Lake Mead, NV

So we’ve been resting in La Veta. Celebrating and enjoying the quiet freedom, the strand of happiness of being tired, put, and loving it. After the long travel to Indiana for Christmas, we wished for nothing but stay home.

Soon, the clocks started ticking again for being at Las Vegas for the CES show. So it was a 1540 km week-end drive to pick up the trailer in Phoenix, AZ, then to Sin City. We parked in a RV camp and spent the week in Las Vegas. Being in a big town is cool. We could boondock out of town for free while the night in the city hotels averages $600 a night during the CES. We picked an inexpensive park in the city. Already we miss the winding paths, the bicycle rides and the silence. Las Vegas is a crazy city. Riding the strip on the Low Rider is fun but not a place to live.

The interesting experience happened going downtown, as the motorcycle overheating engine stalled when I was “lane sharing”. And not restarting. I had to wait still on the white line for the next red light, while cars zoomed on the lanes besides me. Then push the 350Kg bike between vehicles to the curb, and walk to go see Fabien on foot (that was a closing-in break down). I reach the bike later as it cooled down, it started in a second. I drove downtown with Jess behind me, dressed in business suit. The next Day Alain was also in town. Two friends meetings in two days, viva Las Vegas! No one really likes the place but everyone goes.

Hopefully, we’ll meet Thomas in Los Angeles next week. We could drive to California already but Lake Mead is a nice place to crash. I new the place for visiting as a tourist 15 years ago : sun baked, crowded. That was summer. In winter, Nevada (outside Vegas!) is a sweet place to rest.

So, this is lake mead in winter :

The white band around the lake is a mineral deposit marking the “high water” line, which the lake could not reach since 1983, following a series of droughts and the ever increasing consumption from the local cities, Las Vegas in the first place. The local geology is a mess with quite every kind of stone layered in the same area, turned around and broken by volcanoes and tectonic plates.

If the winter colors interact in the most interesting ways with the desert colors, then exploring the local features are even more worth. The lake Mead is gigantic, over 100 miles long and the coastline over a thousand kilometers.

The construction of the Hoover Dam required the daring construction of a railway through the hills, to bring in the construction materials. The condition of the workers during the dam construction was incredibly precarious. The path is now left for hikers and cycles. Lola loved everything and everyone on the way to the dam.

The bottom line of the whole dam thing is that the Colorado is no more a river but an over exploited asset. Local politics start to understand that growing lawns in the desert is not a great idea. The limit to the human development is what Nature gives. Technology does miracles but don’t help much to provide large amounts of water in the Nevada desert. Mentalities are slow to change. They will pass, or pass away. For now, just being reasonable will suffice. Reason, in Las Vegas? We’ll see, monitoring the water level of Lake Mead becomes a Primary Key Indicator of american greed.

Not that the Europeans do much better, we just happen to have more water by geography.

Back at earth level, so we ride.

The week passed fast, we even rode the motorcycle around the colorful hills. Just to check how they look from close. Its mind bending what Nature did here.

Tomorrow we leave to California… Dip our toes in Pacific Ocean and enjoy the traffic, pollution and crime. We miss La Veta already. And Lake Mead.

No it’s not a fish tank; that’s the lake!