When astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped down from his Lunar lander and turned to face the stark, vast beauty of the moon, his first words were, “Magnificent desolation.” I’ve often thought of those words when comprehending the enormous open spaces of the western desert. It’s a world not unlike the surface of the moon or some distant planet, where the views go on forever, and both the sun during the day, then a billion stars at night hold supreme, unchallenged domain over the rocks, valleys, and mountains. And yet if you break down those enormous spaces and study closely, you’ll find life still clings to existence here where life seems nearly impossible. In small pockets that create their own, miniature climate zones between the ravines, crevices, or even in the shade of rocks, life, in the form of plants and even animals, has found a way to thrive where survival seems a hopeless endeavor. It’s the supreme challenge – life amidst lifelessness. It’s all part of Buzz’s “magnificent desolation” and it’s what makes the inhospitable desert so addicting. Once you experience it, you’ll never forget it.
Desert racers know that addiction to the desert well. It’s not the speed or the ability to pilot the most macho of thrill machines that calls them to the desert, but it’s the challenge to conquer the unconquerable, the most unconquerable terrain of all, that draws them back. While other racers circle a track and fine tune their machine and skills, desert racers instinctively know they will never really win in this environment; the best they can hope for is to survive, and if they’re lucky, to survive a little better than the guy miles behind them. Rick Wyatt is one such addict.
Rick has been challenging the desert for many years as a desert racer, but his love, knowledge, and passion for the desert also created an opportunity. From his location just outside Las Vegas, Rick offers a desert experience that can take you into a world far from your own and deep into a world he knows best. We were in Las Vegas recently and although we had ridden in the desert many times, Rick’s AMERICAN ADVENTURE TOURS seemed like a great way to spend a day off the strip.
AN AMERICAN ADVENTURE
American Adventure Tours is unlike any other tour in Vegas. Thanks to Rick and his knowledgeable guides, they have tours for riders of all levels, and they can give you an experience you won’t forget. To help make that happen they’ve got a large stable of machines to pick from. If you’re comfortable on a dirt bike or quad, you can ride one of those, or if you prefer the stability and extra protection from a performance Side x Side, they have you covered as well. We found that the American Adventure fleet was well maintained, and that all machines were quite modern, and with no mechanical flaws to give you a problem out in the desert.
Providing a quality machine in top mechanical shape is a huge priority for them. The most important factor though is your safety and they do everything they can to make sure you get back safely. They provide helmets, goggles, gloves, and bottled water for stops along the trail, and before each ride, there is a safety briefing and they cover what to expect during your ride. We were also happy to learn all American Adventure guides have been trained in safety and are First Aid/CPR certified. We doubt you’ll need it (nobody had a problem in our group), but it’s nice to know they are prepared for an emergency.
The goals of Rick and his crew at American Adventure Tours are:
to provide a unique desert exploration experience with the utmost in customer service and satisfaction
to admire and respect the unspoiled, magnificent grandeur and beauty of the Nevada desert and to open that beauty to others who would not ordinarily have that opportunity on their own
to maintain minimal impact and preserve the remote wilderness in its most pristine and natural state
to provide guests with a modern, reliable vehicle they feel comfortable on
to provide expert instruction and orientation in vehicle operation
to provide expert guide services to guests during the ride for the complete riding and desert discovery experience
American Adventures has quite a few tours to choose from of various length and location, and to make it easier, they’ll coordinate transportation to and from your hotel. It’s about a 30 minute ride from the Vegas strip to the staging area (Curiously – we’ve noticed the strip is at least 30 minutes from everything in Vegas). The weather can change fast in the desert, so don’t dress like you’re heading for the hotel pool, but DO bring along the sun screen and sun glasses! You’ll also want to bring a camera and one trick we use to make sure it stays relatively dust free is to slip it into a zip lock bag, or even the hotel ice bucket bag. A backpack or small fanny pack is a great help as well. We usually bring a moist towel from the hotel to wipe off goggles or our face, and baby towelettes work great. A couple snack bars are always welcome, but whatever you carry into the desert, please carry any trash or wrappers back out.
TIME TO RIDE
After some hands on training at the staging area, you’ll quickly be heading out for your adventure. We headed across Hidden Valley, through the rugged McCullough Mountain Range, and across the Roach dry lake bed, which is an experience unlike any other as well. Regardless of which direction you go or the length of your adventure, we guarantee you’ll have a blast. It’s an exhilarating, interesting, and addicting experience you’ll never forget. Buzz was right. It truly is “magnificent desolation” and American Adventures can let you experience it without a trip to the moon. You’ll love it!
AMERICAN ADVENTURE TOURS, Inc.
4045 S. Buffalo Drive
Suite A-101, #157
Las Vegas, NV 89147
Office Phone: 702-876-4600
Special thanks to Rick and his great crew at American Adventure Tours. We look forward to seeing you all again on our next desert adventure ride.