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Area 51

My visit to the notorious secret military base near Groom Lake in Nevada is not one I will soon forget. Aliens or not, it was an experience to remember.

The journey starts in Las Vegas, NV, in the middle of a road trip with a friend. It's around 3am and we've had our fill of Vegas, but it is a hard city to leave. This is especially true when your car won't start. A couple of road-weary travelers trying to get their car to start in the middle of the night, is a recipe for some conflict. After hours of argument, we narrowly avoid buying a couple plane tickets as the car finally cooperates. To alleviate the tension and cease further arguments as to why the car won't start (it's happened before), we agree to just keep it running, alternating turns driving and sleeping, the rest of the way to Seattle. It has been a long road trip and the time has come for it to end. Just one last stop along the way.

Being a secret facility and the nature of the tests done there, Area 51 is in a fairly isolated section of the Nevada desert. Taking a questionable car out to it may not be the brightest of ideas. It also requires almost half a tank of gas to reach the facility from the nearest gas station. Luckily, we are not the types who let little details get in our way.

We left Vegas, making our last pit stop before the facility shortly after daybreak. Halfway there, the realities of sleep deprevation set in and we are forced to pull over to the side of the road, in the middle of the desert, with the car running to power nap. It didn't take too long before my friend sleeping in the passenger seat awoke to take over. Another half hour or so and we were both wide awake in anticipation.

The directions to get to Area 51 are bizarre in their own right. First, you must drive along along Highway 375, the "Extraterrestrial Highway," until you find a road marked only by a "Black Mailbox." To further confuse things, the famous "Black Mailbox" is now white. From there you proceed along a gravel road, navigating between artillery ranges. Finally, you come around a bluff to find yourself at the border.

We made it!

On the hillside to the left there is some funky looking surveilence equipment. Looming above, on the bluff to the right is a black suburban with tinted windows. At our approach, the headlights lit up and car crept forward. Right in front of us is the entryway to Area 51. Surrounded by signs restricting entry, taking pictures, and other activities. With our car running, and our every move being watched, we intended to leave quickly, but we weren't leaving without capturing some photographic evidence first.

We prepared our respective cameras and agreed on the plan. Leaving the car at the same time we approached the entrance taking pictures as quickly as possible, knowing our time could be cut short. We just finished with the photos we wanted when I heard a car approaching. We had crossed over 13 miles of open desert seeing no cars behind us, and we were checking. An approaching vehicle did not bode well. So, we rushed back to the running car. As we hopped in an old Cadillac appeared from around the bluff. The vehicle contained two strange looking old women. The driver rolled down her window and asked with a thick drawl, "Y'all seen any aliens?" Intergalactic humor perhaps?

We chose not to stick around and find out. After all, an abduction involvlng the missing time phenomena would surely leave us out of gas. Back in the car we quickly changed rolls in the camera and hid our bounty, just in case. We still had a thousand miles to home and a car we couldn't stop.

Amazingly enough, we survived the trip back. They even kind enough in Oregon to not make us turn the car off while they pumped our gas. Curiously enough, just a day or two after our return, my friend felt some vibrations in his house. No, not a UFO, but when he looked outside, he saw a black, whisper-quiet helicopter hovering over his house.

-Tale Provided Courtesy of smallChaos Adventures

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