February 07, 2007 GMT
Sin City

I finally made my escape from Quemado despite a temperature of 20F, and made it to Arizona without falling off on any ice or snow, of which there was plenty still around despite the snowploughs.
Pictures and maps are HERE.

Once in Arizona I discovered a new brand of cigs called 'Montego Austin'; one assumes they don't have the historical baggage we have.

A couple of days and I was in San Diego, and after a gentle day riding around went north to stay the night with Tony and Sharon (who've been on this list for round 18 months). Poor Tony dropped his 1150GS on his foot in Mexico a week ago and has to have pins and plates on Friday. The scenario was rather similar to my Colombian soldier episode, only he didn't have enough Spanish to argue and the inevitable happened. So the GS, the Harley and the Ducati will remain unused for a while (what a nice playroom he has).

Anyway, I dithered about going to LA and finally decided I might as well so wimbled gently northwards. Most unfortunately there was a thick fog (probably combined with the famous smog) and 'gerall was visible - even the Hollywood sign was more or less obscured. But I rode up and down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, which, amazingly, resemble rather dreary suburban high streets more than anything else. The only redeeming features are exotica like the Chinese Theatre. Very disappointing. The western end of Sunset is where celebs past and present have houses, and may be the only road in the US with bends. My tyres are wearing very square.

So I headed north-east on Ventura and bits of Route 66, then out into the Mojave Desert. The shoulder being a little angry slowed me a bit and I stopped for the night in a small town called Victorville. The hotel manageress got really excited so this morning I was descended upon by the local press with still and video cameras, resulting in a bit of a race on I-15 between me and the camera car. Great fun.

And at last I'm here in Sin City, staying, of course, at Caesar's Palace (not nearly as expensive as you'd think). Huge fun at the valet parking stand, where they finally decided I should park in the secure staff parking garage by the Pepsi machine. Elton John's on tonight but the tickets are horrendous so I won't do that. But I could be tempted by either Cirque du Soleil or (horrors but think of my age) Barry Manilow.

And yes, it's just as tacky as you'd think, although the Great Pyramid, the Eiffel Tower and all that stuff seem strangely bijou. I'll have a wander around town tomorrow to see the full horror - walking isn't illegal here and in fact appears to be positively encouraged judging by the number of pedestrian bridges over the Strip, not to mention the hotel rooms being about three miles from Reception. The receptionist asked about my favourite countries, and was so pleased when I mentioned Panama that she arranged a deal on the room while we exchanged reminiscences about places around where I stayed, and she used to live, in Panama City.

Posted by Cynthia Milton at February 07, 2007 10:20 PM GMT

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