We all know the movie classics such as ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas‘ with Johnny Depp or ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ with Nicolas Cage, “The Hangover” with the Wolf Pack and of course the Ocean Eleven+ movies which set certain expectations for this place Sin City/Las Vegas. Describing it as ‘madness in the desert’ wouldn’t give it the credit it deserves and not even Surfers Paradise in Australia during school break comes close what we have seen here. Its pure self-indulgence, excess, extravagance and full of superlatives – but hey, its good fun. If there are three words to describe Vegas, it would be unlimited BOOZE, CLEAVAGE and GAMBLING 24/7. The question is here, however, is Vegas ready for Team Berg??But lets start at the beginning – the ride from Lake Havasu AZ was quite something. We decided to take a little detour to go through the Mojave National Preserve (http://goo.gl/maps/b3Ax) with more breathtaking desert landscapes. The road leading up to it was actually on parts of the original Route 66 with great photo opportunities. Arriving into Vegas posed some minor navigation difficulties – 40 degrees heat, a break down in communications equipment, crazy traffic and blinking lights galore everywhere really didn’t help but we managed in the end – after a few stops, pep talks and sweaty undergarments. On a side note, American motorists have to be amongst the most tolerant and considerate drivers when it comes to motorcyclists. Maybe it is the fact that they think we are crazy for riding thorough the desert in full amour and 40 degree heat or they sympathise with us as our bikes will never be as fast as their monster trucks therefore are very forgiving and considerate – we will never know. All we do know is that we are extremely grateful for their patience especially when we drive lost and confused – like when we arrived into Vegas. We got a hotel booking in the Flamingo right in the heart of the Vegas gambling district, which is generally referred to as The Strip. We thought that the hotel place is massive, with 3,600 beds and god knows how many gambling machines on the ground floor but heard that there are places with double that amount. Checking into the hotel however was the most excruciatingly painful process we’ve ever experienced. CB stood in the check-in line for about an hour just to get the room keys to have a well deserved shower but at a price because we were early, check in in Las Vegas is after 4pm!
Smelling much nicer and a change of clothes later we took a late afternoon stroll along The Strip. Hunger kicked in quickly and we found ourselves in a margarita bar offering a dining experience second to none – waitresses dress as pirates on stilts, a semi-naked chick climbing a paper mache volcano and sliding down a water slide terminating in a margarita tank and a table service that puts most hospitality service in Australia and elsewhere in the world to shame. We quickly learnt that margaritas in Vegas are pretty potent and should only be drunk if you eat three square meals a day. We don’t recall much of the rest of the night but the next day we did notice half a take-away mug of margarita on the side table, a half eaten lime pie and $5 less in the wallet possibly due to a wee gambling spree at the 1 cent slot machines??? Total crazy first night for Team Berg in Vegas.The next day we left the Strip to the Speedway Racecourse offering the opportunity to the concerned motorist to sample some of the finest road-going machines currently available – Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLarren – the list goes on. The purpose of the trip was to finally give CB his feverishly awaited birthday present – 10 laps in an Audi R8 V10. And here are the specs of the machine he drove.
Power: 525hp at 8,000rpm – Torque: 391Nm
Top Speed: 196mph – Acceleration: 0-60mph in 3.7s
That did the trick and put the biggest smile in CBs face. What the specs above don’t show is the tremendous stopping power decelerating the car in seconds from near top speed to a cornering velocity that would send off most other cars. It is a experience not to be missed. The trip to the Speedway however was an interesting one. We drove past the glitzy lights of the Strip and towards the real Vegas – ramshackle old motels and casinos full at 10am with locals, vacant lots, long lines outside nuberous pawn shops, people pushing trolley’s…it was the darker and sadder side of Vegas. One can easily we blinded by the reality of gambling yet this industry supports so many too. It is a double edged sword.
Later in the afternoon after a power nap (a weary motorcyclist’s greatest friend) we headed off to try out possibly the biggest pancakes in the world as we still hadn’t had any breakfast yet. What many people don’t know is that CB is not only a motorbike nut he is also a connoisseur of pancakes. No matter where in the world we are we must have pancakes. In Buenos Aires we walked for 40 mins looking for a pancake shop as described in the Lonely Planet. So there was no stopping him searching for pancakes in Vegas. The Hash House a Go Go must serve the largest meals on the planet. The pancake CB ordered was the size of a large pizza. Needless to say he did manage to eat most of it and rate it highly yet not as high as this mysterious pancake he once ate in Amsterdam.Later we took a midnight stroll along the Strip to soak up all the atmosphere and see the bright lights. Now from experience living in New Zealand and Australia you are fully aware that around 1am in the morning people are drunk senseless and are either having punch ups, puking in the gutter, the girls walking around barefoot with their boob-tubes slipping crying for their mates to support them up into a cab, inhaling fast food or all of the above (which is the most likely case). Vegas with its 48 oz margarita jugs and endless amounts of booze was a complete surprise. Sure most people were a little to half drunk but there were no police on the road, no beefy bouncers ready to crack your ribs on the pavement, no sleazy and gross scenes you usually get on a Friday night along George Street, Sydney. The experience here was awesome – everyone declaring their love for each other, commenting on their cool clothing, screaming our EDC (we’re still not sure what that was all about) and generally happy and just having a good time.
Reason #124 why we love the USA. A pit stop at a cupcake joint to scope out professional cupcakes and compare them with Dilu’s creations later we drew the night to an end. Loving Vegas all the way.Next we head to the Hoover Dam and resort town of Sedona, AZ to meet up and ride along with a good mate CB met on his South American adventure.