Enter The Golden State

Date: April 8th & 9th, 2017

From/To: Las Vegas, NV/Baker, CA

Daily Mileage: 30 miles + 60 miles

Total Mileage: 2380 miles

Conditions: April 8th, sun but strong headwinds. April 9th, sun and mild tailwinds.

My apologies for the delay on blog postings, I’ve been battling a stomach virus for the last few days. It’s one thing to battle a virus, it’s a whole other beast to battle one while trying to keep up with a tour biking schedule. I felt fine throughout the days however my illness would catch up to me at night, limiting my sleep and costing me much needed energy throughout the day. Luckily now (April 10th) I’m feeling much better and back to my normal routine. Hopefully my two semi-consecutive viruses (Denver/Cañon City and Las Vegas/Primm/Baker) are the worst I’ll have to deal with throughout my trek.

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April 8th: Las Vegas, NV to Primm, NV | April 9th: Primm, NV to Baker, CA | GoogleMaps

I woke up around 7:30AM and prepared for a Skype FaceTime with the National Parkinson’s Foundation at their Rochester Symposium taking place at 11:30AM EST. I was viewed on a big screen overlooking a group of roughly 300 people at the symposium located in a reception room at the Hyatt Regency Rochester. It was a privilege to speak to these amazing people, a majority of them being Parkinson’s victims. They’re the true heroes. I was first introduced by my dad and also Joyce Chu, a key planner throughout my Ride4Parkinsons fundraising efforts. I spoke for about ten minutes about my ride thus far, some of the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve come across. I also talked about how I’ve involved the cause throughout my ride and who I’ve impacted in doing so. It was great for me to reflect about my ride and also to share my experiences with so many people.

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The Symposium program guide.

After my Skype session I had breakfast with Paul. He made me a delicious protein shake and we watched the Masters for a brief while before heading out. Paul drove me back to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, but before that he wanted to show me something. He strongly encouraged me to ride along the Red Rock Canyon scenic route on my way out of Las Vegas. I certainly would’ve if it wasn’t so windy and out of the way in comparison to the more direct route to Primm. He decided to drive me along the view anyway.

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Paul and I at the scenic overlook.
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A view of Red Rock Canyon State Park.
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Throughout the area you can sometimes find wild burros roaming the lands, abandoned by their owners over a century ago when they served as service animals for mining operations. They have become entirely self sufficient off the land in that time.

Paul dropped me off and we said our goodbyes. He mentioned it would be great to meet up for a weekend and explore some National Parks while I’m down in Arizona this summer, I’ll certainly have to look into that if I’m not too busy with institute training. I arrived to Primm around 2:30, checking into The Buffalo Bill’s Casino and Resort, my overnight stay. I can’t say I’ve stayed in a casino overnight before, it was an interesting experience. I played some blackjack and ended up going about 1/15, so I called it a day deciding it’s definitely rigged. I took my (lack of) talents to sports betting, putting $50 on the Pirates-Atlanta game. I luckily won that bet and broke even, deciding then to put my wallet away for the night. I hung around the casino for a while but I really wasn’t feeling well so I went to bed early, unfortunately waking up several times at night due to the stomach virus.


On Sunday I woke up around 10AM and gauged the idea of riding today. I decided to push on after seeing favorable wind direction despite having to climb two mountain passes. I left around 11AM for Baker, CA. The ride went relatively smooth, and 60 miles is a short day compared to other ones I’ve had.

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It was an emotional reception as I crossed the Nevada-California border. I wasn’t expecting it to be, but I couldn’t believe I was finally here. I was proud and astonished at the same time. No more state-border crossings from this point on.
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A look back at Primm as I began my ascent over the first mountain pass, ironically called Mountain Pass. It was a 4,000 foot climb to the pass summit.
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California, despite it’s many ascents and descents, provided me with some beautiful scenery as I took my first glance around after crossing the border. Suddenly I felt like nothing could stop me from here on out, I was going to make it.

I arrived to Baker around 3PM, it’s certainly an interesting place. With a current population of 735 people, it sits between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, surviving primarily off of tourism. It’s famous for having the worlds tallest thermometer at 134 feet. It’s also notoriously known for several UFO sightings over the years, and the town has taken up a reputation for it. One of the main attractions in Baker is called Alien Fresh Jerky, a store that sells delicious (I tried several flavors) “alien” beef jerky among many other alien souvenirs. The outside is covered with Alien mannequins, spaceships, and other spacecrafts. It’s definitely an attention grabber.

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I found the only motel currently operating in Baker, the Wills Fargo Motel. It wasn’t a bad stay at all, considering it was my only option aside from camping out. I spent the afternoon exploring around town, checking out the worlds tallest thermometer, and then enjoying a nice gyro and milkshake at the Mad Greek Cafe.

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The Worlds Tallest Thermometer, only in Baker, CA… It cost $750,000 to build.

After dinner I returned to my motel room to rest up. I still wasn’t feeling my best but I could tell I was getting there. I watched Jaws and National Treasure: The Book of Secrets before going to bed. I realized I was falling more and more behind on blog posts but I had no internet in Baker so I had to wait another day to catch up. I was in California now, and my mentality has definitely started to wind down. I’m no longer stressing out over minor details. I know I’m going to make it, it’s simply a matter of time. As much as I try to slow down time, it always finds a way to fly by.

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt

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