When discussing Nevada it is hard to not even bother mentioning Las Vegas. I’m guilty of this, it is obviously the primary draw of the state. However on my last trip out there I wanted to do something a bit different. Online I had read about a Clown Motel that was going up for sale and I decided I had to stay there before it was bought/changed.
The plan was to drive from Las Vegas to Tonopah, Nevada while making a few stops along the way. Let me just say, Nevada has some pretty weird places.
The Area 51 Tourist Center and Brothel
I never thought in my life that a tourist center/brothel would be a thing, but here you go. As someone who is a big fan of gimmicks I respect the dedication here.
We checked the Information Center/Diner and it is what you would think with alien themed products and a decent selection. However, I’ll admit my curiosity was in the brothel. I figured they would have a bar for me to hang in for a drink and see if they truly employed space aliens. They did let me sit at the bar after a super awkward tour of the place where I was clearly the uncomfortable one. That is no easy feat either for me. In my defense the place said “Free Tours” and I thought it would be some kind of alien themed tour…it was not. When I got my drink I asked the bartender how to get to Area 51 and she said “Drive back a couple miles, hang left and break through the fence then get as close as you can before they get you.” So needless to say I skipped actually trying to see it.
Anyway that was about enough of the alien brothel it was time to move to the next site.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
Roughly 4 miles off I90 near Beatty, NV there is Rhyolite Ghost Town. It was an old mining town that just died like so many others like it. Here is some history on it. The pictures it offers are great and I spent a lot of time here trying to get a good picture of the wild rabbits.
This is a great stop for some cool pictures of the “decay of the west” style buildings.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
My personal favorite stop was the Goldwell Open Air Museum located right next to the Rhyolite Ghost Town. Artists come to create installations that contrast well with the open scenery and are really quite beautiful.
There’s a last supper depiction, rescued artistic furniture, a pixelated greek goddess, and a good amount of others.
Car Forest in Goldfield
In Goldfield, Nevada(which is a tiny town with a lot of character in itself) there is a place called the Car Forest. where I assume people just dump their cars into holes and allow the graffiti artists to take over. The result is genuinely unique.
You’re allowed to explore the cars at will(and your own risk, lots of broken glass) to find any clever graffiti possible.
Going around dusk in my opinion yields some great results, same with the Open Air Museum mentioned above. Other spots worth mentioning in Goldfield are the cemetery which has plaques how people were killed(gunshots, fire, and one notable death by glue ingestion) as well as the Goldfield Gift Shop. The owner was super friendly, gave us a tour and haunting history of the town, and showed us his train set(not a euphemism).
This town had some serious history I can’t get into out of laziness but I encourage people to check it out.
After this stop we got to the actual Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada which deserves its own post coming soon.