Day 19 - Las Vegas to Los Angeles

After last night, getting up early just wasn't going to happen.  We finally woke at 8am and hurriedly checked out and got on our way - we had a fair way to go today as we planned to not just drive straight to LA.

John and Kaz were going their own way, calling in at Barstow to do some shopping.

We set out on the I-15 super-slab and sped our way to the Nevada/California border.  We stopped in at the last Casino and had some breakfast.  MMbear lost his last few quarters on a machine and we left Nevada.  We still had about half a tank of fuel so didn't need to fill there.  There was one town before Barstow where we'd check if we had enough and fill in Barstow.  Well we had quite a headwind (and were travelling pretty fast to keep up with the locals) and the needle dropped dramatically.  The red light came on and we slowed right down (to 70mph) and looked for a fuel stop.  Aah - there's a servo on the right.  Pull in - pass one derelict servo and into the next.  No fuel.  Pumps are roped off.  Bother.  Back out on to the highway.  There's a small town on the left..  Pull in there.  We pass several more derelict servos and out the other side of town.  Nothing there!!  Boy is that red light bright.  Nothing for it but back on to the highway - at least there are regular call boxes and we can phone for assist if needed.  Gently over the next rise, and there's two on the right.  Surely one of them has fuel.  Luckily one of them did.  SO we put 6.2 gallons in the 6 gallon tank and were off again.

Have I told you about the Californian fuel pumps?  Lots of fun they are.  They have a concertina rubber tube on the nozzle which you have to press against the filler hole to get them to work.  Something to do with stopping fumes from getting in to the atmosphere.  OK for cars, but not for bikes where we fill them right up.  So we have to hold the rubber tube back manually.  Not easy.  Then there's the payment system.  Mostly it is fine with fast-pay, where you just swipe your card, select grade of fuel, fill, then get receipt.  Don't have to go inside, remove helmet, or even go far from the bike.  That's OK, but some servos have added security with credit cards where they ask you your 5 digit zipcode then compare it with your card details.  Naturally we don't have a zipcode so that's where the trouble starts.  You then have to pre-pay, that is tell the operator how much you are going to put in.  If you don't put in as much, as you say, they refund, either by cash or card refund.  Every one is a little bit different in their own way.  And you can get trapped.  On one in Utah, I couldn't get the pump to work and the small instruction screen was broken and only giving half the info.  So I hung it up and went to the next one.  It worked.  Luckily the attendant was a good bloke because he came out and showed me that I had indeed activated the pump with my credit card and when I hung up, it did not cancel but left it open for the next user to fill their tank at my expense.

Anyway, now filled up, we headed in to Barstow and didn't quite find the turn-off we wanted to get to Big Bear Lake.  So we went a bit further and turned off on to the Happy Trails highway through Apple Valley then Hwy 18 up to Big Bear.  On the way up the hill we overtook several fire trucks heading up to fight the fires on the mountain.  We were getting worried as we could see a huge plume of smoke where we wanted to go.  Eventually we got to Big Bear City and started to follow Hwy 18 past the lake.  We soon saw what we expected, a Road Closed Ahead sign.  So I played with the GPS and told it Hwy 18 was a no-go and it directed us on to Hwy 38, which was on the next ridge and a fair way from the fire.  This was a great piece of road and we had a really good run along it.  Several times we came quickly up behind cars and they did the right thing and pulled over into one of the numerous pull-outs to let us by.

Then we were somewhere in the eastern side of LA and faced over 100 miles of freeways to get us to our Motel in Redondo Beach.  Off we set, and found out that traffic moves FAST on these freeways.  The GPS and the girl's voice giving instructions was invaluable and guided us through the maze without any trouble.  We travelled the 94 miles necessary in just over an hour and found ourselves just 6 miles from the Motel.  Woohoo.  We survived.!!

Lots of new estates on the outskirts of Las Vegas
THis looked like a giant paddle-wheeler sailing through the desert.  It was all closed up.
This one was open and we had breakfast here.  Sadly, the roller-coaster wasn't open until midday.
A four-seat buggy.  That'd be fun in the desert.
MMbear gets rid of his money
More truck samples.  The black one is a Silverado with a fifth-wheeler to carry vans.
Some Harley riders just don't know how silly they look.
Following the fireys up the hills
This nice truckie pulled over for us.  Thanks.
Nice house in Big Bear City.
Big Bear lake and lots of smoke
Here, we turned around
Elvis chopper on standby.  Look closely, there are several other choppers lined up.
Great riding down the hills
An RV saleyard.  Hundreds of the things.
LA freeways snaking in the sky
The far left lane is for car-pools or motorcycles.  Great idea.

Next Day