A Gambol Gamble

Our Ride Coordinator came up with something completely new yesterday. We started the club ride at Harrah’s Casino on Coal Mine Road.

As I drove to the start through some of the worst fog of the year, I knew I was taking a gamble on the weather, but I decided to roll the dice. Not literally. I have a gambling problem. My problem is that I do not enjoy it, which I suppose given the prevailing odds is not a bad thing.

The parking lot is huge, and at 10 am on a foggy Saturday morning in the Time of the Covid, nearly deserted. There are security people around in golf carts, and apparently the Casino does not mind if we take up a few out of the way spaces. We can even use the restrooms if we follow the Casino Covid protocols. A temperature scan at the entrance, wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer before entry.

How it is that a Casino can be open, when non-tribal restaurants cannot even offer outdoor dining, is unclear. I am reminded of an experience in Oregon. I was driving home with G Man, and we know how he loves his casinos. So after a massive casino style breakfast I gave him an hour inside on his own, and I told him that if he came out 2 minutes late he was going to have to call Uber for an interstate lift.

While he was inside I headed for the tribal filling station to get gas. In Oregon you are not allowed to pump your own gasoline. You have to wait for an attendant to do it. But at this station I noticed drivers doing their own fill ups, although there was an attendant about. I asked him if I could pump my own gas, and he said sure. I told him I thought that was illegal in Oregon, and he gleefully informed me “You’re on Indian Land now! Pump away!”

He did not say “Native American Land” but I didn’t have the courage to argue the point.

Back to Saturday. We had a nice group of 10, but the weather was not so nice. Temperature ranged from 40 to 47, with humidity around 100%. Sometimes we had the fog turning into a mist to get the roads and our cycling glasses wet. It was flat out miserable.

Not only was the ride start new, but the ride itself was a combination of familiar roads arranged in a new manner. It was fun, but because there were some route modifications made along the way, and not everyone got the memo, we got separated into 3 groups. That happens a lot with our club, so we are all used to it.

At the end of Irish Hill all was well and everyone was present. When we got to Willow Creek Road and climbed the hill on the east end, we rode literally into the cloud deck. We all had tail lights which I hoped made us visible to cars, and I guess we were because we made it back to the Casino without incident.

The ride ended at 38 miles, but I decided to climb Coal Mine road again. Steve and Kent joined me. I had never climbed Coal Mine twice in one day. That is not a major achievement; Coal Mine is steep but short and even riding relatively easy it only takes about 10 minutes. But it was a first for me.

Just like the Casino start was a first. But not a last. I’m pretty sure we will start more club rides there. G Man can enjoy a post gambol gamble, while others can enjoy a nice lunch. I like a cycling gambol, and while I don’t care to gamble, I do like a good lunch after a ride. Bet on it!

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