Leaving Las Vegas... Days 89-90

 I always had a feeling we weren't really meant to be parked overnight where we were, but we got away with it. Or it was fine. It was pitch black when I left the RV and headed back to Excalibur and I'd got a half mile before I realised I'd left my watch in the RV. Boooo. It did allow me to get some gloves at it was freeezing. The scantily clad ladies loitering near the truck park must have a constitution of iron. I took the opportunity of slightly less chaos than usual to run the length of the Strip, to the Mirage and back, to do some filming and caught the sunrise perfectly. Night and day on the Strip. I paired up with a couple of visiting runners from Minnesota after my gimbal ran out of battery and chatted with them about the run before we parted ways, with me going past Luxor and the Mandalay Bay to the famous Vegas sign, before hanging a left past the airport where Liv had left us from.

Further along I let a fellow runner at the lights know that he could cross in the opposite direction and proceeded to stuff my face with an Apple Crunch Nakd Bar. I still had a gobful when I noticed I had company. It was the runner. His name was Bryce and he is a 2nd year dental student at university in Vegas. I remarked it would have been a dangerous place for me to have been a student, but he was a level headed guy and was obviously able to resist the pull of the bright lights! We ran together for a good few miles and had a great chat. He was pretty quick, so that was the one positive when he left – I could slow down a bit! He became the first runner to voluntarily join me on a run – he mentioned we should recruit. Who knows – maybe that will happen soon! My next athlete encounter was slightly different. I was overtaken by a flying cyclist on the River Mountain Trail as I headed towards my lunch stop. I soon caught up with him though as he was rotating his back wheel with some concern. I found his name was Danny and he'd taken some air off a bump and come down on slippy railroad tracks. His wheel was pretty bent, but that was nothing compared to his shorts which had been shredded, along with his right thigh and shall we say, the poor lad would have a job preserving his modesty on the way home! I'm far too much of a scaredy cat to be a hardcore cyclist – road rash just looks unbelievably painful and that's only the low end of the cyclist injury spectrum. Two legs thanks. I'll stick.

Through Henderson, through Boulder City and onto the road that led to the famous Hoover Dam. A little difference of opinion/misunderstanding between Nads and I at the final stop led to confusion over the meeting point, made worse by where I thought we were going to meet being out-of-bounds for an RV meant that I had to cross the dam and therefore the State Line prematurely. While I logged the distance, I paid no attention to the scenery and took no photos, as to me, it didn't count. I'd repeat it tomorrow. Properly. I'd upset Nads as it was a horrible drive in and now she had to do it again. It was one of those things where it was no-one's fault, but doesn't feel that way. All I could do was apologise and get out of her hair, retreating to the Hoover Dam Lodge when we got back to take in the Carl Frampton fight (He unfortunately lost) whilst having an Abita Wrought Iron IPA (I won.).

Start: Excalibur, Las Vegas. Finish: Hoover Dam Car Park. 36.3 miles. Day 89 Tune of the Day: Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas. Amazing place. Would have loved to have seen it around the time of the King himself, Casino is one of my favourite films and I'm fascinated by “old” Vegas.

Returning to the scene of the crime…meant a solid mile walk to the visitor centre of the dam, but this at least allowed us to get all the photos. The dam is amazingly impressive, though I had mixed feelings as it's had a huge environmental impact and is one of the reasons why the Colorado doesn't reach the sea any more and fish populations, including rare species have dwindled. However, it was built in the mid 1930's when no-one (most people, anyway) really gave a monkey's about the environment, so you can't hold that against it and it does provide a lot of clean electricity. Certainly knocking it down isn't going to help and there are a number of ongoing efforts to minimise/reverse the impact it has, so I'll keep an open mind and marvel at the amazing feat of engineering. Apparently if they poured all the concrete in one go, rather than block by block, it still be setting today! I got to cross the State Line in a more ceremonious fashion and also added an hour onto my watch. This and the mile long traipse back up the hill meant a really late start. I scrambled down a rough rock face onto the road that would get me onto the highway and promptly slipped, landing awkwardly on my wrist. That hurt.

The remainder of the lovely sunny day was spent on a nice wide shoulder, chasing Jenny down the road and on one occasion, watching her fly right by after missing the turn off. See you in fifteen minutes...I hope. Fortunately the error was realised and hope turned into thirst quenching arrival. I passed under one of the dedicated highway wildlife crossings I'd read about at the dam site, where Bighorn sheep cross following the natural ridge line where they feel safe, helping to prevent population isolation and the problems that brings. I thought I glimpsed a healthy chunk of the Colorado River at a scenic lookout and while arguably I did, it was actually a thin sliver of Lake Mohave, another artificial lake created by further damming downstream. Hmmm.

The roads were pretty busy as this is the main route for people heading to the Grand Canyon from Vegas and you occasionally get businesses catering for that, including the “Last Stop” - a true sensory overload, offering Monster Truck rides, burgers, aliens, lotteries and a slightly tired looking inflatablewaveyhandsman that resembled a despairing goalkeeper reaching in vain for a James Milner penalty, in no particular order. Such is my life currently, I couldn't explore and I didn't have time for cake at the “World Famous” Rosie's Den Cafe. Life is HARD. At least we were in an RV park this evening – we headed to Dolan Springs, a fairly large settlement, by these parts' standard and met a few nice people in the park and local grocery store.

Oh yeah – by the way – I'd full-on sprained my wrist. Couldn't even open a door with it.

Start: Hoover Dam Car Park. Finish: 2.6 miles after Rosie's Den Cafe on Highway 93. 30.0 miles. Day 90 Tune of the Day: The Maccabees – River Song. My thoughts all day focussed on the Colorado river and the lyrics of the chorus seemed pretty apt for my situation: “You’re not getting any younger. Soldier on for another year. Tell yourself you’re getting wiser. The truth is we’ve all done the same”.

Total: 2705.17 miles