Laughlin, Nevada was often times the destination of choice for my family growing up. One good night in the old Flamingo casino and my Dad was hooked - we were all pretty hooked actually. Miniature golf outside by the river, endless amounts of good food at the buffets, the water, it was always a good time. You would find me and my (then) seven year old brother in an arcade on most nights while my parents enjoyed the casino. Bad parents - I know! I joke with them how times have changed.
Throughout the numerous visits to Laughlin we would watch boats and jet skis run up and down the river from our hotel rooms. I always wondered what it would be like to get on one of "those things."
Then, one day it happened..
I had just turned 12 years old and a good friend of mine from the soccer team invited us all out to Laughlin for a family get-together. It's funny how you remember certain moments in life so vividly. I remember showing up to Lake Mojave (10-minutes from Laughlin), waiting for a bit as the adults and older kids got their turn, and then somehow.. someway.. my friend's Mom handed me the key to the jet ski. Patty was always the coolest - completely trusted all of us. I pretended I knew exactly what I was doing, nodded confidently at several instructions I was given, and off I went. Rather, off we went, because along came my younger brother. Bad parents! :)
And the love affair with me and the jet ski was surely on...
My brother and I would instantly fall in love with boating and jet skis during that trip. Year after year we would frequent Laughlin and other hot spots along the Colorado River with the family.
One of the first places I took Chasity when we met was Laughlin. In fact, this was our second real vacation together after introducing her to (of course)
good 'ol Vegas. I didn't have a jet ski with me at the time but I absolutely had to get us on the river - so I bit the bullet and rented. The price wasn't bad at all and we had a good time, but we did have an issue with the jet ski being a bit slow. Perhaps that was my issue - Chasity didn't seem to have a problem.
I decided to pop into a few other places at the end of the day seeking what might be available. It only took me one stop to find an interesting fellow with a supercharged jet ski. This thing was pristine and looked like a tank. I had ridden a supercharged jet ski once before and after two days of riding it my arms wanted to fall off. I immediately reserved the ski for the following day and almost couldn't believe my luck. The following day Chasity and I would go on to have one of the most epic journeys we've ever had together..
Being the veteran boater that I am.. After a full day of riding I conveniently misread the gas gauge on the jet ski and ran us out of gas on perhaps the most awkward spot on the river. The police boat wouldn't even save us - "Too dangerous, too many liabilities," he said. I had managed to swim the jet ski into a house's dock on the river. Trapped between the dock and a huge slab of rock, with no gas, and a fast moving current, we held the jet ski stable for two and a half hours until the jet ski rental company came down river to save us.
Pro Tip: If you're going to run out of gas - do it up stream. Or, just never, ever, run out of gas on a river. :)
We were greeted by the owner who was amazed that we had managed to get his jet ski in the position it was in with no damage. We topped the ski off with a gallon of gas, connected it to his ski with a rope, fired it up, and slithered the ski out of harms way like ninjas.
When we returned to the shop mentally and physically dead from what had happened. I was shocked, embarrassed, I really didn't know what to do. The owner (Howard) was slightly upset at the hiccup in his day but still in shock that we didn't destroy his ski in this process. We noticed a few small nicks and scratches on the hull where some rocks left their mark. I gave him $100 for the damage but I still had to make it up to him. I asked Howard how business was doing and he said, "not so good." That's all I needed to hear.
I put my marketing knowledge to work and today he's one of the biggest jet ski renters in Laughlin.
Laughlin is a fantastic town and a great place for a summer vacation. I don't think I've ever seen a person not having a good time on the river. Don't be fooled by the $40 / hour jet ski rentals which you'll find all along the Nevada side of the river. Head on over to the Arizona side and down Highway 95 a bit - for just $120 you'll find yourself on the water for a full day, which includes hauling the jet ski to and from the river (a 5-minute trip).
Harrah's Laughlin is by far the best place to stay in all of Laughlin. Their room rates are modest for the value and you cannot beat their private beach. I would not stay anywhere else and we haven't in years.
Stop by WaterCraft Express for jet ski rentals and tell them Nema sent you. I promise they'll take good care of you. WaterCraft Express
1184 Highway 95
Bullhead City, AZ 86429 www.laughlin-jetski