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Riley gets started. A journey...

Discussion in 'VIP - Vaping in Phoenix' started by Riley_Martin, Jan 3, 2014.

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  1. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Thought it would be cool to make a thread to detail my venture into the world of Vaping. It has been a rough start and this could be a good way to learn from the veterans as well as share my journey breaking into the hobby. So here is my story...

    A few days ago at the gas station at the gas station I happened across a disposable "ehookah". I had heard about these recently and enjoyed hookah in the past so I thought I would give it a try. I asked the guy behind the window if they were any good, and he could only tell me that he sells a lot of the "ehookahs". So I figured what do I have to lose? So I made my first purchase. The L.A. Vape disposable e-hookah in Victory Berry flavor.

    LA Vape.jpg

    I took a long hard pull on the tube inhaling directly to the lungs (I now know this is incorrect technique). Upon release I was surprised by a very fresh sweet taste of strawberry. I was hooked immediately! Why smoke analogs that admittedly don't taste great when I can smoke a candy stick? It made a ton of sense to me, that now was the time to move from analog to a more healthy alternative. Quickly it occurred to me that disposables would not be viable economically on a long term basis. At $6.99 a pop; having a short life span; I would have to be rich to keep up! :2c:

    So I headed to the local smoke shop and was sold on a refillable "pen" vaporizer. The model I decided on from the limited selection was the Vapor-X XLT liquid.

    vaporx-xlt-vaporizer-pen-colors.jpg

    The reviews that I could find seemed decent, and the unit came with a 1 year warranty, so I thought I couldn't go to wrong and that I was on the right track. Lastly, it seemed that I would need some liquid. The smokeshop carried "VODA Vapor" brand liquids and the owner said that they were very popular.

    VODA.jpg

    Taking his word, and frankly not knowing how vast my options were, I opted for the Strawberry liquid since I had enjoyed the disposable so much.

    My excitement was mounting as I filled the chamber with the fluid. My mouth watered at the thought of the fresh berry taste hitting my senses. Once filled I put it to my lips and inhaled deeply... once I exhaled disappointment quickly flooded over me. The taste was horrendous!! The taste of chemical was hard to get out of my throat. I don't even want to use my pen anymore. I went to the gas station and picked up another disposable to help keep my hopes of quitting analogs high. :vapor:

    And this is where I am today; Friday. This weekend I am going to pound the pavement in Phoenix to find a shop that hopefully can help me get started with a more enjoyable liquid. (If anyone has recommendations near Paradise Valley, I am all ears!) I hope that is all I need anyways. If I have to replace my Vapor-X pen I will be pretty discouraged. The thing cost me 100 bucks!

    I plan to update this thread with the results of my adventures this weekend. I will also update with current liquids and stuff that I am trying. I feel this thread can serve as a great way for me to learn as well as a sort of guideline for future noobs in Phoenix. Thanks for reading. Trip report to follow...
     
  2. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    My planned stops for this weekend.

    Vape Escapes
    AZ Vape Club
    Vapor Vortex
    Hi-Tec Vapor
    Vapor Ect
    ButtOut (Thomas & 7th)

    Anything I should know before heading out? Has anyone found any of these places to be a waste of time that I can take off?
     
  3. Cheechako

    Cheechako Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 11, 2012
    Arizona
    Good list and you are starting where a lot of us did...
    You'll find your all day vape and gear, it might seem like a lot of money starting out, but the savings to your health as well
    as saving on the cigs will balance out in the long run.
    Good luck to you!
     
  4. surreal

    surreal Full Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Glendale, AZ
    Good luck, Riley! My wife and I have been analog-free for a little over two years now. As for finding a great flavor, I like Hi-Tech a lot, but you ought to head a little further West to 51st Ave and Olive and visit Red Vapor also. They've got an impressive variety of flavors and are very cool about sampling - you can test in either 0mg or 18mg. I've been hitting their Hazelnut and Jr Mint as all-day vapes for the last week - some sort of cinnamon roll flavor also.
    It looks like you should be able to get some use out of your VaporX pen, although if you've got a nasssty flavor embedded in the tank you might want to pick up a replacement, or a new coil at least.
     
  5. freeatlast!

    freeatlast! Super Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 5, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    Sounds interesting, Riley - I look forward to further installments on your journey!!

    Some tanks do seem to have a taste to them - can sometimes help to thoroughly wash a new one out - some people use cheap vodka to do that, soaking for a while. Some of the flavors just aren't that good, either - not all brands of the same flavor taste the same! There are also lots of different kinds of "juice deliverers" and some seem to provide more flavor than others. We all have our individualized taste/smell abilities, too. Takes experimenting!!

    Good luck! Waiting for the next installment!! :vapor:
     
  6. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Well this is where the fun starts. Turns out, the VaporX that I purchased uses some retarded proprietary thread pattern. It is close to the 510 threads but not quite right. So pretty much I am going to have to start from scratch.

    I will definitely check out the place you recommended though. Thank you for that.
     
  7. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Well my first adventure is going to involve trying to clean out my clearomizer tank. It appears that the whole unit is a POS but I need to get my 100 bucks out of it (paid to much I know).

    TR to follow...
     
  8. surreal

    surreal Full Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Glendale, AZ
    Glad to help a little. You ought to take the VaporX along with you shopping; maybe you can pick up a whatever-to-510 adapter for a few bucks.
     
  9. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Great idea! Hadn't even crossed my mind for some reason. Thank you. From what I am reading the battery is actually decent so hopefully something pans out. I have lots of stops to make tomorrow. Fingers crossed...
     
  10. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Well, if you make it in to Hi-Tec I'd be happy to sit down with you and give pointers as well as hopefully get you started on a good track, and Saturdays especially it generally has quite a few veteran, experienced, and advanced users hanging out in the lobby, don't be affraid to ask questions, most of us are happy to help =)
     
  11. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    I will be trying to make a stop today. Are you going to be the guy in the dark smokey booth in the corner? Or are you the owner?
     
  12. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Made the rounds yesterday. Need to get everything together for a thorough TR just been pretty busy today. Will update soon promise!
     
  13. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Saturday came and as I puffed my analogue I felt as if I was soon parting ways with an old friend. This time, however, it wasn't a sad separation. I felt anxious to say goodbye and see what was to come in the future. Before the time to part came I still had some work to do and places to visit in order to make the parting more easy for my and my buddy. The last couple days had been a disappointment, but thanks to the loads of advice I have received at this forum, today I felt optimistic that things would go better.

    My first task was to hunt down a working replacement for the POS VaporX unit I had purchased. My first stop was going to be AZ Vape Club as it happens to be closest to where I live.

    AZ Vape Club
    AZ Vape Club is a strip mall location. The store is rather clean and I like the layout. There are some tables and chairs to the side of the store where I assume you can lounge and vape if you so choose. Didn't see a t.v. or any entertainment though, but I might not have been looking very hard.

    They have an ok selection of devices and the prices seem reasonable. $26 eGo battery $45 itaste VV $75 itasteMVP KengerTechT3S tanks $5.50 (.50 with purchase of kit). I chose the iTaste VV 3.0. It has a lot of cool features and so far I would recommend it based on performance. I also picked up 2 T3S tanks. I am on the fence about these tanks as they seem to leak a little.

    AZ Vape Club has a good selection of liquids from around 7-8 vendors. The standout flavor for me was Drake's Brand "Punky Bruiser". It was a tart and sweet flavor that was very crisp and refreshing. I also found the Villain Vapors Brand "Queen of Hearts" (strawberry vanilla?) and Epic Juice "Wake and Vape" (coffee). I would have purchased here but I found they only sell larger bottles and they don't have 0 mg nic juice which is what I was thinking I would want.

    Vape Escapes
    Next stop was Vape Escapes, another strip mall store located next to a bar. This place kind of strikes you upon first entering. The shop is filled with vibrant colors and an almost over-the-top Hawaiian theme. This place definitely has a hippy feel to it which is almost comical but I found it relaxing as well. [Side note: for the gentlemen; the girls working the counter are rather attractive] The workers are nice and plenty willing to answer questions.

    I did not check out the equipment much but was impressed by a lot of their flavors of liquids. They are very proud of the fact that "your liquids have not seen sunlight until you leave the store with them". I think this adds to the hippy-all natural-organic-homebrew vibe of the place. I was floored by the "Cherry Limeade" flavor they sell and made the purchase as my first liquid. It is a really refreshing flavor.

    Butt-Out
    Next on my Journey I headed South and found myself at Butt-Out. It is located next to a very run-down convenience store in a pretty ghetto part of town. You know the type of convenient store where it just looks like nothing good is going on. Lots of shady people loitering in the parking lot. The store itself is not much to look at. It reminded me a lot of a "Trails" or one of the other head shops in town.

    There wasn't much equipment so I decided to just have a sampling while I was there. Overall I didn't find their flavors very pleasing. I cant really describe what it was, they just didn't pop or appeal to me at all. I did think the MSG (Mango, Strawberry, Grape) and Da Brock (some sort of strawberry) were ok. I did not make a purchase while here. I kinda wanted to just get out of there and back to a more safe location.

    Vapor Vortex
    My next stop brought me to Vapor Vortex. This store is located in strip mall and is very clean inside. The guy and girl that were working the shop are super helpful and I saw them putting together units for several customers and explaining everything to them very patiently. This store is set up kind of plainly but if you are just looking for a place to shop the décor should not be a reason to avoid this place at all.

    The flavor selection is good. They have several different brands and are the only place I came across that had a liquid that was labeled organic. This means nothing to me but if there are any people who only ingest organic material, this store would be able to supply what you need. The two flavors that caught my tastebuds were a Black Label brand "Belgian Breakfast" (tastes like buttered waffle) and "Leprechaun Snack" (lucky charms marshmallow). I purchased the "Belgian Breakfast" to enjoy with my morning coffee.

    Vapor Ect.
    My head was starting to hurt from all the nicotine exposure but I pressed on to Vapor Ect. Same kind of location in a strip mall. Starting to see a trend developing. It may be due in part to the headache that I was developing but I felt like this place just rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed like the Vapor store for the popular kids from high school. The counters were manned by a bunch of "Brads and Chads". At one point one employee had to ask another to come help him man the sample bar and the other guy came out begrudgingly expressing how he was "busy paying a traffic ticket". Needless to say his attitude towards me was anything but helpful.

    Despite all the turn offs they did have a few flavors that I wouldn't mind vaping. I believe they make all their liquids but could be mistaken. Their "Coffee", "Pineapple Express", and "Abbey Road" flavors were rather pleasing. I decided not to make a purchase though.

    Hi-Tec Vapor
    I must have missed you when I stopped in. In fact, I missed everyone. I was like a ghost in this store. I walked around a couple minutes looking at the equipment without even being greeted. I don't think it was a matter of the store being understaffed. There were employees out front hanging out as well as those just chatting with customers who had already made purchases. For what it's worth they do have a lot of equipment.

    I made my way, still unnoticed, to the sampling bar. This is the only place that had passthroughs at the sample instead of loaner batteries for you to use. So I fumbled with it for a couple minutes trying to figure out how to get it to work right. I am not sure if I wasn't using it correctly but all of the flavors here were just really weak. There was barely any flavor or vapor. Just disappointing overall. The one thing I can say is that their strawberry was almost identical to a fresh strawberry as opposed to the candy flavor strawberry that you get with most other liquids.

    Red Vapor
    For my last stop of the day I made my way out west to Red Vapor located in a shopping plaza. It was getting late and they were about to close but they never made me feel rushed at all which I appreciated. Red Vapor is a mother/daughter run operation and they are all really nice and super knowledgeable. The one thing I noticed about this store is they have a lot of equipment that would appeal to the girly girl. So if you have a girlfriend or wife that is on the fence about vaping, or who is a diva of sorts, then this would be the place to for you. The equipment is reasonably priced. Itaste would have ran $35 but tanks are $9 for T3S and $20 for ProTank II.

    As far as flavors, they were all pretty good. I don't remember any that I found offensive. They have some interesting ones such as "Royal Flush" (imitates Crown Royal & Coke). My favorites were Zeus Juice and the Hazelnut which I bought both. I also picked up a ProTank II as I had started noticing my T3S' were already starting to leak.

    Conclusion
    AZ Vape Club - Clean relaxing atmosphere, good equipment selection, decent flavor selection, no zero nicotine flavors.
    Vape Escape - Fun atmosphere, awesome flavors!
    Butt-Out - Scary location, not very appealing store, flavors only ok
    Vapor Vortex - Clean, but plain, store. Lots of equipment, decent flavor selection
    Vapor Ect. - The frat house of Vapor Stores, good selection of flavors but meh for the most part.
    Hi-Tec Vapor - Staff not so helpful, loads of equipment, most flavors of liquid seemed weak.
    Red Vapor - Clean store, friendly staff, decent equipment selection, lots of unique flavors.

    Red Vapor is going to get my pick for being my favorite store, but Vape Escapes is probably going to be my go to spot just based on convenience of the location.
     
  14. Riley_Martin

    Riley_Martin Full Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Phoenix (PV)
    Haven't been here in a while. I noticed the VIP area of the forum is pretty dead. Just thought I would stop in to share a quick update.

    Recently decided to get into dripping. I just wanted to say that if anyone is on the fence about dripping there is a place in Phoenix (Paradise Valley area), called VaporIce and they have a great option to try dripping before investing a ton. They call it a "mini-dripper" and it is pretty must just a small no name atty that is a great way to try out dripping. Just wanted to throw it out there.

    I will update again sometime soon. I have been to a lot of stores recently and will share my experiences with them.
     
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