The search for Alien burgers

Area 51 Travel Blog

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This is my dream, a road that goes on forever.

Feeling the heat of the city and wanting to explore the open desert, my roommates and I set out to see the real Nevada, far away from the bright lights and crazy mood of the city. We needed an open highway and a change of scenery. We uploaded a map to my Magellan GPS (which finds archaeological and natural sites), set a loose path to follow, and hit the road for an adventure. We only had 3 places that we absolutly had to go.... Rachel, for an alien burger and a ride down the Extraterrestial Highway, Ely, for the Loneliest Highway in America, and Caliente, to see Cathedral Gorge.

Our trek took us north up highway 93, where the mountians rose up on either side of the highway. Suddenly the mountains gave way to flat open desert. The road stretched for miles an miles, disappearing over the curve of the earth in the distance.

We never did find some jerky
The mountains swept to the east and west and were nothing but distant peaks on the horizon. We finally saw signs that we were approaching the famed Area 51 and its out-of-this-world inhabitants via billboards promising alien jerky and crash sites. Highway 375 is affectionately known and the Extraterrestrial Highway, and runs northwest through Central Nevada. It is one of the only highways in America that has a recognized nickname (the other being the Loneliest Highway), that was not a government dedication. Traveling up the highway towards Rachel, small, well kept dirt roads crisscrossed the desert to the west of the road, off in the direction of Area 51. Random mailboxes dotted the road, though there were no houses in sight.

The town of Rachel appeared out of no where, we crested a small hill and suddenly there it was, a little oasis in the middle of nowhere.

I should have took a pic of the weird bunker. We politely passed a visit.
The town was tiny at best, with a few homes and the infamous A'le'inn. It is a small building with an airbrushed alien and spaceship. Outside there is a truck with a wench holding up one of the crashed spaceships. A plaque marking the laying of a tme capsule by Twentieth Century Fox Networks, dedicated to the release of the Independance Day movie, stands right outside the entrance. It is set to be open in 2050 AD, when "interplanetary travelers shall be regular guests of our planet Earth".

Inside it is a bit on the creepy side, with the feeling of a small town right out of The X-Files. I dont think I would have been suprised if Mulder and Scully walked in from a side room discussing the realness of Area 51. A few small folding tables dot the linolium floor, with a low bar along the right wall, a few locals talking in low voices and sipping on lukewarm coffee.

The highway was named for the strange UFOs often sighted flying around Area 51.
Pictures of UFOs taken throughout the valley, as well as other blurry pictures. We were greeted warmly and seated by a window that overlooked the lonely road we drove in on. The burgers were large and more sub shaped then regular burger shaped, and maybe it was the couple of hours we just spent on the road talking, but we found them delicious. After eating we wandered around the little shop section, picking up a few trinkets to remember Area 51 by, and then moved on up the road.

The town of Warm Springs showed up on my GPS as having a gas station, and we made it our next stop along the way. But when we arrived, it was a completly deserted ghost town, as if all the inhabitants just left, there were satillite dishes still on homes, the paint still seemed new, businesses were locked and had hours posted.

The litte A'le'inn
But after exploring for a few minutes, all we found were big horn sheep. They were not nearly as interested in us as we were in them, and they quickly headed for the hills.

At the Warm Springs Junction (i.e. a fork in the road), we turned to the Northeast via Route 6 towards Ely. By now my car was running low on gas, and we had only seen 6 cars. So the question came up, do we run for Ely, or drive slow to conserve gas? Being the adventurers we are, we chose Option C, and went down a dirt road in search of a ghost town that my GPS said was just over a hill. But 20 minutes, 2 sand traps, a boulder, and the hill from hell later, we discovered that the ghost town was probably inacessable in my little Toyota.

Somehow we survived and 9 hours later, with less than a quarter of a tank of gas, we pulled into Ely.

Time capsule
After a quick refill, we made our way West up the Lonliest Highway in America (made famous by Stephen King), towards the town of Ruth. Ruth is in "Copper Country", an area of Eastern Nevada that is rich in copper, and brought copper miners to Nevada in the late 1800s. The entire area was surrounded by what we thought were mountains, but turned out to be giant mounds of backdirt and waste rock that was removed from the mining pits in search of copper, gold, and silver. While it was facsinating to see the depth of the pit, we quickly lost interest and headed South down highway 93 towards Caliente.

As we went south, my GPS again lit up, showing us literally hundreds of abandoned mining pits along the road. But the beeping changed from historic places of interest to archaeological interests, and we soon found ourselves again flying down a dirt road towards the Charcoal Ovens.

The Ward Charcoal Ovens were built in the mid-1870s and were used to smelt ore into coal. They were huge and beautifully preserved, making the archaeologist in me giggle with delight. From the ovens we moved on to Pioche, which had the remenants of its coal-producing past.

At the town of Caliente there was really nothing to do or see, other than the Old Spanish Rail Station. Our real reason for visiting Caliente was further south, at the beautiful but not well known Cathedral Gorge. The easiest way into the gorge is through Miller's Point, the only place I have ever found that had stairs down to the first level of the gorge. From there we had to hike to the bottom. The pictures do not do the sunset within the gorge justice. After watching the sun set below the rim, we lingered for a few minutes enjoying the stars.

15 hours, 750 miles, and a few close calls later we made it back to Vegas, tired but ready to see where our next roadtrip will take us.

rotorhead85 says:
I've gotta check this out sometime too.
Posted on: Nov 25, 2010
travelman727 says:
Great review! Like Rachel, I've got to head to Area 51 and grab an Alien Burger :-D
Posted on: Oct 13, 2008
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This is my dream, a road that goes…
This is my dream, a road that goe…
We never did find some jerky
We never did find some jerky
I should have took a pic of the we…
I should have took a pic of the w…
The highway was named for the stra…
The highway was named for the str…
The litte Aleinn
The litte A'le'inn
Time capsule
Time capsule
Sheep!
Sheep!
Where does this road go?
Where does this road go?
Ruth mine
Ruth mine
Ruth copper mine
Ruth copper mine
Ward Charcoal Ovens
Ward Charcoal Ovens
The long road back to highway 93
The long road back to highway 93
Abandoned coal mine
Abandoned coal mine
coal cars
coal cars
Caliente train station
Caliente train station
The pavilion at Cathedral Gorge
The pavilion at Cathedral Gorge
Stairs to the gorge
Stairs to the gorge
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Area 51
photo by: tomb_raider