Throwback Thursday: Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway & Area 51
Odometer (Legend): 528,689
Odometer (ILX): 67,694
Today, I’m digging way back into the road trip archives to bring you a vintage write-up from October 21, 2005. My Legend had “just” 194,392 miles on it at the time. I set out in the (very) early morning hours to experience a famous highway. Following is a post that I shared with the Legend forums nearly 10 years ago, and I still remember that road trip like it was yesterday.
“Four o’clock in the morning. Miles of road continue to unwind in the vast wasteland of southern Nevada. My headlights pierce through the pitch-black night and illuminate the painted road lines like neon against the asphalt. The road is Highway 375 – the famed Extraterrestrial Highway, so named for its proximity to Area 51. Destination: Rachel, Nevada. Rachel is the closest civilization to Area 51 and boasts a population of nearly 100. I’m getting closer but can’t help but be a little bit on edge because I am traveling unfamiliar highways in the middle of the night, and I haven’t seen another vehicle for the past sixty miles at least…”
This morning I traveled to Rachel, Nevada. The town is the closest you can legally get to Area 51. The round-trip was 400 miles.
From an online article about Rachel:
Rachel, Nevada takes us to a small town 110 miles from Las Vegas, site of a formerly secret US Air Force installation known as Area 51. The base develops new planes such as the stealth bomber. The secrecy shrouding Area 51 has given rise to suspicions over the years, earning the town of Rachel (primarily a collection of trailer homes) the title “UFO Capital of the World,” and Nevada State Highway 375 “Alien Highway”. The film focuses on the everyday people of Rachel, once left alone to service the military, now the center of tourism and a publicity boom. There are enough stories and photos to persuade even the most die-hard skeptics that something extraterrestrial may be going on.
There’s not much to take pictures of. There is the ever-famous “Little AL-E-INN” that I had to get pics of. And then there are the Extraterrestrial Highway signs which are pretty cool. I forgot to get a picture at the gas station, but it only had one pump and only 89 octane.
On to the pics I did take. I used the same backgrounds a lot because I didn’t have much else to work with.
No gas for 110 miles!
Population: Humans – 98, Aliens – ?
I wonder how much a room at the A’Le’Inn costs.
Prepared to take flight
LOTS of open space without any people, buildings, or anything!
The spaceship has landed!
And of course, I did park there!
When the movie Independence Day was filmed in 1996, they put a time capsule in front of the A-LE-INN. Here’s the placard and monument.
The next picture is (according to my map) one of the dirt roads that leads to Area 51. Had I gone any further, I would have been approached by armed security guards in Jeep Cherokees, and probably fined $600.
Current mileage as of today
On a related note, is anyone out there looking for a “500k-miler-in-training”? I’ve got a couple of nice options for you. First up is this absolutely pristine one-owner 1995 Legend LS coupe automatic in rare Cayman White Pearl with only 107,000 miles. My friend Josh from TSX Travels gave this one a look-see for us and took the below 3 pictures, as well as many others which I posted here on the Legend forums.
The other option is this “twin” car to mine. It’s a 1994 Legend LS coupe 6-speed in Desert Mist Metallic. It’s got a clean title and is only halfway broken in at 226,000 miles the odometer. Ebay shows the current bid at just $2,000.
Somebody buy it!
Check out this awesome 6-minute time-lapse video of a cross-country drive from Hollywood to DC. Thanks to my friend Ian for sharing it.