After an enjoyable unexpected rest day in Pahrump, we were up early ready to ride out to Vegas. There was a hill to get over and while the weather wasn’t too hot, I like to get my cycling done before the afternoon sun is out. It was with surprise then that our things ended up in Donna’s truck. She had been saddened about places that we had missed on the way down and was doing her best to make sure we took the detour to Red Rock Canyon. She was also happy to spend more time with us before we left and so, having left the choice up to C, our 3rd to last day of riding together would take see us in a truck.

At first, the idea was to take us up to the top of the climb out of town, but we kept going and found ourselves at Red Rock, about 10 miles from where Mike, our host for the evening, lived. We took our things out of the truck and I found that I had a flat rear tyre. Having bought Mr Tuffy’s in San Francisco, I was frustrated as I wheeled my bike into the shade by the visitor centre. After taking the wheel off, I realised that it had been a poorly repaired puncture that caused the flat which is much better. While I was fixing my flat Donna floated the idea of driving us round the 13 mile loop of Red Rock so we found a place to store our bikes safely and then jumped back in the truck.

I was actually happier to be taken round the loop than being brought to Red Rock itself. Riding round the Badlands had been stunning and spending as long as we had in it meant that we could see the colours change with the light, but it had also restricted us to minimal time off the bike. Yes, the Red Rock loop is shorter than the Badlands loop, but going in Donna’s truck allowed us to explore the trailheads more. My favourite was the Sandstone Quarry stop where I took my flipflops off and scampered around the gorgeous sandstone. It reminded me in a way of being at The Roaches with my friends back home.

After we finished the loop, Donna offered to take us all the way to Vegas. I left the decision up to C and went to get our bikes from where they had been locked up. I came back to find that we were going to be in Donna’s company a while longer and we packed our bikes and bags back into her truck.

20 minutes later I was directing us through Las Vegas and we were pulling into the gated community that Mike lives in. We pulled up and were greeted by Mike who was impressed to see Donna’s kindness and head that we had been able to get to Red Rock. I assured him that we don’t usually travel this way and he laughed. I said it in jest, but in a way it feels like the trip stopped in San Francisco. Sure, there have been days like where we rode over Tioga Pass and out of Yosemite, but there has definitely been a lot of more carbon-emitting transport recently.

After my shower I came down to find Mike’s bike-mechanic friend downstairs. He took a look at both C & my bikes and gave us a quick lesson in truing wheels. He explained it in such a simple way that I feel much more confident that if they come out of true that I should be able to fix them, at least sufficiently to get to someone who knows more.

C’s friend Claire from school was in Vegas on a holiday and so she took a taxi to the strip to hang out. I spent an illuminating evening talking with Mike. We covered a wide range of topics and it was thoroughly enjoyable. It gave me an insight into how things will be after C and I part ways, something that is coming up fast.

Morning in Pahrump

Driving along – windy may want to mute

Closing in on Red Rock – windy may want to mute

Walking round Red Rock visitor’s centre

In Red Rock Canyon part 1 – windy may want to mute

In Red Rock Canyon part 2 – windy may want to mute

Hopping around the rocks