Better Late than Never
It’s only been a few days since I published an article about the Top 5 Thrill Rides in Sin City. Since then, I was reminded by some action enthusiasts that there were several noteworthy activities that were left off the list. Perhaps my limited perspective of a “Thrill Ride ” caused me to overlook a couple of the very best excursions.
Happy Ending is your Responsibility
Most of the rides previously discussed were contraptions that belted you into a seat and left it up to the ride designer to create a satisfying and safe experience. Here are a couple of late entries that leave some major responsibilities up to the rider.
Morning in Las Vegas
I was lucky to be the firs one picked up by a Las Vegas tour company. This led to an interesting van ride through the backstreets and short cuts in order to gather the customers who were waiting at the crack of dawn beside their hotel valet or bell desks. Leaving the city behind, we journeyed north, passing the Las Vegas Speedway and pausing at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza and Casino. As we stocked up on trail mix and energy drinks, I was amazed by the huge selection of fireworks. Some of the explosive stuff is illegal if you take it back to the city so the tribe has thoughtfully provided a test area to blast away. I’ll bet there are some wild tailgate parties on the holidays.
Desert Rat Patrol
After a nice trip viewing the relative wastelands, we came to the lush green fields of the little town of Overton. The alfalfa crops are an oasis where horses and cattle graze. At last, a bumpy ride brought us to private property that has been dedicated to hot, dirty fun. Although I have been on a few ATV tours, the new fleet of Polaris Sportsman Ace mini-dune buggies turned this trip into the best.
Unlike the ATV vehicles that are like a four wheel motorcycle, the Ace is configured more like a car. The lower center of gravity and superior handling created a unique experience. There were eight of us on this run, ranging from seasoned riders to brave souls who were seeking to test their boundaries.
Faster Pussycat, Thrill, Thrill!
With tour guides leading and following the flock, we started slowly, but gradually increased the pace. Climbing sandy hills at full throttle and plummeting down rocky ravines enclosed in a steel cage brought home the reality that it was up to the individual rider to make instantaneous choices. Your attention must never wander for even half a second. When we stopped for lunch, several of the newbies were shaking and howling for more.
Kayaking at Hoover Dam
The very next morning, I was ready for more adventures. The gathering together of the tour group proceeded as before, except this time there were more kids and families. We traveled towards the East, passing through the historic Boulder City that was created during the construction of the great Hoover Dam. Once again, we rattled along a dusty rode pulling a trailer loaded with kayaks, paddles, and life vests.
Finally arriving at a hideaway cove called Kingman Wash, we were directly north of the dam on Lake Mead. Stocking up on bottled water, we paddled out and headed south. The smaller children were secured on dual kayaks where they shouted encouragement to their Dad or big brother. Hugging the coastline, we could see the bathtub ring that shows the high level mark of the biggest man made lake.
The rugged environment and the gusts of wind tunneled by rocky hills formed an out-of-this-world voyage that was oftentimes challenging. Occasionally the tour guides tossed a rope to tow a fatigued tourist to calmer waters. After several hours, the group was happy to return to the launch for a sandwich. This welcome break was followed by a ride up the hill to the visitors center at the Hoover Dam. Exhibits told the story of this engineering masterpiece and from the Observation Deck, our group could view the area where we had enjoyed such a memorable morning.
At the end of the day, we bid a fond farewell to our new friends as the tour van returned them safe and sound to the luxury of hot showers and room service at their hotels.
Stay tuned for other late entries in this series. Thanks for reading.