Area 51/Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range, Nevada

Area 51 is fabled to be where the U.S. Government houses aliens.  It is a development and test area for the most advanced military aircraft.  The base is secretive and unwelcoming to outsiders, and it has made itself into a tourist attraction based largely on these very traits.  There is also a cult following of web sites that track and speculate on happenings at the base.

Rachel, NV

Rachel, NV

I drive south on Nevada 375, officially named the Extraterrestrial Highway.  Tiny Rachel is the nearest town, and milks the alien cache for all it’s worth (see photos).  The bar tender, a young woman, cheerfully hands me a map showing the way to the Area 51 access road.  One cannot actually enter the base, but it is possible to drive to up to the entrance and see the security police and surveillance cameras.

It is the smoothest dirt road I have ever driven on, and I quickly cover the 13 miles to the boundary line.  There is a commuter bus that transports workers to and from the base each morning and afternoon.  The bus does not stop for anything drives at very high speeds.  My visit is timed to avoid the bus.

Security police watch me from a white Silverado pickup truck perched

Rachel, NV

Rachel, NV

20 feet above me on a hill inside the base boundary.  Brightly colored signs advise against entry and warn of the possible use of deadly force.  Another sign states that “Photography of this area is prohibited.”  Violators are typically held face down at rifle point until the local sheriff arrives to arrest them.  Then it’s a $650 fine for a first offense.  Having no desire for trouble, I walk within a few feet of the boundary, smile and wave to the cameras and the security police, and leave.  None of the base personnel ever make contact with me in any fashion.

Rachel, NV

Rachel, NV

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