Travel Note

3rd March 2013

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I decided to plan a short getaway together somewhere in the United States. After some consideration we settled on Las Vegas, both for the roller coasters and the near perfect weather conditions found there at this time of year. While I'm only planning to write about the various thrill rides we tried, our itinerary also included a full day visiting the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, and most of a day at the Valley of Fire. The latter was a last minute change to our trip that worked out really well; I'd certainly recommend it. Additional thoughts on the Las Vegas area can be found in my trip report from just over eight years ago.

 

Buffalo Bill's Resort and Casino

3rd March 2013

It's always a thrill to catch a view of a roller coaster on the horizon, especially when it is large enough to see from more than five miles away. The sense of excitement was boosted by the sight of a train cresting the lift hill as we approached, indicating that the coaster we wanted to ride was operating.

Desperado is now nineteen years old, which is probably why it felt quite a bit rougher than I remembered. Be that as it may, the temptation to invoke mild profanities at some of the more violent mid-course jolts died away rapidly as the two of us realised just how much fun we were having. Sunshine, a clear blue sky, good company, and a thrilling roller coaster had both of us in broad smiles long before the train slammed into the brake run.

Desperado

 

New York New York Hotel and Casino

3rd March 2013

The coaster formerly known as Manhattan Express was not one that I particularly wanted to ride again, but my girlfriend needed the credit and it wouldn't have been very nice of me to abandon her on it.

Roller Coaster is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the most violent coasters on the planet. Be that as it may, the original Togo rolling stock was replaced in 2006 with new trains from Premier Rides, and these are a definite improvement, thanks to somewhat more forgiving restraints. The result is a ride that is on the very edge of being considered rideable, though once was still ample.

 

Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix

3rd March 2013

Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix is a small family entertainment center located a few miles away from the famous strip. It features a karting track and a small selection of rides, including a small Dragon Coaster (#1903). This ride was easily big enough for two adults to fit in a single car, and there was no problem at all with riding.

LVMGP

 

Adventuredome

3rd March 2013

We made a brief stop at the Adventuredome so Megan could get her Canyon Blaster credit, now arguably the best coaster in the Las Vegas area. The park is currently constructing a second adult roller coaster, so I'm guessing I'll be back in the not too distant future!

 

Stratosphere Tower

3rd March 2013

The Stratosphere Tower may no longer have a roller coaster, but it is still a must-visit for the discerning thrill ride enthusiast. I've written before about the fantastic Big Shot and the rather dull X-Scream; these rides have now been joined by Insanity, a simple spin ride that hangs almost seventy feet over the side of the tower. I'll admit to being a tiny bit unsettled by this ride and the view from it, but the effect wore off fairly quickly and it didn't do enough for me to justify riding a second time.

Stratosphere Tower

Both of us were much more excited at the prospect of trying the Skyjump, which at 865 feet is currently the tallest ride of its kind in the world, a little over ten percent taller than the previous record holder in Macau. The premise of this attraction is very simple; all one needs to do is to jump off a platform near the roof of the Stratosphere building, and try not to scream too much as you enjoy a rapid (but controlled) descent to ground level. The experience isn't cheap, but the adrenalin rush is addictive, and to capitalise on that, a second jump at half price is allowed within twenty-four hours. We returned after nightfall to enjoy our second jump with the lights of the strip twinkling around us.

2013


Buffalo Bills Resort and Casino

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New York New York Hotel and Casino

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Stratosphere Tower

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Adventuredome

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Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix

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