In September of this year, me and my fiancé were able to travel to Las Vegas. It’s been years since I last visited Sin City. A lot has changed since the last time I visited, but a lot stayed the same as well. Outside of the flashy lights, scantily clad showgirls, and endless shopping lies a terrain that has always fascinated me: the desert. I don’t know about you, but I feel drawn to the desert. I feel like something or someone is beckoning me to come there. I knew that when I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas that I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to rent a car and drive out to Rachel, NV. For those of you that do not know, Rachel is the town that sits out front of the infamous Area 51 complex. Being the extraterrestrial lover that I am, I couldn’t say “no” to this little road trip.
Back to the feeling of the desert–I don’t know why I feel like the desert calls me. I’ve read other bloggers’ articles about the desert and how it can cleanse the soul. I’ve read that if you’re drawn to the desert,it’s often because of its wide-open spaces and one can associate that with freedom. The desert is unforgiving, merciless, and seemingly endless. She is also full of beauty and mystical wonder. She’s a Pandora’s Box of sorts;drawing you in, in an effort to never let you out. The terrain is rugged, dry,and hot. It is the perfect location to establish a top secret base in which you want the public to stay out of. However, its “secret” is no longer safe.President Obama was the first president to verbally acknowledge the existence of Area 51. So whatever unhealthy curiosity anyone had about the Groom Lake area, the idea that the base is real was quenched when it was acknowledged by our former Commander in Chief.
Driving two hours outside of the city of Las Vegas was a great experience. To get to the Rachel area, you go through Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. There wasn’t much wildlife to be found, but the sights were marvelous. We also took a slight detour so that we could drive through the Moapa River Indian Reservation. The desert countryside is beautiful. It’s equipped with all of the desert elements you would imagine: tumbleweeds, heat tornadoes, cows, coyotes, and more. More specifically, when you get closer to the Extraterrestrial Highway, you get all of the alien art homage your heart could desire. No Area 51 trip is complete without a thorough stop at the Alien Research Center (please, ARC, take all of my money). From alien liquor to your standard coffee mugs and t-shirts, this place has it all to complete your alien souvenir quest. I had a good chat with the cashier on duty. I probed her with all 900 of my questions. I was the eager, out-of-town tourist they thrive upon,and I was proud of it. I traveled thousands of miles to become one with the desert, to dream big alien dreams, to suggest everything out of the norm that happened that day was extraterrestrial.The beautiful things about Area 51 and the surrounding towns, is that they all play into the alien frenzy. Even the DOT was in on it with their “Caution: Low Flying Craft” highway signs. All joking aside, Area 51 is a testing facility so it is not uncommon to see out-of-this-world looking craft; hence the signage.
Area 51 is not advertised. You must have either good directions from a local or the GPS coordinates. The first entrance to Area 51 that you would happen upon coming from the Las Vegas side is down an incredibly long road that most of the time I felt I should not be on. This trip, I was going to be daring, I was going to be bold, I was going to live life on the edge–I was going to…politely turn my rental car around as soon as I saw the“No Trespassing: use of deadly force authorized” signs. LOL. It was incredible–this first entrance had no gate, no armed guards stationed right on the entrance. There was a government contractor up a slight hill keeping a close eye on us in case we were feeling froggy–that’s not the type of froggy I partake in. Federal prison or worse does not exactly sound like a night at the Ritz Carlton to me. I just wanted to see it. I just wanted to feel it. There is an undoubted energy that protrudes from that desert, and that feeling alone was enough for me–I didn’t feel the need to break the law.
As we made our way back out to the main highway, we passed a few people that were doing the exact same thing as us–getting their Area 51 fill. We knew the next stop on the list was the Black Mailbox. The Black Mailbox has reinvented itself a few times–originally it was black, and then it was white, and then it went missing and then an Area 51 fan replaced the missing mailbox with a replica of the original black one. This area was one of my favorites. It’s right off the main road–all that you need to do is pull off. You will see amazing tributes of hippie nature here. Between the stacked stones, painted rocks, notes, and stickers, it is an alien lover’s paradise.The mailbox is already partially busted–sad. There was one postcard in therefrom a “Trey” which we found rather odd, as my fiance’s name is “Trey.” It’snot really a super common name, so the coincidence kind of made the hair on the back of our necks stand up. Were we called here? Are there an abnormal amount of individuals named “Trey” drawn to alien motif? What was the meaning of it all? We pressed on…
Our next stop on the list was to the infamous Little A’le’inn: Earthlings Welcome. This is the only place on the route that you are going to get anything to eat, and if you run out of gas, you are SOL–perhaps the aliens could help you out with your propulsion. Eating here is an experience. You have to do it for the nostalgia. If you’re expecting exquisite cuisine, then you may just want to wait until you get back to Las Vegas. This will be another opportunity to outfit yourself in alien merch. There will be plenty of photo opportunities here, and if you do not soak up each one I will shame you.
At this point, we turned back around to proceed onto the back gate of Area 51. This is the gate we all know and love. This is the entrance that is heavily guarded (or so it seems). I’m sure that someone was there, but nobody was standing outside of the guard house. It did not feel all that lively. I’m sure if I would have put one pinky toe over the threshold it would have caused an issue, but again, I’m not all about that illegal life. We took just a few moments to take it all in before we headed back for the open highway. I’m sure the guards roll their eyes anytime a tourist rolls up.Listen! Really, this is your former Commander in Chief’s fault…he confirmed the existence of A51.
I hated driving back to Las Vegas. I just wanted to be out there, to stay out there. Again, I can’t describe the energy that the desert puts off. One feels drawn. I really wanted to stay through the night time to see that beautiful desert night sky, but we were still quite a few hours out from sunset and I truly do not see well at night due to Lasik. I can guarantee this will not be my last visit to the West Coast desert. There are so many places in the surrounding area that I wanted to travel to, but due to time constraints we just couldn’t make it happen. If you get the opportunity to goon the Area 51 scenic route–do it! You won’t regret all of the grandeur and mystery that the area has to offer. Go into the journey with no expectations.Let the desert lead you, and do not get upset if you do not see what you are looking for. You may not see it; but it undoubtedly sees you. Oh wait, that’s just the government checking you out in their scopes from their watchtower. My bad.