I have spent lots of time riding a 4wheeler ATV in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas (and a short ride in the jungles of Cozumel), but this was my first time to ride an ATV in the desert. And was it ever exciting!
Although you are less than an hour from Las Vegas, you feel like you are a world away, when you pull into the dirt parking lot of Awesome Adventures (www.adventurelasvegas.com ). When I hear the phrase "in the middle of nowhere", this is the picture that will forever come to my mind from now on!
Stepping inside the building, you are dazzled---not with neon lights and the ding-ding-ding of slot machines---but rather the playful chatter of the children of the employees of the establishment. This is also the place to use the restroom and purchase a snack, if you feel the urge.
Nearby is the horse corral, and this photo is a reminder to let you know that trail rides are also an option at Awesome Adventures (as well as kayaking the Colorado River, which is about six miles away).
As you might expect, an experience of this type requires that participants sign the necessary paperwork (the guy with the clipboard does not let anyone out on the trail until all have read and initialed the four-page document of safety instructions and liability waivers!)
It is only then, that you can hit the trail, and start exploring the true "outback" of the Nevada desert.
Our guide, Buckshot Miller, got off his ATV frequently to check on the progress of his "ATV caravan participants", many of whom were driving an ATV for the first time!! If you decide that this activity is not for you, once you are out on the trail, you simply pull off the trail, park your ATV, and join the ATV "Sag Wagon" that brings up the rear of the caravan.
After being on the trail a while, you approach the simulated "ghost town" in historic El Dorado Canyon. Here you will find restrooms, hand washing facilities, picnic pavilion, and the staging area for corporate functions. Buckshot was telling me that their company had the honor of hosting Sir Richard Branson, the British billionaire owner of Virgin Airlines, for a major corporate event recently. They came in by helicopter (which even us common folk can arrange to do, if desired), and had a meal cooked outdoors, topped off with a live band, dancing, and singing around the campfire. In a true name-dropping, self-agrandizing gesture, I have to mention that I had the priviledge of meeting Sir Richard Branson (and getting my photo made with him!), several years ago, at a press conference at the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuqueque, New Mexico. Sure wish I could find that photo to prove it! That is because I want to see if Sir Richard will remember me, when I visit his space port sometime in the future ( www.ftstours.com/spaceport.htm )!! Maybe when I die, the family members that clean out "my stuff" will come across the photo of me with the guy that wants to send tourists into outer space!
There is also an old stagecoach in El Dorado Canyon (complete with guns and cowboy hats for props) where your group can pose for photos.
This multi-passenger ATV was used to take the participants in groups of four up to the top of a "K2- type" steep mountain trail, so we could get a view of the surrounding desert landscape that stretched for miles. There was no space for making a "U Turn" at the top of the peak, so we all had to get out, to let our driver do some fancy backing up maneuvers, to get the ATV pointed back down towards the bottom of the trail.
The area is covered with cholla cactus (nicknamed "teddy bear" cactus). Our guides warned us to not let the "warm fuzzy" appearance of the cactus lure us into touching it, as its pricks are very dangerous.
If you have heard of the movie "Dirty Dancing", your mind may picture the "bump & grind" depicted in that motion picture; but, your experience on a desert ATV ride will be "Dirty Driving" that is filled with "bump & grime", in a way you will never forget! I am still trying to get the grime off my boots that I picked up on the trail, but that just means I give this experience a "two thumbs up" on my adventure scale!!
Many times, I do not know what Bible verse to use to go along with a particular blog post. However, that was not the case for this blog post. From the minute I stepped onto the ATV and experienced the extreme desert terrain, the only thing going through my mind was my First Place 4 Health (www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse from Ephesians 6 about the "helmet of salvation"!!! I was VERY THANKFUL that I was wearing my spiritual "helmet of salvation", as well as the full-face helmet, which you can see in this photograph!! To learn more about all there is to do in the outdoors in Nevada, click on www.travelnevada.com and choose the adventure that suits your needs. MILES OF SMILES!! Tricia