Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Not much cycling has been done over the last 3 weeks. My Dad and his brother Tom came out to visit me in Las Vegas on February 2nd and we rented out a comfortable motor, with the plan of doing a bit of a tour around Vegas and the surrounding National Parks. I don't care much for cars but with a 3.5L petrol injection engine under the bonnet of our Dodge, we were going to be getting places fast anyway.
The two boys were blown away by Vegas. We wandered from casino to casino admiring what Las Vegas is all about. For many, Vegas is about sitting over a slot machine, feeding it your livelihood and being blinded, deafened and having your brain melted in the process. But for us, Vegas was about admiring its over-the-top ridiculous surroundings. A stroll down the main strip revealed replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Statue of Liberty and the streets and canals of Venice. One casino had an aquarium, another had a glass cage with lions. The fountains of the Bellagio shoot water 240 ft into the air, the sinking of a 50ft pirate ship at the Treasure Island casino, a volcano erupting at the Mirage and an evening was filled with a Cirque du Soleil show.
But after 3 nights in 'Sin City', the urge was strong to pack up and tour the surrounding states. In all, we drove 1600 miles across parts of Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona with the plan of visiting some of America's greatest National Parks. In all we visited 6 National Parks (Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyon lands and Grand Canyon) and also Monument Valley tribal park. Photos describe it better than words, but erosion doesn't get any better than this. Although we got plenty of snow, it didn't hamper our progress. We passed over high passes and gave the snow ploughs a wide berth. And once we returned to the lowland desert regions, we passed the near deserted towns along the route 66 highway. Little can prepare you for the huge expanse of the Grand Canyon. Being able to clearly see mountains 240 miles away, is like looking out from Dublin and seeing the MacGillycuddy's Reeks in Kerry. An excellent holiday was had by all and I waved the two boys off at the Las Vegas airport on February 17th and returned to the hostel where my bicycle was in storage. I pumped the tyres full of air and decided it was time for some sun. I'm pedalling south towards Mexico.


In Zion National Park, we witnessed not one, but four avalanches.


This photo was taken at 9pm inside the Venetian Casino. The ceiling is painted as the sky would appear.