Sunset Rail Explorers Boulder City

Earlier this week, my wonderful wife and I went out to Boulder City.  To the Southern Nevada Railroad Museum.  Home to Rail Explorers Las Vegas office. We were there to do the Sunset Railbike Ride!

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/IK5WCECUUDs” title=”Riding Sunset Railbike Ride in Boulder City!” /]

To refresh your memory:

Rail Explorers came out last winter from Rhoad Island, trying to find a winter home for their railbikes. They thought Boulder City and the old rail line that once served the town would make for a great location. (see the previous story)

They were right. Boulder City was perfect for what they offered. So when the winter season was over, they packed everything up and returned home to start their normal seasonal business there.  while they did that, the plans were made to return to Boulder City full time. Earlier this month,  A semi-truck filled with railbikes was delivered to the railroad Museum location.  These bikes were built specifically for the Boulder City office and now plan to be here all year!

Visit Rail Explorers Website: https://www.railexplorers.net/tours/las-vegas

Sunset Ride

Leaving the station, we were one of the last railbikes.  They space you far enough apart so that you feel alone, but you have others watching behind and in front of you.  On one side is modern civilization.  The main road into Boulder City is a few hundred feet from the tracks. as well, the Eldorado Canyon mountains are in the distance. as is the dry lakebed.  On the other side, is wilderness, mountains and not much else!  In front of you are tracks.  The sounds are kind of soothing!

Mark and Debbie Anthony

In Nature Outside

It’s an easy peddle and the noises from mother nature, the tracks, and the distant highway are not enough to drown out any conversation you may be having with your partner or your group.  They have two styles of railbikes. A four-seater and a two-seater.  It’s actually relaxing with the sounds of the tracks under you and the fresh air in your face. Not to mention the very picturesque scenery around you.

To know that just over that mountain in front of you, the Las Vegas valley awaits your return.  That 2 million people plus thousands of tourists are just  “over there”, out of your view.  While you are in this scenic, quiet area with mother nature opening up around you. Rolling down a train track that helped build one of the largest manmade projects on earth!

If you are looking for something fun to do as a couple or a group, in nature and away from the las Vegas Strip; Visit Boulder City and try this!!

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My Guide to Tipping in Las Vegas

After all these years, I finally get around to making a general guide to tipping in Las Vegas!

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/RmfvRub29oY” title=”My Guide to the are of tipping in Las Vegas” description=” Tipping in las Vegas. Who and how much!” /]

Tipping. The art of giving a gratuity for great service or for the hope of getting better service is an American custom. Not shared by some in other countries and as such, some people have a difficult time understand it. Getting a grip on who and how much.

A General Overview of Who to Tip and How Much

Shuttle drivers

Probably the first place you will be tipping is at the airport.  The shuttle to your hotel or to the car rental facility. if the driver helped you with your luggage, arranged a better seat for you or did something specific, other then drive you to the location: $1 per bag.

Uber/Lyft Drivers

We are used to using cabs in Las Vegas. Ride Share vehicles are now taking over.  The same tradition follows. If the car was clean and the driver friendly, knew where to go and got you there safe and sound?  10% of the fare

Valet 

The people who will park your car then return it to you when you are ready to leave: $2/$5 at pickup
If you tip nicely when you first enter, they tend to park it closer.  Larger the tip, the closer to the front they will park it!

Bellman:

Standard pick up at check-in or at drop off in room:$2 a bag
If they go above and beyond, be sure to increase the tip

Casino Cocktail Waitress

If standard well drinks: $2 a drink. Call drink $5
The better you tip, the faster she will return!

Housekeeping

You do not always get the same housekeeper every day, tip every day.  Tip: $2/$5
Put it someplace by itself and leave a note so they know its for them and not loose change you may have left behind when you left the room for the day.

Tour Guides

Multi-day tours: $5/$10 per day. Day trips: $5/$10 per person. If the guide was wonderful, maybe even extraordinary: 10% of the price of the tour

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Cheat Sheet!

  • Shuttle Driver – $1 per bag
  • Valet – $2/$5 at Pickup
  • Uber/Lyft Drivers – 10% of fare
  • Bellman – $2 per bag
  • Casino Cocktail waitress – $2 per well drink/$5 for call drink
  • Housekeeping – $2/$5 per day
  • Tour Guide – $5/$10 per day

I’m sure I missed a few people. But these are the common ones. Rule of thumb is that if its a personal service being performed, there probably is a tip expected at the end.  If not sure, don’t be afraid to ask.

General Rule of Thumb. Not In Stone!

Nothing is ever set in stone.  Tipping is a very personal decision and has to do more with emotions than anything else.  Had a great person do something more than what you expected them to do? Tip a little more than suggested.  Had crappy service? tip lower.  Want better service from the same person next time? Be memorable by tipping heavy and being friendly when you tip.  oftentimes a “thank you” with a nice tip can go a long way. Service people in hotels talk. Especially the maids.  The word is passed on who is and who isn’t a great tipper.

Las Vegas Roller Coaster For Sale!

Do you want your very own piece of Las Vegas history? How about owning your very own Las Vegas roller coaster? You can now own it! Remember Speed the Ride? The roller coaster at the Sahara?  It’s on the auction block.  Well, parts of it are.

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/HbgNePtih64″ title=”Buy Your Own Las Vegas Roller Coaster! Speed The Ride” description=”speed the ride roller coaster for sale” /]

Here is the link to the auction: Speed The Ride Auction

Las Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam Tours at Sunset - Click Here

EDC 2019 in Pictures

EDC Las Vegas 2019 is Over

For those not so initiated to the letters, EDC stands for the Electric Daisy Carnival. This is an annual three-night electronic dance music festival, with its flagship event held right here in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Attracting 150,000 people a night. Adding about $350 million to the local economy over those three days.




The Trivia

Just for sake of EDC trivia: The carnival began in California in 1997 as a one nite event. Quickly growing to a multi-day event and outgrowing its California base as well as dealing with the locals having problems with the crowds. Like I always say, Vegas knows how to do events. For us, 100,000 people for one event is not that big of a deal. So they moved it here in 2011. There are rumors that it may move from the speedway to the domed stadium in 2021.

The event is owned by a company called Insomniac and that is owned by Pasquala Rotella. He married Hugh Hefner’s ex-flame and Las Vegas PeepShow darling Holly Madison in 2013.

Holly Madison EDC 2019 Las Vegas

Holly Madison. The darling of the Las Vegas Strip and the late Hugh Hefner has been out of sight for the last couple of years, since marrying the founder of Insomniac and starting a family.  They recently divorced after 5 years of marriage.

EDC 2019 Las Vegas Motor Speedway daytime

EDC 2019 covered over 1,200 acres of land. Almost the entire Las Vegas Motor Speedway grounds including parking lots.

EDC 2019 in the daytime

All those little dots you are seeing in this image are part of “Camp EDC” its called “Moon Glow SiftPod camping“.  This is camping in the age of high tech and environmental awareness. That is the speedway in the back. I told you this was a big event!




Trivia:  There were more than 2,000 hotel rooms booked for EDC staff and crew. There were 3,000 EDC staff members in attendance. As well as over 300 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers.  A lot of people to handle a lot of people.

EDC Las Vegas at night

 EDC at Night

Here is what it looked like at night. 8 stages, carnival rides, cooling areas, special event tents, and merchandise trailers.

EDC Happy Fans

Grand Canyon Sunset Flights with Maverick Helicopters - Click Her

Yes, it was a Vegas event, but they do a good job of keeping it somewhat family friendly as far what people could wear and what had to be covered.  You had to be 18 years of age or over to attend.    And the “over” part went way over that age. More than I expected to see at the shuttle locations.

EDC Fans 2019

All those people crowding into the 8 stages to watch someone play with an oversized iPod attached to fog and light machines..  The carnival opened at 7pm and they closed the gates at 5am…

deadmau5 at edc 2019

Eight Stages of Entertainment

This is one of the headliners of the event. Deadmau5 (Disney is not pleased).  You really don’t want to know what he gets paid to wear that headpiece and play with his iPod each night.  You could pay off your mortgage as well as your neighbor’s mortgage plus have money left over, for what he got paid for just one night…  Seriously…

You had eight stages of “live” entertainment.  Stage names like “Kinetic Feild” , Cosmic Meadow, Circut Grounds, Neon Garden”.

EDC 2019 Vegas Dancers
Even if it was out at the Speedway, it’s still considered a “Vegas” event and you cant have a Vegas musical event without some sexy dancers to entertain the already entertained crowd!

EDC 2019 Lights are on

See, the naughty bits are covered! Don’t you love rechargeable battery packs??

Transportation to EDC 2019

Transportation Options for EDC 2019

As always, Las Vegas knows how to move large crowds of people around. EDC is no different.  You could drive out there and get stuck in freeway traffic. Take an Uber and save some frustration.  They even had EDC shuttles as well as “premium” shuttles that avoided all the traffic and drove through Nellis Air Force Base for your grand entrance!  Or you could just say “F-It” and break the bank (if you haven’t already done so) and hop a ride on a Maverick Helicopter express ($850 round trip).

All in all, this was a great year. It was earlier than normal and only suffered a few minor glitches due to high winds. The earlier start dates helped, as there were no heat-related injuries.  Now its time to plan for 2020!

Did I get it all?  I hope this fed your EDC 2019 desires.  Thank you as always to our friend Tom Donoghue who provided the photos.

Leave me your comments or questions below!

EDC 2020 Las Vegas –

No dates and no locations have been announced yet for EDC 2020 in Las Vegas.

Keep watch on The Vegas Tourist Social Media accounts for the updates

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Hoover Dam Tours Updates (updated)

Hoover Dam is one of the engineering marvels of the modern era and was built literally in the middle of nowhere during the Great Depression. Pretty much everyone at the time said it was not going to work. It was too large, too complex and it would fail.   Obviously, the experts were wrong! Today, it still stands as a tribute to America’s will to survive and thrive as well as our determination as a nation to conquer any obstacle put in front of us.

Today, Hoover Dam is regarded as a “Must See” attraction for those visiting the Las Vegas area.  It is what revolutionized the way we live work and survive in the western United States.

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/MJrOmTbUCOA” title=”Hoover Dam Tours Updates!” description=”Hoover Dam tours are now operating with a fresh exhibit update and new elevators” /]

The Much Needed Upgrade

The Hoover Dam Visitor Center was first opened in 1995 and has seen an average of 1 million tourists a year go through the center and down into the generator overlooks using two custom-built elevators.  Starting a few years ago, those elevators started to have issues. Breakdowns and outages. They needed to be replaced.

As well, many of exhibits highlighting the history of the dam as well as how it works and what its many purposes are – started to look outdated and boring. So last year, the Bureau of Reclamation and the other agencies that oversee the various parts of the Dam received funding for its first major facelift, update and upgrade.
The Hoover Dam Visitor Center Updates

The Shutdown

This past winter, they shut the visitor center elevators off.  Then divided the normal Hoover Dam Visitor Tour into two separate tours. One was to the Visitor Center and the other one was the Generator Overlook, using the original visitor elevators on the Nevada side that were originally installed in 1938.

The Visitor Center elevators held 45 people each and ran 10 hours a day.  The original elevators hold 15 people and will run all day as well (hopefully). Except if the employee elevator on the Arizona side is not working, then they shut down the tour elevators as they would be needed if anything happened and they needed to rescue the workers on the Arizona side.

Following me still?  So the elevators on the outside (the original), worked most of the time and only held half of what one of the visitor center elevators held.  Thus, you always had a line waiting to go down into the generator overlook. Most packaged tours from Las Vegas stopped offering the generator overlook part of the tour during this project.

Hoover Dam Visitor Entrance Remodel

All new, sleek and shiny visitor center entrance. Ready for the tourists wanting to see the modern engineering marvel




Back In Business and Better

Not anymore. Everything went back to normal at the start of March.  The brand new Hoover Dam Visitor Center elevators are now installed, inspected, certified and working beautifully!  Each holding the usual 40 to 45 guests and working consistently.

When you first enter the Visitor Center and go through security (no weapons, no food, no beverages allowed), you will notice that is is more open, modern looking and bright.  Previous, it was a little dark and had that cave-like feeling to it.

After passing the ticket counter, you are ushered into the movie theater for a 10-minute movie showing you what it was like to conquer the Colorado River and the dangerous jobs that were performed here.  Then it is onto the shiny new elevators with your guide and a fast trip down to the intake tunnels.  After you get to see where the water enters the Dam, its another short elevator ride up to the generator overlook on the Nevada side.

 

The new, ultra-modern Hoover Dam Visitor Center Elevators are now operational

 

Finally, your last elevator rides up to the exhibits and overlook.

The exhibit area has had a facelift of sorts. They are still doing some minor touchups and updates.  Several new exhibits have been installed that are touch screen and interactive. Where you get to run the power generators and decide how much water, wind and geothermal energy you want to use to power your city. Yes, they had to throw in the green energy promotions to keep everyone happy!

However, the new interactive displays are very informative, functional and not preachy! They are pretty cool to play with and you do learn something while you are playing Master of the Turbines!

Check it out the next time you are in Las Vegas!

 

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