Area 51: The Undiscovered Country

Bald Tony

En-route to Area 51, Bald Tony takes the
time to lead Frodo and Samwise toward Mordor

One hundred and fifty miles northwest of Las Vegas, amidst the barren wasteland of Central Nevada, sits one of the most controversial areas in our country (besides Michael Vick’s Animal Shelter).  I’m talking, of course, about Rachel, Nevada, a one mailbox town so devoid of life it didn’t even appear on my GPS (and it really only has one mailbox, which also did not appear on my GPS).  The nearest real town to Rachel is sixty miles to the south.  There is no cell phone service and no gas station in or around Rachel.  The town motto is ‘Don’t Run Out of Gas in Rachel.’   They’re not kidding.  To accentuate that point, there is a sign next to the town motto that says, ‘We’re Not Kidding!’

In order to get to Rachel, Frank from CA, Greg from MD, and the Great Bald One himself trekked along the Extra Terrestrial Highway (speed limit warp 3).  It’s really named that.  Along with legalized gambling and prostitution, the state of Nevada apparently has a sense of humor.  It is so desolate on State Route 375 (ET Hwy), we drove 45 minutes without seeing another vehicle (at least on the ground).  The skies above were littered with strange discs, saucers, and mallowmar shaped spacecrafts (damn shame we never looked up).  In the middle of town sits a tow truck towing a UFO.  This oddity is the stuff of legend, or, as the Rachelinians like to call it, bullshit. 

Having been abducted one too many times,
Cleetus the tow truck driver plots his revenge

The only commercial building in Rachel is the A’Le’Inn, where I and my weary traveling companion feasted on the house special, the Alien Burger, with secret Alien sauce (possibly Heinz 51).  It was the best burger for miles…speaking of gas.  The A’Le’Inn has one television, forever tuned to the Sci-fi channel.  While waiting for the replicator to prepare our Borg-ers, we scoured the adjacent gift shop, and perused the memorabilia-filled walls covered with newspaper clippings and interesting photographs of Men in Black, stealth fighters, and other military spooks.  Similar to other alien close encounters, we seemed to have lost several hours at the A’Le’Inn—after we consumed a few too many Martian Mojitos.  The anal probes arrived courtesy of Cleetus the tow truck driver and his rocketeering roofies.  OK, that never happened.  We hope.  After the grub and grog our intrepid explorers meandered, Mojito meandered, towards the elusive Area 51. 

As most of you know, Area 51 is located literally in the middle of nowhere.  But, until you drive out there in the dead of night, it’s really tough to appreciate just how smack dab in the middle of nowhere this place is.   From the A’Le’Inn it was 25 minutes of twists and turns on gravel and dirt roads with no signage to speak of.  It was so dark, at one point we decided to turn off all the car lights, and we could not see our hand in front of our face.  Of course, I never lifted mine, where’s the fun in that?  I took Frank and Greg’s word for it.  As we rounded a small bend our headlights lit up two Men in Black.  They were in a dark SUV parked at the top of the nearest rise.  The SUV may not have been black (it was possibly grey) and the men may have only been in denim, but it was a dark, menacing denim.  The men spied at us warily as we spied at them warily in some sort of warily staring stare off.  A laser fight ensued…well, in the LucasFilm version of this article anyway.

At the gate we took many pictures of the signs and places that clearly warned about any such photography.  Try as we might, we could not find one sign that read: permission to use deadly force.  We waved causally at the Men in Dark Denim (click, click).  They ignored the pleasant gesture.  We did not see any UFOs on our journey, but we did see the strangest small red lights swerving around our chests every time the Men in Denim were about.

One more warning and this pic would never have been taken

Just as the realization hit this old gate was about all she wrote, nature called.  One too many Martian Mojitos, I suppose.  As soon as the sound of unzipping commenced, my friend called over in a hushed whisper, “Hold it.  At least until we’re out of sight of those MIBs.”  The thought of men with night vision goggles and high powered rifles allowed me to contain the contents of my bladder for a few more miles (until a suitable bush could be found).

The funny thing is; we were never really anywhere near Area 51.  The actual base is 12 miles from the barbed wire gates.  One thing is for sure, this place is more guarded than Bernie Madoff’s ATM card.  If we couldn’t get in with our combined expertise, no one can.  After slowly and carefully finding our way back to a paved road, we headed back to Sin City, with just enough gas to breakout of the grasp of that gasless desert trap, Rachel, Nevada.

Word to the wise: stay away from the secret alien sauce…and Cleetus and his rocketeering roofies, of course.

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