NYou do not have to know Pahrump. Unless one has an overwhelming interest in coffins. Then, Pahrump, somewhere in the wild, nowhere of the state of Nevada, is a must. Here, Bryan, 50, and Dusty Schoening, 49, run a funeral home. They called it “Coffinwood”, a kind of Hollywood for coffins.
Visitors have come here for years to order coffins for their deceased or for themselves. Others come to make flowerpots, bookcases or picture frames in casket form, or to admire the coffin-shaped terrarium with a stuffed iguana standing in one of the rooms.
“We used to live in Oregon,” Bryan says. “There were people who thought we were strange. It's different here. “He points west. “Also from the location it can be for one coffin Bauer Hardly better: behind these mountains lies Death Valley. “
The quirky Nevada attracts visitors
In Nevada, this is the standard. There is a tree on which motorists have been throwing old sneakers for years, a highway for UFO believers, crazy desert sculptures, a motel with 600 clown dolls, and the crashed car in which the couple Bonnie and Clyde found their death.
The state of Nevada is a catch-basin for lesser-known attractions and people that would otherwise be called “weird” or “interesting”. Meanwhile, the tourism authority has also discovered that attracts the whimsical visitors, and organizes “Weird Nevada” tours.
“This state has always inspired loners, bizarre people and dissenters,” says tourism boss Bethany Drysdale. “With us you can live out their weird ideas.”
For Americans, Las Vegas is the city of sin
How right she is. Las Vegas is basically the madness that has become a city. An orgy of neon, music, showgirls, stretch limousines and the Plingplingpling one-armed bandits. Watch flamingos or tigers feed, spend $ 10,000 on a cocktail, or learn machine gun shooting.
in the “Heart Attack Grill” eat fat with more than 160 kilograms of weight for free, the largest burger has 10,000 calories. For Americans, Las Vegas is Sin City, the city of sin. Here America lets the sow out: prostitution, drugs, alcohol, gambling, excesses of all kinds – almost everything is tolerated. Drugstores have departments for condoms and anti-hangovers.
You can marry at the drive-thru counter without leaving the car. Even beggars let go of humility and write on their cardboard signs “need money for beer and cigarettes” instead of the usual “homeless, unemployed, hungry”.
“Military dictator” lives in peaceful coexistence with the US
In the countryside it gets even bizarre. And there is plenty of room here. Nevada is bigger than the UK, but only hosts 2.9 million people, two-thirds of them in the Greater Las Vegas area. The state offers loners loneliness and space.
People like Kevin Baugh, 57. The ex-soldier founded his own “lovely little military dictatorship” 20 years ago, the Republic of Molossia, 4,000 square meters, near the town of Dayton. Molossia has a post office, its own currency (Valora), a state railway (in model railway size) and a First Lady (Adrianne, 40).
Baugh says he lives in peaceful coexistence with the United States. He refers to the taxes he transfers as “development aid”. Did he have a crown? “Nonsense,” he outraged, “I'm a military dictator and not a king.” His outfit is right: green uniform, medals on the chest, a sash in the state colors, plus a pair of sunglasses. Only the broad grin does not quite fit.
The wind carries the smell of dust and sage to Molossia. Later, as President Baugh takes a seat in the shade, he explains, “Molossia is my expression of freedom, imagination, and personal sovereignty.” Would not he just be a weird spinner? Baugh pretends to be genuinely indignant: “This is the first time I hear this question!”
Somewhere in the nothing stands the famous “Shoe Tree”
Driving through Nevada is a test of patience – or meditative experience. That depends on the driver. Go straight for hundreds of kilometers. Huge waves, every 20, 30 kilometers a mountain range, which the highway overcomes, then flatland again. Left mountains and high desert, right the same. The complete opposite of Las Vegas.
Now and then a run over coyote on the roadside. Scraps of broken car tires. On the radio country music, Bible preachers, Trump fans, then only noise. Top speed 112 km / h. If you dream and drift to the right with your car, you'll be torn back to reality. The thoughts wander, roam around. Nearest gas station 260 kilometers. Loneliness, space, emptiness.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere is on the edge of the highway the famous “Shoe Tree”. For decades, people used to tie their worn-out treadmills to their shoelaces and throw them onto the branches of an old poplar. Now there are thousands of shoes hanging and dangling in the desert wind.
A family gets out of their SUV and takes pictures. “This is the coolest thing I've seen in three hours,” says the teenage son and would post the photos on Instagram if there was an internet connection. There are many guesses, why there is the shoe tree.
Soldiers throwing up their boots after service. Footballers who allowed themselves a joke with the sports shoes of teammates. A man who, in a fight, got his wife's shoes into the branches. Only angry tongues claim that the local tourism authority has started the crazy trend to finally create a landmark.
To the “International Car Forest” in the desert
Another bizarre attraction is waiting near Nest Goldfield, where two artists have teamed up to screw a car nose-first into the sand and then graffiti it. Just because. Let's try what that looks like. Then they got a taste, a few cars, a school bus, a couple of pick-up trucks were half buried.
Today there are more than 40 vehicles, colorful sprayed, partly on the roof, partly buried, partly layered in the desert between juniper bushes. A popular photo opportunity for tourists who have already driven 300 kilometers detour to visit the “International Car Forest”.
The two artists have now disputed. One is in prison, the other has moved away. Her legacy is a colorful sculpture park of scrap cars. Somehow senseless, but still fascinating.
Because of “Burning Man” come and got stuck
“It's this vastness, the emptiness that attracts weird birds,” philosophizes Mike LaPrairie, 37. He speaks as if he were not himself. “Nevada is a bizarre adventure playground.”
Called a part-time artist, Mike stands in a factory building in Reno, surrounded by a guillotine, a six-meter long rubber shark and a giant motorcycle-like vehicle. “The Generator” is an art project the size of a football field. A few dozen artists weld here, painting, spraying, sawing, hammering.
“Most are so-called Burner,” says Mike, “people who came here for 'Burning Man' and got stuck.” A spectacle that takes place every late summer in the Black Rock Desert. Up to 70,000 people celebrate a week of shrill costumes and crazy sculptures, buildings and events. Highlight: the burning of a huge wooden figure (hence Burning Man).
UFO believers suspect Area 51 aliens
The mountainous vastness of Nevada has always awakened fantasies. With artists – but also with conspiracy theorists. Military facilities, ammunition depots, test labs, bomber training grounds are hiding in the deserts. Hermetically sealed. For decades.
In the most famous area, the mysterious Area 51, Suspicious Halls suspect extraterrestrials are being held. Again and again strange objects of flying were sighted here. It was only in 2013 that the US government confirmed that the Area 51 is there – without explaining what it is.
In search of aliens in the desert of America
On September 20, 2019 over 1.9 million people want to gather here to storm the secret area, at least the Facebook page “Storm Area 51”, which calls to it, accordingly many prospective customers. “You can not stop us all,” says the organizer, “we finally have to know what's in there.” Meanwhile, he has stated that his call is “total satire.” Whether the UFO faithful will be deterred by the storm, it will show.
“Probably just a test prototype for aircraft prototypes,” speculates a British guest at the bar of “Little A'le'Inn” in Rachel, a 98-nesting nest on the “Extraterrestrial Highway”. On the walls are photos of UFOs, there are “Alien Burger”.
Two UFO believers are pinning the British. There are hundreds of reports on UFOs and the government has no reason to conceal what it does to captured aliens: prevent panic!
As the Brit makes fun of them, bartender Connie West, 51, pops a beer bottle on the counter. She looks at the tourist and says, “If there were no aliens, this pub would not exist either.” Long break. “There is this pub, though. Any questions? “Next break. Then: “Another beer?”
Tips and information
Sloping accommodations: “Little A'le 'Inn” in Rachel, the only motel with a legendary pub along the “Extraterrestrial Highway” (Highway 375), about 230 kilometers from Las Vegas. Rooms are basic, but okay, some with alien paintings on the walls, double room costs from 60 dollars, bathroom in the hallway, littlealeinn.com,
At the “Clown Motel” in Tonopah, about 600 clown dolls and characters have found a home. Not for coulrophobics (people who are afraid of clowns). High scary factor: Next to the hotel is the village cemetery, on which it is supposed to haunt. The new owner is Indian clown fan Hame Anand. The double room costs from about $ 40, it is currently being carefully renovated, tonopahnevada.com/clown-motel/
Attractions: “Scheels Sporting Goods” in Sparks, wholly crazy sports shop on 30,000 square meters with ferris wheel, bowling alley, children's shooting range, aquariums, hundreds of stuffed animals and talking dolls of 14 US presidents – and of course with just about everything that athletes want to equipment or Can imagine clothes scheels.com
“Akhob” at the Louis Vuitton store on the Strip of Las Vegas. Here artist James Turrell has created a “Ganzfeld” light installation. On a “secret” floor of the shop, visitors immerse themselves in spaces with changing colors of light into another world and experience how colors are coupled with emotions. Visits are free, but the handbags in the shop are not.
“Bonnie and Clyde Death Car” in Primm. For friends of the Morbid: In the “Whiskey Pete's Casino” is the original car in which the gangster couple Bonnie and Clyde was shot in 1934. The Ford V8 has over 100 bullet holes. In a display case, the shirt in which Clyde died hangs also with bullet holes, as well as faded blood stains.
“Burning Man” in the Black Rock Desert. It's been 28 years since the weird festival – this year from 25th August to 2nd September, just over 150 kilometers from Reno, burningman.org/event/
Further information: Nevada Division of Tourism, Travel Nevada, travelnevada.de
Participation in the trip was supported by Travel Nevada. Our standards of transparency and journalistic independence can be found at axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit,
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(t) Country Portraits (t) Nevada (t) Regions Portraits (t) Deserts (t) Las Vegas (t) City Portraits (t) Aliens (t) Festivals (t) Death Valley (t) Travel Nevada (t ) Black Rock Desert (t) Whiskey Pete's Casino (t) Las Vegas (t) Oregon (t) Hollywood (t) Car (s) Travel (t) Dusty Schoening (t) Molossia (t) Gangster Couples Bonnie (t) Extraterrestrial Highway (t) Radio Country Music (t) Little A'le'Inn (t) Irrland