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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby CaptainUnknown » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:18 pm

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:56 pm

So cool. And yes, you are correct that Depeche Mode did the best version of the Route 66 song. Love those guys, and I got to see them in concert in Kansas City back in 2006. It was an...interesting concert. Turned into a Martin Gore solo concert when Dave Gahan got too high on heroin to come out and sing. They gave us a full refund plus a thing of my choice from their store. I chose the Speak and Spell DVD/CD combo. Still have it. Not a great concert, but at least it's a great story.

I don't know that I would have ventured as close to the edge of that canyon as you did. Roller coasters are perfectly safe, and that's a lot of the appeal. Nature doesn't care if we die.

Great report! I love the West, and I'm glad to relive it through your photos.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby bert425 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:10 pm

beautiful pics from the Canyon/Dam

when we do Vegas, we like to do a bus trip from our strip hotel to Primm, and that always includes stops at the Hoover Dam (and Ethyl M chocolate factory). but we never have enough time to do the Dam tour.

that looks like a lot of fun, maybe next time we go, we'll get a car and go just to the Dam for the tour.

can't wait to see your Vegas pics!
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby bill_s » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:53 am

I went to Grand Canyon with a family group about 10 years ago. We did overlooks and even a plane ride over it and still felt disconnected from taking it in, I think I really needed to get down into it or even a relatively "small" canyon to actually do that. The Glen Canyon raft looks like it would have done it. From the view from above, it doesn't even seem like going down in it would help, took me a while before I started thinking I should have, long after I was actually there.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby JordyC » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:30 am

coasterbill wrote:This was probably our favorite scenic overlook on the way to Kingman. For whatever reason, the road was freshly paved which was a pretty uncommon sight in Arizona. After wondering about it for awhile, I came up with a theory. My theory is that 99% of the world's cliche', terrible car commercials are filmed on this road so they paved it to make it look good.


Hahaha, this part is gold! Your theory sounds about right, because the car does look good in that picture! :lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao:

Anyway, fantastic report as usual. Looking forward to your Vegas report. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:03 am

Great report! The middle of nowhere Arizona looks like a beautiful place!

I was terrified enough this past year walking along a pathway about 30-40 feet above a stream. Make that 25 times higher and I would make sure my uncoordinated self was plenty far away from that edge. How windy was it up there?

Meanwhile I'm fine with drop towers or even the see-through observation deck at the Willis Tower since I know they're engineered and designed to be safe. Although the latter's glass did crack once while people were on it. :lmao:
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:11 am

Nrthwnd wrote:Canyon + Dam Shots = Awesome TR!

Thanks!!!!

RaceBoarder wrote:Awesome adventures!

Doing the Grand Canyon stuff is definitely on the to do list when I make it out West. Glad that you pointed out Glen Canyon though... It's peaked my interest and is also on the list now :b


Awesome! It really should be. I'm not exaggerating when I say that out of a 3 week trip across the country as kids that was the single best thing we did (aside from possibly Yellowstone). It was just as good, if not better than I remembered.

RaceBoarder wrote:Nice to see that they even allow Upper Deckers there too... I mean, the sign doesn't say not too, even though they cover everything else :lmao:

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

anonymouscactus wrote:As far as going to the edge of the canyon.... F THAT. I barely made it to the edge knowing I had a rope attached to me on the CN TOWER edgewalk, let alone doing what you did holy shit nopenopenope. Funny how I can skydive no problem, or go on huge coasters, but walking the lifts and being near the edges of things (even looking straight down over the edge of a ferris wheel) already gives me the jitters for whatever reason even though I know I'm safe.

If you do the edgewalk and don't freak out a little you're not human. We did it a few years ago and totally loved it. :lol:

Yeah, it was pretty freaky getting near the edge but it was worth it for the view. I'd personally welcome a railing up there (like the Grand Canyon has basically everywhere).

prospekt88 wrote:Great segment, this is getting me real excited for my upcoming trip. I was one of the people wondering why you were going all the way up to Page, AZ haha. That boat through the canyon looks amazing but unfortunately we won't be able to squeeze that into our trip. It's really amazing how much there is to do in just this one region of Arizona. We have three days for this area but with full day hikes planned every day it's nearly impossible to see even half of what I would like to. The Flagstaff area nearby with Walnut Canyon and the San Francisco mountain range looks completely amazing too.

Thanks for the advice on the Hoover Dam. I think we will probably end up going the park and look route but the tour does look pretty cool if we end up having time.

Looking forward to reading about your Vegas day. We have about half a day to spend on the Strip and I'm not too sure what we'll be doing with that time yet.


Thanks! I think the park and look plan is a good one. Just park in the lot on your right once you get through the security checkpoint. If you get to the parking garage turn around, you went too far.

CaptainUnknown wrote:Picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of roc...


:lol: Can't say I didn't warn you.

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:So cool. And yes, you are correct that Depeche Mode did the best version of the Route 66 song. Love those guys, and I got to see them in concert in Kansas City back in 2006. It was an...interesting concert. Turned into a Martin Gore solo concert when Dave Gahan got too high on heroin to come out and sing. They gave us a full refund plus a thing of my choice from their store. I chose the Speak and Spell DVD/CD combo. Still have it. Not a great concert, but at least it's a great story.


:lol: That's awesome.

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Great report! I love the West, and I'm glad to relive it through your photos.

Thanks!

bert425 wrote:beautiful pics from the Canyon/Dam

when we do Vegas, we like to do a bus trip from our strip hotel to Primm, and that always includes stops at the Hoover Dam (and Ethyl M chocolate factory). but we never have enough time to do the Dam tour.

that looks like a lot of fun, maybe next time we go, we'll get a car and go just to the Dam for the tour.


I feel like if you have a car you should probably do that and the Grand Canyon. You don't have to go to the National Park, if you want a shorter drive go to the Grand Canyon West which is only 2 hours from Vegas (and the dam is on the way). It's a little more expensive but they do have that cool sky bridge.

I'm not sure I would rent a car just to do the dam, though it is cool.

bill_s wrote:I went to Grand Canyon with a family group about 10 years ago. We did overlooks and even a plane ride over it and still felt disconnected from taking it in, I think I really needed to get down into it or even a relatively "small" canyon to actually do that. The Glen Canyon raft looks like it would have done it. From the view from above, it doesn't even seem like going down in it would help, took me a while before I started thinking I should have, long after I was actually there.

Re: Hyundai Accent, have one, love it.

At this point I don't think there's any possible angle of the canyon where you can ever really take it in. It's just so ridiculously immense and awesome.

As for the car, I was playing it up a little for the joke. The only reason I didn't like it was that this particular Accent didn't have cruise control which sucked since we drove it for 13 hours on mostly straight, empty roads. The car itself was otherwise great.

JordyC wrote:Hahaha, this part is gold! Your theory sounds about right, because the car does look good in that picture! :lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao:

Anyway, fantastic report as usual. Looking forward to your Vegas report. Thanks for sharing!


:lol: Thanks. I wish I could have tried it with my old 97 piece of sh*t Dodge Neon... then again I guess I don't wish that since getting stuck in the desert 100 miles from the nearest gas station with no cell service would have put a real damper on our vacation. Honestly, if you break down out there I don't even know what you would do.

Canobie Coaster wrote:Great report! The middle of nowhere Arizona looks like a beautiful place!

I was terrified enough this past year walking along a pathway about 30-40 feet above a stream. Make that 25 times higher and I would make sure my uncoordinated self was plenty far away from that edge. How windy was it up there?


Thanks! It wasn't windy at all, if it was I wouldn't have been nearly as close to the edge. :lol:

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:38 pm

Alright, time for part one of the Las Vegas portion of the report!

After spending a few days in the desert (often 100 miles from the nearest building with electricity) it seemed sort of surreal to head over a mountain and see the bright lights of Las Vegas up ahead.

We had a few ideas for what we wanted to do in Vegas but for the most part we just went in ready for anything, knowing we had a solid 8 hours before we needed to drop our rental car and head to the airport. I debated dropping the car early and taking a cab / uber to the strip and in retrospect maybe I should have but in the end we just decided to drive in to the city figuring it would be nice to know we wouldn't have to wait for a cab or uber to show up when we left for the airport as late as reasonably possible. :lol:

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Let's do this!

After snapping a quick picture with the Las Vegas sign (where we totally parked in the nearby Harley dealer's lot instead of waiting forever for the tiny sign parking lot... sorry guys, lol) we made our way up the strip. For the most part we were really excited for our day in Vegas but there was one notable exception to that excitement and unfortunately it was the first thing we came to on our way up the strip. Reluctantly, I turned on the turn signal, checked to see if we had any aspirin handy and tried to mentally prepare myself for the impending sh*tshow.

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In all it's glory...

While I knew we could have continued on and parked for free at Treasure Island, we only had 8 hours in Vegas and I didn't feel the need to waste precious time trying to save 10 bucks so we opted to park at the Monte Carlo (next to New York New York) instead. After exiting the garage we got a look at the brand new Vegas hockey arena which looks absolutely awesome. For a minute, we were happily distracted, enjoying the nice weather and admiring the new arena without a care in the world but then we turned around and were quickly reminded that all things fun and happy were going to have to wait.

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Since we go on so many road trips, we've seen a lot of cool "world record" tourist traps along the way that we never knew existed. World's largest ball of twine, world's largest Corn Palace, world's largest elkhorn arch and now the world's largest pile of sh*t (barely edging out the #3 largest... 26 feet taken in 1995 in Michigan and the #2 largest, X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain). The more you know...

PS: Yes, that first part is real (though contested), 26 feet... you wouldn't believe how much research I do trying to set up some of these corny jokes.


... get it




... corny?




... cuz this ride's a piece of sh*t




... I'll show myself out.

As I already mentioned, this wasn't my first time in Vegas but it was my first time since 2001 when I was a kid and mom took me and my brother across the country. Back then, we drove from California and I managed to annoy mom into stopping to ride a few coasters while in town. On the way in we stopped in Primm and hit Desperado since we drove right by it. We also went up to the Straosphere and rode the High Roller and we were staying at Circus Circus so we rode Canyon Blaster as well.

At the end of the night, we had walked the strip from Circus Circus and found ourselves in front of Manhattan Express (or whatever the f*ck it's called). She asked if I wanted to ride, but we were tired and ready to go back to the room so I thanked her but declined, telling her that everyone said it was awful and really expensive. Even as a kid, I knew better... but here I was almost 2 decades later standing in front of that piece of sh*t coaster again, about to prove with absolute certainty that I now have less common sense than I did as a 12 year old. Against our better judgement, we entered the casino in search of the coaster.

IMG_7767.JPG
The only explanation I can come up with for this is that this piece of track fell off of a flatbed in transport back in 1997 and got run over by a freight train but the driver didn't want to get reprimanded by his dickhead boss so he put it back on the truck in hopes that nobody would notice and the construction team in the field (likely distracted by the copious amounts of alcohol, hookers and blow that are so readily available in Vegas) never realized it when installing it.

Yup... that is the ONLY realistic scenario here. The only one...


Look at that f*cked up track piece. Look.


As is normally the case in Vegas, finding anything other than slot machines was a bit of a hassle. As everyone who's ever been to Vegas knows, most casinos are set up in absurdly complicated layouts designed to suck you in and get you lost in an endless sea of slots. New York, New York was no different. Generally casinos put all of the slot machines up front since casinos like to entice you to play them over everything else since statistically they're the biggest ripoff in the entire casino.

Understanding this and knowing that casinos always put their biggest ripoffs in the most prominent locations, we were a really surprised to see that they made it so hard to find Manhattan Express. That defies all conventional wisdom.

IMG_7766.JPG
Wow people in Vegas sure love their horrendous roller coasters.

After finally finding the ride, we purchased our $15 (yes $15... per person) tickets, bought a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo to hold our crap and entered the station.

Since we had just paid $30 to ride the thing, we debated waiting for the front but it had a bit of a line and we decided that since we were most likely going to hate the thing anyway, we would just choose a row with no line.

IMG_7763.JPG
It was definitely a cool looking place.

One thing we noticed while waiting in line was that they take safety seriously here. Like many coasters, the ride has air gates that open out as well as a yellow line on the floor ahead of the air gates. We generally stand behind the line, but very few guests bother when there are queue gates. The people next to us took one step over it (still well behind the gate), and were immediately met with an angry lecture from the ride ops.

Pro Tip: In Las Vegas you can be simultaneously sh*tfaced and high as a kite and walk up to a cop while drinking straight moonshine out of a red solo cup on the sidewalk with one handing and holding a joint in the other and ask him for directions to the nearest brothel and that's all perfectly acceptable behavior. Step one foot over the yellow line in the Manhattan Express station though and you WILL be met with the full f*cking fury of god. :lol:

Anyway, a few minutes later our cab to destination: f*cked pulled up and I won't deny that it looked pretty cool. The cars are made to look like New York City taxi cabs and they feature functioning brake lights and headlights which look really awesome. While the brake lights were fully functional, the turn signals never once lit up for any reason... even as the ride made abrupt, violent, almost incomprehensibly stupid and horrible turns, swerves and transitions which really drove home that "New York City Cabbie" theme. Impressive! They really thought of everything!

Unfortunately as we stared at the trains a bit longer we realized that not everything on them was worthy of praise. The primary restraint on the coaster is a lap bar, but I guess somewhere in the evil Togo, underground lair they realized that if the coaster only had lap bars it wouldn't be able to deliver a preposterously excessive amount of violent headbanging so they added partial over the shoulder restraints that end a few inches below your shoulders and seem to exist solely to inflict pain on everyone who dares to ride this horrible thing.

They checked our evil restraints, took our picture (yes... the on ride photo is taken by the ride op row by row in the station before they dispatch the train since I guess that's the only point in the ride where you might look like you're happy and having fun) and sent us on our way.

Image
The twisted Togo disaster that awaited us...

We made our way out of the station and up the lift, questioning our sanity the entire way. On the plus side, the view was awesome. The view of soaring casinos and skyscrapers juxtaposed against huge, desert mountains made for an awesome visual and it gave us something pretty to look at right before our imminent death which is always nice. We slowly crested the hill, dropped off the lift and into a tangled mess of misery. After what seemed like an endless blur of jarring transitions and general awfulness we mercifully slammed to a stop right outside the station.

We did it! We survived what many people consider to the worst coaster in America! We stumbled off the train (declining their absurdly expensive re-ride... you'd have to f*cking pay me to re-ride it) and into the gift shop. Thankfully the first thing you see when entering the gift shop at the ride exit is a fridge full of beer. Almost instinctively, I grabbed for one with no regard for the price... whatever, I f*cking earned it. :lol:

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The verdict...

Alright, let's be real for a second here. My opinion of this ride is that it's awful, like really awful. Pure, absolute sh*t.

But... I think I expected worse. The ride IS awful, but objectively I don't know if it was quite as awful as I expected given the ridiculous amount of venom it gets. I'd probably rather ride Manhattan Express than something like T3, X2 (actually... just any coaster with a single letter and number in the name), Mighty Canadian Minebuster, any coaster named "Green Lantern", any Volare or the vast majority of standup coasters (just to name a few). It's a really bad ride, but it's not the historically bad ride I was expecting. In a sick way, I was disappointed. :lol:

IMG_7765.JPG
Located in their arcade, this is somehow the best coaster at New York New York Hotel and Casino.

After walking around a bit more and grabbing another beer, we made our way out to the street... taking advantage of their wonderful nonexistant open container laws in the process. At the time I hadn't actually confirmed with anyone that you could legally walk around Vegas with an open container but I saw everyone else doing it and I figured if I was questioned by the police I would explain that it was medicinal and I needed it because I just rode Manhattan Express and I was drinking to forget. :lol:

At that point we had a few options. We considered going to the Stratosphere (obviously) but I figured if we did that I would blow way more money than I should on the Sky Jump so I opted to save that for another time. Next, we considered going to Mandalay Bay to check out the shark reef but we decided to save that for our next trip since in the end the shark reef isn't going anywhere and we knew we could check it out on our next visit, plus we'd have to backtrack to get there.

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So many options...

After weighing our options, we decided to make Circus Circus and the Adventuredome our next stop. Unlike our other options, I knew that if we didn't go now we might miss out on something we would never have another chance to do. Yes, I remember liking Canyon Blaster and yes, I wanted to ride El Loco but there was one reason and one reason only that we were going to the Adventuredome.

I pulled out my phone and plugged in Circus Circus to see how far away it was. Initially we planned on walking the strip, but I had sort of remembered that Circus Circus was obnoxiously far from the heart of the strip and it turned out my memory was correct (impressive considering all of the substantial blows to the head I had suffered a few minutes prior). If we had more time we would have walked it since it would have been a fun walk down the strip with loads of cool stuff in between, but since we were only there for about 5 more hours before we needed to head to the car we decided against walking. We knew there were cheap buses on the strip and we knew there was a cheap monorail a block back (which is a loooooooooong block) but we were on vacation and short on time so we decided to hail a cab instead.

We crossed the street (I mean... I don't mind splurging but I'm not paying a cab to sit at an endless light to turn around on the strip when I could just cross the street), started walking and hailed the first cab we saw. The cab driver later informed us that he wasn't really supposed to pick people up hailing a cab on the strip but he picked us up so clearly he didn't really care all that much. lol what do we know? We're from New York standing outside New York New York hotel hailing a cab. If the cops ask, tell them it's all part of the theming. :lol:

We made our way down the strip, making small talk with the driver, mostly about the amazing laws (or lack thereof) and before we knew it we pulled up outside of Circus Circus. We tipped the driver, grabbed our sh*t and made our way inside.

Up next: Las Vegas Part 2!
Last edited by coasterbill on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:20 am.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:13 pm

That story was so good I feel like I have the full experience of riding that coaster and I don't actually have to now. Thanks a lot!
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby bert425 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:41 pm

perfectly accurate description of "Coaster" from NYNY :)

you know, if you had done the rail-shuttle from Mirage to Treasure Island, you could count that as a "Coaster" too ( you KNOW Cedar Point would :p), and it would have still been more fun than the old Manhattan Express.

I take it from the time allotted you mentioned, that you didn't bother with High Roller (as that's a good chunk of time expenditure needed, tho I think it's totally worth it for the incredible views. .and bonus if you get in a carriage with the bar).

continues to be a great report, and eagerly await the part II installment.
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