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If I didn’t know the famous moniker of the highway I was turning onto it would be just another change of direction like any other turn on any other highway on any other road trip. But this is different. This isn’t just Highway 375, this is the Extraterrestrial Highway. A giddy excitement falls over me as I venture down the desolate byway, the obscure promise of “Low Flying Aircraft” on a road sign pulling my attention skyward…No UFOs…Yet.
It’s as if you are floating in space. You glide slowly through the calm, crystal clear water with each paddle stroke. To the starboard, emerald green water rests above a sandy bottom; on the port, a deep dark blue that appears to go on into infinity. It’s 8 a.m., the quiet is surreal, and you have the lake to yourself. This is kayaking Lake Tahoe. “It gives me goose bumps to talk about the clarity of the lake,” says Don Sullivan, author of Kayaking Tahoe: The Unofficial Guide.
The Great Automobile Race began on February 12, 1908, and ended more than five months later on July 30. Sponsored by The New York Times and Le Matin, a Paris newspaper, it was decided that there would be a race from New York to Paris, even before the first cross-country highway (Lincoln) was conceived in 1913. This is the story about the competitors’ trek across Nevada.
Wildlife viewing can truly be an adventure. Nevada, no doubt, is an adventure place, with many regions of the state still relatively unspoiled. What better reason to explore Nevada’s unique and rugged landscapes than to search out and see the wondrous wildlife species that grace our valleys, hills, lakes, and mountainsides?
The reaction of visitors to the Oats Park art Center in Fallon is often one of pleasant surprise, especially when they set foot in the stunning Barkley Theatre. “I wait for it now—there’s a sharp intake of breath, and they say ‘I had no idea,’” says Valerie Serpa, Churchill Arts Council executive director. Tourists are taken aback when they discover the center, home to all Churchill Arts Council programs and activities.
At 71 Ranch in Deeth you’re likely to see a cowboy teaching a youngster to sling a lasso or a couple riding side by side into a meadow. Any day, guests can see a ranch hand dismount, then push up his sweat-stained Stetson to mop his forehead with a bandanna. He’s probably been on the range since 6 a.m. The 71 blends Western work with ranch vacations on a century-old spread.
The pounding hoofs and gallant riders of the 1860s Pony Express are long gone, but a handful of station ruins remain across northern Nevada, where you can wander through truly awe-inspiring patches of history.
Virtually anyone can prospect for gemstones, natural bling of off-road adventurers. Before you set out, here’s a brief geology lesson: Nevada does rocks like no other state. Nevada’s upper echelon includes opals, garnets, and smoky quartz. To get your hands on some, start by acquiring basic knowledge, then gather a few supplies and seek a little help from your rock-loving friends.
Las Vegas residents Gary Clinard and his wife, Sallie, have been avid all-terrain vehicle riders for 17 years. They have traversed much of the Western United States and seven foreign countries on four wheels, but they still consider Nevada the land of off-road bliss.
Motorcycle riders can find the freedom of the open road in Nevada. In Southern Nevada, a convenient distance from Las Vegas is three incredible rides: Red Rock, Valley of Fire, and Mount Charleston. If they want more of Nevada after that, there’s five state parks in Lincoln County, U.S. 50: the Loneliest Road in America, Lake Tahoe and Genoa, and Elko’s cowboy country.
Participants are free to reinvent themselves at Burning Man, a festival of art and community that begins August 27 and runs through Labor Day weekend on Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. On Saturday night, the 40-foot Man is torched. Whether the firing is symbolic or not, it serves as a fitting end to the freewheeling event in which more than 35,000 revelers take part.
The sheer size of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert can take your breath away, and when the summer sun beats down, the vast playa can look bleak and lifeless. But the campers, four-wheelers, hikers, bird watchers, and rock hounds who love it can point you to an oasis or two. RVers bring along their “toys”—ATVs and motorcycles—to zoom over the flat playa and climb into the surrounding mountains.