At The Aviator Casino, folks can gamble like a cowboy and eat like a king. Players sidle up to a variety of gaming options including Pure Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, 3-card Poker, Texas Hold 'Em, and Pure Spanish Blackjack—a version of the game where the gambler's blackjack always beats the dealer's—or divine the sweet, fickle whims of Lady Luck during rounds of Mexican Poker or Deep Stack Texas Hold 'Em. Famished card sharks can head over to the The Aviator Casino Bar & Grill. There, diners sample a veritable smorgasbord of international cuisine, including full-pound Angus beef burgers, 13-ounce rib eye steaks, lasagna, burritos, and teriyaki chicken. The casino is conveniently located 500 yards from the runway, so pilots and passengers can get off their jets and belly right up to the tables. GEGA #'s: 2125, 3252, 3944, 3154, 3060.
Owned and operated by its guides, Runoff River Adventures has attracted some of the best river navigators in the business. Each guide has personally traversed more than 200 rivers, whose collective currents criss-cross countries across the world. The aquatic experts wield this experience as they guide kayaking and rafting expeditions down courses that can pass through roiling rapids or stick to calmer areas, such as goldfish bowls. Instructors also helm paddling and rafting courses, which focus on oar work and the art of the lake roll and river roll. Once they have mastered the basics, adventurers can confidently sally forth for self-guided tours in inflatable or non-inflatable kayaks, rafts, and innertubes that function as both flotation devices and very large headbands.
In the warmer months, the runoff from the snowmelt on Mount Whitney combines with the flow of Kern River, creating a series of rapids that eventually give way to a placid lake. Kern River Rafting was created to give residents and visitors a chance to capitalize on the river's potential for fun and adventure.
A convenient shuttle service brings you to the river from the company's home base after you've been outfitted with helmets, life vests, and paddles. Tube-mounted excursions set out from the northerly reaches of the river and go barreling through rapids. Then a ferry brings crews back north for another ride or a jaunt in a Zorb globe. These 12-foot blow-up hamster balls allow those inside to run across water, performing amphibious feats that hamsters can only dream about.
Designed by international golf architect Robert Dean Putman, the challenging 18-hole course spans more than160 acres. During the game (up to a $20 value per person), golfers refusing to hitchhike can navigate the terrain in one of Valley Rose's quality golf carts (up to a $10 value), finely tuned for scaling hills, making sharp turns, and morphing into a time traveling robot should the need arise. After conquering the course's lush landscape and tricky topography, golfers are encouraged to visit Valley Rose's Pro Shop to compare their scores with other recent players, or wind down in their clubhouse which features a restaurant, meeting rooms, and banquet facilities.
Las Flores Family Winery produces fine, handcrafted wine from local grapes. Two chums can enjoy a tasting tour (a $5 value per person) of the small boutique winery. Use the complimentary glass to taste the 2007 syrah ($16), whose liquid character sparkles with the honorable tastes of peppery spice, vanilla, and darkish berries, pairing perfectly with beef, lamb, veal, or hard cheese. The One Night Stand—a blend of merlot, tempranillo, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon ($20)—takes its name from the winery owners’ bedroom, which only has one nightstand. A superb all-purpose table wine, it features flavors of cherry, black pepper, and oak. Tongues will gladly wrap themselves around the light and fruity 2008 chardonnay ($17).