Be forewarned, fellow ATS travellers...
Do not undertake this "Hoover Dam" tour lightly - most of the guests who went were very angry because the description was extremely misleading - it
was a horrible waste of time that took us all away from the things we paid to enjoy, and also forced us to kill an entire day waiting for the bus to
take us back, in a place where we did not want to spend our time. We were suckers for sure, and I have never been the victim of a scam like this,
until now, so I thought I would post about it and hopefully save you all at least nine hours of your precious time!
You need to get up quite early for the "tour" as the bus picks you up at 7:25 am and the reason for this is to accomodate the drive time from the
Strip to the Hoover Dam, plus 20 minutes for pictures, then to the Ethyl M chocolate factory in Henderson, NV and 20 minutes there, and then SIX HOURS
in "Primm Valley". You get back to your original location between 5:30 and 6pm in the evening, having woken up early and wasted your entire day.
PLEASE keep reading to find out what this scam really is...
The day tour is supposed to go to Hoover Dam. The driver does some nice sleight of hand in obtaining vocalized disclaimers from the entire bus,
before you leave - this is your only chance to get off. "Are we all having a great time?" "Yeah!!!" "Ready to go to the Hoover Dam?" "Yeah!!!"
"Ok, real quick now, let's not take up any more time - we will be spending about 20 minutes at the dam and 20 minutes at the factory, and then we'll
get ya'll quick on over to Primm Valley 'cause we'll all be hungry by then and you'll be able to pick up your FREE BUFFET, right ya'll"??? (Ummm,
where?) "YEAH!!!" (Cool, this is a nice tour, they will have a lunch for us...) "Any problems with that? No? Anybody with a problem with that
just hop on off now, now's the time... Ok, great! Let's get moving!!"
You do indeed go to the Hoover Dam and the bus lets you off for 20 minutes. You are let out to take pictures from the back side of the dam, after
having driven across it. You do not get a tour of the dam, which most of us were expecting from the adverts, and you do not even get to walk around
on the top of the dam or cross it, or go in the free museum, or anything like that - it is purely a hustle to get you to sign up for the "tour". So
then, you are driven to the Ethyl M chocolate factory, in Henderson, a nice looking neighborhood, but again, the chocolate factory and its
accompanying cactus botanical garden gets another 20 minutes, so you move through quickly to be sure you are back on the bus in time to depart, and
then you drive for a half an hour to Primm Valley. Hoo boy...
We don't get into gambling much, instead, we usually just bring a small pre-allocated amount to spend on the few games we like, and then go to shows
or attractions. This time, we had not been to Vegas for several years and we were hoping to learn something new. We wanted to "do something
different" while we were in Las Vegas, this time. We had in mind something along the lines of, visit the historical and/or scenic or geographically
meaningful sites, learn some history, etc, and we thought "Primm Valley" must be a scenic location. We had NO idea it is a threesome of kitschy older
casinos combined with an outlet mall the likes of which are found in every urban outskirt, in one of the least lovely parts of the already unlovely
Mojave Desert (and this is coming from people who live in the desert, in Phoenix, AZ).
The tour guide made it clear that we were stuck there for six hours, so we survived the first four hours by traipsing back and forth under the
overpass and across the street from one casino to the next, hoping we might find something to make the time pass. Oh, and by the way, it was 110
degrees, on July 3rd, 2012. Again, we are from Phoenix, so we are used to the heat.
None of the following are things that interest us, but judging from the number of folks who kept checking into the place while we were there, they
must be of interest to them... The monorail, the roller coaster, and all of the Buffalo Bills food options were closed the day we were there. We
gave in and ate the buffet, at Primm Valley, and it was highly mediocre. Then we traipsed around looking for at least a bar with decent beer where
we could last out the miserable couple of hours remaining, but alas, nothing but crappy domestic brews, so we simply ordered water, and worse, the
smoke had now become pervaisive throughout, and the noise in the place kept ricochetting up, which touched off a migraine, for me, which continued
escalating until well after we were returned to our origins that evening.
We escaped the smoke by going into the outlet mall, where smoking is not allowed, and planting ourselves in the coin opperated massage chairs, trying
to move the mechanisms below our pain points by wiggling around, since we weren't about to pay them for the next two hours, but by then the migraine
had taken hold.
We were so mad that we wasted an entire day that we could have been enjoying the lovely resort that we PAID for, stuck in that awful place with NO WAY
OUT but to wait for the bus driver to return. Upon return to the resort where we were actually staying, on the Strip, it took me two Excedrine and a
couple of hours, plus a lengthy shower to scrub all the smokey scents out of hair and clothing, before I was able to kill the migraine, and even then
we both still felt unwell enough that we did not go out, but turned in early. In case it matters, I am 44, healthy, and my kids are in college, and
thank goodness for that because they would have absolutely HATED this day!
If there was a redeeming factor, I suppose it was the small collection of Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia, located in the "Whiskey Pete's" portion of the
"Primm Valley" casino complex triad. Somehow, this odd little place houses the famous Bonnie and Clyde "death car", plus copies of the death
certificate for Clyde and what, rather shockingly, appeared to be copies of actual morgue photos of both partners, along with some other photocopies
of warrants and newspaper articles, all of which are displayed in a corner of Whiskey Pete's. We did enjoy this history, which took about fifteen
minutes of our allotted six hours to explore, (and I read it all, including the caption that listed Bonnie as 4'9" and 90 lbs, plus the warrant for
the couple's arrest listed her at 5'5" and 100 lbs). I did wonder briefly how the car got from Louisianna to Nevada, but not too long, since I was
extremely grateful for the few minutes of distraction it afforded us.
Unless you want to spend hours literally trapped in a smokey casino, until your bus driver can depart and get paid for it... With nothing at all to
do but gamble or shop an outlet mall, eat very mediocre food, and possibly view one tiny claim to a tourist attraction, in 100+ degree temps during
the summer months, then you should definitely NOT take this awful "day tour"!!!!!
One thing is very sure... You will NOT be "touring the Hoover Dam" which is what every single person who was on our tour identified themselves as in
the morning when we met the bus and were checked in.
edit on 4-0720127-1212 by gwynnhwyfar because: Fix #1 and counting...
on 4-0720127-1212 by gwynnhwyfar because: Fix #2.
edit on 4-0720127-1212 by gwynnhwyfar because: Fix #3