Live Blog Day 6 – Downtown, Helicopter, and Poor Decisions

March 2nd, 2022

Maverick Las Vegas Strip

Yesterday had been a pretty epic day and we definitely needed some downtime, but this is Vegas and you can sleep when you are dead so we were back on it with a huge itinerary for the day and some real bucket list activities, and one that is definitely NOT on the bucket list but needed doing anyway.

Today was definitely one to look forward to and one to be grateful for when it was over. But it all started really softly at the…

Bellagio Pool

There just is no way you can operate at the kind of level we were without some downtime, and the Moring was spent doing just that relaxing by the pool. The Temps had really soared since the start of the week when we were getting Frosts, and the sun blazed down on the deck, and even in the early morning, it was above 20°C (68°F)

However, as the sun was still a winter sun and low in the sky there is an unfortunately placed building that casts a shadow over the Bellagio pool deck. Early on we managed to grab a bed in full sun but we could see the shadow creeping ever nearer…

…Eventually, it hit our beds and ushered in an hour of darkness. This may seem overdramatic, and to be honest, it is, we just upped and jumped into one of the hot tubs that were still in the sun for a while. Later in the year as the sun rises higher in the sky this building is less of a problem and the deck basks in direct sun all-day

After a relaxing morning soaking u the rays we had to move on. We paid the horrendous pool bill, which came to around $50, for 2 beers and a glass of wine, and headed up to get ready for this afternoon and evening at Downtown Las Vegas

Resorts World Las Vegas

We were heading Downtown for the day and had some big plans for later, but wanted to drop into the New Resorts World Casino on the way. This Building has been creeping up for years now and last time in the City it was nearly topped out but still a long way from opening. It was due to open almost exactly as the Pandemic Struck and has kind of been stuck dormant, along with the rest of the City, finally opening on June 24th, 2021.

It’s pretty rare an Entirely new resort opens up, even in Vegas the City of change, the last one was the Cosmopolitan in 2010! This meant we were really excited to come along and check it out.

The resort is huge and the casino floor is really vast and pretty airy for a Casino. There are several nice bars scattered around and an interconnected Mall that is very fancy, with huge ceilings and marble floors.

The whole casino des have a very sterile feel though and is very clearly oriented towards the Asian market, and will surely be very successful when they return on mass. But we are not sure we will be staying here in the future. It is very far away from the main strip. The nicest feature was the food court, which is made up of many different street food establishments. There were a lot of different cuisines on offer and it all looked and smelt amazing! But er had other ideas for our lunch.

After a bit of a nosey round the public areas we moved on Downtown.

Downtown

We really love the Downton area of Las Vegas. The Fremont Experience is like a living museum of how VEgas used to be. We have a full article here, but we wanted to get back to see how things were going after the pandemic.

Overall the place is booming. We got there pretty early as things don’t get going until later on but it was still heaving. The stall vendors and street artists were still setting up but there were throngs of people on the street and in the casinos.

We spent a few hours exploring and grabbing a few drinks on Fremont street and headed over to the container park on the other side of Fremont, although this does not seem to have got its mojo back with several units vacant.

We picked up a Coney Island Hotdog which we always grab when downtown as the sheer dirtiness of it seems to match the district. We also headed to the Circa Hotel and Casino for a bit of a nosey. This is another new resort but it is a refurb and resides in the old Las Vegas Club Hotel. This is now by far the swankiest casino on Fremont and the Stadium pool is a really cool and intriguing idea, but we do worry about the urine content on game days!

Mob Museum

the Mob Museum

The Next stop was the Mob Museum which is included on our Go City Las Vegas Explorer Pass. Again we just headed back to see how things are after the Pandemic. The Mob Museum is one of our favorite Las Vegas Museums and is far unlike any museum you have been to in the past.

It is fantastically interesting and really sheds light on the dubious past and shady money Las VEgas was built upon. The City has now been taken over by the corporations but some might argue that they have fewer morals than the Mob, but that’s probably not a debate for now!

We only paid a flying visit to the Museum as we have many more plans for today.

Doors Off Helicopter Tour – Skyline

From the Museum we headed over to our headline attraction or one of two headline attractions of the day. We had booked a Doors-Off Helicopter tour to get some really clear and crisp footage of the City.

The one thing we hate about helicopter tours is the reflections caused by filing or photographing through the glass. Even on our latest trip to the Grand CAnyon the issue of reflected clothing, distortions, and even just dirt and scratches o the glass all have a huge impact on image quality. By taking the doors off that all goes away.

It is also FAR more exhilarating and is always the highlight of any trip. We have done many Helicopter trips in Las Vegas but this was our first without the doors. Mainly as there are very few companies offering this. In fact, there is only one we know of, and this brought us to Skyline Helicopters at North Las Vegas Airport.

Skyline is a fantastic little company. The Experience at Maverick, Papillion, and the other companies is one of cattle handling. You are at all times herded about and corraled through the process. You get no say in seating arrangements or timing or anything. It’s just a Tourist Processing plant. The need to process so many clients simply to justify their quite outrageous costs. Those Eco-Star Helicopters and Grand Canyon Landing Fees do not come cheap.

Skyline Helicopters are so utterly different. The welcome area was quiet and there were only us and another couple scheduled to fly. We were greeted by a friendly and welcoming host and talked through everything we needed to know.

The Pilot was incredibly accommodating and even allowed us to sit on the same side of the Helicopter so we could both film and shoot the Strip. The small 4 seater Chopper means you are almost always alone, just you and your pilot. For Sightseeing tours, you can both sit in the back with pretty epic views from both seats. But as we were filming we both needed a strip view. It’s all no problem and the Pilot and ground crew go out of their way.

This was probably the most enjoyable Helicopter Experience we have done and we will definitely be back!

After the Flight, we headed back towards the Strip with a stop off at the Stratosphere Hotel.

Poor Decision Making

The final stop of the day was for me a real error of judgment. This little nugget has been weighing on my mind for weeks, years even. I knew I had to do this but really didn’t want to. In fact, I have “accidentally” forgotten to book or run out of time to visit this attraction several times in the past. But kate seemed to have cottoned onto this and there seemed no escape this time.

Kate has no interest in this, but I felt it important we actually try it out to let you all know exactly what to expect from it. So it was up to me to suit up and take the leap while Kate stayed safely on the ground. I am after all the adrenaline junky of the marriage and hut out the biggest and scariest attractions, but this one was just a few notches above my comfort level.

So there I was, perched onto of the tallest tower in the USA, 855 of thin air between me and the concrete below, attached to nothing but a thin rope, with an angry woman ordering me to jump off! These are the decision I regret!

Welcome to the Sky Jump, an 855ft controlled descent from the top of the Strat. Las Vegas’s most terrifying attraction and one of the most frightening things I have ever been asked to do. This really is nothing short of just jumping off a building, a bloody tall building at that.

We arrived at the Strat and headed straight o the Skyjump, there was no point delaying things. Once in the building, the staff seemed to ignore my trembling and now whitewashed complexion. and started gearing me up, First a jumpsuit, then the harness. Next, an entirely different member of staff checked over the other one’s work and everything seemed ok.

You are then taken on a long walk. This walk to the elevators you are paraded through the Strat feels awfully like your last walk. Then into the elevator, as you are whizzed to the top and then bungled through a secret door to the drop room. Here the High-Rope team takes over. First, they check the ground team’s work, then check it again. I was pretty sure at this point my harness was ok as it had been checked 4 times. You are then led out onto the gantry.

The lady orchestrating the drop was firm and matter of fact with her various instructions. There was no pandering to my chattering teeth and knocking knees. She just went about her business attaching me to the rope. Left hand here, right hand there, etc…

Finally, I was over the precipice, 855ft above the deck, 3,2,1…

Honestly, this was my biggest fear of the experience. It wasn’t the jump, it was the fear I would refuse. The shame and embarrassment of getting all the way to the top to just come back down with my tail between my legs. You see I know the attraction is safe, the Jump is closing in on its 300,000th jumper with zero accidents. But as always in these things, it’s the primitive part of your brain that kicks in.

I have a fear of heights, but the modern side of my brain HATES this. This is why I constantly push myself, Learning to Fly, regular Doors-Off Helicopter flights, Hikes to remote and dangerous heights, and a general disregard for my fear. But that primitive part really can kick in hard, and while I knew I wanted to jump, it was starting to send some pretty strong signals that it was not going to go along, and all it takes is for those signals to get too strong right at the opportune moment and I would be getting the elevator down. It really is hard to gauge exactly how the brain will react when the drop is right in front of you and it’s go-time.

How did I react, well we will let the video tell the story!

So How was it?

Honestly once the Step is made it’s nothing but fun. You pretty instantly feel the tension on the wire, which reassures you the system has you, and you just plummet to the floor below. It was strange as all you got was a huge hit of adrenaline. Thre was no “falling” sensation and no fear of the bottom. Once you were off the top it was just a thrill.

All the fear, anxiety, and nausea all came before the jump, once in the air, it’s amazing. I could have happily gone round for another go!

However, there was some hangover from all the fear of the build-up. It was a little wobbly and nauseous for an hour or two afterward. This wasn’t helped by the fact we had access to the top and all the thrill rides that are associated.

SkyPod

So after my rapid descent, we headed straight back up. Again Kate was just not playing ball so after taking in the view for a bit and trying to calm down, it was onto the rides. Unfortunately, the Insanity Ride was closed (what a shame) but Big Shot and X-scream were firmly open.

I managed to bag the front seat for X-Scream and honestly this is probably scarier than the SkyJump. Big Shot is less terrifying as you are further from the edge but it’s still a thrill and honestly, my nerves were just shot at this point and I badly needed a drink! So we headed back to Terra Firma and jumped into an Uber back to the Hotel.

Today had been extreme and we had done so much we wanted a chill end to the day. So we grabbed some Taco Bell and spent the evening on Channel 22 watching the fountains with some Teremana Tequila!

Eventually, I stopped shaking.

While I firmly faced some fears today, Kate had kind of chickened out of everything. Well less so chickened and more so refused to even consider anything. Well, I would be able to get my own back later in the trip as I push Kate into really facing her fears, although not even that really went as planned.

Go Explorer Pass – Running Total

Again just the one attraction for today. We chose the Explorer Pass for this trip for this very reason. We knew we would be crazy busy and being able to spread the attractions out was a real help.

We could have visited the SkyPod + 1 ride on the Pass and even done the Skyjump on the All-Inclusive Pass but this would not have made sense as only one of us was doing the Jump.

  • Madame Tussauds – $37
  • Rock Star Club tours – $99.00
  • The High Roller – $35
  • The Mob Museum – $30

Total – $201 – 4 Attractions

5 Attraction Pass – $119

Walking Total – 16,572 Steps – 8.5 Miles

We spent a lot of time in Ubers today so we are not really sure how we racked up 8.5 miles but it all adds up in Vegas and even just wandering around a hotel can really clock up the miles!

Live Blog – Trip Report

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Day 7 – Paris, Battlefield Las Vegas, Beer Park, and Casino Hopping >>>

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