What happens in Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – but we just had to share this with our friends and family:


It was crazy.

It was spur of the moment.

It was rash.

But you only live once!

We celebrated in town, then headed out the famous Vegas sign for a picture.

Only joking, even we’re not that spontaneous. But we could have – $75 for the marriage certificate and you’re good to go. No need to make a reservation, just rock up. Sort of like a gents hair cut.

If you don’t want to go the full hog and get married, but want to pretend to your social media followers that you did, you can pay $70 for a “fake Vegas wedding photo shoot” complete with Elvis impersonator and mock vicar. Or you could pay for the “fake arrest” photo shoot, so you can pretend you got arrested, and post about it online. Seems a lot of money to pay for a bunch of likes on facebook.

It’s like Disney Land for adults. Driving down the strip it’s a wonder there aren’t more crashes every day – there is so much to look at. Themed hotels, shops, restaurants, towers, theme parks, theatres and everything in between. Every building with the sole intention of taking your money.

Each hotel tries to outdo the others, as they want you to come in and gamble in their casino. The casinos have no windows or clocks so you lose track of time, and they ply you with free drinks to make you gamble more.

It’s undeniably fun, but after a while you realise they’re not just giving you the drinks to be nice; they’re doing it to get your money. It’s easy to forget the only rule of gambling – the house always wins.

The lights, hotels and buzz of the place are incredible, and we’re so glad we got to go, but it’s not somewhere we’d rush back to.

Vegas was the last stop on our Arizona, Nevada and Utah road trip. Before Vegas we spent six days visiting Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend, and Zion National Park.

It’s been a brilliant week, and great to have a break from cycling, especially after a tough few days getting to Phoenix. We camped in the snow at the Grand Canyon (-7C), got up at 5am to watch the sunrise, visited the Hoover Dam, and spent a days hiking through some beautiful scenery.

A story worth mentioning, was meeting our new Serbian friend Milenko in Zion National Park. We’d never heard of Zion in Utah before coming to the USA. It’s a two-hour drive from Vegas – and 100% worth the trip. The park is an enormous canyon, and there is a hike you can do to a place called the Angels Landing which gives you a stunning view right the way down the valley. In order to get to the view point, you need to traverse a ridge with terrifying vertical drops on either side.

The night before we visited it had snowed and iced over, so the already treacherous route was even more so. We waited until the afternoon, so the worst of it had melted before checking it out. We got about halfway, then decided no matter how good a selfie we could have got, it was too dodgy to go on.

As we turned, we met Milenko who had just been to the top. He took some pictures for us and we chatted once we were all down safely. After we had explained our trip the conversation went like this, in his broken English:

“Your trip sound amazing! I also love cycle my bike long distance”

“Thanks. Cool, what sort of long distance?”

“Have you heard of Serb tennis player Novak Djokovic?”

“Yes of course, he’s pretty much the only Serb we’ve heard of”

“Novak is personal friend of mine. In 2020, I will cycle my bike from Serbia to Japan to watch him play in Tokyo Olympics”

He showed us a bunch of pictures of him and Djokovic on his phone – he is legit. He’s currently on an eight month tour of the USA, we told him we’d drop him a line when we were in Eastern Europe.

Yesterday was our first day back in the saddle again after a week off. It feels so good to be moving west again. We start to itch when we’re not making progress for a while.

As always, we meet an eclectic bunch of people every day. Just as we’re writing this in a sports bar, we met Scott who warmly welcomed us to the Arizona, and to the USA.

He was wearing a four-inch flick knife in a sheaf around his belt, so we asked him about it. He said:

“I love the freedom I got here in Arizona. I moved here for three reasons:

  1. I can smoke medicinal weed here
  2. I can ride my motorcycle without a helmet
  3. I can carry an unconcealed weapon without anyone bothering me”

Scott used to live in New York, but felt he was “over governed” as he couldn’t do any of the above. He went on to talk about the election:

“People are fed up with our politicians focusing on what’s happening overseas and neglecting the American people. That’s why Trump got in, he’s going to focus on America and not worry about these other countries that we aint got nothing to do with.”

“People are talking about these refuges coming over. If there’s some Syrian man between the age of 15-55 coming here as a refugee – you got to question his motives. Why are they not standing and fighting in their own country? I think they’re coming here with ulterior motives”

“Back when the US was a British colony, we were over governed and over taxed, and we stood and fought and got our independence. This whole situation comes back to the principles on which our country was founded – we’re taking back our freedom.”

…(and on climate change)

“I think it’s all made up, these scientist are twisting the numbers to make the results fit with their theories. I’ve seen articles about it, I’ve seen it happen. It’s just the normal cycle of the earth, we had the stone age, the ice age – that’s why dinosaurs went extinct. We don’t see many of the effects of it over here so I guess in the USA we don’t really see it as a big issue.”

It’s indicative of this trip that about 30 minutes later we met someone with a totally different view on pretty much everything.

Bill’s house is where we stayed last night, we connected through Warm Showers (cycling network). Bill and his friend Alana took us out for a Chinese all you can eat buffet. His story is heartbreaking but inspiring. In the last few years, he’s overcome colon cancer, a brain tumour and the passing of his wife. He loves cycling and bike touring and regularly hosts people who are passing through. He still gets out on his bike when he can and is planning a bike tour for next summer.

“The narrative of the Republican Party is that climate change is made up. It’s not. It’s real and it’s clear for anyone to see. They are representing the interests of the major coal and oil companies, instead of the people. We (America) are the biggest contributor to climate change and yet we’ve just elected a guy who is saying it’s a hoax by the Chinese.”

“I’m really worried about Trump deregulating all these businesses so they’ll be able to do what they want, at any cost to the environment.”

Bill is a genuine top guy and fantastic host – one of the coolest people we‘ve met in the states. He has his final brain scan results back on the 28th December – we have everything crossed for a positive outcome.

This week we’re on the final few days to San Diego where we’ll finish leg two of our round the world cycle ride. We have a fair few hills and lots of desert yet to pass through before we get there so no celebrating yet.

We continue to head due west, so every evening we are riding directly into the sunset, passing next to mountains and cacti.

As we’re coming to the end of the states, it’s like the end of a Western movie. But instead of a cowboy riding a horse into the sunset, it’s us two riding our bicycles.