Rod McLaughlin

The bike route from Las Vegas to Twenty Nine Palms is not what Google says (26 oct 12)

You get onto the I-15 freeway 15 miles south of Las Vegas, when S Las Vegas Blvd ends. It specifically says 'bike route' and eschews the customary 'no pedestrians or bicycles' sign.

Rode into Primm, 30 miles south of Las Vegas. Discovered I had another broken spoke.

Followed Google's directions for "Las Vegas - Twenty Nine Palms by bicycle". It says turn right off E Primm Blvd onto Desert Arena Drive, which is clearly shown on the map, but it doesn't exist. What does exist is a dirt road which ends in a fence (I later reported the problem to Google).

Camped for the night in the desert where Desert Arena Drive is supposed to be. In the morning, went to the Las Vegas Welcome Center in the mall. Very helpful. Showed me that I had to get back on the freeway, and continue south, uphill, ten miles, to Nipton Road.

But first, the broken spoke. I'd taken the precaution of obtaining two extra spokes from the bike store in Las Vegas, having already broken one. But I hadn't taken the extra precaution of ensuring I had the right tool to remove the gear block, when the broken spoke is on the gear block/chain/right side of the wheel. And, just like the first broken spoke, the second broken spoke was on this side. I asked a truck driver from Georgia to borrow his tools, but they weren't really what I needed, and messing about would have delayed him. I needed a bike store. I was not gonna ride back to Vegas. I was not going to, like the Steely Dan song, go back, Jack, do it again...

So I went back to the Welcome Center, got some cardboard, made a sign: 

"BARSTOW - need to find bike store to fix bike"

and started hitchhiking on the on-ramp to the south freeway. With a big bike and a trailer. Which shouldn't be too much hassle, because vast numbers of American men drive around in big, empty, pickup trucks. For real truck drivers, it's much more hassle. But, after about five hours, a real truck driver stopped. Sam from Turkey. He picked me up, put my bike and trailer in the truck trailer, and drove me to Barstow across the Mojave desert. That's where I am now, in a motel. I know how to ride from here to Joshua Tree, as I've done it before. 

I intended to find a bike store a bike store in the morning... but googling doesn't look very helpful... it says there's just one bike store, which does BMX... it turns out I would have been better off getting out at Victorville, 30 miles south... but maybe I can ride to there without losing more spokes... and if I do, it's all on route 66, so maybe I can hitchhike again. It's on the way to Joshua Tree.





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