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Area 51 Roadtrip Destination

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posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 01:47 PM
My daughter and I have been planning a Road Trip for this summer for a couple of years now. We were finishing up the Daily Itinerary that would take us to Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and other destinations in the SW. When I asked my 12 year old daughter what other places she would like to see on our summer Road Trip, she pointed at Nevada and said "Area 51 most definitely!". (The odd part is that I've never mentioned Area 51 to her before in any conversation.)

So, being the doting father that I am, I'm willing to consider the possibility of swinging by that part of Nevada on our way back to Southern Oregon to appease my daughter.

As the Greater Area of Groomlake is Restricted, what are some good places to go in that area for watching activity in the night sky, or getting a good view of the Groomlake Area from afar?

As silly as this may sound, are there any good places around there that cater to tourists? Hey, my daughter would probably get a kick just sitting in a diner talking to locals and hearing their personal stories about Area 51.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 01:58 PM
reply to post by fraterormus


Strangely enough I will be there this summer doing the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Monument Valley and, as my daughter wants to show her partner - Area 51 again.

Rachel is the must see for most. It has trailers that depending to the level of comfort you are accustomed to are adequate for an overnight stay. The diner is great though for burgers, steaks and trinkets, photos etc. Not sure about the locals - we have been there twice and although polite are probably fed up with recounting stories.

Viewing - gariac will probably provide detailed points but anywhere south of Rachel along the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Alternatively for an overnight stop, a little further out is Alamo with I think, a couple of decent motels... Also importantly, Alamo has gas stations - Rachel doesn't so make sure you fill up.


posted on Jun, 25 2009 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

Forgot but the back and front gates... both aound 14 miles of dirt road each way but you get as close you are allowed and will no doubt see the cammo dudes, senors and warning signs...


posted on Jun, 27 2009 @ 07:13 AM
The only issue I see here is the attention span of the 12 year old. Whatever you see on the net about Groom Lake or the Nellis range are the highlights. There is a lot of dead time between things happening.

First, stick with the notion of seeing Nellis activity more than Groom Lake. After all, if you don't climb Tikaboo, all you will see of Groom Lake is base security. If you hit Vegas around lunch time, pig out, drink lots of fluids (non-alcoholic), and head out to the Nellis fence. You can watch planes take off and land by parking by the Speedway. There is always someone out there "spotting", so park near a car or pack of cars that seem to be observing the base. When it gets old, head back to Vegas and do "whatever." See the volcano and the pirates at Treasure Island and the Mirage. [They are next to each other.] The Luxor would be more interesting to a young adult than other casinos. As an alternative, you can hike Red Rock, then oink oink at the Redrock Casino buffet.

Nellis weapons school shows up to the range around 9AM to 10AM. If you leave Vegas in the AM, you can get to Rachel around that time frame. [Fill up In Alamo or Ash Springs.] Hit the back gate first. This still keeps you in the area where the weapons school could be flying. [Actually, one element of the school. They also train around Elgin and points near route 95.] You should have binoculars with you. They don't have to be "killer" binocs, but you need something. When you reach the back gate, park just off the road. [This can be done in a car.] Get out and walk around. It is all fenced off so there is no issue about crossing the border at the back gate. As you walk around, they may follow you with a camera on a tall tower. [Hey, you hope so!] The junk in the background is Soviet era radar.

After the back gate, head back to the highway. If you want, you can visit Rachel, but they just peddle crap. Eat there at your own risk. [There is a bathroom.] You could head out to Cedar Gate, a bit north of Rachel, then drive towards the gate, You will eventually reach some trees. This is a mini ghost town. The road is paved, but pretty shabby.

You can then start heading back to Vegas. You will be able to see the black mail box. Don't use Mail Box Road to get to the front gate. It is slightly confusing as to where to turn to get onto Groom Lake Road. Rather, head back to the ET Highway, then meet up with Groom Lake Road, which takes you to the front gate. The front gate has no fence, so obey the signs and the "orange pole."

When you get to Alamo, have a late lunch at the Windmill Inn. The room run about $100, but you get your own cabin. If you stay there, you can sit out on the porch or in their court yard at night. There should be night flying and you might see flashes of night bombing.

A few links:
Area 51 front/back/cedar gate

Windmill Ridge

Regarding Death Valley, those roads eat tires. If you don't have a SUV, I'd use a bit of caution wandering off the improved roads. The "Racetrack" eats cars. If you want to see moving rocks, go to Bonnie Claire Dry Lake.
Moving rocks
You can drive right on the lake bed (unless things have changed). Don't disturb the rocks. Scotty's Castle is down the road.

Scotty's Castle

Don't forget to bring water. You might break down. Just get a case. Sunscreen. I suggest shoes and not flip flops, but flip flops could give you a chance to practice first aid on the kid and get to say "I told you so." I bring citronella with me. Sometimes the desert is buggy, sometimes it isn't. I bring the citronella bug repellent for use on your body, and the kind you burn as a candle.

posted on Jun, 27 2009 @ 07:34 AM
I'm in Vegas at the end of next month and I'm planning to hire a car and drive out to Area 51. I'd be most thankfull if anyone could give us directions, where's the best place to go, etc. Have this awful feeling that I'll end up missing the sign posts and will drive on into the base!

posted on Jun, 28 2009 @ 02:39 PM
Wow gariac! That's exactly what I was looking for!

My daughter has an amazing (actually obsessive) attention span so long as it is something she is interested in. Ever since she was an infant, bombs could be going off around her and she wouldn't even notice when she becomes fixated on something. It really is like achieving an Altered State of Reality for her, focusing on one thing with all her attention until she is entirely oblivious and separate from everything around her (as well as her own body and it's needs). However, if it is something she isn't interested in, no amount of bribery, pleading, coercion, threats, or plying will make her focus, much like any other child her age.

I'm not sure where her sudden interest in Area 51 came from, but as her main hobbies are High Powered Rocketry and building Amateur Satellites, I'm sure she must have come across the reference while doing research for one or the other. If I didn't know any better I'd almost think that she wants to scope out Area 51 as a potential future employer. LOL!

Thank you especially for the warnings about the roads in Death Valley and "the Racetrack". We will be making the trip in a Toyota Solara (luxury coupe) rather than a SUV, so that kind of info is invaluable to know ahead of time (you probably just saved me being stranded and facing a lot in auto repairs).

I was hoping to avoid Vegas though. I haven't been there since childhood and it's one of the two places on this Earth I avoid like the plague (Los Angeles is the other). My daughter has mentioned wanting to see Luxor, but as she has taught herself Hieroglyphic from all of my Undergrad Textbooks, and has a strong personal appreciation for Ancient Egypt, I think she would be sorely disappointed when she discovered what is at Luxor isn't Ancient Egyptian and just Vegas Glam + Hollywood Stage FX. I had been hoping to get her to Egypt long ago to see the real deal, but the last 10 years our country has alienated the Muslim nations, to the point where I still have to gain fluency in German and Arabic before I can seek a permit to do field studies in Egypt (I've got the French, Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, Demotic, and Coptic down, but adding fluency to two more languages to that list is proving to be a significant hurdle even to me).

Scotty's Castle was already on our Alternate List for this leg of our trip, but the Windmill Inn sounds pretty good and was news to me. Thank you. That definitely sounds like something to check out.

Also thanks for the heads up on mosquitoes. I would have never thought to worry about mosquitoes in the desert (what on earth do they feed on out there?). Mine and my daughter's body temperature runs 3 degrees hotter than normal due to having hyperactive thyroids, so because of this, we attract snakes and mosquitoes like nobody's business. We'll definitely be bringing repellent then! (As far as water, I keep 5 gallons of water, 5 gallons of gas, and a case of motor oil in my trunk at all times...along with 4 jacks, 2 spare tires, 2 changes of belts, and lots of hurricane tape and jb-weld. It's always better to be safe than sorry...and I've been in situations where I had to rely on having those things more than once.) Thankfully we don't have to worry about flip-flops. My daughter and I both have an unhealthy fascination with tall combat boots and wear them for every occasion.
(I'm sure having rattlesnakes attracted to your high body heat factors into developing that fascination with tall combat boots some too.)

The eating in Rachel tip sounds like one from previous experience.
As I've discussed this further with my daughter, she was determined that this was one of the places she wanted to stop in at. I'll be sure to take your sage advice and keep our visit limited to soda and bathroom only.

I'm starting to have reservations about taking this journey in a new car. I thought that reliability would be the biggest concern on a road trip, but for some of these locations I might be better off using my friend's car that has been to Burning Man 12 times and is held together and runs only due to the quantity of playa dust that is covering every square inch inside and outside of that car!

posted on Jun, 29 2009 @ 01:55 AM
Regarding the Windmill Ridge, it is run by Mormons that observe the sabbath. [They are not FLDS.] Thus you can't show up on Sunday. If you stay on a Saturday, it is the honor system that you leave on Sunday. You obviously can't eat there on Sunday either.

Driving on most of the roads around the range can be done with 2wd. I wouldn't drive a Miata, but any sedan would do. The problem is car tires are not off-road tires. Car owners don't want to pay for off-road tires. And of course SUV rentals don't come with off-road tires. I always thought a rent a 4WD heap would be a good business.

Delamar Dry Lake, AKA Texas Lake, is one of the spots where they launch amateur rockets. You could possible do it in a car, but I don't suggest it. Anyway, it is just a dry lake. You can tell when they do launches if you read NOTAMS (a different topic). With a car, you can see the front gate, back gate, and Cedar gate. Take it easy. The bad thing about using a car is you probably don't have a full size spare. Depending on your budget, you could buy a SPOT.

You can skip Vegas if you want, but I think a little fence watching at Nellis is a good idea. I don't know what direction you are approaching, but if you came from west of Vegas on I-15 (i.e. heading east), you could hit Red Rock Canyon, then head to the Redrock Casino to oink oink by driving on Charleston, then get on 215 and end up very close to Nellis. [Redroock Casino has two Starbucks should you need a hit.] The 215 is a bypass around town. To fence watch, you would take 215 to I-15, then get off at Hollywood Blvd. As you head towards the race track, there will be a right turn that you have to take to stay on Hollywood Blvd. This will lead to Las Vegas Blvd. Take a left and drive up the road a little, then cross the center (safely of course) to park by the speedway.
Nellis Spotters
I am amazed at what these guys do given their age.

I wouldn't carry a full gas can in the trunk. It gets mighty hot in the desert. I do carry a 2.5 gallon can, sometimes two, but put it in the tank as soon as there is room. The can(s) travels in the car with the AC on. All my camping fuel and lighter fluid is in MSR bottles which in turn are in an air tight ammo can. I don't carry any cans that are under pressure.

posted on Jun, 29 2009 @ 02:03 AM
reply to post by Mintwithahole.

There is no need to worry about driving on base. You won't get past the guard shack. Once you cross the border, out come the guns, the fines, the sheriff, etc.

When you drive down Groom Lake road, the speed limit gets slower as you get close to the border. Just before you reach the signs, you are going down a steep hill. You can't miss the signs if you obey the speed limit. Turn around and you will see a parking area on the left. Park there, get your binoc. Looks at the dudes, the dudes look at you, blah blah blah. You can't see the guard shack unless you climb a nearby hill, and that is a bit tricky. When you climb the hill, the camo dudes mess with your car. It really pisses me off, which is probably why they do it. They just try all the locks to see if they can get in. It is really unbecoming.

You can't cross the border at the back gate. You could cross the border at the Cedar Gate, but they are not jerks since the gate leads to the TTR, not Groom Lake.

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