Sunday, January 20, 2008


“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour” -anon

I had plans today. A quick mid morning ride to work, then onward to the most northern reaches of Las Vegas Boulevard. According to google maps, round trip should be more than 125 miles of mostly empty two lane asphalt.

Even good roads have detours.

Weekends at work are usually non-events. When there are problems though, they are typically serious. Saturday was the beginning of one of those weekends. What I had expected was a quick thirty minute test of our e-mail system. Murphy was busy. A detoured day. Four hours later I needed a break.

Myself and a few other programmers had little to do while the system admins plied their skills. Detour was the theme of the day, why shouldn't a ride reflect that theme?

According to Google Earth, Lake Mead Boulevard exits the city to the east, becomes a two lane highway, winds through the the foothills around Frenchman's Mountain and makes its way toward Lake Mead. As enjoyable as maps and charts and even programs like Google Earth may be, nothing rivals the feel of the road and wind.

And this was a very nice ride. Rather chilly but the sun warming my black leathers ensured comfort. Above is a rather poor map of my route. As a point of reference, the dark green circle in the upper left highlights the Nellis Air Force Base runways. Regardless of how well Google Earth represents Nellis, there is nothing like looking down on the runways, F-16s on one end, holding short for permission to take off.

The light green line follows my path up and out of town. After making it out of the foothills, I decide to take a small paved road known as Pabco Road. Following it north would take the traveler past the Pabco plant, across the original Spanish Trail, then end at I15 and Las Vegas Boulevard. I turn back right after passing signs that read “Trespassing” and “Blast Danger”.

This nice piece of narrow two lane asphalt has it all for a noobie rider. Minimal traffic, smaller hills and valleys, sweeping curves and even a few twisties. I put the little yellow circle on the map to indicate a little challenging section. Coming back, and I should have remembered this, there is a slightly rising hill. At it's apex, the road immediately starts to drop and curves to the left.

Took me by surprise but didn't loose it. I would be lying if I said there was no adrenalin. WHEW!

The dark blue line follows my return path on Pabco Road, then continuing on toward lake Mead. This short run was indeed enjoyable. I lost count of the motorcycles on that road. There must have been at least fifty, nearly all waving or nodding acknowledgment.

At the entrance to the Lake Mead Recreational Area, a set of toll booths, I turn around and return. (Purple-ish? Line) It was rather uneventful but enjoyable. A quiet road with almost no traffic, I buzz myself back to work.

Yes, even detours can be quite enjoyable.

(I am tired, and as such this is probably not one of my better blogs...)

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