Norman Reedus Takes On Death Valley In Episode 2 of 'Ride'
Photo courtesy of AMC
As surprising as it was to hear that Norman Reedus had never traveled the PCH while living in Los Angeles, it was even more shocking to learn the actor had never been to the desert, ever. So, in episode two of his AMC series, "Ride with Norman Reedus," he made up for lost time as he traveled the 125 miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley.
His companion for the journey was fellow actor and close friend, Balthazar Getty, best known for the series "Brothers & Sisters." The two met up in Las Vegas at The Peppermill, one of the most famous diners in the city, maybe even the entire country. As Norman points out, the restaurant has even had its own starring roles in movies like "Casino" and "Showgirls."
Before hitting the road on matching red Ducati motorcycles, Norman and Balthazar decide to spend 24 hours in Las Vegas, a place Norm describes as "an adrenaline rush just waiting to happen." The guys started things off by taking a ride through the Arts District downtown, where the walls have become a canvas for some of the world's best street artists, including ROA, D*Face, Felix and Doze Green.
[READ MORE] READ MORE: The Non-Fiction Motorcycle Odyssey of Norman Reedus
From there, they made their way to SOSA Metalworks. This is where owner Cristian Sosa has made a name for himself through his innovative bodywork and designs. But, their detour off the beaten path didn't last long, and they were back on the strip by nightfall.
Among the many things Norman and Balt agreed on during their ride was a mutual fear of heights, which meant they would be avoiding the Stratosphere Hotel at all costs. "I'll just throw up everywhere," Norman said of the hotel's death-defying rides.
They may have decided to skip the rides, but the one show on the strip they obviously couldn't miss was the "Zombie Burlesque Show" at Planet Hollywood. The cast of the musical was just as excited to see Norman as he was to see them! After all, the show may have never come to be if it wasn't for his other series, "The Walking Dead." As the cast explained, their creator is a huge fan of TWD and found his inspiration there. If you want to catch these zombies the next time you're in Vegas, tickets start at $64.99 can be purchased online at zombieburlesqueshow.com.
After leaving Las Vegas the next day, Reedus and Getty stopped for lunch at a biker bar just 40 miles outside the city. On the way, Norman commented that he "loved this desert stuff, all this vibe." That vibe continued at the Mountain Springs Saloon where the owner was named Lead Feather and the walls were covered with dollar bills. They were served the "dirty pulled pork sandwiches" and, after devouring it, Norman declared it "might be the best barbecue ever," as he forced a portion onto the cameraman before they got back on the road.
As they drove through the Nevada desert, surrounded by nothing but "boulders and brothels," where "dirt bikes are king," they took advantage of their proximity to dirt bike legend Jimmy Lewis who teaches riding out that way. Though most people can't just drive up to Lewis' pad and get a personal tour of his trails like Reedus did, American Adventure Tours does run a Dirt Bike Tour out of Vegas that takes riders through the Hidden Valley National Monument and McCullough Mountain Range. Prices start at $299 plus a fuel surcharge. To book the tour, check out americanadventuretours.com.
As they traded in their dirt bikes for their Ducatis, Norman and Balthazar rode off into the darkness of Death Valley, stopping at The Inn at Furnace Creek for the night. This desert oasis has been rated a four-diamond resort by AAA for its amenities like a spring-fed pool, gardens, tours and spa services. The guys weren't there long enough to take advantage of all The Inn has to offer, but they did manage to meet up with a few more friends, the founders of Babes Ride Out, an organization dedicated to connecting female motorcycle riders.
From Furnace Creek, CA — which also happens to be the hottest place on the planet — the five friends rode Artist Drive, a nine-mile road through Death Valley that is known for its out-of-the-world colors and rock formations. This led to a 30-mile jaunt up the black mountains to their final destination — Dante's View, an overlook that provides a breathtaking panoramic views of Death Valley.
As the episode came to a close here, Norman thanked the women for joining him and noted — in that way only he could get away with — "I've never been to desert ever, you just popped my desert cherry." Next week Norman will head east to North Carolina where he'll take on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we can't wait to go along with him.
More by Christine Bord
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