By Stephen Monz
This past summer I completed an item on my bucket list by traveling cross country with the kids and seeing America. One of the must see stops for us was Area 51 in Rachel Nevada. If you watched the X Files you have an idea of what we were expecting but boy did we get a surprise.
Rachel Nevada is in the middle of nowhere. Hundreds of miles in all directions. The small town of Rachel has one building. “Lil’ AleInn” is the Restaurant – Bar – Camping – Gift Shop – Store. All things alien. A must see photo stop complete with flying saucers. There, you can purchase an Area 51 Map. Which gives you directions to the main gate of Area 51.
That is where our journey began. About 10 miles off of the main road called Extraterrestrial Highway you travel down a dirt road that will wiggle loose every item on your car. We finally arrive at the main gate where we are quite aware that we are being watched. There are many cameras hidden in the hills and guy in a truck on top of a rise. Signs clearly state no photography, videos or drones. I had placed my phone in my GPS holder and was videotaping as we drove up. As we approached the gate there was a high pitched noise that we all heard and my phone shut off suddenly. It wouldn’t turn back on until we were several miles down the dirt road. But that is not the strange part.
Where the dirt road meets Extraterrestrial highway there is a kind of Mecca for Alien enthusiasts. The Black Mailbox. For many years it was believed to be the mailbox for Area 51. Nowadays you can see it covered with letters and gifts for the Aliens. It was getting late and we needed a place to camp for the night. I found out at Lil AleInn that you are free to camp on any public lands in Nevada. So we thought, how cool is this? Camp out on Extra Terrestrial Highway by the Black Mailbox just outside Area 51. So we did. Amazing place to look up at the stars with no light pollution. We spent the evening looking up at the sky dreaming of seeing flying saucers. The moon was full and we did not see anything strange in the sky and decided to call it a night. That is when it got weird.
At about 11pm my kids were fast asleep and I was kind of in and out when I hear a loud rumble followed by squealing and many voices. I open the tent to look out and I see Aliens, Hundreds of them. Turns out that 5 coach busses from Vegas pulled up to the Black Mailbox and unloaded hundreds of people dressed as Aliens. Complete with costumes, glow sticks and headlamps. The common denominator was running shoes. Unbeknownst to me, we camped out on the one night they hold the annual Area 51 Midnight Alien 5k run. At midnight over 500 runners dressed like aliens ran from the Black Mailbox down Extraterrestrial Highway to Lil AleInn where they proceed to have a huge party under the stars. I tried to wake up the kids but they were sound asleep. So I hopped out of the tent and took pictures of this madness.
You could not make this up. It was a once in a lifetime situation that I never could have planned. It was just so Cool! Area 51 lived up to expectations and then some. Just one stop on a memorable bucket list trip across America; more stories to come. As Ferrris Bueller once said… “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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