The ride report for this ride is here.
Reeds and Boats. Photo taken during a motorcycle camping trip July 2009 at the Ailder Bay Campground near Telegraph Cove on the north east side of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
SUNDAY March 14, O Dark Thirty, UGH! TIRED. Should I get up or try to get some more sleep? I should sleep, but I am restless to go home.
This is one of those days when there doesn’t seem to be enough caffeine on the planet to wake me up. To the hotel coffee shop for breakfast. Pack the car, check out, rolling by 6:30AM, which is really 5:30AM cause the clocks changed overnight for daylight savings time. I don’t see any so they must be saving it for later.
The preferred route is north through the desert through some really beautiful country, but counting the hours I realize that will put me in the Sunday evening Tahoe westbound rush after about 8 hours driving. So back to Las Vegas on the NV 160, south on I-15 to west bound CA 58 and back up CA 99 to Sacramento.
It was a good choice, traffic was pretty light most of the way. Tired? Yes, but not too tired to take pictures. The sun is about to peek over the mountains.
Over the summit on the Las Vegas side the sun is just up. Photographers call this the magic hour. I look left and pull over for this picture.
Apparently there is some history to this area.
Into Las Vegas, Yes, there is a Starbucks right by the 15. I’m gassed up, coffee’d up, let’s roll. At Barstow, switching to 58 west, racing the train.
That’s about it! What a week. The rest of the drive was just a routine drive, except for the trying to stay awake part.
Lucy, I’m home.
After two days of meetings and the trade show in the rear view mirror it was time to play. The Front Sight Resort is described by some as sort of a Theme Park for shooting enthusiasts. Front Sight offers training in numerous types of firearms, edge weapons, hand to hand combat and rappelling.
I was there with Casey, one of the guys I work with for the Two Day defensive handgun class. Both of us had previously attended a Four Day class so this was pretty much a refresher course.
Once you check in and have your weapon inspected, you wear it holstered the entire time you are there. Safety is a big factor at Front Sight so the gun never comes out of the holster unless directed by the Range Master or an Instructor, and only when it is pointed down range. Eye and hearing protection is mandatory.
This time our Range Master is a retired military man with years of firearms experience. He looks like a Drill Sergeant right out of central casting so you expect him to be dry and gruff. He is in fact a disciplined seasoned instructor, but with a surprising sense of humor.
The area is fantastic. Desert vistas surround the facility. The air is dry and clear, but be aware of when you plan to attend. It was cool and got very windy when we were there (in March), and it can get very hot in the peak of summer.
Expect to shoot about 300 rounds over the two days. Techniques covered in the class include how to safely handle your gun, drawing from a holster, how and where to shoot to stop an aggressor, and how to clear several types of malfunctions.
There are a number of classroom hours explaining why one should not ever shoot someone unless it is absolutely necessary to defend your own life, or that of a loved one. It pretty much boils down to “if it’s not worth dieing for, it’s not worth killing for”. There is no macho BS on this subject, none, period.
Sorry I don’t have any pictures of us actually shooting. They kept us pretty busy. The class days are all day long. These are full days of a lot of material. You will be tired but happy when you are done. You will have a new respectful understanding of firearms safety, and some great new skills. I believe this training is on par with some military and law enforcement training. In fact some military and law enforcement people attend there. Obviously, you wouldn’t achieve a professional’s level of skill in two or four days, but the foundation is definitely there. A background check is required prior to attending.
Front Sight offers all sorts of specials so you rarely have to pay the full prices advertised on their website. If you join, it is even more reasonable. I heartily recommend it to any gun enthusiast. I also recommend it to anyone really. People without pools often learn to swim so they can be safe around water. In the same way I think knowing how to handle a weapon properly even for those who do not like them could be advantageous.
Thursday was pretty much like Wednesday, minus the party after the trade show.
The Imperial Palace where I stayed is pretty worn down, but cheap and on the monorail line. Anyone who has spent exorbitant amounts on Las Vegas taxis will appreciate that. That also means the hotel is in a constant state of repair, or should I say needing repair. It took me 40 minutes to get an elevator empty enough to get down from the 14th floor. Only one of three was running, and the whole dang tower must have been trying to go down for breakfast. If I had not been on my way to check out and carrying all my stuff, I would have taken the stairs.
Speaking of breakfast, since I was already late anyway, I decided to have some. This is Hash House A Go Go in the hotel. It is isolated at the top of its own elevator, which has this decorative door, and has VERY good breakfast. The service was good too.
I had this scrambled egg, bacon, avocado and chive thing and it was REALLY good. The griddled mashed potatoes rocked.
I checked out of the hotel and after another long day on the trade show floor, drove to Pahrump NV. I checked into the Saddle West Hotel and Casino. It was late, I was tired. A quick dinner in the hotel buffett and off to bed. Tomorrow, Front Sight!
OK, maybe not so wild, but the title sounded good. There was a good company party afterwards.
If you’ve never been to one, this is what a trade show looks like.
It doesn’t really really matter what industry, they all look similar. Carpeted rows separating booths at some hotel or convention center, some more imaginative and larger than others, with vendors hawking their wares. Las Vegas is one of the more popular destinations.
Many of the manufacturers throw parties for their customers. Even if you do not represent one of them it is not usually hard to get into at least one.
Here’s a Skyline pic followed by some from the party at the House Of Blues at the Mandalay Bay. The party featured a Blues Brothers Revue. The band was good and the faux Jake and Elwood were pretty good too.
Sorry, but no pics of the revelers. Suffice it to say the drinks were flowing freely and a late night was had by many, followed no doubt by a painful early morning, LOL.
We’re hitting the home stretch on the trade show. the plan is to check out this morning, finish out today at the trade show, and then it is off to Pahrump for the two day defensive hand gun class at Front Sight.
Day Three, survived the all afternoon marathon meeting in a cramped overly warm room. Why are hotel meeting rooms always too cold, or more than likely too warm. It’s hard enough to stay awake without making it toasty, no sweaty in there. Tomorrow the trade show starts, yay.
This is across the strip strip walking back from the Flamingo to the Imperial Palace.
This is the view from my room, well the slice of it worth looking at.
The drinks were expensive, but the food was reasonable and actually pretty good. Toby was nice enough to take a picture with me.
A road trip doesn’t really feel like a road trip until I wake up and hit the road from someplace else on day two. That’s when I really know I’m not on just a day ride (or drive in this case).
Waking up in the desert is always a pleasure. The landscape is so big, and it goes on forever. Last night’s thunderstorm is nowhere to be found. Weather is clear and cool, in the 50′s. There is a bit of a crosswind.
Last night’s room at the Ramada Inn in Barstow was pretty good. Comfy bed and quiet. I just checked into the Imperial Palace here on the Vegas Strip. They actually have a 13th floor here, I am not on it. They are jack hammering out the pool down below, so I feel like I am in the Travel Website commercial where the guy gets a cheap rate on the Hotel, and finds out why when he gets there. I hope they don’t work at night.
The MiFi is working, but only if I put it out on the balcony. If it goes dead, I can use the hotel wifi, for a price. You didn’t think internet was free in a $40.00 per night hotel did you?
You see the strangest things traveling across the desert. There was nowhere to stop where the really strange ones were, but here is a Baker landmark:
And I ran into an old friend from LA:
Crossing the Nevada State line (without intent)…
It’s off to the first meeting. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to chime in again, but the meeting would bore you anyway.
That’s all for now.
I was thanking myself for not switching to the motorcycle at the last minute.
Even though I left Sacramento midday, I got to Mojave way too early to stop, so I pressed on to Barstow. As I approached there was a hellacious thunderstorm to the southeast. Fortunately I was headed northeast so I hit minimal rain while skirting the edge of it. It produced this great rainbow.
Except for a couple of CHP’s working radar east of Mohave of which the Valentine One gave ample warning, the trip was uneventful. On to Las Vegas in the AM.