Before we arrive we have to make a stop. We are 886 feet above the water and staring at a modern marvel. The Hoover Dam stands braced against the constant force of the Colorado River, built between the jagged rust colored walls of two states. We aren’t the only people craning to see this massive dam; a bus full of tourists crosses the white line on to the shoulder for a better view of the dam. We hold our breath hoping to make ourselves more visible despite knowing we don’t stand a chance against a charter bus.
Our first sight of Lake Mead is a rare one with a rain cloud, but only survived to precipitate for a few hours. We take refuge in the first casino we encounter after crossing into Nevada to wait out the unusual weather pattern. Over a couple of adult beverages, we toss around the idea of riding all the way into Las Vegas before the sun sets. It is likely we won’t make it during the light of day.
Instead, Google Maps steers us to Boulder Beach Campground on the edge of Lake Mead. To our surprise a huge shoulder (bikers paradise) connected to a dedicated bike path leads us to the campground less than ten miles away! Arriving safe always makes for a more pleasant evening. Things were working out. We had time to circle the campground to spot the very best site with daytime to spare before the sunset.
We make note of the tree cover for potential hazards and also in the hopes for morning shade from the sun rising in the East. The location of the bathrooms, and the provided water source are next on our checklist. We then profile our camping neighbors for the evening. Do they have little kids, or small dogs? Are they weekend car campers with charcoal, coolers full of food and drinks? All things we take in to account to select the best campsite when we aren’t stealth camping.
Our lap around the campground serves two purposes. On one hand we are looking for the best campsite, on the other it lets our presence be known. Generally speaking we will spark someone’s interest in bike touring, or someone with bike touring experience will come share tales from the road.
We were finishing our meal when a couple approached us from the shadows. They were retired, in great shape, and came to ask what we eat on the road. They had experience bike touring and were curious what others ate on tour. We are always pleased to share recipes and show how simple and hearty we can eat. The couple explained they biked down Mexico’s Baja Peninsula for their honeymoon in the 1990’s and raved about it! That was the moment the idea to ride down Baja was planted in our heads… So thankful.
After a few minutes of stories they asked us if we would be interested in some homemade cookies. Let me be clear. NEVER TURN DOWN COOKIES… especially homemade cookies. The couple said their goodbyes and disappeared into the dark to retrieve some cookies. Our mouths began to salivate in anticipation of an unexpected dessert.
When the husband returned, he had a Ziploc of cookies in hand, but asked a question out of left field, “Who handles the money in the relationship?” Sarah and I looked at each other and we both replied simultaneously, “Sarah.”
He tosses the cookies on our picnic table, slaps a hundred dollar bill in Sarah’s hand, and disappears into the dark all in one motion. Many times people will add a stipulation to their donation, like get a hotel, or put it on black. This time we were left speechless and wanted to return the generous sum of money. We are humbled by the magnitude of generosity we encounter, and have made a point to pay it forward when we have the opportunity.
Little Bit of Advice
It’s a good idea to have a plan when you embark on any type of journey; you should also not be bound to the plan. The universe may have other plans for you. In today’s case, we had a goal to stay at a more remote campground, but a strenuous late start in the middle of the day had us looking for an easier option. This chain of events led us to Boulder Beach and an encounter with some incredibly generous people.