Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

After driving through California, it was time to head north to Las Vegas! The palm trees and breezy Pacific Ocean quickly turned to cactus and expansive desert. The car arrived in Vegas and was able to drive down the brightly lit Las Vegas strip, home to many world-famous Casinos.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City

We took a helicopter ride over the city that evening, excited to see the city from above. Las Vegas is built in the middle of a desert, meaning that the city is the center of the action, surrounded by the suburbs where thousands of people live, and then nothing; just desert. To see Vegas from a bird’s eye view was pretty overwhelming. While in the helicopter we wore noise canceling head-phones to protect our ears from the loud noise of the propellers. The head-phones featured a narration of our ride, which included many facts and interesting tidbits about the city below. From this guided tour we learned that there are over 300 weddings a day in Las Vegas, including the weddings of many celebrities who chose the infamous strip as their wedding destination. The Luxor hotel (shaped like a pyramid) has a light beam that shines into the sky and can even be seen from space. Most interestingly, we learned that there are more hotel rooms in Vegas than all of Europe. To give an example of the magnitude of these hotels and casinos, our hotel alone had 4,000 rooms.

Check out this raw footage from above the Vegas strip!

https://youtu.be/sWwH8kxsiuQ

From Las Vegas, it was off 118 miles to one of the Seven Wonders of the World; The Grand Canyon. We took a bus tour that dropped us off at two locations, the first being the Sky Walk which, was opened in 2007 by the Hualapai Tribe, a recognized tribe of Native Americans, originally from the mountains of northwestern Arizona. The Sky Walk consists of a horseshoe shaped steel frame with a glass floor that extends almost 70 feet /about 21 meters/ from the canyon’s edge, allowing visitors to look straight down to the canyon floor, a somewhat terrifying experience, as nothing but a sheet of glass separates you from the long fall to the bottom.

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A second viewpoint from the canyon gave a scenic overlook of the canyon. As the sun set behind the mountains, the sky turned a bright orange, lighting the canyon in a breathtaking way, which no photo can do justice.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.3 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.4

From there, it was onto the next stop for iglide on tour, Salt Lake City, the capital and largest city in Utah. The drive was unbelievable; the iglide /iglidur/ car journeyed through miles of canyons, taking a pit stop at Zion National Park. Driving through a 5 mile stretch of road, wrapping around mountains and canyons to reach

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.5 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.6 Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.18Cairns, which are rock towers that mark trails for hikers.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.7We made our own cairn with an iglide R bearing to match the red rocks of Zion.

We’ve also had some amazing customer visits in the recent days that show the variety of industries that use igus. One visit was to a company that specializes in equipment to aid in the mobility of people with disabilities, including a new hydraulic ankle joint in a prosthetic leg. Modern prosthetics allow patients to walk more naturally and comfortably than those with traditional prosthetics, partially because of new materials used in their development and manufacture.iglide bearings are used in many prosthetic limbs for several reasons, like their light weight, immunity against water, dirt, and other environmental factors, quiet operation, and their ability to dampen vibrations.

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Because they are made from plastic, rather than traditional metals, iglide bearings are very light in weight, which can drastically reduce the weight of prosthetics, making them more comfortable to wear, and allow for a more natural gait, as the patient isn’t compensating for the excess weight of a prosthetic device.

Bearings used in these sorts of devices are made of iglide plastic materials like iglide Q, which a great choice because it is extremely resilient under high loads and exceptionally shock absorbing, making it an excellent buffer for impact load, like those that occur from walking or running. These are also very quiet, eliminating excess noise – no squeaking or creaking from the bearings with every step!

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Possibly the most important, these plastic bearings are used in these devices because they are not affected by the dirt, dust, pet hair, rainwater, and other external factors that can be deadly to a traditional lubricating bearing. When using a metal lubricated bearing, this dirt and dust is attracted to sticky grease, clogging the bearing and causing the bearing to seize up, or freeze in place. Similarly, water can wash away this lubricant, leaving the bearing unable to move properly. In a prosthetic leg, for example, a bearing seizure can cause the joint to lock up, and could even cause the user to fall and get hurt. Self-lubricating plastics, on the other hand can work perfectly in even the dirtiest, rainiest environments, keeping prosthetics running!

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After visiting customers, iglide on tour took to the road again, on the way to Salt Lake City, with a sightseeing stop at Salt Lake Temple, one of the largest Mormon Temples in the world. Traveling through the city, it was surprisingly calm, as winter is the busy time of year with tourists traveling from everywhere to ski the area’s beautiful mountains.

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Traveling just outside the city, there are a number of small ski communities, such as Park City, home to the SundanceFilm Festival, an annual celebration of independent films from all over the world. Park City is also full of ski lodges and shops, with an adorable main street lined with restaurants that all looked delicious. There is even a ski lift that picks up residents in the old city and brings them to the mountains. It runs in the off season as well, bringing people up to the mountains, which have water slides and other recreational activities.

Las Vegas to Salt Lake City.12One of the many restaurants lining Main Street

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Banksy, a famous artist, has left his mark on a wall in town.

From Salt Lake City, iglide on tour is heading to Denver Colorado, through the Moab Desert. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

San Francisco and Los Angeles

Before arriving in San Francisco, we stopped at Muir Woods Park to see the famous California Redwood Trees, just north of the city. The trees seem as tall as skyscrapers, and their trunks have such an enormous width that four people can pose for pictures inside some of the hollowed out trunks.

San Francisco and Los Angeles

While attempting to get the dry-tech box posed in front of the towering trees, it tipped over and fell off a bridge into a creek. But fear not, the dry-tech box survived the fall and the water, as the bearings are sturdy and waterproof. Sascha came to the rescue, jumping over the railing, and climbing down the bank to fish out the box.

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From Muir Woods we approached San Francisco. The car drove over the famous 1.7 mile-long Golden Gate Bridge into the hazy city. As we drove, the iconic fog began to roll in and cover the arches of the bridge.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.3 San Francisco and Los Angeles.4

After touring the city the iglide car had two customer visits, the first was in San Jose to a company which specializes in designing and manufacturing medical laboratory equipment. Next it was time to head to Santa Clara, where the car visited a potential customer that designs specialty bicycles, which hopes to reduce the weight of their bicycles, in addition to other advantages igus bearings can provide.

In San Francisco, the car had no problem scaling the steep (vertical) streets, reaching the top for panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the storied Alcatraz Prison, and then driving down the well-known zigzagging Lombard Street. The hand-break was constantly in use, essential on the streets of San Francisco, putting igus bearings to the test. We were able to ride on the cable cars, which are a form of public transportation in the city, racing up and down the hills, as cars dodge the fast-moving trolleys, and passengers hang off the side of the cable cars. The car also visited Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory for a little treat.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.5Lombard Street

San Francisco and Los Angeles.6Alcatraz

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San Francisco has a retro feel, teaming with tourists, hipsters, and eclectic personalities. The Dungeness crabs, mussels, and fish and chips were delicious and fresh, fished from the San Francisco Bay, which hosts America’s Cup sailboat race, and is known for its vicious currents. We said goodbye to the cool mist of San Francisco and drove south to Los Angeles. We drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping at Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. From there we headed to our destination of Los Angeles.

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We had two customer visits in the Los Angeles area, the first with an electric car designer and manufacturer, known for their innovative and sleek style. The engineers at this beautiful design facility where highly intrigued by the iglide car, and the parts we had on display. Our next visit was to a company which provides measurement solutions designed to improve product quality and productivity for many different kinds of manufacturing equipment. One manager said if she had to sum up igus in one word she would use “excellent”, noting the reliability of the iglide line.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.9 San Francisco and Los Angeles.10 San Francisco and Los Angeles.11The iglide car was a huge hit at our customers’… Everyone was clamoring to get inside and have their photo taken! 

After the customer visits it was time to take the car on an adventure through downtown Los Angeles. After battling the infamous 405 traffic, weaving through all six lanes on the highway, the iglide car wanted to partake in the excitement of the Walk of Fame. The car posed with the Hollywood sign, made an appearance at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and even spotted a celebrity or two.

San Francisco and Los Angeles.12The car with the Hollywood sign in the distance. 

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We are now hitting the road to Las Vegas; look for us on the strip!

Thanks for reading,

Kayla

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car

After eight months of leading iglide on tour, it is time for the world famous Sascha to go back to a life that does not involve driving across the world in a bright orange car. I have been lucky enough to get to know Sascha and see the man behind the car and the iglide on tour operation. After witnessing the daily commitment needed to make this tour what it is, I can safely say that igus could not have chosen a more exemplary individual to take on such a demanding task. Sascha is the perfect choice; someone who loves to travel and experience different cultures, who never backs down from a challenge, and is always professional.

The Man, The Myth, the Orange Car

Off the job Sascha is easy going, selfless, a good sport, witty, a team player, and extremely kind hearted. He has carried dozens of suitcases up and down hotel stairs, into elevators, and in and out of vans. He always looks out for his iglide crew by opening doors, lending an ear, arm, hand or the shirt off his back, buying coffees for everyone, and is constantly smiling, looking to make light of any situation. He is a problem solver, and will always find a silver lining, even when the team has driven 17 straight hours. Best of all he can always make everyone laugh by attempting to rap to American music with his German accent.

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While on the job, Sascha is incredibly professional, and enthusiastically interacts with our customers by speaking about the tour and igus products. He always says that he sincerely enjoys speaking with customers and getting to know their company by explaining how igus can provide them with the best solutions for their products.

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iglide on tour has become the amazing adventure it is because of the tone Sascha has set. Everything is well organized and planned, leaving enough time for customer visits, while also making sure that there is enough time to take the car out for adventures and sightseeing. He has an amazing eye for the camera and knows exactly what moments are important to capture.

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It has been such pleasure to work alongside Sascha while he showed me the ropes. Here in the U.S. we cannot speak more highly of his character, good humor, and professionalism.

We will all miss you Sascha, thank you from all of us for an outstanding job with this tour. It is no easy task but you came, drove, and conquered.

Best,

Kayla

Vancouver to Seattle

As we were approaching Vancouver we drove through Fraser Canyon which is an 52 mile landform of the Fraser River that descends rapidly through narrow rock gorges in the Coast Mountains en route from the Interior Plateau of British Columbia to the Fraser Valley.

Vancouver to Seattle

This is the only region in Canada that is home to poisonous snakes. We were also lucky enough to see rams jumping into the cliffs! As we drove through the canyon the landscape quickly changed from forests to mountainous desert.

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One of the main attractions in Fraser Canyon is Hell’s Gate.

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Hells Gate is an abrupt narrowing of British Columbia’s Faser River, located immediately downstream of Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge toward each other forcing the waters through a passage only 115 ft wide.

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The name Hells Gate was derived from the journal of explorer Simon Fraser, who in 1808 described this narrow passage as “a place where no human should venture, for surely these are the gates of Hell.” Long before the arrival of Simon Fraser, and as early as the end of the last ice age, Hells Gate was a First Nation’s congregation ground for settlement and salmon fishing.

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Once we arrived in Vancouver it was time for some site seeing. We took a bike tour along the sea wall and saw the Olympic Torch from the 2010 winter Olympics. When the flame is lit it stretches about 30 feet into the sky. It is only lit for special occasions because it uses so much fuel. There are four separate torches that surround one larger one in the middle.

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Our last stop was to an award winning Gelato shop, Bella Gelateria, owned by one guy who frequently is in the shop giving out his recipe for people to try at home. The city itself is extremely clean, not overly crowded and feels very calm compared to other cities such as New York, Los Angeles or even Boston.

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On our second day in the beautiful city of Vancouver it was time for customer visits. Jeff, the iglide® sales representative for the Vancouver region led the visits. The first stop was a local gelato shop offering over 253 flavors of Gelato including various exotic flavors such as curry, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic.

Vancouver to Seattle.8 Vancouver to Seattle.9

This gelato shop uses igus® bearings in various parts of their waffle cone makers.

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They were looking for an alternative to regular bearings because lubrication was messy and expensive for the food industry. This solution helped them perfect the waffle by not burning or under cooking it. It also saved them money by not wasting ingredients. Their waffles became so popular that they created their own business that primarily sells waffle makers because they make the perfect waffles. The owner Raffaele spoke about igus® bearings saying, “it was really the saving grace for our machines.”

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Our second visit was with a bicycle manufacturer. They use our bushings in three different locations. To the bike industry, lightweight is very important, iglide® bearings are about seven times lighter than metal bearings. igus® bearings are also stiffer making the bike more durable when being used in high intensity circumstances such as down hill mountain biking which is very popular in the north west.

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Joanne, the Research Technology Program Manager said she loves working with igus® because when they are working on a new bike and have new ideas igus® send them test products within the month and works closely with them on what bearing is best.

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Check out this video from iglide® on tour in Taiwan, to get to know how you can improve your bike by using igus® bearings:

https://youtu.be/FKtf8SzC5DA

After the two customer visits it was time to head off to Seattle.

Look for us on the road,

yours,

Kayla and Sascha