by Berl Colley

I have had several questions regarding the cost of our ACB tours in Las Vegas. Prices are not set yet, but there are three tours that will be more costly than we have had in past years. I mention them because those who like to plan for their convention tour costs can include these tours, if they choose.

The pre-convention tour to see the London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Ariz., will be in the $120 to $130 range. The float trip on Saturday morning, July 2, will be in the $80 to $85 range. The Wednesday evening, July 6, cruise on Lake Mead will be in the $75 to $80 range. The city and museum tours will be in the same range as they have been in for the last three years, $20 to $40. If we have any show tours, they will be more costly. Most shows in Las Vegas these days are running between $40 and $100 per performance.

If you are going on the pre-convention tour on July 1, or the float trip on the Colorado River on July 2, you should fly in to Las Vegas the day before. Both trips will be leaving around 7 o'clock each morning.

In my last article we talked about the tours during the first weekend of the 2005 ACB convention. Let's look at some of the tour opportunities on the afternoons of Monday through Thursday. We are looking to add another tour or two, but here is what is in place at this time.

Mormon Fort

This is the meadow where the first settlers who came to the Las Vegas area first stopped. The staff of this historical site is in the midst of a large upgrading of the site and plans to have a grand re-opening in May of 2005. We will have a guided tour of new facilities with lots of hands-on displays.

Bonny Springs

The folks at Bonny Springs will provide us with a re-creation of an old Nevada mining town. There is a small railroad that goes from one area of the ranch to another. Tourists are treated to a humorous melodrama, like residents of mining towns of the Old West used to have for entertainment when a drama troop came to town. There may be a shoot-out on Main Street and, if the crime is serious enough, a hanging, right there in town. Of course, all of the town's buildings sell things to the tourists. There is a petting zoo at the ranch that some may want to visit.

Liberace and Elvis

ACB tours will be repeating the tours to the Liberace museum and the Elvis-a-Rama museum. The Elvis-a-Rama tour will be combined with a stop at the Ethel M candy factory. The Liberace museum tour will be on Saturday afternoon, July 2, and Tuesday afternoon, July 5. The Elvis-a-Rama tours will be on Sunday afternoon, July 3, and Wednesday afternoon, July 6.

Blind Services

We have put together some great folks to talk to us while visiting the Las Vegas Center for the Blind. We will be touring this facility and hearing from its director. The head of the bureau for the blind and someone from Clark County Library, who handles talking book distribution for southern Nevada, will be speaking to us.

Lake Mead Cruise

After a couple of years hiatus, the ACB Wednesday night cruise is back. We will be cruising around a very low Lake Mead. The cruise will consist of a sit-down dinner and dancing. Or, if you choose, you can go out on the deck of the Desert Princess and enjoy the night air. There will be a lounge on the upper deck. When I visited the owners of this ship in October of last year, Lake Mead was 95 feet lower than normal.

Cherrie's Ranch

This is the largest legal brothel in the state of Nevada. That probably makes it the largest in the U.S. This is an adults only, 21 years and older, tour. It is located 55 miles outside of Las Vegas and is a destination resort. We will be hearing about the world's oldest profession as it exists in the 21st century. After touring the resort, we will have high tea before returning to Vegas.

Hoover Dam

Built on the Colorado River in the 1930s, the huge dam in Black Canyon is what creates Lake Mead. It provides power to much of the U.S. southwest. Because of the events on Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, its oversight agency, has discontinued giving tours, but ACB has been working with the USBR to have a guided tour for us. You will be amazed at the amount of manpower that it took to complete the Hoover Dam project.

Clark County Museum

This fascinating tour will be an indoor/outdoor viewing of many of the items and machinery used by the early settlers of Clark County. Mining, gaming and homesteading are some of the subject areas displayed at this museum. You will see several small town replicas at different locations on the museum grounds.

As I mentioned in my last article, it will be hot in early July and ACB conventioneers should always keep this in mind when touring, particularly if you use a guide dog. Las Vegas and Clark County are celebrating their 100th birthday in 2005, so we can expect some surprise tour opportunities during our visit this summer.

A reminder: This year's Las Vegas ACB convention looks to be our largest convention ever. Tours will fill up fast and we are already planning to limit the number of people for some of them.

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