The first question I often get asked when I tell people where I live is “Why do you live in Pahrump?” I generally answer them by asking a few of my own questions before I tell them why I live where I do.
“Have you ever been to Pahrump?” The answer is almost always no. “Do you know where Pahrump is?” No. “Have you ever been to Death Valley?” Again, the answer is no.
Almost always, when I tell them where Pahrump is, people in Vegas say, “but that is so far away!”
The reality is it takes me about an hour to get to my office in Vegas. When I lived in Vegas it often took at least 45 minutes to get to the office from my house and longer if traffic backed up. It sometimes takes an hour or more to get from one side of Las Vegas or Henderson to the other. So really it takes just a little longer to get where I need to go living here vs. living in Vegas. Lots of people in Pahrump commute. Unless someone decided to drive like an idiot and cause a wreck over Spring Mountain it’s normally a fairly smooth commute to Durango and Blue Diamond. After that, all bets are off.
There are some drawbacks of course. First, you end up putting lots of miles on your car each year. Oil changes, tires, tune-ups, and other normal maintenance items happen more frequently when you are commuting 130 to 150 miles a day. And be prepared to get a newer car more often. You can easily put 30,000 to 45,000 miles a year on your vehicle commuting. At the end of three or four years, it’s time for another car. That also adds up to a lot more gas you are buying. I generally need to fill up the gas tank every other day when I am commuting every day.
It also requires some preplanning if you want or need to do anything beyond what we have available here. Most of us try to combine errands, appointments, shopping, dining, a movie, and whatever else we need to do in Vegas into one trip to avoid the time and expense of multiple trips over the hill.
Once I have explained to someone where Pahrump is I find myself turning into a promotor for our area and I start talking enthusiastically about the cool things you can do here. I let them know about the drive out to Tecopa Hot Springs, where they can stop at the brewery and then see the date farm at China Ranch. And if they are shooting enthusiasts they can stop on the way at Front Sight to get some target practice in.
I let them know about Shoshone and the museum there. I tell them about Amargosa and the Opera House. I let them know about the Longstreet Hotel and Casino on the way to Death Valley. And of course, I tell them they must go to Death Valley at least once to experience how unique it is. Most don’t even know that there is a national park just two hours from Las Vegas.
And I let them know about some of the great spots we have right in Pahrump. I tell them about our wineries and invariably the response is “There are wineries in Pahrump?” I tell them, yes, the first winery and the largest winery in the state are in Pahrump. Most people have no clue.
I also let them know about our other hidden gems like the French bakery, the pistachio farm, our great dining options, golfing and our special events.
The response I get is “Wow, we should take a drive out there and check it out.” Occasionally I think to myself that maybe I was a little too enthusiastic so I tell them that rural life is not for everyone but it makes for a fun day trip to head our way and experience what we have to offer!
Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org