Wide Open Across Nevada
We were scooting across the ground in deep silty ruts when the rear tire caught an edge and popped the car up and a little sideways. My amateur driving had let the sandy course spit us out of the groove, yet I knew to counter-steer into the slide and lay back into the throttle. The car was quickly righted and we were hauling tail down two-track to our next destination.
We were high in elevation in central Nevada in an area known as the Great Basin. Sprawling, brushy desert runs great distances, yet is pierced by picturesque mountain ranges bordering huge valleys. As I drove, I traded time between reading the fast approaching bumps and curves of the dirt course we traveled and quickly gazing over the scenic views that lay all around me.
I was driving a Wide Open Nevada tour/race buggy. Wide Open Excursions has offered driving tours in their cars for about 13 years on the peninsula of Baja. Recently Wide Open Nevada has started offering similar trips in The Silver State for those not wanting to travel to Mexico, or for repeat customers wanting to experience a new location. The concept is clever and the execution effective: Put people in $100,000 race cars and let them drive fast and explore this jewel of terrain.
A group of us had converged in Las Vegas for an early fall trip that would span four and a half days. We met the guys from Wide Open at their shop just south of town where we were fitted for helmets and set out for the three-hour trip northward in their RV.
Upon arrival in the town of Goldfield, we checked into our hotel rooms and later headed over to the Santa Fe Saloon, the local watering hole that's been serving cool drinks to dusty miners and travelers for over a hundred years. As with a number of the towns we'd visit over the next several days, Goldfield was literally strewn with mechanical and architectural history from a rich gold mining past that once saw the town swell to over 20,000 inhabitants. Today, about 400 or so still call this quiet town home.