A highway for UFO fans. A mini-state called Molossia. School buses buried in the desert sand and lots of nothing. In Nevada the slant is standard!

No, he doesn’t need a crown. “I am a military dictator and not a king,” said Kevin Baugh. The outfit is perfect: green uniform, medals on the chest, a three-colored sash in the national colors, plus sunglasses. Only the big grin doesn’t really fit. The wind carries the smell of dust and sage into the 4,000 square meter Republic of Molossia near Dayton in the US state of Nevada.

Ex-soldier Baugh, 55, founded his own state 19 years ago in the desolate nowhere. Complete with post office, own currency (Valora), state railroad (model train size), customs office (visitors have to hand in their change) and first lady (Adrianne, 38). “Molossia is my expression of freedom, imagination and personal sovereignty,” he explains. Wasn’t he just a strange weirdo? Baugh pretends to be genuinely indignant: “This is the first time I’ve heard such a question!”

In Nevada, the slant is standard. The US state is a reservoir for out-of-the-way attractions and unusual people who would be referred to as strange, crazy, or interesting elsewhere.

 

Crazy Las Vegas

Now the tourism authority has discovered that the quirky attracts visitors. For the past two years she has been placing ads on websites frequented by fans of the fantastic or organizing her own tours under the motto “Weird Nevada”. Tourism director Bethany Drysdale: “This state has always inspired loners, bizarre people and people who think differently. They have settled here and are now living out their strange ideas. That attracts more people who are different from the mainstream. ”

Already Las Vegas is basically madness turned into a city. An orgy of neon, music, show girls, stretch limousines and the plingpling of one-armed bandits. You can watch flamingos or tigers being fed, spend $ 10,000 on a single cocktail, or learn machine gun shooting. In the “Heart Attack Grill” fat people who weigh more than 160 kilograms eat for free, the largest burger has 10,000 calories.

 

Best seller: coffins

It gets even more strange in the country. And there is plenty of land. Nevada is larger than the UK and is home to just 2.9 million people, two-thirds of whom live in the greater Las Vegas area. The state offers loneliness and space a lot.

Bryan and Dusty Schoening run their funeral home “Coffinwood” in the town of Pahrump. After his parents’ accidental death, Bryan decided to become a coffin carpenter. “It was disgusting how the undertakers treated me. I wanted to find a more personal way for people to say goodbye to loved ones. ”He has had a kind of coffin obsession ever since. On a tour of their dusty realm – a wooden bungalow with half a dozen sheds and corrugated iron huts – the two of them show me their collection of eleven hearses (“Unfortunately, only three drive”), black tulips and lilies that bloom on the beds, and the workshop, in which Bryan makes all coffins by hand.

Emily Wong

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