Nevada: Dispatch from the Battle Born state

  A few observations and fun facts after spending a couple of months of 2015 in the state.

  1. Everyone knows that Vegas and Reno are competitive at an international level in the bizarre competition.  But the small towns are where NV really shines.  They’re all like settings from a David Lynch film.  And not Twin Peaks. They’re like Eraserhead. 
  2. Everything here is pretty. We’ve driven north to south three times, and east to west a similar number of times.  There’s nothing ugly, despite what Californians will tell you. 
  3. People talk about NV as the most mountainous state in the lower 48. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but there are tons of mountains here – everywhere.
  4. It’s also the driest state in the country.
  5.  There’s a national park here – Great Basin – but in my brief impression it’s not prettier (or less pretty) than the rest of the state – which is to say that most of the state is beautiful enough to be national park land. 
  6. The Vegas/Henderson area is a genuinely great urban area – not just in a “Hey, I expected this place to be terrible but it isn’t!” way. They are genuinely nice places to live, with really friendly unpretentious people, low cost of living, and a million interesting places to go.
  7. The Strip is still, and always will be, obnoxious.
  8. Despite the apparent massive waste, Las Vegas is actually a national leader in sustainability initiatives, and is attempting to become the first net zero waste, energy, and water municipality in the U.S. 
  9. It is clear that prostitution and gambling are legal in NV. Grossly obvious.  But that’s really the tourists’ fault. Especially you CA.  LA is 3 hours from here.
  10. There are restaurants and bars and groceries in walkable distance everywhere. But for some reason every housing community has walls around it that you have to walk around to get to them.
  11. Reno is a pretty cool city too.  It has a river downtown that locals hang out in.
  12. Outside of the Strip, nobody walks around drunk screaming.
  13. In Las Vegas, everything is unselfconsciously embraced as amazing.  For instance, in Seattle, you go to McDonalds but you’re embarrassed. In the Midwest you go to McDonalds because that’s just where people eat. In Las Vegas, you go to McDonalds because tonight is going to be the best McDonalds of your life. 
  14. There’s a lot of plastic surgery here.  Strangely most of it that I’ve seen has been at Whole Foods.
  15. Between 1990 and 2000, Las Vegas’ population increased 66%.
  16. Vegas really is a weekend trip from everything amazing in the Southwest.
  17. People here are active and healthy. There are bike paths and running trails and parks all over the city.
  18. You can ski here. It’s early November and already snowing an hour away.
  19. The reason it’s snowing is that there’s a 13,000 foot mountain (Mt. Charleston) an hour away.
  20. In a small town called Tonopah on Hwy 95 between Vegas and Reno, there’s a place called “The Clown Motel” that markets itself as a biker friendly establishment with clown themed room décor.
  21. It’s super international in Vegas. People visit and move from all over. That means awesome food in the strip malls that unfortunately pockmark the city.
  22. And it’s a “Minority Majority” city. 
  23. There’s seriously nothing in the vast majority of Nevada.  More than 80% is Federally protected/managed.
  24. It’s the 7th largest state in land mass. 35th in population. 42nd in population density. 
  25. ¾ of the state lives in the Vegas/Henderson metro area.
  26. NV is the 4th largest producer of gold in the world.
  27. Locals pronounce the “a” in the middle of “Nevada” like the “a” in “cat”, not like the “ah” in “father”.
  28. It’s a good place to live because everyone comes to visit at least once a year.
  29. Flights are cheap to everywhere.
  30. Strangely, recreational marijuana isn’t legal here yet.
  31. Mormons built the first permanent structure in the Las Vegas valley. It was a fort.
  32. Downtown Las Vegas is the oldschool part of town, and it’s actually pretty cool now.
  33. There’s a really big trail running community – not as big as in Seattle, but probably just as large as a percentage of the population.
  34. Every band that you thought broke up in the ‘90s is actually making a respectable living in Las Vegas playing at Station Casinos.
  35. It’s true – everyone wears winter coats when the temperature is less than 70. 
  36. Taxes are low. Casinos pay for everything with their filthy filthy blood money.
  37. There are casinos in everything – groceries, McDonalds, 7-11, rest stops.
  38. Real estate is super cheap.
  39. Californians think NV is terrible. Half of NV is from California.
  40. It should be a pretty sweet place to live for a few months.


Adventure Mom said…
Re: #38--real estate is super cheap compared to Seattle, but not super cheap.
LukeD said…
Tim: BenM and I just made a trip to NV in October; definitely check out the Ruby Mountains, GBNP and the Toiyabe Range. All a little far from Vegas, but it'll be a shorter drive than we did from Seattle :)