My heart is racing as we near Las Vegas. Traffic increases and it becomes evident that bicyclers are not a welcome sight on these highways. Bart pulls over to the side of the highway and puts his flashers on. I think, “What’s going on?” I soon discover the answer to my question.
A state patrol car siren blares right behind us. The officer asks us to pull over. We ride up behind Bart’s truck. Bart is already standing outside with his driver’s license, insurance card, and vehicle registration in hand. The officer gets out of his vehicle and approaches.
He says, “You can’t ride your bikes on this road. It’s illegal.”
We look at each other in total amazement that we had not thought about this before now.
Pete quickly says, “We are so sorry, officer. We didn’t know.”
“Well, you’ll need to get off this road now.”
Bart walks over and says, “We’ll load the bikes into my rig. These guys can ride in the truck with me.”
The officer looks at Bart’s truck then back at us. I can see he’s counting bodies and available seats in Bart’s truck. “You realize you have too many people for the number of seats in that truck.”
“Yes,” Bart says, “One rider will need to ride in the fifth wheel.” The officer is ready to challenge this notion as Bart continues. “If you want to check, it’s legal for passengers to ride in a fifth wheel because of the way it’s attached to the truck.”
The officer is not buying it. He says, “I will not allow you to do that, legal or not. One of you will have to ride with me.”
Since I am sort of the outsider, I volunteer. Carol wants Mac to take my place, but I insist. She pulls me aside and says, “Bets, let Mac ride with the officer. You shouldn’t be alone with this stranger.”
I laughed and said, “Carol, he’s a cop. He’s supposed to protect us.”
She gives me her best “mom” look, which tells me I need to concede.
After the bikes are put in the garage area of Bart’s fifth wheel, Mac heads to the patrol car, and the rest of us climb into Bart’s truck. Dolly is none too happy having to lay on the floor by our feet. How dare us for taking her comfortable seat. Dolly gives a huff making sure we knew she was disgusted.
Faith tells Dolly, “Oh hush, Dolly. You are not the princess you think you are.”
Dolly obediently lays her head down.
We make it to the Desert Eagle RV Park and help Bart and Martha get their rig setup. The officer hangs out with us for a few minutes, asking each of us where we came from. He was amazed that I had managed to ride from Aspen, Colorado, to Las Vegas taking that northern route out of Colorado.
“Young lady,” the officer says, “You are doing this ride alone?”
Before answering his question, I have to laugh at the absurdity of him calling me a young lady. I am probably older than his own mother, but I politely answer, “Yes. I know the perils of riding alone, but I’m not really alone. I have God with me.”
I can tell the officer is not pleased with me. I think, “Lighten up, mister. You are way too young to be so negative.” But I guess being a cop probably quickly ages a person. He says, “Will you be traveling with these fine people from now on?”
I look at my friends and say, “I’m not sure.”
Carol pipes up, saying, “We’ll make sure she gets to her destination, sir.”
That seems to please the officer, and he leaves. Once he’s gone, I ask, “I know you all want to stay here a while and do some gambling. I’m sort of wanting to get moving on, so maybe this is where we need to part ways.”
Carol, emphatically says, “We will NOT be allowing you to travel alone anymore. Sorry, but you are stuck with us.”
I want to protest but realize I have no backers. All of them are shaking their heads and saying, “You left time clocks back in Aspen.” They were right. Besides, I already knew how dangerous it is for a single person to travel via bicycle alone. I accepted the gift God gave me, knowing He was telling me to stay with them. Besides, I liked sleeping on their couch instead of the hard ground, and meals were a lot better when a group of us were preparing them.
We head off to the casinos. I’m not much of a gambler, but I certainly had fun people-watching. Martha and Bart weren’t much into gambling either, at least not this day. We positioned ourselves in comfy chairs by the entrance and watched the array of people walk by. There were businessmen, families, newlyweds (I won’t tell you how I know they were newlyweds. Some things do need to stay in Vegas), and a lot of people simply looking for a good time. It pains me to watch this married man take his wedding ring off and slip it into his shirt pocket. He is trolling now, looking for a good time. I say a silent prayer that he realizes his good time is back at home where his family is. God must be close by today, because the man gets a cell call just as a scantily clad woman approaches him. A smile comes on his face and I see him mouth, “Hi, sweetie. How’s Daddy’s little girl?” The woman does an about-face leaving the man alone with his daughter’s sweet voice. I said a quick “thank you” to God for being so timely with His ever-present help and guidance.
My gambling friends don’t fare as well. Mac loses five hundred dollars in blackjack, Carol loses fifty dollars at the slots, and Pete and Faith break even. I believe the man and his daughter are the big winners in Vegas today. As we leave the casino, I overhear him talking to his wife, at least I’m assuming it’s his wife, as he says he’s on his way home, that he loves her very much, and that he’d never miss a play his daughter was in. I wonder what prompted this man to get that close to the edge of infidelity, but I’m over-joyed he chooses to not stay in Vegas.
We head back to the RV park after Bart treats us all to a fabulous dinner at Emeril’s at the MGM Grand. What a treat that was. Mac states he’s in no mood to lose any more money in Vegas. He suggests we all head out on the road tomorrow morning stating, “Some things just don’t need to stay in Vegas.”
Carol says, “Yeah, like our money.”
I’m glad to be able to move on. Vegas is nice, but certainly not a place I want to spend a great deal of time. And the road was calling out to me. I fall asleep that night grateful of all of God’s blessings. He certainly knows how to keep us moving down His straight and narrow path. Thank you, God.
And in my real world, my only experience in a gambling town was when my sister, brother-in-law, and I drove out to California and stayed in Reno, Nevada, for a night. I was shocked at how many elderly people sat at slots, plunking in their coins, hoping for the big payoff. Some were in tattered pajamas, others had unkempt hair that looked like it hadn’t seen a brush or even shampoo in years, and a few actually looked lost. I felt so bad for them for they were sucked into the notion that one could get rich quick. For most of us, that just doesn’t happen. Most of us, when gambling, are simply handing over are hard-earned money to the person with all the false promises.
If you gamble for the fun of it, and I mean taking a set amount of money you are willing to part with, to go have fun with friends and family then there’s nothing wrong with gambling. But if you go with the rent money, grocery money, or even your kid’s lunch money, then you need help. Do some spiritual soul-searching for better answers on how to stretch your income.
The very definition of gambling is taking a risky action in hopes of a desired result. If you want to do something risky, try having faith. So as we continue on our path in life, leave behind the transgressions you have had and move forward with God. And as always, let’s keep going the distance. Peace, my friends.
Just a side note here: My first novel, “Going the Distance” has now been published. The book follows the same path I’m following on this blog, but the story is much different. Follow Martha and Jake as they travel from Aspen, Colorado, to Lincoln City, Oregon. Feel their emotions as they learn about each other and life along the way. You can purchase it from Amazon at this link http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500552607. Thanks, and let’s keep going the distance.