Nellis Dunes - The Setup
Teams arrived at Exit 58 having been told to ask for ‘Will at RGB’.
When they pulled off the freeway there was really only one way to go at the
bottom of the ramp – south toward Las Vegas. Just after turning south they
spotted a huge, black, bad-ass Ford truck with three strings of Christmas
lights spread across the hood – one green, one red and one blue.
Having arrived, they were given a briefing by Will and his assistant
(both helpful staff members from a local ATV rental outfit) who gave basic
instruction on operation of the ATVs and passed out safety gear – each team
being allowed three ATVs maximum. Will then pointed to three sets of
flashing lights off in the far distance placed across the horizon in near
zero moonlight darkness – one red, one green, one blue (each about 3-4 miles
away). At first glace the idea of getting from the start to the lights seems
totally impossible. It was so dark you could hardly make out the horizon
much less see ANY of the ground in the valley that formed a completely black
void between the start and the three points of light. Will then advised that
the blue trail was the hardest followed by the green and then the red as the
easiest (tipping the teams that they are looking for a trail).
At the start teams immediately found that the three trails had been
marked with small red, green and blue wood stakes in the ground. Eventually
each of the trails forked off from one another sending each team member on a
solitary journey along their designated trail. With the occasional roar of
aircraft coming in for landing at the near by Nellis Air Force base, the
experience was certainly hair raising if not downright frightening. The
strongest rider of the team generally pursued the blue trail which required
a long journey along a dry riverbed and over a number of relatively
difficult obstacles (particularly considering this was being with the
benefit of only a single headlamp on each ATV).
When each rider reached at the end of the trail, the team member found a
metal fence post in the ground with a colored helium balloon attached (again
red, green or blue) and a number (0, 1 and 2 – the order of the clue parts
would turn out to be somewhat important in solving the clue). At the base of
this metal stake was an envelope. Having collected the clue part the team
member throttled back to the start, dogging any oncoming members of other
teams. A good rider took about 15-20 minutes round trip, less experienced
riders taking as much as 30 minutes.
One member of the Red team managed to get lost-- he could be seen
riding in circles off in the far distance of the valley. Game Control rode
out to help him, and got him back on the trail only to have him get lost
AGAIN a few minutes later (at that point we told him to just play follow the
leader…). It was at this stop that Game Control assisted a number of teams
with new fuses for their vans and inverters – it was the first opportunity
to help solve the problems generated by the overnight weather on the dry
lake bed. A few teams attempted to bribe Will and his buddy to ride the
course for them but Will held his ground and every single team had three
riders complete the course.