Friday, October 23, 2009

42-2009 Pahrump Nevada and the Amorgosa Opera House


Pahrump NV

Campground:  Terrible’s Lakeside Rv Park.  $13 a night, combination of discount and Passport America.  Full hookups, premier sites, concrete pads, grass, lots of trees and small lake.  Check online for discounts before getting to the campground.  I got “pay one night, get one night free”.

This is a bit of a luxury campground, though they have no cable Tv.  Oddly, I found out I could of course get a couple digital channels, but I can also receive regular over the air channels as well. You know the old Analog signals.   What happened to the deal that they were going to discontinue UHF Tv signals??? Hmmmm.

Kind of nice to feel a bit pampered along the way.  Pahrump is about an hour from Las Vegas, but very much a desert scene.  Windy many days, lots of sun and temps are reasonable this time of year.  Though, hot, hot, hot during the long summers.  Palm trees to remind me of my Fla. roots.

A few days later, I went back to Death Valley twice.  Saw some homes, really just hollowed out caves in the hills that miners dug out for a living space.  A few were a bit more elaborate, some even with doors, windows and stove pipes sticking out of the rock.

What I was really interested in was visiting the Amargosa Opera House and hotel which were part of a small town built by the Borax company to house it‘s employees.  Remember the 20 mule team Borax commercials.  I got up bright and early and drove from Pahrump to Ash Meadow Road and headed about 30 miles into Death Valley.  Over the barren jagged rocky mountains that surround Death Valley.  Lonely ribbons of black asphalt that seem to go on forever, then finally disappear around a bend or fade into the vast scrubby desert.  Far off in the heart of Death Valley, I could see two mining operations and off to the left and straight ahead were the white low buildings of the hotel and opera house.

We had a young gal provide the tour and there were two guys from Austria on the tour as well.  She told us a bit about the history of the town and Marta Becket the opera singer and dancer who back in 1967 stopped at this junction in the road to get a tire fixed.  While her husband was tending to the tire, Marta walked over to the hotel and opera house, looking all deserted and forlorn.  The place called to her and she had ended up leasing the property and providing a one woman show from then on.  Her husband divorced her years later, guess the desert didn’t suit him.  Her fascinating story develops as she paints people on the blank walls so that she would always have an audience.  Eventually painting the entire small theatre.  Unfortunately our guide, all of maybe 20 years old had little education and almost no knowledge of anything except the few lines she had memorized.  One of the Austrians asked if the murals were painted in oil.  She said emphatically, “oh no, I don’t think oil paints were invented until the late 1980s“.  Geez how embarrassing.  But at the same time adding character to the whole experience.  Marta is still living at the hotel at the age of 85 and plans on putting on another season of performances, though from a seated position on stage.  Hard to say for how much longer.  You can check out more information on this fascinating place and the woman who has added her own special touch.

So as if that wasn’t enough for one day, I got back to the camper and dove into washing the camper and truck.  I know, I’m in the desert, how could I waste the water.  Well the campground is built around an oasis, with water rights, so with all the dust and dirt that has gotten on the truck and camper I did a pretty good job of washing both down.  With as little water as I could possibly use of course.

Now you’d think that would have been enough for one day wouldn’t you?  Not so fast.  After sitting back and reading a book after all that hard work and enjoying the outdoors in perfect 75 degree weather, light breeze and views of the lake, I decided to treat myself to dinner since this would be my last night in Pahrump.  Had dinner at the casino on property, got a $5 bonus to play the slots and left with $13.  Now that’s a good day!  And I still have friends who insist on working instead of retiring.  Now don’t get me wrong, not every day is perfect, but this is just one of those days that everything just seemed to fit perfectly.

My next stop is Bullhead City.  From here on I’ve reported about these places in past issues, so I do not expect to write further on them unless I find something unique along the way.  I’ll be heading towards Cottonwood and my final winter destination of Tucson AZ.

Possible brief reports will be posted along the final journey as interesting things come along.  Wishing all my readers the best adventures whether near or far.  It’s been great to have you along for this past years adventures.
Hope to see you on down the road.

1 comment:

Suzi Dow said...

Good to hear Marta is still around. Folks don't know how interesting Nevada, sans Las Vegas, can be. Thanks for the memories.