Everyone knows about Las Vegas. It’s is an outstanding travel destination. Great weather, golf, shows with top name performers. Activities indoors and out – for adults, families, and children. It has something for everybody. Oh yes – I hear they also have some gambling establishments as well. Vegas is a town that is open and active – 24 hours a day. It’s travel friendly with easy air access and hotels covering a wide price range. Everybody knows about Vegas. But, there is one Las Vegas attraction of which you may not be aware.
A short drive into the desert and low mountains north-northwest of Las Vegas brings you to a section of the Nevada Test and Training Range operated by the United States Air Force and managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base. This is a highly secure military area which has gone by many names including “Groom Lake”, “Paradise Ranch,” and “Dreamland”. Perhaps it’s best known name is “Area 51“. Yep, this is the place where top secret advanced military programs are developed and tested. Aircraft including the X-15 , the U-2, and the SR-71 Blackbird have come out of this development facility. More recently it has played a major role in the development of aircraft with stealth technology.
But there may be even more “far out” activities at Area 51. Many “UFO Researchers” believe that Area 51 also plays a role in the government’s programs related to UFOs. As an example, it is believed that possibly the wreckage from the 1947 Roswell UFO crash ended up at Groom Lake and that the facility is engaged in work on reverse engineering alien craft and technologies.
“Area 51” has always been a highly classified and secretive place. For a long time the government denied it’s existence. Today everyone knows where it is – but very few know what goes on there. ( You can now even get a high sky view with Google Earth ) Located in a remote section of the Nevada Desert – it lies in the center of a vast tract of government land which is very well guarded.
Still, a 2 1/2 hour drive into the desert gets you close to Area 51 and provides an interesting and novel change from the bright lights, loud noises, and poor table odds in Las Vegas. This drive gives you a chance to take in some of the Nevada landscape that “Vegas Only” tourists miss entirely. Head northeast out of Vegas on Interstate 15 about 22 miles, exiting at exit 64. From there, head north on US Highway 93 for about 85 miles, then a brief left on NV -318 and then left again onto NV-375 (designated as the E.T. Extraterrestrial Highway – with signage to prove it) which takes you to the little town of Rachel, Nevada about 40 miles further north.
There’s not much in Rachel. But it’s a good place to stop and get your bearings. You can get some good local information at the Little A’Le’Inn (you can’t miss it- there’s not much else in the area). But just in case here is some data –
http://www.littlealeinn.com/ GPS Coordinates
At the Inn you can get directions to different points of interest related to Area 51. (A search of the internet will also get you lots of information about Area 51 and some of the “UFOlogy” of the region.) You can also get some good food and pick up just about any type of alien / UFO souvenier you could possibly imagine. (I was tempted by the inflatable alien with the gigantic black eyes but settle for a T-shirt.) Be sure to check out the Independence Day Monument and Time Capsule near the Inn. It was placed there by the cast of the movie Independence Day which did some filming in the area. The inscription reads in part, “This time capsule will serve as a beacon, to be opened in the year 2050 A.D., by which time interplanetary travelers shall be regular guests of our planet earth.” OK……………
I did this excursion as a day trip out of Las Vegas. It was a really good break and definitely something “different”. (It probably saved me from loosing more money at the slots as well!) I’d highly recommend the outing for the more adventurous among you. If you take the drive out Groom Lake Road (some say this is the widest and best maintained gravel road they have ever seen – your government dollars at work!) to the Main Gate at Area 51 you will undoubtedly notice the military vehicles along the ridge lines that are monitoring the area (and you). You should note that you will not actually be able to get to the “main gate”. That is located well within the perimeter of the restricted area. You will (hopefully) stop when you encounter the fence and multiple signs saying things about “no photography” and “restricted area” and “no admittance.” The point is clear. You are not welcome there.
And yes – no fooling – you are being watched. Just check the hilltops – you’ll see the vehicles. If you have binoculars with you, you will see military types in their Humvees looking at you through their binoculars. There used to be signs at this point reading,”Use of deadly force authorized.” They have removed the signs – not sure if they changed the authoization. Bottom line – you can’t get to the gate or onto the base – stop at the fence line and be sure to obey all signs and restrictions.
Let me know if you go – and be sure to let me know if you see any UFOs!
And remember – Enjoy The Adventure!
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