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AREA 51: Who has been there recently?

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posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 02:31 PM
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Hello, I am back with another of my travel-related threads!

In a few weeks, me and my girlfriend are bound for the USA. One of our stops along the route will contain an attempt to catch a glance of the legendary Groom Lake military installation.

What I'd like to know from you guys who have been there recently is where best to go and where to stay.
Is Rachel and the Lil' Ale Inn still the most convenient place to stay for the night or are there better options in Alamo, Ash Springs or elsewhere?
Anything else regarding vital information about what to, or what not to do when prowling the barren Nevada wastes are happily received!
And before you go at it; I am very well aware of the Dreamland Resort homepage already.


Second inquiry:
The wild horse reserve north of the Nellis range; has anyone been around that area too?
My girlfriend has her mind firmly fixed on photographing the mustangs and that might seem like a pretty good place to do so. The map we have (2010 Michelin) doesn't show any roads headed for, or into the reserve but maybe there are some dirt tracks going there?
You are also very much welcome to contribute to this thread.

Any hints, tips, clues or grave warnings are most welcome!




posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 05:40 PM
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You won't see anything staying in Rachel. To see activity in the range, you need to camp out, generally in the areas east of the ET highway. Since you will probably be in a car versus SUV, I'd say drive up Tempiute and find a suitable spot.

If you stay in Alamo, the Windmill Ridge is the place. About $100 US, but you get your own cabin with whirlpool. The food at the Windmill Ridge is as good as it gets around the range.

For wild horse photography with just a car, the loop that starts at the TTR sign is the place to go. Drive towards the base. That part is paved. Hang a left, nearly a u-turn, at the base entrance and go up the dirt road. It leads back to route 6.

Another spot for horses that can be reached by car is Cold Creek. This is the land west of Indian Springs (Creech).

Note that you can get flat tires on dirt roads. Street tires are not very rugged. Tonopah and the areas along route 95 have GSM and CDMA coverage. Along the ET Highway, you only have CDMA (Verizon). AT$T (GSM) has applied for a permit in Alamo, but I don't know if it is active yet.

If you have a GPS, I can follow up with coordinates.



posted on Apr, 22 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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I should have some wild horse photos from 2010, but not on the server. This is one I shot by the TTR in 2009.




posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 05:45 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


I could totally KISS you for that info, man!


Where have you been all this time!


The GPS coordinated would be great. Then I can check it out on google earth/maps.

Thank you thank you!



posted on Apr, 23 2011 @ 10:46 PM
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reply to post by Raud
 


Hey, I'm not that kind of guy. ;-)

For the Tonopah loop:
Rocket sign: N38 04 45.4 W117 00 37.8
Guard shack: N37 53 11.5 W116 45 43.7
Silverbow sign: N38 08 58.8 W116 34 47.3

There is no particular advantage to which direction you do the loop, though if you are passing through the area, say Tonopah to Rachel, you would probably hit the rocket sign first. You can climb the hill at
N37 53 45.8 W116 45 20.2
and look at the base. You are directly in view of the guard shack, but they probably won't bother you.

For Cold Creek, enter at
N36 31 24.1 W115 32 54.7
If you stay on the best road, it will eventually lead to the Bonanza Peak trail head. I've run into wild horse just before the trail head.

There is no gas between Alamo and Tonopah. Depending on your rental vehicle, if you were leaving Rachel for the wild horse area near the TTR, you may consider going to Tonopah first to fill up. Conversely, you can buy cheap gas cans at Wal-Mart when you are in Vegas, and pack an extra 5 gallons or so.

Gas cans in the car can be unpleasant and potentially dangerous. I find it better to have two 2.5 gallon cans than one 5 gallon can. What you want to do is keep the cans full until you are ready to put the fuel in your tank. A partially full can is worse than a full can since it is the vapors that get you. If you are going to be on dirt roads and you can't dump the full can in the gas tank, stash the gas can someplace and retrieve it later. Basically you want to avoid shaking up the gas can.

If your vehicle has a trunk, I suggest not transporting the can back there. I prefer to have the can some place where I can check on it, and preferably a location where it won't tip over, such as in the foot area of the back seat.

Some people out of the country rent a HHR. It is a Chevrolet that has fold down seats You can car camp in it. It doesn't have much ground clearance, but it is no lower than a car. If the last leg of your trip is along route 95, you can get rid of the gas cans in Tonopah. [I doubt you want to pack them on the plane.] There is a thrift store that would take them. They get a lot of donations from visitors, such as camp stove fuel, sleeping bags, etc. At $50 a room in Rachel, those bulky sleeping bags they sell at Wal-Mart pay off quickly. You can camp on any of the BLM land. Basically if it is not private land, it is BLM. There is a BLM office in Tonopah if you want the actual BLM maps that indicate their land. Car camping near the any of the Groom Lake gates will get you your money's worth since the dudes will have to baby sit you.

The "secret camp site" off of the ET Highway is at
37°26'9.12"N 115°27'23.40"W
No problem getting a car back there.

The last parking/camping place before you reach the front gate is at
37°21'0.77"N 115°38'34.12"W
You are on camera here, so use good judgement should nature call.

There are some road leading to camp sites around
37°21'0.55"N 115°36'16.67"W
I can't vouch for these spots since I never used them.

Coyote Summit camp site is at
37°34'15.88"N 115°40'13.86"W
Your vehicle is very visible at this location from the ET Highway. Of course, I haven't heard of the Nevada Chain Saw Massacre, just Texas.

The road up Tempiute starts at
N37 32 41.5 W115 36 56.1
It was being paved the last time I was in the area. You can head up and and just stop where you think camping is appropriate. There is a pull off at
37°36'4.32"N 115°36'17.82"W
The mine is semi-active, so there may be an occasional car up the road. The road is paved up to the mine, then becomes dirt. The loop terminates near the back gate road close to Rachel.

You should bring some binoculars in addition to a camera. Most everything you run into will be far away. You need at least 300mm and preferably 400mm to photograph wild horses. They will run if you get too close.



posted on Apr, 24 2011 @ 01:29 PM
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Dirt road from TTR guard shack to and past Mt. Diable/TTR viewspot - not sure if it has improved, but that road was HORRIBLE the last time I was on it, and I just drove from the guard shack to Mt. Diablo. Rough as hell...

Couple of other spots of interest:
Ash Springs hotsprings
Great place to soak and relax. Especially if you've been desert camping for a few days.
Word of warning - there are little fish in there that nibble on you... it is kind of freaky, but harmless.
37°27'49.74"N, 115°11'32.55"W

Warm Springs
Old abandoned hotsprings. I suggest NOT going in there, although two of my teenage sons did, despite my warnings. They didn't contract any diseases, thank god...
38°11'21.83"N, 116°22'15.84"W

Base Camp
Google it, if you aren't familiar. No one is quite sure what is doing here.
38°18'36.46"N, 116°16'47.21"W

Project Faultless
Nuclear test site, on public land, if you're into that.
38°38'3.20"N, 116°12'58.25"W

EDITED TO ADD:
Having a GPS is a good idea. The cheap Garmin vehicle-style unit I have shows the Nellis borders, even shows all the dirt roads. I was surprised!

ALSO:
This is for gariac, mostly. I have seen pictures of the guardshack, but in all the times I have been there, I have never figured out where people are taking pictures of it from. You know?
edit on 24-4-2011 by FosterVS because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 24 2011 @ 03:12 PM
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reply to post by FosterVS
 


The Warm Springs hot spring and bar is fence off. You can reach the hot spring on the south side of route 6. The Ash Springs hot spring is pretty crowded on the weekends. Crystal Springs is now fenced off too. One thing with the desert is fences are often installed where the land isn't private. You have to check with the BLM. The BLM will literally rip down the fence. If they find one of their gates locked, then will cut the lock off with bolt cutters.

Illegal no-trespassing signs are another issue. They don't seem to want to take them down. The no-trespassing sign at the base of Halligan Mesa is an example. Sometimes the no trespassing sign is legit, but it applies to the land adjacent to the sign. They try to trick people from driving down the public road.

The dirt road from the TTR to route 6 is bladed once a year. It is actually considered a road road if you know what I mean. However, you may have caught it at a bad time. For some reason, it is always rutted near Mt. Diablo, but it eventually gets better.

The photographs of the front gate guard shack are done from Hawkeye Hill.
37°20'49.93"N 115°38'46.88"W
Getting there is tricky since the base owns half the hill. Before I post the coordinates, a word of warning. Look for the stupid orange poles, not at your GPS. You should always have two orange poles in sight. [Two points defines a line.]

The hike up Hawkeye Hill starts at
37°20'58.60"N 115°38'37.80"W .
What you should do with this coordinates is just look at Google Earth to get a feel for the spot, rather than treat them as exact. The spot above is where people have worn away the plant life by walking on the same spot over and over. The worn out area ends at
37°20'55.74"N 115°38'34.32"W
If you zoom in, you will see a path to
37°20'53.07"N 115°38'33.76"W
This spot is at the base of a rocky out cropping. I think the rock has a bit more red in it. What I do from that spot on is I have my GPS set to Hawkeye Hill and just follow the arrow. I also look for orange poles,

Hawkeye Hill itself is a bit tricky because from the hill you can see old border markings that predate the Freedom Ridge land grab. So don't get any ideas about wander down Hawkeye Hill in a different direction from which you came. Seriously, the base needs to clean up their act and improve the border markings.

The camo dudes like to mess with your car when you climb the hill if the vehicle is left unattended. They try the locks. It helps if you can leave somebody by the vehicles.

Most photos of the front guard shack are done by piecing together telescope shots. You can do a fair job with a 400mm prime and 1.x teleconverter. Tripod obviously needed. For people that don't travel with big glass, binocs are suggested. Image stabilized is the way to go, but binocs that accept a monopod are far cheaper. A monopod makes for a decent hiking stick. You should always have a hiking stick with you in the boonies. Other than a bear, you can dissuade any critter with a stick if need be. Some people pack heat. Most people greatly exaggerate their firearms skills, plus most guns are heavy. The real problem I see is the dudes are armed, so if they think you are armed, well you have an arms race going. Some drugged out moron in Vegas managed to get himself er um well ventilated by bringing two guns into a Costco, courtesy Vegas Metro.

Mountain lions occasionally show up around the range. They generally avoid people. You know the rules. Stand upright, don't turn your back. Chuck Clark whacked one with a tire iron when he was out chiseling opal and the cat wouldn't leave him alone. A tire iron is a bit too close for me, so I prefer a stick. The desert is so dry that it can't support many mountain lions, so the odds of seeing one aren't very high. The other good news is they have plenty of smaller critters and the occasional cow to eat.

The pronghorn seem to have made it to route 93. They were more of an issue along route 95 where water is more plentiful. Anyway, besides hitting a cow on the road, pronghorn are now another target. Basically, avoid driving at night. If you do drive at night, drive very slow along the ET Highway. There is cattle along the entire stretch. Less so along route 6 and 95, but then again, you have the pronghorn there.



posted on Apr, 26 2011 @ 04:28 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


Man, I couldn't even imagine what more I'd like to know about this area!
Your post made my girlfriend yell out loud: "Hail to the forum!"


We have re-drawn our route now and we will take it from L.A., via Indian Springs, through Death Valley up to Tonopah where we will spend the night. Then we will go north of the BLM reserve, down through Rachel, spend the night somewhere around Lake Mead and then continue to Grand Canyon (then onwards...).

The vehicle will probably be a Jeep Liberty (I reckon it will not be older than a 2009).
Your hints about the spare gas canisters are duly noted. We had already planned such purchase but we hadn't thought about the possible problems concerning that. Thanks for the heads up!


All your provided information will come to good use!
Thank you yet again!



posted on Apr, 26 2011 @ 05:06 PM
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reply to post by Raud
 


I think your schedule is too aggressive. Death Valley alone would be a day. Note that rental SUVs are not insured off-road. I assume you have your own insurance. Rental SUVs have crappy street tires. I'm not sure if a Liberty has a full size spare, but I would think so.

The simplest Death Valley trip is Titus Canyon. It doesn't pass through any gates to the park, though in theory, you should still have a pass. The other place people go in the valley is "The Racetrack". This is a washboard road from hell. In fact, most of Death Valley roads are roads from hell. Titus Canyon reminds me more of a Nevada dirt road than Death Valley. You pick it up near Beatty. It should be on the net.

Rather than go to "The Racetrack", you can see similar rock trails near Bonnie Claire.
Bonnie Claire
I haven't been there in a while, but when I took those shots, I could drive on the dry lake.

Scotty's Castle is a must-see in Death Valley.

LA to Vegas is about 4 hours. Vegas to Tonopah seems to take forever. I wouldn't be surprised if it is close to 4 hours. Speed limits are heavily enforced on the route, especially in the small towns which have 25mph limits. I think LA to Death Valley would be a trip. Stay in Beatty. The Motel 6 is the best place in town. No, seriously. Next up is the Stage Coach. It goes downhill from there. The Motel 6 has ethernet into the rooms. Bring a reversing cable.

Beatty to Tonopah would take most of the next morning. You could poke around Tonopah, do the loop for the horses, and see the tourist stuff at Groom Lake in one long day. Stay at the Windmill Ridge in Alamo. It wouldn't hurt to make reservations a few days ahead of time. From Alamo, you can drive to Vegas, fence watch at Nellis for an hour ro two, then head out to Lake Meade.

Given you have a woman in tow (er so to speak), there is a turquoise shop in Tonopah. Ottsens or something like that. Bring money. Well, they take plastic too. I'll give them credit for doing nice work and sticking it out in a town that only gets new residents when their car breaks down.

Tonopah has two places to dine. One is the Station House at the south side of town. The other is the Mexican restaurant in town. If you are going to drive up the FAA radar site, you would go past both restaurants. To get to the radar site, you drive on 95 until you reach Radar Road. It starts out paved, then goes to dirt. There is a nice view from up there. The TTR is off in the distance.

I have a few side trips here:
side trips
Actually I need to link up some other ghost towns. Delamar is a remote ghost town near Texas Lake. Think twice about going.
Delamar
Belmont is another story,. It is half ghost town. By rural Nevada standards, the Belmont homes where people actually live are nice. However, they have ruins in town too.
Belmont



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 04:40 PM
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The schedule is pretty aggressive but we have lots of places to go. We are actually headed for the Pacific North-West!
There will be many days of driving... We have tried to slim the schedule but only more must-see places keep coming up!
Stupid country- be less interesting!


About the rental car; we have scored a deal with Alamo so that we may choose from their stable of "intermediate SUVs" -among them; the Jeep Liberty. Maybe a Wrangler would be better? I don't wanna scare the staff with revealing too much about our off-road ambitions...
Great tip about the tires. I'll really think about that. A small comfort is though, that we will not pass through the barren wastes in mid summer- as first was planned!

We have vague plans about crossing the valley from Baker and simply take the 178 north and get out at Scotty's Castle.
Is that road equally rough?
I've been in the Russian countryside a couple of times and tried their "roads". I don't fancy any of that, please


Thank you so much for the tips on law enforcement
The lead foot will be safely kept away.


fence watch at Nellis for an hour ro two

Love that expression. We should meet up when I come around.



Once again, a great many thanks for your help.
Sure you don't want anything in return?
You are genuine travel agency material!



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:40 AM
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I just wanted to point out, that if you are a foreign national "someone" might consider you a spy if you do that. Just saying.



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:46 AM
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not that it matters
but NatGeo ( according to their mag )
is having a show in may
about area 51 , workers and such

not that it helps what you asked but yea



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by Raud
 


I never visited Death Valley from Baker, so I can't comment. Of course I've been to Baker (oh boy!), but just to get coffee when they had a Starbucks. Baker gas is expensive. Heading in from LA, you would probably want to get fuel in Barstow. Indian Springs is another place where the gas price is nuts. In fact Creech is putting in a gas station because airmen and contractors are pissed at the price of fuel in Indian Springs. Going up 95, I'd get gas in Beatty. Then obviously gas up in Tonopah. Don't forget to do the trip to basecamp.

The Liberty is fine. Wrangler would be kind of uncomfortable. Don't mention about going off road. You do have to mention if the car is going out of state. This might just be a California thing. I think there is a box to check off, so it is a legal issue. Budget rental seems to be the most lenient about interstate travel.

Stating the obvious here, you do need to carry water. If you get a burner phone, CDMA will have better coverage than GSM. [Ah, burner phone is slang for contract free phones you get at convenience stores, Fry's Electronics, etc. Drug dealers use them, but so do overseas visitors.]



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:01 AM
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Originally posted by JJRichey
I just wanted to point out, that if you are a foreign national "someone" might consider you a spy if you do that. Just saying.


Might so be but we don't mean to cause any fuzz. We just want to have a glance at legendary Dream Land. If the camo dudes show up I'll ask them if I may shake their hand!


There will be no forced entry attempts. Sorry folks.



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:11 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


About the insurance; tires, wheels and undercarriage is not covered anyway. I guess that means "no off-road insurance" in other words. I will however ask them about the tires; how long they have been on and say that we are gonna drive a looong way (which is very much true). Maybe they'll bother change to new ones right away... Maybe.

Gas prices in the US is no big deal for us (not trying to sound superior). Around our neck of the woods we pay about $8/gallon (nearly SEK15/litre). We have a large portion in our budget set off for gas. Still, a penny earned is a penny saved! Thank you for the tip!


I see the Wrangler Unlimited is more comfy than the regular Wrangler but more off-roadish than the Liberty...
We'll see what they can offer at LAX. Maybe they have like 2 cars to chose from. I actually have no idea.

Peace!



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 04:12 AM
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Originally posted by EvilBat
not that it matters
but NatGeo ( according to their mag )
is having a show in may
about area 51 , workers and such

not that it helps what you asked but yea


Dang it! Cheap-ass me only have NatGeo Wild! I never should have traded away regular NatGeo!


Thank you for the heads up. I can probably watch that episode online in a couple of weeks or so.



posted on May, 3 2011 @ 04:28 PM
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Oh, just for the record we might be able to come across a RAV4 from Alamo.
That would be awesome, though I'd love to get a Land Cruiser.

Gariac, still feel like we should meet up so that me and my girlfriend can thank you in person!
Maybe at the the Lil' Ale inn?
The things you've been telling me about this area are not only extremely useful but they have taught me that maybe Area 51 is one whole separate trip in itself... I sure could go for a week just poking around that slab of desert wasteland... Now, we are probably just gonna pass right on through... Doesn't feel like I am giving the place justice but at least I will see it and think "yep, there it is. All genuine and existing for real".
I remember back in '01 I was having my first real job (switchboard operator at a military installation) and I was thinking about going to Nevada and seeing all of this. I had just learned about the Art Bell telephone call, though it was already old news back then.

Personally, I don't think that they store aliens in Dream Land, but they sure have some sorta "otherworldly" technology that they test and develop, probably in a vast facility hidden below ground.
I'd bet that if one would be fully introduced to what projects they have got going on in there, it would pretty much blow your mind as much as alien bodies in formalin jars might do... or maybe not as much, but you get my point!


Aliens, UFO's, inter-dimensional experiments and "black tech" or not, it is the legendary status of Area 51 that spellbinds me. I mean, if the military would recover a downed extraterrestrial craft, they'll prolly store it there anyway.


Peace!
edit on 3-5-2011 by Raud because: add more text



posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 11:32 AM
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If anyone is interested in closure on this subject; this is what happened: ROADTRIP 2011



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 02:17 AM
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ive been at the area where they threaten your life with signs 5 months ago with my friend... it was pretty pointless but i did enjoy the open country side especially at night

SO MANY STARS.

was watching for anything unusual and came home with nothing



posted on Oct, 13 2011 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by ApplesOnFire
 


Yeah, we actually just drove down 375 for the cultural experience. Stopped in Rachel for a chat, a beer and some souvenirs. We didn't even go to the gate for which I am kind of regretful... Still, we had been on the road all freaking day looking for wild horse so as the sun was going down we decided to leave it and go down to Alamo as gariac advised us to do (I am very happy I followed that advise).
The locals, just as gariac, disputed the popular belief that A51 is being decommissioned/moved. Activity in the skies by unknown/secret military aircraft was still routine (though we saw none) and sometimes at night, mighty flashes of light originating from the Groom lake area lit up the entire sky.
But overall, as you say, the landscape really had me by heart and soul. Of all the locations we saw, for me personally, the NV deserts where the most alien and spellbinding. Those mountains...they felt like they "saw" me. Really hard to explain but I both loved and feared it. I have to go back there and spend some serious time.

And yeah, the spare tank was totally unnecessary; we drove a brand new Hyundai that ran on air and happiness (at least it seemed like that).



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