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Yes, Jan’s turn to write – I’ll add the photos.

We had 2 nights camping in Lee Vining. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate & the expected color show, on the lake & exposed Tufa’s did not happen, due to a thick mist forming around sundown.

We packed up the tent and all the stuff and rode down Highway395 for about three hundred miles before the turn-off to the 120 to Barstow, California.

On the road - again

On the road – again

It was a warm ride, and whereas I like the heat, Christine was not happy.
So, after filling up at Lone Pine, we continued into the town and stopped at a nice looking restaurant, and had a long drawn out lunch, with plenty of liquids.Yes I did have a bottle of good IPA, but while eating lunch, I also got through 5 glasses of water, and a coffee.

The diner in Lone Pine

The diner in Lone Pine

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A  real 'western' diner

A real ‘western’ diner

Very refreshing meal - a giant tomato with tuna and red onion

Very refreshing meal – a giant tomato with tuna and red onion

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Again, with Death Valley on one side and Kings Canyon national park on the other, we could see the mountains, but a thick heat haze, made for uninspiring views with no color.

We made another stop in a gas station on a Paiute Indian reservation

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Whilst paying for the gas (in the USA, you have to pay before you fill up – so Christine goes inside with $10 or $20  and pays so I can fill up – then they give her the change), one of the local Native Americans noticed her arms (she pulls her helmet and coat off the minute she is off the bike); he looked at her arms – then her red face and commented, ‘Well, ma’am, you sure are red, but you ain’t no Indian’

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A couple more litres of liquids each (bike included) and we were back on the long, long desert roads.

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Shortly after leaving HW 395, we found a much-needed gas station; it had been 168 miles since the last one – and, again, we needed a good 2 litres of liquid each.

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As we join HW 40, we were now on the original Route 66 – The Mother Road!

The Route 66 Motel in Barstow was quite good, if a little dated and in need of some refurnishing. It did have several vintage cars of the era, on the grounds. It was disappointing that there was no coffee machine as the nearest place to buy a coffee was a bike-ride away.

Lee Vining

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Christine enjoyed the photography though – especially at night-time (within the motel grounds which were covered by CCTV cameras)

Lee Vining

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Unfortunately due to the state of the economy, Barstow seems to have fallen on hard times. There is not much to the town and, what appeared to be the largest shop on the main road, was a recruiting center for the armed forces.

After unloading the bike I went for a walk to find a store to buy some clothes-washing soap. The nearest place was a small store owned by a Syrian gent; he immediately recognized that I was not local and offered the advice that I do not venture out after 9pm as this, ‘is not a nice or safe town’. This was reinforced when, the following day, we rode to an ATM at the Bank of America – the ATM was under armed guard.

After two days in Barstow, we packed again and rode back to I-15 and set off for Mesquite.

Well, if it was warm on the ride to Barstow, it was even warmer on the ride to Mesquite; now, the stops were not so much determined by the need for fuel, but by incredible thirst!

We rode between 60 – 70 miles and pulled off the freeway, fueled up, moved the bike, got inside and consumed such mixes as Coconut water, V8 & Gatorade.

Christine wanted to go to the Joshua Tree National Preserve, but by then had had enough of the heat, and wanted to go anywhere north that might be a bit cooler. Also she had read something about a fire having destroyed most of the trees.

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Well, as we were riding along the outer edge of the Mojave to our south and Death Valley to our north, we came to an area full of them anyway, so Christine did get some piccys.

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It was a great ride, although it did get a bit intense going through Vegas as everyone was doing speeds of 80-85mph in a posted speed limit of 70 and, especially intense when a carpet flew off the back of a pick up, and everyone hit the brakes, hoping the people behind, were paying attention, & not yakking on mobiles, or eating!

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Caesar's Palace

Caesar’s Palace

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He looks familiar! Must be near ‘Hell’s Kitchen’IMG_2120

Finally, we arrived in Mesquite and headed for the Virgin River Casino, where we had booked a room for two nights; this is one of the many gambling establishments in town. It’s big; there are seven separate 3 storey buildings, 2 pools & 3 large hot tubs, for which there is no need at the moment. In fact, even the cold water taps produce water only slightly cooler than the hot tap!

We got a room at the rear of building 7, which means we are at the very back of the complex and we have a view over the surrounding landscape, as opposed to facing the next building over. The fuel stop across the road, is selling 6 packs of Red Hook Long Hammer IPA, for just under $4 which must be some sort of introductory offer as 6 packs of special ale usually cost between $8/9. It is a very nice IPA at 6.2 %.

Christine did some online checking, and found out we could have a third night, for only $27, so we booked one more night as today is supposed to be even hotter than yesterday. According to the Weather Channel, most of the west is experiencing temperatures 10 to 20 degrees higher than average of this time of year.

In the meantime, we have managed to rest, and get all the laundry done; in this heat’it dries in minutes when hung out on the bike.

Yesterday, we rode into the ‘normal’ part of town and found a lovely little museum with lots of artifacts and information relating to the first pioneers to arrive in Mesquite. The museum owners were very friendly and knowledgable and we had a good long chat about how difficult it must have been for the first settlers here – this is an unforgiving and very harsh terrain.

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Next door to the museum is a Fine Art gallery with some great metal animals outside

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I went off to Dollar General for some Mean Green to clean the bike later, whilst Christine (mad dogs and Englishwomen) stayed out in the noon-day sun – to play with some little people.

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We decided to eat in the casino this evening and what a surprise that was! First of all we had to go to the desk for a voucher – for $15 we could have the crab and prime beef – Christine was after the salad and, as we tried to decide which choice voucher to buy, the elderly lady ahead of us in the queue decided to pay for one of our meals! We knew noting about this until the lady had disappeared into the huge buffet area. Then the woman on reception told us one of our tickets had been paid for.

When we got to the buffet, we couldn’t believe the variety of foods available. There was an Italian section, a section of roast meats, sea foods, salads, soups, fruit, nuts – you name it, it was there; and you could return to fill your plate as much as you could ingest! In our case, not that much – well, I had four plates of snow-crab legs; not much meat in the tiny legs but, so nice! Christine had 2 plates of salad, some roast turkey and a plate of fresh fruit.

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In addition, we got a complimentary beer and wine for playing a coupe of dollar games on the slots fitted into every seat at the bar. Not that we knew what we were dong, but Christine pressed the wrong button and won us $6

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Some of the croupiers/waitresses

Some of the croupier/waitresses

I waited until the relatively cooler air of the evening to have a look at the clutch cable which, being new, is a little stiff; then I gave the bike a good wash but The ambient temperature was still too hot to attempt to give it a wax & polish.

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Christine played around in the scrub – not thinking about the snakes or scorpions!DSCF6388 DSCF6390 DSCF6399

Or the nasty thorns that stick in your feet – these are what she pulled out of her flip-flops

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This morning, I was too stuffed for breakfast, but Christine walked the half mile to Peggy Sue’s 50s diner – and more photography on the way

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Finally (Christine here now) some photos of this nice town – it is amazing how they manage to maintain the lovely plant life – flowers and trees (the cacti need very little help). My walk to Peggy Sue’s at 7am was filled with the loveliest of perfumes – sage from sage brush and the citrusy smell of oranges and lemons from these little yellow flowers is gorgeous.DSCF6436

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Tomorrow we are heading to Hurricane, which is back in Utah and is less than 100 miles up the road From Hurricane, it is 26 miles to Zion National Park; I will drop Christine off in the town of Springdale where she can use the shuttle system to get around Zion National Park and I will pick her up later in the day.

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