Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

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

Postby scooterdoug » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:17 pm

Excellent trip report. You really bring the reader along on your adventure. Like others, the picture of Millennium Force gave me a good laugh. Waiting eagerly for part 2...
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby boldikus » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:48 pm

Awesome update! That Millennium pic though. :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

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

Postby Canobie Coaster » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:14 pm

I think the only thing better than a Millennium picture would have been one of Radiator Springs Racers or Big Thunder Mountain. It would have kept the nature theme going as well as providing a ride.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby MisterBrow » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:03 pm

A couple of random mine coasters without captions to send us into, "WTF coaster is that they found along the way?!?!" moments.

Can't beat the fare, just keep repeating that price point the whole way... O to be young without kids or pets. Before kids the wife and I flew out of BWI into Burbank cheap and crashed with friends. LA, Lego land... Tijuana... LA... and up to Napa Valley.

Honestly, I think I've grown accustomed to reading the regulars' trip reports here that it didn't even dawn on me that wasn't a coaster trip.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:00 am

Nrthwnd wrote:^ Honestly, your pictures do a pretty great job of showing how awesome that place is! <thumbsUp>


Well thank you! I really appreciate that.

My phone was a major source of frustration on this trip. I'm no photographer, but I would have killed for optical zoom or a camera that could take decent pictures in anything less than ideal light. If it weren't such a spontaneous trip I might have invested in one. Eventually I learned that the best way to get "good" pictures is to take a ton of them, knowing that 75% of them will be sh*t but if you take enough you'll still end up with a few winners. :lol:

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Now this is how I want to do Vegas. Fly in cheap, rent a car, get the hell out of Vegas and go to a National Park instead. :lol: Looking forward to more of this!


I'll get to Vegas later, but I feel like this was the best way to split everything up. I really liked Vegas, but (in my mind... everyone likes different things), it would have been a waste to be that close to the canyons and stay in Vegas the whole time. Plus, I kind of feel like we would have gotten ourselves in trouble if we had any more time there. I generally have a lot of self control with money, but those casinos are REALLY GOOD at sucking you in. :lol:

ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Glad you got to experience some of Route 66. Would you be jealous if I told you I drive it on my commute to work? ;) Springfield is the place where the road was first commissioned, and the Mother Road goes right through the square in the centre of town. We have a big festival every year with classic cars and BBQ. It's a fun time.


That sounds great! Route 66 was a weird, bucket list thing for me. Sure, we technically drove on it in Santa Monica and (possibly) in Chicago but that's cheating. Once we started hitting places like Flagstaff and Kingman (you know... the sh*t in the song, lol) it felt more legit. Also, we may or may not have downloaded the song and listened to it while driving Route 66 (Depeche Mode version of course).

prospekt88 wrote:Awesome report! Looks like it was a great time. I'm actually doing a Phoenix->Las Vegas road trip next month so this is very interesting to me. I had no idea Route 66 was along the way, that's a nice bonus. Looking forward to more!


You won't be on it for long, and the GPS won't take you there but if you get off of I-40 in Kingman at exit 53 and just take it until it meets Beale / 93 you'll be on it for a little bit and there are a few cool things on that small stretch.

You'll also be driving right by the Hoover Dam if you care.

Password121 wrote:Dulles is actually like 12 miles from my house so I can verify that the area is a disaster zone with no light at the end of the tunnel. Great report though, and I was also a fan of the random Millennium shot (and others shots :lol: ). Keep it up!

scooterdoug wrote:Excellent trip report. You really bring the reader along on your adventure. Like others, the picture of Millennium Force gave me a good laugh. Waiting eagerly for part 2...

boldikus wrote:Awesome update! That Millennium pic though. :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

MisterBrow wrote:A couple of random mine coasters without captions to send us into, "WTF coaster is that they found along the way?!?!" moments.

Can't beat the fare, just keep repeating that price point the whole way... O to be young without kids or pets. Before kids the wife and I flew out of BWI into Burbank cheap and crashed with friends. LA, Lego land... Tijuana... LA... and up to Napa Valley.

Honestly, I think I've grown accustomed to reading the regulars' trip reports here that it didn't even dawn on me that wasn't a coaster trip.

Thanks guys! I didn't expect so many people to actually read and comment on a non-coaster report, so I really appreciate it and it's nice to know people are actually enjoying it. :lol:

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

Postby coasterbill » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:40 pm

Alright! On to part 2!

When we left off, we had left the Grand Canyon and driven over 100 miles east to Page, AZ (a full 380 miles from where we started and where we needed to return to in Las Vegas). I'm sure that left you with some questions like "why the f*ck would you do that?", "where the f*ck is Page, AZ", "What the f*ck is in Page, AZ", "WTF is wrong with you?" and "Is there a f*cking roller coaster there because if not I'm so done with this bullsh*t report?".

Allow me to explain. Also no, lol.

When we were kids, mom saved up for years so she could take us on a trip across the country. She had wanted to make that happen for a long time, and finally in 2002 we did it. We flew to San Francisco, drove down to LA on Highway 1, went to Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, the Badlands, Six Flags Magic Mountain (yeah... I lobbied for that one), Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and tons of other places along the way. To this day, it's the coolest trip my Brother and I ever went on.

Of all the things we did we had two clear cut favorites (Spoiler Alert: It wasn't f*cking X2 at Magic Mountain because that ride sucked balls and still does), Yellowstone and Glen Canyon.

For those unfamiliar, Glen Canyon is up-river from the Grand Canyon. Basically, the Colorado river flows into Lake Powell (a man-made lake created by the Glen Canyon dam), through Glen Canyon, then into Marble Canyon, then into the Grand Canyon and then into Lake Mead (a man-made lake created by the Hoover dam) before traveling through the Hoover Dam and down through California and Mexico.

The thing that made Glen Canyon such a highlight was the Colorado Discovery Tour. Basically it's a half day rafting tour on the river in the canyon. It's smooth water rafting and appropriate for pretty much everyone and it's an experience that I really couldn't recommend enough. In addition, Page is also home to the Antelope Slot Canyons. We still haven't done them, but they look amazing.

I knew I wanted Brit to experience Glen Canyon, and of course I was thrilled at the opportunity to do it again.

Since we got in early the night before and our tour didn't begin until 11:30 (Mountain time... sort of... I guess... Arizona is weird), we slept in that day but we still weren't adjusted to the time zone so we ended up waking up "early" anyway. The hotel had breakfast, but since we had so much time to kill we pulled up Trip Advisor in search of a local breakfast place.

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Breakfast is serious business in Page

What's really cool about Page is that it's pretty much Navajo Nation. I believe there was a land exchange so it isn't "technically" on Navajo land but it's surrounded by it and the Navajo culture and influence is all over the town which is very cool. The restaurant we found was Navajo owned, but as you can see they clearly adopted some cultural things from the East... mainly the absurd portion sizes. Murrica' :lol:

After our monstrous breakfast, we slowly made our way over to the Colorado River Discovery center. From there, we signed in for the tour and got on a bus which took us through a giant tunnel through the canyon wall that descended about 1000 feet to the base of the dam. At that point we were split into 2 groups and assigned to a boat.

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Our home for the next few hours!

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Ready for our Glen Canyon adventure! Behind us, the Glen Canyon Dam and Glen Canyon Bridge stand 700 feet above the river.

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One more shot of the dam and bridge.

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... and THIS is why we drove all the way to Page. lol

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Pictures don't do it justice, but the crazy thing is... neither do your eyes. With very few points of reference, it's hard to process the fact that the canyon walls are between 700 and 1000 feet high.

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To the left: Little Niagara... a pathetic waterfall that's been flowing reliably for decades.

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Our guide informed us that the smooth lower portion of this cliff face (up to the height of that ledge on the lower right) was 300 feet tall. In this picture, that seems insane and it seems equally insane in person. Being a dork, I was trying to picture Millennium Force fitting in that space so I would have some point of reference but we could never wrap our heads around it.

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... just checking to see if you're still paying attention.

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We had way too much fun with the reflections in the water. PS: The river is crystal clear (looking down to the bottom is a breeze even at a depth of 15 feet).

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Awesome...


Half way through our tour, we took a break on a small beach where they had some petroglyphs made by ancestral Puebloan and Freemont groups. They believe they date back to 1300 AD.

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Nobody knows exactly what the meaning of this drawing is. Some people interpret them as deer, others interpret them as elk which was likely a common source of food for these ancestral groups, Carowinds interpreted it as a super sick budget cutting opportunity for Winterfest. Everyone interprets it in different ways, and that's part of what makes it so cool

After we left the beach we proceeded down the river to the base of the horseshoe bend...
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Doesn't look like much from down here does it? We'll get to that later...

Unfortunately about 30 minutes after we left the beach and once we rounded the horseshoe bend it was time to head back. We could have stayed in the canyon all day, but at long last it was time to say goodbye to our awesome guide and get back on the bus so we could make our way back to the River Discovery Center.

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In addition to being a wealth of information about the canyon itself, our guide introduced herself as a member of Navajo Nation and gave us a ton of information on Navajo culture as well! That made an already awesome tour even more awesome!

Pictures will never do the canyon justice. I highly recommend the river tour to anyone in northern Arizona who's looking for an unforgettable way to spend a day exploring the area's natural beauty. I was thrilled to find that the tour was just as good, if not better than I remember and I was equally thrilled that Brit loved it just as much as I did.

After making our way back up through the tunnel, through Homeland Security and back to the Discovery Center it was late afternoon and we had a ridiculously long drive through bumblef*cktucky ahead of us.

We still had one thing we wanted to do in Page though, and that was to check out the Horseshoe bend. When we did the tour as kids, we were on a tour that left from Grand Canyon National Park so while we did the same boat tour and went to the base of the Horseshoe Bend (shown earlier), we never got to see what made it so cool.

A few miles outside of Page is a ridiculously crowded parking area that leads to a hiking trail. On the surface this "hiking trail" would make anyone who's ever actually hiked anything (like... anything) double over laughing as it's probably only a 75 foot elevation change and a 3/4 mile walk but I guess it is worth noting that if you don't visit in November like we did and instead go in the summer you'll be dealing with no shade and temperatures that can easily exceed 100 degrees so your mileage may vary.

After a short hike, we approached the edge of the canyon and quickly realized what all the hype was about.

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Note the size of the boat, 1000 feet below.

The view is amazing, and I recommend everyone check this out but a few words of caution...

1) There are no railings and in order to see everything you need to stand within about a foot of a 1,000 foot fall to certain death. The view is amazing, but it's not for the faint of heart.

2) If you're a photographer, go in the morning. The sun is in an irritating position in the afternoon which makes it tough to get a good picture.

3) Seriously... I'm not kidding about that 1000 foot drop. :lol:

We spent quite a bit of time there, mostly laughing at people who were having panic attacks about getting near the edge. At one point a photographer asked me to take a picture of her across a ridge standing on a rock outcropping. I thought she was a bit insane, but when she came back alive she asked if we wanted her to take pictures of us doing the same thing. Put on the spot, we threw every bit of common sense out the window and agreed.

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I was careful to check for anyone with body odor and a coaster patch jacket who might be waiting for the opportunity to push and make it look like an accident before getting out there.

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Brit took a "slightly" more sane approach and stood a bit further back. lol

After snapping a few more pictures and laughing at some more terrified people (mainly parents), we made our way back to the car... ready for a 4 hour drive back to Kingman in our piece of sh*t rental car with no cruise control. :lol:

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I left this out when going through my tips for the Horseshoe bend, but PLEASE refrain from sh*tting on the floor while using the restrooms. Apparently this is enough of a problem that they needed to put up a sign. WTF Arizona? lol

Lucky for us, even after spending the day at Glen Canyon, the drive back to Kingman was still impressive enough that we managed to pull off at a ton of scenic overlooks along the way. God, the desert is amazing.

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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.

Don't believe me? Watch this...

Do you long for a car with less power than Carowinds as soon as Windseeker reaches the most pants-sh*tting stopping point on the entire ride? Do you want a car with a profile less aggressive and intimidating than a Great America security guard on a Haunt Saturday? Then you'll love this piece of sh*t Hyundai Accent with no cruise control, power, or redeeming qualities to speak of!






What? You don't want it? Oh yeah? Wait for it...






Wait for it...





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BOOM!!!!! I can practically hear you reaching for your checkbooks every time I glance at this picture. :lol:

After taking some time to bask in the "brilliance" of our car we hopped back into our (now super bad a**) Hyundai, and continued along to Kingman. Unfortunately the second half of the drive was pretty uneventful as the sun went down and we were left with a dark ride through nothing-ness back to our hotel on Route 66.

We got in pretty late so we opted for a quick dinner at Sonic before checking in to our hotel and crashing, excited for the day ahead.

We awoke the next morning on our final day out west with a ridiculously busy day ahead of us. Las Vegas would be the main focus of the day, but we were still about an hour and 45 minutes outside of the city when we woke up. Since most of our adventures thus far had been outdoors in November with very early sunsets, we had been going to bed pretty early and still felt like we were on Eastern time. Because of that, we were up bright and early once again and on our way to sin city.

We still had one more thing we needed to do before getting into town though, and that was to take that dam tour that eluded us on our first day (you should probably get used to my dam dad jokes now, FYI).

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Good morning! Dam fine day today!

If you go from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, Page or basically anywhere in Arizona you'll take route 93 to get there. That used to mean traveling directly over the Hoover Dam. That's no longer the case (which is nice since you no longer need to go through multiple security checkpoints if you're just passing through), but how could anyone pass through when route 93 puts you within a few hundred feet of the Hoover Dam?

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Woohoo! Let's do this dam thing.

I highly recommend the Hoover Dam to anyone in the area, mainly because it requires a minimal time investment and you're very likely to be traveling right by it anyway. If you don't do the tour or you're feeling cheap because you got your a** kicked in Vegas you can park for free and access the walkway to the Tillman Bridge which gives you an awesome view of the dam. That said, tours are moderately priced (I think ours was $15 plus the parking fee at the visitor center) for a 30 minute tour which seemed like a good enough deal to us.

It's basically a 3 part tour, one part of which is bullsh*t and involves watching a video about the construction of the dam (which is nice... but not really "tour-worthy"), but the next 2 parts are what you're really paying for.

After watching the video, you enter a giant elevator that brings you down to one of the four diversion tunnels. The diversion tunnels are immense, and were used to divert water away from the dam during construction. Portions of them are still used today, and it's really cool to see them in person.

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... that's a big a** tunnel

The final part of the tour is the tour of the power plant at the base of the dam. It's pretty cool to see it in person, and it's amazing how much power it can generate. This is probably the portion of the tour that everyone thinks of when they think of the hoover dam tour.

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The massive generators

After the tour (and a quick stop in the gift shop) we made our way out of the parking garage and to the aforementioned Tillman Bridge parking area. This bridge was new since I visited as a kid, and it was probably one of the coolest parts of the Hoover Dam. The fact that it's free and parking is free makes me like it even more.

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Dam, what a view!

The hoover dam is super cool and definitely worth checking out. Don't go out of your way for it, but (as I mentioned), you most likely won't need to as you drive right through Boulder City and right by the visitors center from all points Southeast on your way to Vegas. Even if all you do is park and walk out on the Tillman Bridge, it's a cool experience.

When we left the dam it was still mid-morning and it wasn't long after we started driving that the impressive Las Vegas skyline came into view. It had been an awesome few days in the desert, but we were excited for a change of pace. Especially since that change of pace involved coasters, thrill rides and copious amounts of alcohol. :lol:

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Up next! Las Vegas!
I promise there will be some coasters in the next installment, but I can't promise they'll all be good. :lol:

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

Postby Nrthwnd » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:05 pm

^ To heck with the Vegas coasters! Show us the Vegas Buffets! =)

Canyon + Dam Shots = Awesome TR!
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby RaceBoarder » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:31 pm

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

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:

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

Postby anonymouscactus » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:05 pm

Awesome photos!

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.

Anyways, keep it up. Looking forward to the next installments as always!

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

Postby prospekt88 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:06 pm

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.

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