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Unread 1 Apr 04, 07:37 PM  
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Las Vegas, Anaheim, etc. - Day 5 - Red Rock Canyon by ATV

Today was another tour day, but this time, we were doing the driving sort of. We were going quad-biking (or ATVs as theyre called in the States) around Red Rock Canyon, which is only about a half hour drive or so from Vegas. We ate breakfast in the same place, stocked up on sodas in the ABC Store in the Desert Passage (very cheap considering its location) and went to the tour bus pick-up point again. No delays this time and we were soon on our way to another couple of hotels and then straight out to Red Rock. The driver was excellent, telling us lots of useless I mean, useFUL information along the way, pointing out parts of the area that had been used in the movie Seven for example.

Upon arriving at the ATV HQ, we got kitted up with helmets and gloves, once I found a helmet that actually fitted (despite what some people say, I have a very small head and find it difficult to get things to fit once had to get a size zero hardhat for work!). It was then onto a smaller bus and up a short road to the start of the trail; this is where the real fun would begin.

It was quite a big tour group, but there were four guides, who separated each group to make sure everyone was okay. We got on our ATVs and learned the controls. Upon finding out that some people had never ridden before, one of the guides said, okay, first thing to do is reach over and find your seatbelt I had to shove my helmet on my head to stop myself laughing when Kat fell for that I rode an ATV in Lake Tahoe years ago, so knew the score

The guides took us up a fairly gentle slope to get us used to everything, after first making us circle the parking lot to ensure we knew how to brake. By the time we hit the real trail itself, I was desperate to get some speed up. My position was right behind the guide for the second group, so I was glad when he opened up the throttle and put some space between us I hung back and then really let it rip to catch up. There were a number of moguls (or whoopsidos as the guides called them) which were rather sore if you took them at speed and didnt rise off the seat so, of course, I stood up and took them at full pelt the guide just shook his head and laughed By the time we got to the first rest stop, I was having a fantastic time, but the guide got worried when he saw how red my face was as I took off the helmet. Assuring him that it was a side-effect of being asthmatic, I grabbed a soda from my backpack (refusing the free water from the cooler they had, as I hate the stuff) and glugged back about half a bottle the temp was about 100 degrees and it was only mid morning. I then did the sensible thing and put the rest of the soda and my spare bottle into the cooler for later very wise idea!

We passed some Mountain Sheep on the trail, which not everyone gets to see apparently, as they can be very hard to spot. Didnt really get a chance to stop for photos though, which was a little disappointing. Lunch was taken by some rocks (in Red Rock Canyon, shocker!) where I managed to get some shade; however, the ants decided they liked the shade as well and crowded around to beg for my chicken wings (or roadkill as the guides called it) lunch was provided as part of the tour.

The Red Rock Canyon trail area was amazing scenery-wise, really, really beautiful but very hot. Even though I topped up with factor 15, my fair skin and red hair combination got the better of me and, without realising, my legs were very burnt. Of course, since the insides of my legs had been pressed against the ATV, it was only the outsides and my knees that were red, so I looked a fine sight the next day! Top tip always use sunscreen!

On the way back, our group got taken a slightly different way, which I later discovered was because one of the group in front had got stuck trying to drive up one of the sand dunes. We ended up on a much harder trail that they only take the advanced drivers on, which was fine with me and everyone in my group was pretty good. I had an absolute blast hanging back to get some space and then pulling full throttle again even managed to get some pretty high (and technically brilliant, if I do say so myself) jumps in, much to the amusement of the guide.

Meeting up with Kat later (she was at the back of the first group), I figured Id definitely had the better end of the deal, but then I booked it, so it was only fair

The bus was late in coming back for us (surprise, surprise!), but they gave us free sodas and candy, so I was happy The drive back to Vegas was pretty quiet as everyone was exhausted from the heat and exertion, though I was more bothered about the ache in my thumb. Kat rides a motorbike so knew the best grip to use, but I wasnt so lucky on that score; however, I survived and was glad to get back to the hotel for a shower to get rid of the sand and dust covering every inch of me I swear I was the same colour as my Timberland boots!

Top tip number 2 dont scream in pain when the shower spray hits your sunburn, it only amuses your friends and they laugh at you when they hear it through the walls!

It was only a half-day ATV tour, so we were showered and changed by late-afternoon, but were too tired to really do that much. I think we probably had a bit of a sleep and then wandered around the Desert Passage again, though I do remember going to the Venetian Hotel at some point and I think it might have been this day. There, we did one of the Gondola rides outside (hoping it would be refreshing to be on the water). It cost $12, I think, and only lasted about 3mins plus, the Gondolier had to sing as we moved, which was highly embarrassing. Having looked at the gondola ride inside the hotel as well, I think the indoor one is better value for money.

Dont remember where we ate that night, but it wouldnt have been far away. We watched the Bellagio fountain show from the hotel room and liked the fact that it was a different show, set to different music. One of the songs was My Heart Will Go On, which I have to say is not a fave of mine, but I did laugh at them playing that when Celine Dion was performing in Caesars Palace a few doors away.

Coming next River Rafting, the lazy way
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Unread 3 Apr 04, 10:10 AM  
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Those ATV sound like fun, greta way to see the local area. Must remember about the shower after though!
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Unread 3 Apr 04, 10:10 AM  
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