A night in civilization, at a parking lot!
After soaking in the natural hot springs and enjoying a therapeutic massage with Karin Pine (who managed to hit all the spots that needed healing) at Tecopa Hot Springs, it was time to get rolling again. The view while on highway 127 W continued to keep a smile on our faces and the camera shutter clicking.
After only a couple hours of landscape-gawking, we made a (diesel) pit stop at Primm Valley near the stateline of Nevada and California. We thought it might be fun to hang out at the casinos there for a free night of camping, plus we could fill up Betsy’s 100-gallon tank with reasonably-priced fuel.
We parked in one of the biggest parking lots we’ve ever seen, behind Buffalo Bill’s Hotel Casino where we had the place almost to ourselves that night. It was so huge that Fedex and McDonald’s use it for a couple of hours a day as their transfer point for trucks heading east and west. Steve was amazed at the show they put on as several tractor-trailer rigs arrived and then transferred one or two or three trailers to other trucks heading to their appropriate destinations.
Since we don’t gamble, why stop here? Is there anything else to do other than gambling? Oh yes! Buffalo Bill’s houses the one-time tallest roller coaster in the world, the Desperado. In fact, it made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s tallest roller coaster in 1996.
Steve rode this coaster with his Dad soon after it was completed, and again with me in 2000 (it scared the bejesus out of me). Since this was sort of along our route, he planned to ride it again. This time he is doing it alone, no sir not me, I’m done with roller coasters, no thank you. And so he did a tripeat alone on the Desperado and was happy as a clam after his exhilirating 2 min and 43 second ride.
Across the freeway is another interesting attraction, if you know who the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde were. Personally I didn’t know anything about them until we went to Whiskey Pete’s Casino. We visited the free mini-museum depicting their outlaw careers. I learned that Bonnie and Clyde, in their early twenties, were a notoriously violent bank robbing couple during the depression. The museum holds the actual bullet-riddled car they were in when they were ambushed by a police posse. Also displayed were Clyde’s clothing and other personal effects.
Having been in the quietness of the desert for many days, this was a fun stop in the midst of the noisy casinos, at least for one night. After purging our water tank of the Tecopa mineral water, we headed on to Arizona, the Grand Canyon State….back to the desert landscape we go!