Flash: the odds always favor the house. Overwhelmingly so. Next time you fly out to Vegas it doesn’t hurt to harbor that remote, faint hope you’ll come out ahead. Just don’t bet on it.
What you can bet on is that this slice of arid America offers up more than gaming. The sights are stunning out west, even Death Valley. Tourguy.com is selling daytrip adventures from Sin City into the sometimes-sinister depths of the continent, the lowest above-ground slice of territory in the United States.
Leave at 7 a.m. on a luxury mini-coach and return at 5:30 that evening, as the shadows of the surrounding mountains swallow the landscape bite by bite. The trip includes snacks and a full lunch.
This sojourn is sublime, a ground-bound flight to:
– Rhyolite, one of the most photographed ghost towns in America, and the star of a slew of films and documentaries.
– Furnace Creek Museum, the prime visitor’s center for Death Valley National Park. If you want to understand the area’s singularly sizzling ecology, this is a must-see.
– Zabriskie Point, a spectacular elevated overlook ensconced on the periphery of the aptly-named Funeral Mountains.
– Hell’s Gate, yet another panoramic perch, this time sited on the eastern edge of central Death Valley. The land you espy is bespeaks a tortured beauty. The likes of which a window seat on an airplane just can’t convey.
– Badwater. The name says it all. It’s the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. At 282 feet below sea level you can’t go in lower without going underground.
This is just part of the itinerary. Tours depart Mondays and Wednesdays, unless you’ve got a group of four or more. The rate: $179 for adults and $159 for kids under 12. This price is all-inclusive.
(Featured image of Goldwell Open Air Museum, near Rhyolite, Nevada: Ravenelle)