As much as we liked Boulder City, the hotel was quite expensive and so, after two nights, we set off back to Mesquite which is turning out to be a good base for visiting our four favourite states, NV, AZ, UT and CA. The Virgin River hotel is very cheap at only $24 a night – many motels and hotels in this area are between $170-$370+ and, often, they are nothing special for that price. This Hotel and Casino is a no-frills affair, but clean and convenient. No fridge – solution, keep filling the ice bucket; no micro or kettle – use our camping stove and metal mugs.
The bike is right outside the door – not that common hereabouts – so easy to offload, wash the bike and peg the laundry on it. And we can eat very cheaply; there’s a buffet where guests can eat as much as they like from a really wide selection of foods. Breakfast $6.99, dinner, $12.99. For example, dinner, yesterday – steak night; as many 12oz steaks as you can eat, ribs, casseroles, fresh roast turkey, loads and loads of sides, a huge salad bar and every dressing you can think of, as well as a beautiful fresh fruit bar. It’s very tempting but I am eating a very low carb diet, high fat, decent proteins. So, no fruit or potatoes or bread or rice or noodles for me.
Anyhow, back to the ride back. Although the route seemed straightforward – after all, we arrived via the same route, we seemed to lose our way a number of times. Turning onto HW93, Jan turned left instead of right. I was yelling, ‘no, no, no’ until he pulled in. ‘That way is to Las Vegas. Turn around and go the opposite way’. Easier said than done on a busy road equivalent to one of our UK dual carriageways – but bigger.
I kept my eyes peeled, the, looking for the road we had come from on the way to Boulder. I knew it took us past Lake Mead. Ah, here it was; Lakeview Road.
We turned off, parked for a couple of photos before continuing on road for about 20 miles…. until we saw the tall buildings of Las Vegas ahead of us. WTF? We had to carry on for another 5 miles or so before seeing a gas station we could turn into and check the map. The lady on reception said we needed to turn around and head back to the ranger station; I forgot to say, part of this road is maintained by Lake Mead Recreational Department and there’s a $15 toll to use it for 7 days. At each end is a ranger station.
We had to cross to the opposite side of the road again and ride about 25 miles back. The young fella manning the toll booth didn’t seem very sure where HW169 was but said maybe we want Overton ( that sounded vaguely familiar) and we should carry on another quarter of a mile then take a left.
Sure enough, 15 miles back there was a turnoff with a sign saying ‘Echo Beach, Overton Beach and Overton’.
Our ride to Boulder City had been late in the day due to us spending a few hours in Valley of Fire State Park; the light was low, straight in our eyes and the scenery was quite dark. Now, riding along in the noon-day sun, the scenery looked vastly different. We had about 70 miles of riding on this road and, until we reached Overton, I didn’t recognise anything; in fact, I could have sworn I’d never been on that road in my life.
Regardless, it was a lovely ride, full of changing colours and from mountainous to flat desert.
Heres a short video taken from the bike (wish I could add some decent music but, you know, all that copyright stuff….)
After around 50 miles, we passed an unmanned ranger station and there, on our left, was the turn off for Valley of Fire State Park! Yay, this now made sense.
The town of Overton was pretty sparsely occupied – mostly trailer homes parked on scrub land. There were a few shops in town – nothing of much use for the family, really, mainly storage units and auto-type places. And yet, I counted seven really quite grand churches! Very un-Navadan; more Utah. The only building that looked like it might cater to the community was this theatre.
We caught up with a group of bikers pulling into the gas station.
Towards the other side of town, some proper brick and very nice houses began to appear; this was the side of town closest to the Interstate so was possibly a sign of expansion from other towns (that sounds vaguely ridiculous; there’s millions of empty acres of empty land in Nevada!)
Soon we reached I-15 and joined on the slip road. From there it was only 28 miles to the Mesquite and the motel (actually, the end of that short video shows us just about entering Mesquite – that lovely adobe-like bridges on the edge of town).
We checked in, offloaded, unloaded the bike and the gave her a well- deserved wash as the cloud cover came in from the mountains. The weather forecast had forecast thunderstorms over the next two days and the sky was certainly changing from the usual cloudless, endless blue that is normal. As the sun set, we were rewarded with a beautiful display.