Take Me to Your Leader

It was late fall, and once again, I found myself searching for warmer climates. After spending some time in the Northwest all summer, I decided to head down to Nevada. While traveling on the West Coast, I heard some great stories from people about Nevada and started to get the impression that it’s kind of a weird and quirky place. But it wasn’t the bright lights and excitement of Las Vegas that were drawing me to this state; it was the thought of exploring weird desert towns, and I might have had some extraterrestrial dreams on my mind.

Aside from Vegas, it seems that when people hear “Nevada,” they think of Area 51. In case you don’t know, Area 51 is a highly guarded military base in the middle of the desert. This location draws paranormal enthusiasts in from everywhere because it’s linked to many alien conspiracy theories. There are those who believe that the famous Roswell Incident in New Mexico, a fiery crash of an unidentified aircraft, was investigated at the base here. Whether that aircraft came from the Soviet Union or from off-planet, we may never know. What we do know is that Area 51 is highly guarded and you should absolutely take the warnings seriously.

I edged myself up along its perimeter, but I saw nothing but some very severe signs warning people about the base. The signs make it very clear that visitors are not welcome. This is one of the rare cases where I used caution and stayed away. I’ve heard stories that those who push those boundaries have been arrested and heavily fined.

It’s clear I wasn’t going to see any aliens at Area 51, so I headed back down State Route 375, otherwise known as Extraterrestrial Highway. You’ll definitely want to stay on the beaten path of the highway, avoiding the warning of armed guards around Nellis Air Force Base. But that’s fine; there are plenty of strange discoveries to be made along the main road.

You can explore the little town of Rachel, where you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of fuel. This area of Nevada is pretty desolate, and you don’t want to get caught with an empty tank. Outside of Rachel, there are few other places to stop for gas, food, or bathrooms. But Rachel is worth a visit if you’re in the mood for the weird. I recommend the Alien Research Center for a bit of fun, and you don’t want to miss stopping for food and drinks at the Little A’Le’Inn or ET Fresh Jerky.

As for my own extraterrestrial encounters, I came up pretty short. Driving around the desert at night, you’re bombarded with a view of stars unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. You’ll see all kinds of lights moving around in the sky. I did spot a large gold object that I saw behind me for miles. I’m not an expert on astronomy, so I couldn’t tell you what it might have been. But for me, this was indeed my UFO, since I couldn’t identify it.

If you’re traveling in the Nevada desert, make sure you are prepared with fuel, plan out your stops, and get ready for the unusual. These towns are home to quirky people and attractions, and you never know what you might spot in the desert at night.


Brittany is an adventurer, explorer, artist, and writer, and more yet to be discovered!