Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thinking of Helicopters

I’ve been thinking about helicopters a lot recently. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about the helicopter in this picture and my flight in it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (tour thanks to It wasn't my first ride in a helicopter, but it was definitely the most fun. (My first helicopter ride was in a police helicopter when I was working at Las Vegas Metro's command post during a Culinary Union strike, but that is another story.)

One notable difference between my TourGuy flight and that long-ago police ride: champagne. Before we took off from the Boulder City Airport, the pilot thoughtfully pointed out not only the location of the air sickness bags, but also cargo bay containing the champagne. I liked her right away. After we had flown over the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (officially the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) and a portion of Lake Mead, we entered the western portion of the Grand Canyon, which is on Hualapai Reservation land. We flew into the canyon and gradually descended four thousand feet. We landed on a relatively flat piece of land just above the Colorado River, and then we got to drink the champagne and watch the sun set. A few wildflowers were still blooming. Other helicopters buzzed overhead, but when nothing was in the sky, it was wonderfully silent. Only the tops of the canyon walls caught the light, creating natural neon. All too soon, it was time to get back into the helicopter and fly toward the sunset.

Visit for more information about Grand Canyon helicopter tours and other Las Vegas adventures.
You can read more about my helicopter trip on my NileGuide Las Vegas blog.
All photographs by Terrisa Meeks

Monday, June 07, 2010

Lovely Boulder City

Writers aren't supposed to describe small towns as quaint or charming, but Boulder City can't help but be both. It's got antique shops, sidewalk cafes, a surplus of shady parks, public art, and history to spare. The city was created to house the workers who built Boulder Dam (today we know it as Hoover Dam), and it's a rarity in Nevada: a town without gambling. Boulder City has been slot-machine-free from its inception to today. You will not find anyone handing out fake Mardi Gras beads (or pamphlets for adults-only services) nor see any exploding volcanoes in Boulder City. It's only 30 regular miles from Las Vegas, but in a different dimension, atmosphere-wise. Boulder City's Historic District is terrifically strollable, and a great place to stop for lunch and a walk. The Historic District's buildings date from the 1930s, proving that not every old building in Southern Nevada has been imploded.

I spent the afternoon wandering around the Historic District in Boulder City several weeks ago. The sidewalk cafes looked so inviting--perfect places for a glass of wine, something yummy, and some people watching. Walk around the Historic District and you'll see an assortment of sidewalk statues: baby elephants, motorcycles, children, and a woman permanently waiting to cross the street. The side streets have a decent smattering of cafes and shops, and it's not hard to envision the area completely full of stores and eateries one day (which I sincerely hope it is). One must-see in downtown Boulder City: The Boulder Dam Hotel. It's home to the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum, which is an absolute steal for a $2 admission.
All photos by Terrisa Meeks
Read more about Boulder City on NileGuide.