Monday, February 1, 2016

Adios Las Vegas



Bicycle Stories is moving back to Florida.

Vero Beach, exactly.

It’s a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean, where a new job and a new house await. It’s about half way between South Florida and Daytona Beach. And if you drew a straight line from Vero Beach across the state of Florida to the Gulf of Mexico, you hit the Tampa Bay area.

Also essential and stunning parts of the move equation that make me smile: an amazing inspiring sister, the ol’ dadster and beautiful friends across Florida, all living within two hours or so of Vero Beach.

Hey, but it’s not like I won’t miss a few things about Las Vegas.

You know, the bicycle stuff.

I’ll miss cycling Red Rock Canyon, and my fellow pedaling yentas including Scott, Anthony, Kevin and Ben.

We chatted our way up those Red Rock scenic loop hills, swapped jokes and gazed at inspiring, red-striped high desert scenery.

I’ll miss Jared Fisher’s Wednesday morning bicycle rides from Las Vegas Cyclery (a stunning net zero building) into Red Rock Canyon while hearing Jared cackle at my lame jokes; Kevin “The Turchinator” Turchin effortlessly zooming by me in the Red Rock foothills but nice enough to say, “Hi, Alan;” and Ron Floth dressing up as Elvis and singing Elvis songs while biking around downtown Las Vegas.

I’ll miss the Blinking Man bicycle ride that attracted a wild battalion of fun counter-culture personalities who pedaled from the Huntridge neighborhood to downtown bars while illuminating the night with creative light systems. 

But there will be new bicycle adventures along the Atlantic Ocean’s A1A, and in the Florida Alps in the Clermont area.

The Specialized Roubaix will be zooming up and down A1A, while the Surly Pugsley will be trolling downtown Vero Beach and Ocean Drive on the Atlantic.

I’m saying good-bye to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where newspaper owners and publishers come and go like weekend tourists on the Strip.

On Thursday morning, I accepted a new reporting job in Vero Beach, where I will work for Milt Benjamin, owner of a newsweekly called Vero Beach 32963.

Milt, a former Washington Post writer and editor who started Vero Beach 32963 nine years ago, uses a most fascinating business model to make money.

He hires experienced news hands to publish a kick-ass product printed on heavy bond paper.

No tweets. No digital angst. No pangs for web re-design.

Milt also pays salaries comparable to those in metro newspapers – just in case you’re curious about that.

Milt has nailed his demographic. Vero Beach 32963’s readers are older, educated, well-to-do local news junkies hungering for well-crafted 1,000-word stories.

I love the name of the new beat that Milt has assigned to me: Business of Things.

It means covering all things money such as tourism, economic development and philanthropy in a coastal area rich with stories.

The gig starts March 21.

Later that day after I reached a job agreement with Milt, I was scrolling through Review-Journal news stories on Thursday afternoon and two items caught my attention.

I read the R-J’s new owner – billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson – wants to build a $1.2 billion stadium on the UNLV campus with $780 million of the money coming from the public. Adelson has stadium investor partners, too.

And I also read Adelson had hired a new publisher for his newspaper, the R-J.

Timing.

If a home inspection set for Wednesday goes well, it should be clear sailing to the closing on March 18.

You’re all invited to swing by.

Preferably by bicycle.



7 comments:

Carri Geer Thevenot said...

Sounds perfect for you, Alan. I wish you well!

Anonymous said...

I am devastated by this development. Happy for you. Very sad for us. I know you will be back for interbike. And you know we will be out to visit you and your new bike routes.

Godspeed my friend.

-Kevin Cannon

Ron Floth said...

Wow!

Happy for you Alan! This town won't be the same without you though! Your new gig sound very cool!


Happy trails and If we are ever in FL I'll give you a shout.

Ron

Bob Coffin said...

Alan, I am sorry to see you leave our town but today's brisk weather is a good prompt to remember why Florida can be a nice place. All those stories you wrote about how nasty and un-American it would be to build that teeny pro soccer facility now have to be rewound by someone else! At least Adelson is a practical man but can you imagine the angst on the staff left behind? Eating your words is worse than eating merda.

Iwill miss you. You are the fastest writer I have ever known and now maybe you can have a few moments to reflect before you hit the "send" button in the new place. Too bad no more Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

Mitch Levine said...

Congrats and best wishes, ol' broadcasting mate of mine. I know you'll ignite the readers and residents of your new habitat. Hopefully, we'll see each other in person again one of these years... Cheers, Mitch

Jacqueline Middleton said...

Welcome home, Alan! Hopefully, we will entice you back over to the exciting Tampa Bay area – at least for a view of the burgeoning TB Trails systems that are beginning to connect east to west coasts … and north to south counties. Life is good!

Jacqueline Middleton

Laura said...

Alan! I am selfishly glad to hear you are returning to our fine state, sorry for the Las Vegas folks who I am sure will miss you. Now that I have joined the ranks of those who say "cyclist" in sentences about themselves, maybe we will cross bike paths around the state, one way or another. Cheers, my friend, and safe journey back across the continent.
Laura