Camp Searchlight and El Rey Motel

Welcome to Camp Searchlight, the shittiest place on Earth.

Private Kyle Edwards

The first thing I must tell you about Searchlight in real life, is that you absolutely must drive the speed limit when you head into town. Even the online tourist sites and reviews poke fun at the ridiculously slow speed limit of the main drag. As far as locations, you can potentially see all of them in a short time – under an hour – so even though the list looks long, never fear.

There is also a gas station and a few restaurants here if you need to stock up. Gas is pretty expensive here, though, so if you can make it to Boulder City, I would recommend waiting. There is no charge station (as of March 2020).

I also found this, advertising the debauchery of Nipton, which may have caught the Legion’s eye to begin with. I guess that’s what you get for making weed puns.

Locations

# 45 – El Rey Motel
# 173 – Searchlight North gold mine
# 174 – Camp Searchlight
# 178 – Searchlight East gold mine
# 185 – Searchlight Airport
# 239 – Searchlight trailer park
# 240 – Searchlight west church
# 241 – Searchlight elementary school
# 242 – Searchlight fire station
# 243 – Searchlight NCR storage
# 244 – Searchlight police station
# 245 – Searchlight home
# 326 – Searchlight east church
# 428 – Searchlight (east) church storage

Location Details

# 174 – Camp Searchlight -The real world Searchlight is small town about 70 miles south of Vegas. In real life it looks less established than the in game location, but considerably less irradiated. I say “small” but I suppose it is relative, since compared to the surrounding area, it is one of the largest.

My experiences in this town are bizarre. First, there is an outhouse looking thing with a soft of statue/doll of a miner along the parking lot of the McDonalds, every time I drive by, I see someone humping it for a photo. Every time, without fail. The individuals I come in contact with, the exception being the gas station attendant who is a total sweetheart, are always for lack of a better word – a bit off.

A few days ago, a lady gave me some unsolicited criticism about how the diet soda I was buying was unhealthy for me while she was buying cigarettes. And then the time before that, there was a guy hunched over this slot machine by the door, mumbling to himself or the machine (?) that he “had enough of your attitude” and “it’s about time we get on with it” …

There was another instance where I was parked on the side of a residential street to text (there is cell reception here). I look up to see this maybe 14 year old boy staring at me from his front porch. He is taking out the trash but instead of walking the bag to the can, he just throws it at the can, which is not open, and the trash explodes everywhere. He just blankly turns around and goes back inside. Uhh …

# 45 – El Rey Motel – In the game, this location is right outside of the entrance to Camp McCarran, the former McCarran International Airport. However in our world, it is on the main street of Searchlight. It is really the most prominent example of a location that does appear in the game and real life, but is in a significantly different place geographically.

The hotel looks like a stereotypical low-budget motel, a U-shaped building with exterior doors facing the parking lot. They do not have a website or phone number, to the best of my knowledge. As an aside, the office door was locked despite having an “open” sign and evidence of at least one person being around, or having left a vehicle there in the parking lot. In the words of Victor, that’s a puzzle, all right. One of my friends at work grew up a little south of here and says its probably a front for something else, chems maybe.

# 173 – Searchlight North gold mine – There are a handful of abandoned mines north of Searchlight, and one of them is directly at this in game location – the only one east of Highway 95. To find the existing location, take a right on to Oregon Trails Road (yes, plural).

The name of this mine is JET Mine. Everywhere I read about it had the letters capitalized, but I could never find what the letters stood for. I can tell you with certainty that it looks like a long way down and there were a lot of signs warning that you should stay away. Don’t have to tell me twice.

# 178 – Searchlight East gold mine – This location was easier to find because of it residing south of Nevada State Route 164. It is actually right off of the main road, and a sort of tourist attraction, if that exists in Searchlight. It is called the Duplex Mine.

Duplex Mine overlooks the town from a hill to the south.  The mine was founded in 1897 by a prospector named George Colton and it has his name written in white stones in front. I think the grated walkways are inspired by some paths skirting the bottom of the hill, which look fairly similar.

# 185 – Searchlight Airport – Quite accurately, to the south of Searchlight along Highway 95, I found Searchlight Airport in the identical location as the in game counterpart. This location in our world was devoid of lethal creatures and also lacked an air controller tower. There were several landing strips, aptly named Puddle Jumper Lane etc., and some faded orange cones signifying the end of each lane.

When researching the area, I learned that it was constructed in the 1950s as an alternate landing area for Nellis Air Force Base, and was closed in 2006. Private aircraft are still allowed to use the area, but are warned that the location “offers no services and is uncontrolled, unmanned, and unlighted” – I suppose the same as the game.

# 239 – Searchlight trailer park – Camp Searchlight has a trailer park to the south, and in our world there is one to the west. It is called Cree’s Desert Mobile Home and RV Park. You can see it to the right if you are approaching from the west on Joshua Tree Highway / Nipton Road. This is also a good place to get pictures of the 164 road signs, both eastbound and westbound depending on what time of day it is.

# 240 / 326 / 428 – Searchlight east / west church / storage – There are two churches in Searchlight, as expected. The first, more to the east, is Searchlight Community Church, which has a sign out front similarly to the one in game. In real life, the sign has said several things when I have been paying attention, such as “Join new bible study class 6p Tuesday” and “Happy new year 2020” and “Hear my prayer o god PS 143” and “Save ur (sic?) country.” In game it says “Bingo Every Tuesday Night 630 930” on one side and less letters with the same message on the other.

The second, to the west, is a building that looks more similar but it was not on any map and did not have a sign outside. It looks like a church, with the white paint and steeple and whatnot. It did have lettering on the door that said “Searchlight Christian Academy” so maybe it serves as a sort of school as well as church (?) In either case, I did not break in to see if any storage space was available.

# 241 – Searchlight elementary school – There is a school here called Reid Elementary School – named after Harry Reid, a United States senator who was born here – but this is only according to the map. There were no signs or anything to indicate it was a school, with the exception of one of my Mapcarta printed maps, which is pretty random since these maps are used for finding mines and other types of non-building landmarks.

# 242 – Searchlight fire station – I did find a fire station, however . It is called Clark County Fire Department 75. On the sign in-game, I could not quite make out what the sign said due to bullet holes, but the fire helmets all said “1” instead of “75.”

# 243 – Searchlight NCR storage – Searchlight has two (boat) storage facilities, just not in the basement of a church. One of the locations is on the road leading out of town to Cottonwood Cove and the other is on the north side of town, a few blocks away from the main drag, Highway 95 – aptly named Searchlight Boat & RV Storage. In game, this storage area is in the west church, not to be confused with the “basement” of the east church. That took me a while to separate in my brain.

# 244 – Searchlight police station – I did not find a police station, but I did find the Searchlight Justice Court which is roughly the same. Wasteland JUSTICE.

Honorable Mention – Water tower – Unlike in the Goodsprings Cemetery, there is a water tower here that looks like you would expect it to in real life. I was full of glee when I saw it, but because of a massive gate, I could not get closer.

# 245 – Searchlight home – Last but not least, I present to you a few homes I thought most matched the in game equivalent. Usually I have been foregoing adding the few locations that are just called vague “home” names, but I just had to mention these.

Actually speaking of homes, I do not think I saw a single occupied home without some sort of ‘no trespassing sign’ or similar signs slathered all over every fence, outbuilding, and brick. This was my favorite one, and pretty much exemplified the feeling I have while in and about Searchlight overall.


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