About 3 days is all I can take of the sensory overload in Vegas, so I thought a nice side trip would give me a break. Where else would a big nerd go, someone who likes the Star Wars Penny slots, sci-fi TV shows and travel oddities but to Area 51.
We rented a car and took off on the I-15 North, which merges with I-93, and then we got on the Extra Terrestrial Highway, State Rout 375. It’s about a two and a half hour drive directly to Area 51, but we went about 20 miles further down the highway first to visit the town of Rachel (humans 98, aliens?) for lunch at the Little Ale’inn. I’ll be honest with you, it’s not Haute cuisine, but it’s part of the experience. Have a warmed over alien burger and a Coke, talk to the locals and other alien seekers and buy yourself a gitchy souvenir (my favorite is the alien head guitar pick.)
When you’re done in Rachel, head back the way you came and look for the black mailbox, which is now painted white, by the way. Turn down this dirt road (prepare to wash your car when you’re done), and follow it. Frommers said that almost any road would take you to the boundaries of Area 51, but the most famous entrance is at Groom Lake. Veer right at the fork in the road, you’ll come to a ranch (the entire area is all open range, so don’t drive through the cow piles on the road). Turn left at the ranch, and at the “T” turn right. You’ll think you’re never going to get there, but about a half hour later, you’ll see a lone truck at the top of a hill. A little further, and you come to the No Trespassing/No Photography sign. You’ll take a photo, of course, and wave a friendly hello to whoever the poor guy is that got the job of sitting in a truck watching crazy people come take a picture of a sign that says No Photography. They can see your dust trail coming for miles, so there’s no sneaking up on them. I, personally, wouldn’t test my luck and go any further, but if you test the boundaries and live, I’d love to hear about it.
The ride seems a bit longer than it is, because there is nothing along most of the road but the same pointy mountain you’d been looking at since you left. But it is gorgeous scenery, and the road is straight as an arrow. The dessert heat makes it look like the road is melting, and you can see mirages, and that’s cool. Plus, you can drive really really fast!
This was a really fun, if long, side trip that the Moulders of the world would love.