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Area 51


    In Southern Nevada, just on the other side of Groom Lake, lies a millitary base that has been in question ever since its establishment by our government  back in the early 50's.  Rumors about Area 51 run rampant throughout the whole United States.  From Flying Saucers, aliens, to secret government projects, I am sure we have heard them all. 

    Surrounding the secret millitary base are several signs like the one on the left, stating you are entering a Restricted Area.  *AND* if you enlarge the sign, you will see in RED PRINT on the Very bottom of the sign reads bluntly:  Use of Deadly Force Authorized!

    Area 51 has become a part of popular culture. An Air-Force  base the government would like to keep a secret is now  mentioned in everything from video games to serious news programs like 60 Minutes. In fact, while you seem to hear  about Area 51 everywhere, the U.S. government still doesn't  even acknowledge that Area 51 exists.
    But why all the hype? It is generally accepted that the U2, SR-71 and the Stealth Fighter were tested at Area 51. That  is interesting enough, but what has people really intrigued is  what is rumored to be there. Namely, alien spacecraft and aliens.
    Interestingly, Las Vegas is the closest large city to Area 51. Both places seem to thrive on mystery and illusion and having Las Vegas nearby makes for the ultimate road trip. As many find out, gambling, aliens, paranoia, and a fast  rental car makes for a wicked combination.  Area 51 is about 140 miles from Las Vegas. It is very easy to get to. From Vegas, take I-15 north to U.S 93, continue north on 93 for 85 miles to NV 375 and head west on NV 375, Nevada's newly christened "Extraterrestrial Highway."
   While easy to get to, you still have to prepare. You definitely don't want to wander onto the base by accident. The security guards won't care that you are a UFO fan who is visiting just for fun.  Even though you don't see much, the drive is still interesting because of the mystery surrounding Area 51.
At the very least, you will probably see military aircraft. On many trips, there are flights of B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters that flew low over NV 375.  In the photo to the left, you see a guard jeep.  The two guards are patroling Area 51.
    Most visitors will probably visit the nearby town of Rachel and drive a couple of miles down the base access road.  Actually viewing the Area 51 base now requires extensive preparation. Since the military annexed the land that provided easy viewing, you can now only view the base from 30 miles away after a dirt road drive and a strenuous desert hike. The viewpoints are also inaccessible in winter, which was when we visited. In summer, there are some group hikes sponsored by the Area 51 Research Center, the premier source of Area 51 information.  The Area 51 access road is around mile marker 32 on NV 375. You really can't miss it. It is the wide dirt road going off toward a distant ridge. Known as the Groom Lake road, it is in the middle of nowhere and just begs to be driven down.
    Nearby Rachel, Nevada is also a must see for people visiting
 Area 51. The Area 51 Research Center, which publishes the
 Groom Lake Desert Rat magazine, and the Little A'le'inn, with its cool alien logo, are here. The Little A'le'inn restaurant and motel is like an oasis in the desert for UFO enthusiasts. You can eat, drink, buy alien souvenirs and, since this is Nevada, play video poker.  To the left is a sattelite photo of the famed Area 51.  Great place to visit if you do not actually go there.

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