Now this is what I moved West for- the chance to get to know places like the Ivanpah Valley, where the settlement of Primm stands as a punch line counterpoint to the surrounding Mojave desert landscape, forming a perfect theater of the absurd and the sublime. →
‘Settlement’ seems as good a term as any to describe Primm. It’s first and foremost a rest stop, but because it sits on I-15 just over the NV state line, it has 3 distinct resort/casinos, 2400 hotel rooms, an outlet mall, and various gas stations and fast food joints. There’s also housing for the workers and a natural gas fired power plant nestled in the hills to the west. The accident here is the intersection of the state line and the 15 right at the north end of the Ivanpah dry lake bed, one of those bright hot places where the road goes straight for miles. →
My favorite jewel in the Primm crown is Buffalo Bill’s: a 15 story, multi-tower 1200 room hotel done in the traditional red barn board and batten style, all encircled by one of the world’s highest roller coasters (couldn’t forget that part). This thing should have a giant Foghorn Leghorn affixed to it. →
Sharing the stage with the architecture, doing their best to steal the show in fact, are the barren Clark Mountains, great mounds of stacked fans, random outcroppings, and cascading buttresses, all with that
vaguely gothic aspect typical of Mojave mountains. Next trip I think I’ll actually stay in Primm and take
a day to walk into them. →
Whiskey Pete’s, on the other side of the freeway but served by a nifty monorail, employs the more typical toy castle design strategy. The Primm Valley Resort? I guess it’s supposed to be in the Southern plantation style.
A little piece of Kentucky brought to the desert. I can almost smell the fresh cut grass and minty ice tea! ◊