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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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^ Honestly, your pictures do a pretty great job of showing how awesome that place is!

 

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.

 

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. 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.

 

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).

 

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.

 

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 ). Keep it up!
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...
Awesome update! That Millennium pic though.
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.

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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'

 

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.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

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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

 

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

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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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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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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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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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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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

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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.

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Canyon + Dam Shots = Awesome TR!

Thanks!!!!

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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).

 

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.

 

Picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of rocks, picture of roc...

 

Can't say I didn't warn you.

 

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.

 

That's awesome.

 

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

Thanks!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 locker 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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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!

Edited by coasterbill
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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 ), 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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Amazing report! That's unbelievable that they take the on-ride photo on the stationary car in the station. That's just one step above taking a photo in a test seat.

 

I know I'll make it to Vegas someday and experience the fury of Manhattan Express. While it's expensive, at least it's cheaper and over sooner than a NYC taxi.

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If Manhattan Express does to your heads and bodies like I think it did, when you get over to Europe,

be sure to take a spin on El Condor in Walibi Holland, outside of Amsterdam.

 

Worst - SLC - in - The -World! And unfortunately, this is/was the original SLC I believe (?).

So now you have to ride it, if only once in your fragile life. And when you approach it,

you can hear screams of pain on that first drop, from the lift hill. Truth!

 

Great ongoing report, btw. Looking forward to more.

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All I did was take photo of El Condor, back in Sept.2015. Couldn't be paid enough ride it again.

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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).

 

Took me a minute to realize you were talking about the Ferris wheel and not the now-defunct coaster atop Stratosphere LOL.

 

And yes, the Bar Car is the ONLY way to do the High Roller. 35 minutes of open bar (beer, wine, AND simple liquor) is SO worth the $50 or whatever it is now.

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Seemed almost like you skipped the ride itself.

 

My thoughts on Manhattan Express -- which it still was at the time, I rode Speed while I was there! -- was that it wasn't rough particularly, see almost any Arrow, but it is so weird. A big thing was that it looks so good from the Strip, but most of the view from the ride is butt ugly. You emerge outside between 2 industrial-looking walls and the main sort of stunt/inversion section near the end is all on one roof around on the side, think tar paper etc. basically could be any of a million buildings anywhere. It is rough enough on the faster sections to be annoying and the brilliant maniacs that gave us airtime on standups didn't give us any here. Said stunt section I liked but was awkward and slow. Final run back into the casino was cool but short.

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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!

You're welcome! And no, you don't have to ride it. Nobody should ride it.

 

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

Thanks!

 

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).

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).

 

Took me a minute to realize you were talking about the Ferris wheel and not the now-defunct coaster atop Stratosphere LOL.

 

And yes, the Bar Car is the ONLY way to do the High Roller. 35 minutes of open bar (beer, wine, AND simple liquor) is SO worth the $50 or whatever it is now.

 

You NEVER KNOW what could happen in part 2

 

Amazing report! That's unbelievable that they take the on-ride photo on the stationary car in the station. That's just one step above taking a photo in a test seat.

 

Thanks! And while it does seem strange, the station is the best part of the ride so I guess I understand.

 

If Manhattan Express does to your heads and bodies like I think it did, when you get over to Europe,

be sure to take a spin on El Condor in Walibi Holland, outside of Amsterdam.

 

Worst - SLC - in - The -World! And unfortunately, this is/was the original SLC I believe (?).

So now you have to ride it, if only once in your fragile life. And when you approach it,

you can hear screams of pain on that first drop, from the lift hill. Truth!

 

Great ongoing report, btw. Looking forward to more.

 

(And thanks!)

 

Seemed almost like you skipped the ride itself.

Yeah, normally I can give better "play-by-play" on rides but some rides are just so f*cking bad that they become a total blur of sh*t and pain. I barely focused on the ride. Basically I was just wishing it would end.

 

75% of the time it was all a blur of sh*t, and the other 25% of the time we were just traveling through totally pointless elements like slow a** camelbacks or a helix that didn't do anything.

 

I don't even remember the run back into the casino, but I can back you up on the fact that the ride is butt ugly when you're riding it.

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