|Certainly those of us raised in the Las Vegas Valley had many visions, heard many stories, and have come face to face with the realities of our likewise infamous Nye County neighbor - Pahrump. Over the past several years, however, the benefits of growth have been changing the community for the better in this desert outpost. But unless the hole in the Spring Mountain range leading through the pass is plugged, or they adopt a controlled growth ordinance as Boulder City has, this desirable valley to the northwest will experience even higher rates of growth than their current annual rate of four percent. Add to that, the same discomforts of uncontrolled growth continuing in the Vegas Valley will push anti-gridlock Westerners to seek higher ground. Comparing Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the mountain passes will be filled with Vegas Valley space seekers too.
"People have moved out here because there has been fewer rules to abide by" says former Boulder City resident Loren Barrett. "It's more like the old west."
Although Loren and his wife Kathy didn't leave Boulder City for challenges in the old west, they have found benefits in Pahrump hard to find in Boulder City - like their home on acreage, for example. Surrounding their developing acreage is an orchard, gardens, and outbuildings - and of course wide open spaces with a beautiful view of the "best side of snow covered Mt. Charleston." All for half the price of Las Vegas real estate and certainly Boulder City. Unlike Boulder City, however, the city doesn't own the property and there is an abundance of land for sale and it's attracting attention.
Earlier settlers in Pahrump found the property considerably less, as did those in Vegas Valley and in Boulder City, but that's the way real estate goes.
This last "spike" in real estate recently found it's way to Pahrump, as well, but Loren was lucky. Well, somewhat lucky.
"When we finally got the money from the sale of our place in Boulder," Loren continued, "the prices had jumped sky-high. We couldn't afford to buy the commercial property we wanted."
Loren and Kathy adjusted their plans and looked for an alternative. They found one.
"We found this place which was a repossession," He says.
"It was a fluke that we got it and we bought it real cheap."
What the Barretts bought was a 2.5 acre fenced ranch containing multiple buildings and a varied amount of vegetation. A ranch gol-darn-it. A ranch with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains; all fenced in. He said he got lucky and he ain't a lyin' - as they say in the old west.
Although Barrett does feel Pahrump is "more like the old west" it doesn't lack the services; one of the newest is a hospital in the process of construction.
But with the wide open spaces, beautiful mountains surrounding the sites and pleasures of the city and the countryside, it's easy to understand the freedom one feels.
Several places are worth the trip. The Winery tops the list for hugh sandwiches and of course wine if you care to partake. Taking the tour through the Winery, I am told, is very special whether you drink wine or not.
Terrible Herbst, located across the valley on 178 toward Death Valley, is in sharp contrast with the downtown casinos located on the main road (160) through the city traveling north.
Terrible's is a resort hotel with lakes and pastures of grass and huge trees surrounding them. Add in an RV park and you have a place to stay no matter what you drive.
Because of the distance across the valley and many more things to see, I will takea few more trips to become familiar with the territory. I will travel of course with a companion.
Although I don't drink, I seldom play slots and I bring my own lady, I think Pahrump rates as a place to see and spend some quality time.
When I work my way through the large envelope provided by the Pahrump Chamber of Commerce I will take the trip again.
One warning - on the way back into the Vegas Valley don't try to take 160 all the way to the freeway. It will be a half hour wait. At least it was that Saturday afternoon. To avoid the bottle neck at the Silverton Hotel hang a left on Rainbow or Decatur and hit the 215 and go from there.