Scavengers report hulking individuals moving around Hidden Valley after dusk, but have been unable to identify them due to low visibility.Mr. New Vegas
The Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area is pretty big, and mostly a tourist destination for people looking for petroglyphs along the hiking trails. On the southwest border of the area is Hidden Valley, a low lying and wind whipped place that is easily recognizable by how much sand is getting thrown into your eyes.
# 99 – Hidden Valley / bunker (cosplay location: Elder McNamara)
# 100 – Scorpion gulch
# 108 – REPCONN test site
# 252 – REPCONN test site checkpoint
# 100 – Scorpion gulch – This location in our world, thankfully devoid of scorpions in my experience (but certainly may not be overall) is called Sloan Canyon – home to trails, petrogyphs, and really all of the locations, save one, following below.
# 99 – Hidden Valley / bunker – This location exists in our world in approximately the same place, with the same name. It is located closer to Jean in our world than in the game. The valley has many offroad and hiking trails and avoids the immersion-breaking residential neighborhoods experienced earlier when visiting Black Mountain. Enough seclusion that no one saw me wandering around in my elder robes for my Elder McNamara cosplay.
Mirroring the in game location, this valley is exceptionally windy and the sand flies similarly to that of the DERVISH camouflaging system. I watched this phenomenon from above.
There are no bunkers in the Sloan Canyon location, but the Hidden Valley bunkers closely resemble storage bunkers located at the abandoned Groom Mine in Lincoln County, Nevada. I learned that the property on which the mine is located has a view of Area 51’s airfield and when the family who owned the mine chose not to sell to the United States government, they attempted to steal it using eminent domain. Currently the issue is under litigation, but if the government prevails, these bunkers will most assuredly no longer be available to visitors.
Another aspect that made me think that Hidden Valley mirrors the famed Area 51 area is the bright red “No Photography” sign as you approach the barbed wire fence. Of course, this Courier was defiant as usual with her Codac R9000.
Another thing I have yet to mention is just how many petroglyphs are not only along the trails in Sloan Canyon, but all over the Mojave Desert. The Sloan Canyon petroglyphs are especially meaningful due to the sheer size and number of them in one location. Archaeologists believe the more than 300 rock art panels with 1,700 individual design elements were created by native cultures which are thought to be over 4,000 years old. I would have complained about the base game’s lack of representation of these petroglyphs, however Honest Hearts not only addressed it satisfactorily, but exceptionally. I have a great time spotting them everywhere I go.
In game, two funny things happened when I was in Hidden Valley. First, Elder McNamara made me strip down to my underwear and took all my gear, but for whatever reason he lets Arcade Gannon waltz in totally clothed and visibly packing. Ok.
Second, so I go and tell the Ranger Dobson to get lost because of the Powder Gangers or whatever, he leaves – I watch him walk out the door – and then I go about collecting all the junk in the room, probably taking two or three minutes. I mess with his radio, choose to leave it alone, and then Dobson, out of nowhere, immediately appears behind me “HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY RADIO?” – oh this radio, the one you do not need because you left already? Hmm ok. It did scare the crap out of me, though.
Oh, and this line …
Wait I am finding more screenshots that give me a good chuckle. What about this guy that is talking to a class of zero students …
And then there is this guy that does not look like he is going to have the most comfortable sleep.
# 108/252 – REPCONN test Site / checkpoint – Although it is known that the REPCONN HQ location is based on the real world PEPCON location and subsequent disaster, this location in game is much farther south and correlates with the real world LORAN-C station. The acronym REPCONN stands for Rocket Engineering and Production COmpaNy of Nevada, and similarly acronym-ed LORAN stands for LOng RAnge Navigation.
The LORAN-C station is quite the location to behold. The station was built in 1976 and in its prime, had four 700 ft / 210 m transmission towers and several active duty and reserve personnel stationed here. Made obsolete by GPS, the station was closed in February 2010 – before the game was released – and decommissioned two years later. You can visit this location as of my writing this (2019), and it is very post-apocalyptic, keeping in the feel of being suddenly and hurriedly abandoned with all interior items in tact.
Another place with similarities I think were intentional is the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, located past Mountain Pass / Mojave Outpost. It is not only an incredible sight which mirrors the game with multiple massive dish antennas, but also is owned by NASA with the purpose of sending and receiving data from space.
This NASA Deep Space Network complex is one of only three in the world, the others located in Spain and Australia. They are the only installations that are capable of communication with Voyager I and II, which as I write this (2018) are now both in interstellar space. Scientists estimate the antennas will be able to communicate with the spacecraft until 2024, when the craft may run out of energy.
Now (in 2020) Voyager I is at a distance of 22.3 billion kilometers (13.8 billion miles) from the Sun, and Voyager II is 18.5 billion kilometers (11.5 billion miles) away. The Mojave location can only provide a supportive tole now as the spacecraft are moving downward relative to our planet’s orbital plane and, therefore, can be hailed only from the Southern Hemisphere.
Ok back on track. The large parabolic, or dish, antennas are seen in game as well, overlooking the test site from the surrounding cliffs. In our world, the antennas are responsible for maintaining communication with up to 30 spacecraft. The Bright Brotherhood could benefit from this information no doubt.
The Deep Space Network complexes, placed 120° apart, provide constant communication with spacecraft as the Earth rotates. The remote location of the Mojave Desert in California, near the old mining town of Goldstone, was determined to be an optimal location due to the lack of radio and noise pollution and in 1958 the first antenna was built. Facilities near Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia complete the Deep Space Network providing 360 degree global coverage for spacecraft tracking.
So perhaps the location is a healthy mix of LORAN station, PEPCON, and Goldstone.
For being active until 2010, the LORAN station really does have a “stuck in the mid-century vibe” to it, though. Perfect!