To sort of celebrate the Roswell UFO incident 61 years ago this week, I thought I would recount a drive along the Extraterrestrial Highway that I took earlier this year. It's been a while since a photographic travelogue has appeared in Brevity. (My apologies; these days, my only trips have been to weddings, and who wants to take pictures to remember those?)
Obviously, I don't live anywhere near Roswell, but the rough location of the alleged Area 51 is the next best thing. The truth is out there, and it starts about 2 hours north of Las Vegas.
(All photos taken personally. Copyright 2008.)
Even the GPS recognizes its uniqueness. No "Nevada State Highway 375" here!
Did anything strange happen? As a matter of fact, yes.
1. Within the first 5 miles, I suffered a nosebleed, NOT prompted by rubbing my face or sneezing or anything. Classic alien abductee material. While there is some health precedent for this, it was still very, very weird.
2. We came across an unusual natural phenomenon just off the road, on the eastern side. I remember saying, "Take a look at that smooth rock up ahead... no, that's sand, NO, that's WATER!" It was a small reservoir of perfectly milky, seemingly clean, tan-colored water.
3. Miles later, also on the eastern side, we saw a mini-sandstorm that looked like it would cover the sky, but as we got closer, it kept getting further away. Then, when we thought we had to be passing it, there was nothing there.
We eventually reached the town of Rachel, Nevada, the only (public) stop on the Extraterrestrial Highway. Not much to it -- some houses, no gas station -- but it does boast the Little A'Le'Inn. Total tourist trap, but I mean that in the nicest way possible.
We had no reservations about entering this fine establishment.
Though some species aren't as comfortable with exiting through the same door. (Note the American flag. Proof positive that the United States is now the most awesome country in the universe. Take note, Stephen Colbert!)
We took a bathroom break and scanned the souvenirs with amusement. While we took our leisurely time, we had to get back on the road. But I couldn't help but feel like we were leaving something -- or someone -- behind.
Semi-related note: last weekend I revisited The X-Files, specifically a two-parter airing on TNT. They were the Morris Fletcher episodes, in which a time/space rift causes Mulder to switch bodies with Michael McKean's character, an Area 51 government tool. The episode is set in Rachel, Nevada and showcases the Little A'Le'Inn, or a larger version of it.
I'd forgotten how funny it was. When it chose to be light in tone, The X-Files was the funniest show on TV. The closest thing we have to that now is Dexter, which is similar both in its haunting instrumental music and in its darkly comic approach.