The Amazing Amargosa: Introduction

I’m not much of a bookworm. But for some reason, I expect others to read books. And so I have written yet another book for you to worm your way through. Or to worm your way out of reading, if you’re so inclined.

It’s actually more like a booklet, at around 10,000 words. But it will be illustrated, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So that makes it a much longer book, in my opinion.

This booklet is about the Amargosa Valley. The Amargosa Valley teeter-totters across the diagonal Nevada/California border. It’s a long notch in the Earth just to the east of one of the deepest notches on our planet, called Death Valley. It stretches about 75 miles of lonesome, from Beatty, Nevada in the north, to Tecopa, California, in the south.

The Amargosa valley, as seen from above Devils Hole, at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

My wife and I have visited this ghostly area several times over the years, and we’ve always had a good time, even though there’s not much there for human beans. In the Amargosa Valley you’ll find a few gas stations and hotels; a few convenience stores; a casino, just over the Nevada border; one or two restaurants, a whorehouse, an opera house, and a souvenir shop or two.

There’s not much else, although it does sport a beautiful national wildlife refuge, called Ash Meadows. And it sports a rich history. I’ve researched some of this valley’s history, and plumbed a few of its deep, historic depths. And from that, I’ve scratched out this book.

I’ll be posting it as a 17-part series, including this installment, over the next few months. I hope your reading enjoyment comes at least a fraction close to the delight my wife and I have derived, from visiting the amazing Amargosa Valley.

Click to the next installation, to read Chapter 1: Bitter Water Below.

82 replies »

  1. Looking forward to learning the history of the Amargosa which I know you will put an interesting spin on. Plus pictures make it all the better! I am sure Jason will appreciate the pictures. He told me he really likes picture audio books. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Looking forward to this “local” history. And this time, I can assure you that, despite past some work in a fenced-off portion Nye county, I have virtually nothing to contribute. Though, since I’m currently perusing your book on California, I’ll probably end up with a thoroughly conflated version of both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nye County is a rather remote, desolate part of Nevada. And yet, that’s where my parents met, in Gabbs. It has an unusual shape, also. Kind of like a keyhole for skeleton keys, or a mushroom cloud, in reference to its nuclear proving grounds.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yep… “Mushroom County”. I still have an orientation videotape from my first trip out there, since we weren’t able to leave the facility while working. Guess it was considered a good place to test things with the potential to leave a mess.

        Liked by 2 people

          • As a side note, my paternal uncle has been to Area 51. It’s been many years ago but, at one time, he was connected with DHS via his LE training. I remember him talking about it saying “Yes. It really does exist…much of it underground.” Then, he followed that up with…”Twice day, everyone had to turn their cell phones off.” When I asked him why, he said “I’m guessing because of the satellites.” Then, he started talking about the long-eared desert hares and the desert tortoises. He would elaborate no further.

            Liked by 1 person

              • Yeah. That was his cover story.

                He was fascinated by the tortoises. Said they knew exactly how much water they needed to store in their bodies to travel from one point to the other. If you came upon one, you were forbidden to interact with it. You could be arrested for even touching one. If you frightened it, it would release all of its water, potentially endangering its life. He said there were signs posted along the roads in the area. You were supposed to call a number for assistance if you came upon one. If the tortoise was on the road, you had to stop. They could back up traffic.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Sounds like you learned a lot from your uncle about the tortoises. I didn’t know they released their water when frightened. I recently rescued one that was on a dirt road with a big truck heading its way, but I didn’t notice it releasing any water.

                  I would imagine that waiting for a tortoise to cross the road could create a long traffic jam.


                  • My uncle is one of those types that likes to be the smartest guy in the room.

                    That just makes me wonder what type of desert tortoise he was talking about. I’m quite sure there are many species. At least he didn’t babble any Latin to me.

                    LOL! Yeah. Canada geese are only slightly more speedy at crossing highways. I’ve seen 100s of them back up traffic on US70.

                    Liked by 1 person

        • Afraid “Area-51” was all outside of my limited domain. I can’t talk about specifics of what I was doing (pretty boring anyway), but there were facilities that tested things like plutonium-powered rocket engines (look up Tory II rocket engine). There was even a proposal once to test a methyl-mercury powered engine, though I think someone finally listened to the scientists and thought better of the idea. Curiously, the proving grounds for messy projects used to be known as “Jackass Flats”. Later, they gave it some technical-sounding name.

          The nuclear test craters are interesting. You can get tours of them nowadays. You won’t get a tour of where a non-criticality accident took place (flooded tunnel = steam explosion = no more mountain top). And if you ever get a chance to visit Jackass Flats… don’t.

          Liked by 2 people

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