We were heading towards Death Valley from the Grand Canyon when we noticed the sky had an unusual display of lights, clouds and colours as we drove towards the sunset. We joked about looking out for UFOs because if one was looking for alien saucers it seemed like the perfect sky to see one. Then we noticed the shops along the road all had an alien or space theme. We decided to stay the night in a town called Beatty and it also had the alien theme going. The cheapest place in town was Atomic Inn but the many wooden, green aliens they had outside and the slighy unkept look of their reception put us off. We booked into Exchange Motel which was clean and reasonably priced. I asked the guy working at reception (who might have even been an alien himself because his left pupil was long and split like a cat’s) about all the alien stuff in and around town and it was because we were next to Area 51 where the famous alien Roswell incident allegedly took place many years ago. (It was apparently a weather balloon that crashed and not an alien spaceship but there were many conspiracy theories at a stage.) The area is a military base and still a highly restricted area. The fact that we were near Area 51 explained why there was so much alien stuff about…or were there other reasons too…!? 😉
The people who own the Motel we stayed at in Beatty seem like they basically own the whole town because the guy at reception said we could go swim and do our washing at other Motels because they have the same owners… And so the plot thickens… (No, not really.)
Across the road from our Motel we met Whiskey Jack. He’s a 70 something year old cowboy and he was very entertaining! Marc called him Buffalo Bob, although Whiskey Jack wasn’t very happy about the new nickname. We told him we’re from South Africa but when we left he said we must behave and he doesn’t want to hear about two New Zealanders in jail… That’s the second time someone has confused South Africa and New Zealand. I think it’s because of the rugby association.
At the Beatty museum we were given a three-fold double sided colour pamphlet of Rhyolite, which the pamphlet said is Nevada’s most famous ghost town. It sounded like a really exciting historical site. In 1904, because of the gold rush, the town had 10000 residents, a bank, an opera house and was hip, hop and happening- the place to be. We thought it would be quite interesting to see what this ghost town looks like so we drove to go see it… There was really nothing to see… About 3 buildings which only had one wall left. The outside museum before the town was a bit more interesting. Whoever made that pamphlet about Rhyolite is really good… They made a few bricks into a tourist attraction! I suppose the concept of the buzzing town turned to dust is quite interesting… But there’s really nothing to see in Rhyolite.
After our detour to nothing we drove through Death Valley. It’s called Death Valley because it gets really, really hot. It was 117 degrees farenheit (47 degrees celsius) when we drove through. It’s a desert valley with fascinating rock formations and vegetation. Oh, and we saw a real coyote!
Anyway, that’s our ghost, alien and Death Valley story. Next we went to Yosemite which looked totally different- will post about that next. It’s my sister’s birthday today!(It’s still 18 Aug here) Happy Birthday Linz!xxx