Southern Nevada excursion May 9 & 10
Schedule and Itinerary
This excursion is prompted by the fact that on Saturday May 9 Marta Becket will give her final performance of the season at the Amargosa Opera House. You can opt in and opt out at any point, and all activities are optional. There is no fee to participate; you book your own overnight accommodations (info below) and you pay as you go. E-mail any questions for a prompt response.
Pahrump 11:30 am 5/9
Our excursion begins with lunch at the Pahrump Valley Winery at 11:30, followed by a tour of the facility and a variety of optional activities according to your preference. Info will be available at lunch.
Unless you are headed directly back to Las Vegas you will want to fill up with gas before we leave Pahrump. And you may want to lay in provisions as there are no grocery stores or restaurants on the agenda until Sunday breakfast.
Ash Meadows afternoon 5/9
Our next stop will be Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. To get there, drive north on Highway 160 and near the edge of town turn left onto Bell Vista Avenue (it becomes W. Bell Vista Road and then Ash Meadows Road. Stay on that and you'll arrive at the Refuge, a little less than 30 miles from Pahrump.
Death Valley Junction evening 5/9
From here it's nine miles to Death Valley Junction, site of the Amargosa Opera House. Ticket Prices are $15 for Adults, $12 for children 5 to 12 (Please no children under 5 years old); reservations strongly recommended.
Doors open at 7:45 PM and the performance starts promptly at 8:15 PM (NOTE: At age 85, Marta no longer dances; instead she performs a one-woman show of reminiscence, retrospection and . . . well, I don't know exactly what.
But she has performed in this Opera House (which she has decorated with a mural depicting a royal audience) since 1968 and has become a living legend of the American southwest. And at age 85, this might be her final performance, ever. I would never bet against her; no-one I know of has ever combined such strength of character, personal commitment, talent and ability as Marta Becket. In any case, this is an opportunity to experience her unique brilliance at first hand.
You should book your rooms right away at one of these two options:
There are four rooms still available at the Amargosa Hotel (760-852-4441), adjacent to the Opera House. These are modest accommodations, but perfectly adequate. When you call, mention that you are taking one of the rooms reserved by David Toll.
There are also standard hotel rooms available (at $89, $99 and $119) at the Longstreet Inn and Casino, 7 miles north at the Nevada state line (775-372-1777).
All of us will cross back into Nevada to meet at the Longstreet for breakfast at 9 am Sunday. Reminder: this is Mothers' Day.
Sunday morning 5/10
9 am breakfast at the Longstreet. Those folks returning to Las Vegas after breakfast can retrace the route through Pahrump, or go north with us the 16 miles to US 95 at Lathrop Wells and turn south.
Rhyolite and the GoldWell Open Air Museum
The rest of us will proceed north on US 95 to Beatty and then west to Rhyolite and the Goldwell Open Air Museum. Rhyolite was a city of 6,000 in 1907, now a picturesque ruin famous for the house Tom Kelly built in 1906 out of beer bottles. The Goldwell Open Air Museum is an provocative collection of sculptures and the Red Barn Art Center Gallery. We're presently working out our options with the museum's management for our visit.
Sunday afternoon 5/10
Lunch is available in Beatty if you've run out of picnic supplies.
We will depart Rhyolite to the west, making the spectacular descent into Death Valley via Titus Canyon, a 26-mile one-way adventure drive that will provide a life-long memory. It's a dirt road, easy enough for the family car; the first 12 miles take us up into the Grapevine Mountains before dropping down past the ghost town of Leadfield into the deep, narrow, winding, unforgettable canyon.
When we reach the pavement we turn north and get to Scotty's Castle as fast as we can so we can have time for a good look at this famous landmark; the last tour ($11/$9 senior) begins at 5 pm. US 95 is about 25 miles northeast.
This is the end of the excursion and we'll disperse homeward from here. If you will join us for some or all of this jaunt, please send me an e-mail so we can keep a rough count and make sure that our arrangements are adequate. Feel free to forward this link to anyone who'd enjoy the chance to explore and experience Nevada in company with agreeable and interesting people.
David W. Toll