Volume I : Chapter II
I once sent a text to a guy I was casually seeing that read, “Guess what I’m doing?” He replied pretty quickly with “You’re napping or in Nevada or something.” He wasn’t being nice about it and his guess wasn't off base. We've been on the run for a year now and it takes its toll on our personal lives. We are undateable and for the most part unemployable. We're happy though.
We had just arrived home in Vancouver when we got the first email about coming back down for a stint in Nevada. I’ve mentioned the high and lows of living the way we do and the email came at just the right time. The excitement of our homecoming had completely worn off and we were itching to leave again. Even better, we love Nevada and we felt like we didn’t get to see enough of it the first leg. I obsess over wide open spaces, I like that about living in North America. That’s why of all the ways to travel I prefer by car. I like to see these spaces mile by mile, counting time by the white lines like a metronome from one point to another. Did you know the loneliest road in the America is in Nevada? It’s beautiful, highway US-50 cuts right through the Great Basin, barely visible. It’s the most American road I could imagine. Nevada is underrated, most people don’t think past the Vegas strip and they’re doing themselves a disservice.
We had a pretty tight schedule for our time here, we were fortunate to have a lot arranged for us and we got to try a lot of things we wouldn't normally have had access to. Travelling long term means cutting every corner possible (financially) and its these little luxuries we sacrifice. This trip allowed for us to do some of the craziest stuff we could have only dreamed of doing last time we were through like shooting guns, zip lining and photographing the Grand Canyon from a helicopter to name a few. I also realized that its crazy how inexpensive it all really was if you were the average traveler and weren't limited by the fact that you have been living behind your car for the better part of a year.
Since the government shut down last year and the Grand Canyon was CLOSED when we drove past it’s been a running joke between us that we will never get to see it. This was finally our chance to see it together and the opportunity to see it from a helicopter was ideal. We had been through the Hoover Dam in our car, heading from Las Vegas toward Tempe, AZ last year. The dam is pretty crazy but honestly, it hadn’t registered as one of the most memorable places for us (even if we were dressed as Beavis and Butthead). Seeing it from however many thousand feet above we were, was surreal. You can see its function, the damming of water that created Lake Mead and the vast expanse of the landscape out here where Arizona and Nevada meet. To see the Canyon with an uninterrupted view was worth the wait. Photos don’t do it justice but we tried.
In the same way I did when I walked into the Gun Store, I approached the idea of me behind the wheel of a racecar with healthy apprehension. In the same way their staff made me feel ready and safe, so it was here at the track. You are the one in the driver’s seat, it’s not like when you were learning to drive and your instructor has his own wheel and pedals, this was all you. Somehow it’s still less scary than that first time you tried to merge onto the freeway at 16 years old. This was crazy, the car I was driving was worth more than my parents first home and they set us loose on the track. The even let us play dress up after but we had some problems deciding who won.
I had to take a second look at the itinerary when there was a winery tour listed. Now Nevada is beautiful but she is desolate. I don’t think of this state as lush or green (her strengths lie elsewhere) but it was true, someone had opened a winery out in Pahrump. The crazy thing is not only that they made a stunning winery out here but that they were also winning competitions left and right (starting in their first year). We got to tour their facility with their walls fully lined with awards and walk the grounds. This place is special, a green oasis out in the desert and well worth the drive.
Now our experience at Sheri’s Ranch was bittersweet. It was the place we were most excited to photograph but they have a strict policy in place, no photos. Nevada is the only state with legalized prostitution and life at the ranch is different than anything I could have anticipated. We were given a tour of the grounds by two staff members and the Madame. The two women not only both worked there but were also engaged to be married. They explained that this line of work allowed for them to be together and only work part time so they could lead relatively normal lives at home in another state. The money was good, all the proper safeguards were in place and although it wasn’t an easy job, they made it work. The ranch is a brothel but also a resort. If you read the Yelp reviews you’ll find one from a man and his family who stayed here not even noticing til much later the brothel part. The ground are that nice, lush lawns and a swimming pool next to a restaurant and bar. I can see how he’d easily be mistaken if it weren’t for the scantily dressed women throughout. This is a place we plan to come back to, the girls were fantastic to talk to and there seemed to be a really special camaraderie throughout the ranch. Since we don't have much to show you I recommend seeing it for yourself (tours are free and even that's within our budget).
Words by: Kyla Trethewey