Day Trip to Area 51

Since 1991 I have been fortunate enough to make regular trips to The USA and one of my favourite American destinations is Las Vegas. Vegas is just awe-inspiring if you love capitalism and entertainment and the american dream. Some people think it's a sleazy town which is fake and a ripoff. I can understand why people might think this, but to me Vegas has become a mecca of entertainment and wealth and stands out as an icon of modernity. Las Vegas is constantly updating itself with businesses of all kinds competing to attract international customers with the best and most modern services that can be provided in the world today. There are not many places in the world where this happens.

On many of my previous Vegas trips, i had wondered if it was possible to make an excursion to Area 51, which on the map looks quite close to Vegas. In late 2007 i finally made the decision to make my own excursion and take a few pics along the way. So i hired a jeep and headed north early one morning to Extraterrestrial Highway. Naturally its further than it looks on a map, but 150 miles there and 150 miles back in a day isn't exactly difficult to do on American roads. Driving out of Vegas up the interstate was initially busy, but as the miles went by the traffic dwindles away until you are basically driving by yourself on dead straight flat stretches of desert road.

When you finally reach Extraterrestrial Highway you really do feel like you are the only person for miles around, it is a quiet and lonely place of rocky mountains and horizon to horizon vistas of flat desert. The environment certainly helps maintain the spooky and mysterious reputation of Area 51. First stop on the ET Highway was the much fabled Black Mailbox. I was eager not to miss it and from what i have read, if you are not looking carefully for it, you will just drive past it and never know it is there. The mailbox is repainted white and probably gets repainted every year as tourists regularly paint their own messages on the box.

Next stop on the ET highway was The Little Ale Inn. I have seen this building on ufo tv documentaries before and the little town of Rachel has always been a place on my list to visit. In reality Rachel was nothing like what i imagined it. The Little Ale Inn is a static building, but practically everything else around is a mobile home of some description. Rachel is really a trailer camp full of polite, right-wing white americans. I say right-wing, because the interior of the Little Ale Inn is not only daubed in ufo photos, but there are dozens of anti-Hillary stickers and posters everywhere. The people serve a nice Alien burger and look like they have a busy online business marketing Area51 T-shirts, mugs and other tourist-trash items. In truth though, the rightwing extremism expressed in the anti-Hillary stuff disturbed me a little. This community obviously has underlying anger which it wants to shout about, even at the expense of offending any democrat that happens to wander in.

Next stop was Area 51 itself. There are various ways to get off the normal roads and head for the mystical Groom Lake. On the way back from Rachel i turned off at the Mailbox Road and just followed the road till i hit Groom Lake Road itself. Groom Lake Road is quite weird. Its very flat, very straight and as you drive down, you realise that the right hand side of the road is covered with cactus bushes that have been planted by the authorities to stop people going off-road towards the base. The further you drive towards Groom Lake the thicker these bushes become. Driving down there is quite strange, you know in a way you shouldnt be driving down this road, but there isnt a sign to say where it goes or that its private property or anything, there is even a speed sign, suggesting that it is a legal piece of road for anyone to drive down.

Groom Lake Road, then twists off to the right and now you know, it's game-over. You are confronted by an array of warning signs, each one showing different penalites for the same crimes. I found this place quite amusing, There is even a sign saying that photography is forbidden...gimme a break, my rebellious nature instantly lead me to take a picture of that sign. We were being watched as well, a truck was on a hill and i took a picture of them looking at me. That made my day, knowing i could spy on the spies and they couldnt do anything about it. I did not risk crossing the signs and reversed out back onto the Groom Lake Road straight and back onto ET Highway and was back in Vegas a couple of hours later.

I didn't experience any aliens or ufos, but it was a nice day out, with impressive scenery. I recommend the more adventurous of you to emulate my day trip to Area 51. Take a look at my pics. The pic of the Area51 truck spying on us was just a speck in the distance. It was right on the edge of range with a Canon Eos on full zoom and then digitally blown up to 400% and enhanced with despeckle, sharpen and smooth tools. I didn't realise until i had blown this picture up on my laptop that they were watching us.