Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Nevada’ Category

Casinos and Ancient Petroglyphs Make an Unusual Combination in Laughlin, Nevada

Colorado Belle CasinoMountains on the river…a spot to relax! On the banks of the beautiful Colorado River at the very southern tip of Nevada sits a lovely little town called Laughlin. Casinos are the main business in town, so many visitors try their luck at the slots or gaming tables. The Colorado Belle Casino, a 600′ replica of a 19th century Mississippi paddle-wheel riverboat, is certain to catch everyone’s attention.  However, gambling isn’t necessary to enjoy a stay in Laughlin.

When Don Laughlin, for whom the town is named, purchased the land in 1964, he opened a small casino, Riverside Resort, which had just twelve slot machines and two gaming tables. On the other side of the river in Arizona, the town of Bullhead City ran shuttle boats to the casinos as the number of them grew in Laughlin. Finally, in 1987 Don Laughlin himself provided the $3.5 million needed to build a bridge to span the river between the towns. Then business really picked up. Today, this little town is a popular gaming destination and family vacation center since it is located on the banks of the river with desert and mountains in view.  The casino strip isn’t very long with ten major casinos, but it has all the glitter of Las Vegas. The actual town of Laughlin is situated on the other side of the mountains, away from the casino activity.

Ramada ExpressA stay at the Ramada Express, now the Tropicana Express, was always a pleasant experience. Express being its name, trains were its theme, having a pool shaped like a locomotive – with a spa in the wheel, and a train that ran around the entire hotel with several stops for less walking. Their patriotic museum honored all veterans from WWII through Desert Storm and regularly showed a four, large screen tribute, “On the Wings of Eagles.”

A stop at the little Colorado River Museum displayed information about the growth of the surrounding area. An evening ride down the Colorado River on the Celebration riverboat became a shimmering experience as the lights of Laughlin casinos reflected off the water. The captain was full of information about the river’s edge and talked a hundred miles an hour.  If riverboats are not to your liking, enjoy the river’s edge on a beautiful boardwalk that is a relaxing stroll day and night.

Debbie Reynolds at RiversideNo stay in a casino town would be complete without heading to at least one show. Debbie Reynolds, a star I admired as a child, was performing at Don Laughlin’s Riverside so decided to see if I could get a ticket.  As luck would have it, they had one seat available, and it was in the front row! Afterwards, I went backstage and got an autograph and picture with Ms Reynolds.

But the Laughlin area was more than casinos.  Accessed by a well maintained dirt road, nearby Spirit Mountain took one on a walk into the past. Petroglyphs on the mountain walls and rocks gave a glimpse into the Indian heritage that ePetroglyphs near Laughlinxisted in this area many years ago.  This remote granite mountain gave one a sense of tranquility, perhaps because the ancestors of the Indians reside there to this day.

Only seven miles west of Laughlin in Christmas Tree Pass, visitors will find over 700 petroglyphs. Estimates on the original time of the glyphs have been placed from 1100-1500 AD at a time when the Mojave Indians roamed this area. While their meaning is not positively known, one possibility is that they tell the Mojave story of how the Colorado River came into existence. This is one of those places where a bottle of water and a sunhat are recommended as temperatures in the summer soar to 120 degrees.

Christmas Tree PassA long desert-mountain walk in the Indian petroglyphs concluded this week’s stay in Laughlin.  Never had I seen so many glyphs in one place, especially at the entrance of the Christmas Tree Pass. Farther up the mountainside, you could see what appeared to be the outline of an old Indian village.  Return trip expected for further exploration!

Laughlin, Nevada can be reached from I-40 taking Exit 141 to 95 North, the Needles Highway, for 23 miles. Turn right onto Bruce Woodbury Drive and after about 3 miles turn right on Casino Drive. Visitors will be greeted by Riverside Resort and the Casino Strip.

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Rachel, Nevada “UFO Capital of the World”

Rachel, Nevada –  Population: Humans YES…Aliens ?   Those words are seen on a sign as you enter the town of Rachel, which has been named the “UFO Capital of the World” due to its closeness to the top secret Air Force test facility Area 51, and claims of numerous UFO sightings.

Route 375, The Extraterrestrial Highway, meanders across the desert of Nevada and North of  Area 51.  Visitors must be cautious as this is open range and cattle frequently cross the highway, or might just be standing in the middle of the road.  This is another lonesome highway where strange lights often appear in the night sky, and you have the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.

After the nearly hundred mile drive across the desert from Las Vegas, the Restaurant called Little A’Le’Inn is a welcome sight.  This is the friendliest group of people and all  are willing to discuss the various sightings and events in their area. While waiting for my  World Famous Alien Burger, took time to look around inside at their Mini Museum.  No surprise that there would be a gift shop with many Alien and Extraterrestrial Highway items available as well as a wall covered with UFO photos from all over the world.

Directions were freely given to the border of Area 51, but was warned to stay back from the fence, or a guard would appear very quickly as the area is securely monitored.  Did drive back through the desert roads about nine miles, until a couple signs said: Warning Restricted Area and Warning Military Installation, which seemed an appropriate place to halt that journey. Could see the dust of an approaching vehicle so headed back toward Rachel.

One last stop at the Inn to view the unique tow trunk with an alien space ship in tow.  In front of the restaurant on the right side, you can see the ID4 Monument  placed there by the producers of the movie, Independence Day. Enclosed is a time capsule to be opened in 2050  “by which time interplanetary travelers shall be regular guests of our planet Earth.”

Headed out as darkness was starting to fall and certainly hated to see the day come to an end. The friendly locals suggested I watch for a mailbox along the road as I was leaving. Just down the road was the famous  “Black Mail Box”, now painted white, where people sign their names at the spot where UFO watching is a frequent activity.

Leaves many questions to be answered to those skeptical about UFOs.  Why do so many people come to the Black Box area?  Is there life on other planets?  Do aliens from other galaxies dwell among us?

These are all questions still pondered while drinking my morning tea from a Little A’Le’Inn mug.

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