards were total jerks about our simple mistake. If any of them had a brain, they would put at least a few signs in ENGLISH as people near the boarder crossing. But I guess hassling honest people gives them a rush or something. A couple other guards were as nice as could be and helped us right through and on our way.

Before even heading to Mexico we decided not to try and go all the way back to Las Vegas that same day so we went North through Brawley and along the West side of the Salten Sea on our way to Indio. By the time we got to the Salten Sea the sun had already set so we didn't get to enjoy the view. By the time we reached Indio, we had driven another 435 miles or so when counting the around town driving. It was a very long day.


Eric, Jamie, Darcy and a visit from Jeremy

My (Eric) oldest son Jeremy came in from Phoenix, AZ. He was expected around 11:30am but he called and was somewhat lost. He had taken highway 60 to Wickenburg but missed the turn off to highway 93. He had stayed on 60 and ended up on I-10 in California. He got a map there and remapped his route to make it to Vegas. He got in Vegas at about 1:00pm. Hope no cops are reading this but he said he hit speeds of 140 and even showed us a video of his speedometer that he took with his cell phone while he was doing it. That means he was doing 140 mph down the highway one handed while taking the video. That boy can be crazy at times.

We went to dinner at the ESPN Zone. Good food but just a bit expensive and all the TVs playing ESPN channels were a bit loud. After eating we went upstairs to the arcade. I often took my kids to the arcade when they were younger as we all love video games. I remember arcades as not being very physical but this one certainly was. We started off with the horse race and you have to like jump up and down on the horse to get it to go. We had people watching us and they were just cracking up. We also bowled, shot baskets, drove and more. I finally found the boxing game were you put on glove like controllers and stand up and bob and weave and punch out opponents on the screen. It was great. I had Darcy cheering me on to punch faster and faster. I knocked out the first two guys and was exhausted. I gave Darcy the controllers and she got knocked out by the next guy.

We spent the rest of the night in the pool and hot tub and the room visiting with Jeremy.

Day 4 - Two Seperate Routes

Eric, Jamie and Darcy

We got up and I fixed everyone breakfast burritos. We loaded up and said our good byes to Jeremy. Jeremy rode with us from the room to highway 93 and we parted ways. We later got a call that Jeremy made it home without getting lost and got there in record time. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. The weather was great except for a lot of wind. I grew up in Arizona and lived there for 45 years so the scenery in Nevada wasn't that impressive to me. I was surprised at the suttle changes though as we drove. It was a great ride though and we stopped in Elko for the night. We had a good dinner and a good nights rest.

The journey lasted from Las Vegas to Elko and passed up the East side of Nevada through the towns of Alamo, Caliente (hot in spanish) Ely and Wells. The day covered 475 miles.



Tammy, Glenn and Abraham

We got off to a leasurly start. We checked out of our hotel and before leavine Indio we had brekfast at this really cute Mexican style restaurant. They had all the normal American breakfast stuff plus some stuff with a little spice in it. The place was dead that morning and that was just fine with us.

We made really good time. Tammy was really getting the hang of the corners by this time and we were all a bit excited about where we were going for lunch. We back tracked over some of the road we were on just the day before but that couldn't really be helped. There are only so many roads through the desert you know. We did manage to cross into Arazona for a while. It make our trip a few minutes longer but being so close we wanted to pick up the state. You see we are putting a patch on our vest for each state we drive through.

In Laughlin we stopped for lunch at the Don Laughlin Riverside Resort where we sat by the window and looked out on the Colorado river. We had a giant hamburger which was a single patty of 1 1/4 pounds of beef! It was amazing to look at. We also had some fruit platters. It was an amazing deal for the vast amount of food. We got pictures so check them out below.

This day took us from Indio back to Las Vegas while passing through Vidal Juncion, Mojave Valley Arazona and Laughlin. We covered about 290 miles.


Day 5 - Some head North

Eric, Jamie and Darcy

We woke and had breakfast at the hotel/casino and went back to our rooms to load up. I kept hearing something like a big truck going by and looked out the window. The sky was just black in the direction we were headed. About that time I saw lightening and heard thunder. It wasn't long till it started to rain. Then it started to hail and rain very hard. I looked at Jamie and said, "Maybe we should stay here another day" Jamie and Darcy went to the casino and I just watched the storm. The storm finally ended and I could see blue sky behind it. We loaded up and took off. It looked good where we were heading but to one side of our path gloomed more dark clouds. We got maybe 25 miles out when it started to rain. It began to pour.

I was in the lead and Jamie and Darcy were in the car behind me. There was a car in front of me that was far enough ahead that there was little spray and I could follow it just fine. Over the radio Jamie warned me there was an eighteen wheeler that had just passed them and was throwing up a lot of spray. I got a bit closer to the car ahead and when the truck passed me I could barely see. I could see part of the car ahead and I just followed that. I made it through without a problem.

The rain stopped and I needed a break about that time we came to a rest area and took a break. It rained off and on for the rest of the morning but wasn't too bad.

It was time for lunch and we pulled into a town for gas and food. We got gas but got lost trying to find a Burger King. We passed many food establishments but Jamie wanted a Burger King. 10 miles of driving back and forth through town we finally found it.

With a full belly and a bit of rest we were on our way. The skies cleared up and there was no more rain just clouds. We were getting closer to the Oregon border when I realized that there were clouds in Nevada but it looked like as soon as we came to the Oregon border there was nothing but blue skies... not a cloud anywhere. Did we go the wrong way or something? There are always clouds in Oregon. Nope we were in Oregon and the rest of the day was dry and great. We made good time and stopped in Burns for the night. We all did some bird wathcing and Geocaching in Burns but I mainly just sat in the car and downloaded a motorcycle racing game on my cell phone and played that.

From Elko to Burns passing through Winnemucca and McDermitt covered 345 miles not counting the extra in town stuff.


Tammy, Glenn and Abraham

Abraham and I (Glenn) made a short run over to Boulder City from Las Vegas. Their grand father passed a couple years ago and he was laid to rest there. It was some very good alone time. The wierd thing was that after having the radio on the Goldwing off the entire trip, it was turned on just as we left Las Vegas and "Knocking on Heaven's Door" was playing. And even weirder was that just as we got to Boulder City, "Stair Way to Heaven" started to play. That was too freaky so the radio got turned back off. Neither of us expected to tear up but once we got there, the memories came back and we got a little misty. Nothing wrong with that.

Later in the day we visited with relatives in Las Vegas and Abraham went hiking with our brother-in-law Danial. Tammy and Glenn went to dinner and a show at the Stratosphere with some free-bee tickets we got from our resort. Oh yeah... Glenn won $500 playing slots. That paid for all of the gas used by the two bikes for the trip. Take the money and run!


Day 6 - Two Seperate Routes

Eric, Jamie and Darcy

After a good nights rest and a good breakfast, we loaded up and gassed up. Jamie and Darcy wanted to find one more Geocache on the way out of town so I just went ahead and they were going to catch up to me. I was making pretty good time but it was cold and I needed to find a rest room. I passed a couple of little places thinking there should be a rest stop soon. I believe I made it to Brothers before I found a rest stop. I pulled over and did my business and was adding clothes when the girls finally pulled up. They thought they would have caught me much earlier and had started to get worried. We were there for a short time and then headed to Bend.

I filled up in Bend and we headed for Sisters. I was pretty cold so we pulled over in Sisters and I got some hot tea and a bowl of chili to warm up. I left Jamie and Darcy in Sisters as they wanted to look around and I was ready to ride. What a beautiful ride it was too. The road was dry and clear and there was areas with just a bunch of snow off the road. It had started to warm up and the road had more curves to it so it was more exciting.

I pulled over at the ranger station in Detroit lake for my final pit stop. I was drinking a bit of water when I saw Jamie and Darcy drive by. I drove home and got there before Jamie. I thought man I must have really been flying as I had been home for about a half hour and still no Jamie. Then she called and said her and Darcy had stopped in Stayton for lunch.

We had a great time. It was a great ride with great friends and was totally enjoyable. I will do it again in a heartbeat. I have to tell you I was more sore from playing in the ESPN Zone arcade then I was from riding.

Burns to Keizer through Bend and sisters covered 315 miles. Quite a ride.


Abraham, Glenn and Tammy

We loaded up, had a nice breakfast and gassed up before hitting the road. By this time we were all ready for some serious miles. Unlike the trip down, Tammy had become very comfortable riding at speed so we made really good time.

We make the required stop in Beatty for gas and potty and a drink. We went had lunch in Tonopah at the same place we had breakfast on the way down. Another gas stop and off we went. We didn't spend much time making extra stops along the way this time. The day was hot, the wind wasn't too bad and we realy just wanted to get to our room in Reno.

Once we reached Reno we got checked in, grabbed a movie and a bite to eat. Tammy and Abe hit the casino for a bit and Glenn watched the TV and relaxed.

Las Vegas to Reno through Beatty, Tonopah and Hawthrone was about 450 miles. One more leg to go before we get home.


Day 7 - We Rested

No one did any riding this day. Eric, Jamie and Darcy rested at home while Glenn, Tammy and Abraham rested and took in the sights of Reno. There was talk of maybe visiting Verginia City but resting in Reno was much more fun.

Day 8 - The final day of riding

Tammy, Glenn and Abraham

It was a little cool in the morning but not too bad. It wasn't until we got into the mountains and the temprature dropped to a freezing 61 degrees that we thought it was cold. Ok, so 61 degrees isn't really cold. But after coming out of a week of 80-100 degree heat and starting our morning in the mid 70s, this seemed cold. It must have been down right bone chilling for Eric in that thunder storm.

Once we reached I5 we had nice warm weather the entire way home. We got a couple sprinkles but nothing to call rain. Just a few drops here and there. Tammy actually had to take off some layers of cloths because she was too warm.

It was all in all a nice speedy ride home with nothing eventful. I must say that the lower 1/4 of I5 is the section I like the most. Plenty of turns in the road. The rest seems far too straight for my taste.

Reno to Salem through Susanville, Weed, Grants Pass and Eugene covered 537 miles. Its good to be home!


Total Miles

Rockie - 1,033 (dog on the tank)

Eric - 2,250 (Honda VTX 1300)

Tammy - 3,100 (Honda VTX 1300)

Glenn - 3,250 (Honda Goldwing 1800)

Abraham - 3,250 (passenger)

Jamie & Darcy - About 2,500 (in the car)

Jeremy - About 660 (Honda CRX)


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