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Wendover is a bustling collection of luxurious casino resorts at the edge of the bleached and crusty Bonneville Salt Flats. The WWII Army Air Corps base is now a warped and tattered remnant, the worn-out past contrasting vividly with the many-splendored present.

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  • West Wendover Correspondence – November 2015
  • West Wendover

    Casinos Killed Wendover Bicycle Taxi Says Owner

    The owner of a bicycle taxi service threw in the towel this week and decided not to come into Wendover after all. “The casinos said they would charge me with trespassing,” said Salt City Cycle owner Louis Gasper. “It just wasn’t worth my time or my effort to fight them. We decided for now not to come out to Wendover and not throw good money after bad.”

    Photo: Salt City Cycle Cab

    Photo: Salt City Cycle Cab

    Less than three weeks ago, Gasper expressed frustration but was still optimistic.

    “We have had some problems getting the casinos on board,” Gasper said in Late September. “They have to get the okay from corporate, but we still plan to come.”

    The major issue, Gasper said, was whether the pedicabs would be allowed to wait for fares on casino property or have to wait off property or to be called like a regular taxi.

    “Whether or not the pedicabs can queue up in the casino parking lots or not is between the pedicab company and the casino,” said WWPD Lt. Don Lininger. “Most casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have taxi queues, and I guess so do some hotels in Salt Lake, but we never had that them in Wendover.”

    “The police have been super supportive and so has the city,” Gasper added. “We will come out to Wendover even if we have to pick up fares on the street.”

    The West Wendover City council changed the local law to allow for and to regulate pedicabs at Gasper’s request. And according to the Salt Lake businessman the business plan is sound.

    “The casinos spend $700,000 a year operating their shuttle service and the town also supports a taxi company.” Gasper explained. “We think Wendover could easily handle a pedicab service. We were out there a couple of months ago just to check out the terrain and see if we could handle the hills. It looks great.”

    Travel Nevada, Nevada Magazine

    That optimism turned into bitterness last week when Gasper said he was threatened with being charged with trespassing if he ran his service to Wendover.

    “I paid for a new insurance policy, cost me hundreds of dollars just to indemnify the casinos,” he added. “Then after all of that they turned around and said they weren’t interested. I had hoped that the city would come to my defense, but everyone is owned.’

    With the pedicab service and a new liquor store set to begin construction, it was hoped that West Wendover may be coming out of a more than decade long decline in the number of small businesses.

    While there were signals that West Wendover could report a significant gain in the number of local business for the first time since 2003 that increase will have to wait until next year.

    Howard Copelan

    The post West Wendover Correspondence – November 2015 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network - Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7.

    More from Wendover

    More from Around Nevada

    ON THE WAY INTO WENDOVER from the west, the freeway tops a rise and then sweeps down toward the Utah border and the Bonneville Salt Flats below. If you pull over to the side of the road at the crest and park for a few minutes, you can study a view unlike anything else in the world. The Salt Flats extend in a broad white plain, the desert's skin stretched tight, as far as the eye can see — and it curves. The horizon line is a clear arc from side to side, and the two stripes of freeway pavement curve away across the alkali toward the vanishing point. Nowhere else on land can you actually see the curvature of the earth.
    Columbus was right!

    Almost as amazing as its shape is the earth's texture and color here, spread out in horrid immensity: surely the cruelest desert your eyes will ever see. And where the bleached and crusty sea of alkali meets a shoreline of dead brown hills, is Wendover. Feast your eyes on that scene for a while. You'll never forget it.

    This remarkable settlement was established in the 1920s when Bill Smith built a gas station beside the road here on the Nevada side of the border with Utah. The light bulb he erected on a tall pole was only a tiny speck of light in the black desert night, but for years it served westbound motorists as a welcome beacon as they crossed the Bonneville Salt Flats. Thus Wendover developed as an island of civilization in a sea of isolation.

    Wendover boomed during World War II when the Army Air Corps built a bomber training base here. The B-29 crews who dropped the atomic
    Travel Nevada, Nevada Magazine
    bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima trained for their missions here. Some of the base has since been converted to civilian use, but most of it has simply been left to warp and tatter in the baking heat and the scouring winds. The roaring engines of the Enola Gay have faded to a distant drone, gone forever from the hot blue sky. A small museum harks back to the time this raggedy relic teemed with fliers and their aircraft. Now a neon cowboy greets the travelers passing by on Interstate 80 and Wendover is booming again. Not only have the hotels been enlarged and modernized, the Concert Hall that serves as the showroom for the whole city was built and attracts big crowds from the Wasatch Front.

    from The Complete Nevada Traveler, by David W. Toll

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