Up North and North West Trip, – Tonopah, NV – Area 51.

September 11 – 12, 2020

After visiting the Winchester Mystery Home and its’ brand of weirdness, we moved out east a bit from San Jose, CA and decided to hang out with the aliens. We first drove to Tonopah, NV, through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Along way, we had to drive through Senora Pass, the second highest mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We reached an altitude of 9,624 feet as we crested this magnificent road.

Sonora Pass, on the way to Tonopah, NV.

This is the highest we have ever driven in Tin Tin (our RV) or any vehicle to the best of my knowledge. Remember, at 10,000 they make you use oxygen if you are in an airplane!

This is a very narrow, twisty, road with extreme variances in altitude along its’ route. We would go from 5,000 to over 8,000 in just a few miles. There were restrictions on the size of vehicle they would allow on this road. Tin Tin, at 24 feet in length just barely fit under the maximum 25 foot size limit.

We made it over the Sierra Nevada mountains and found a RV park still open at about 8PM in Tonopah. It wasn’t fancy, but they had a spot left and we turned in for the night.

Tonopah used to be a silver mining town back in the early 1900’s. When the silver ran out, most of the mining shut down. There are still a few mines going, but very small. Tonopah is now just a stop along Highway 6 with a bit of interesting history.

They have a cemetery there where some of the original settlers and victims of various mining accidents are buried. We explored the cemetery for a bit and also found a geocache or two.

Historical marker on the First Tonopah Cemetery.
One section of the First Tonopah Cemetery.
Head stone for Charles Smith, an ore sorter, who was murdered in his cabin in 1906.

The cemetery is also the final resting place for 14 miners who died in a mine fire on February 23, 1911. It is a fascinating collection of graves primarily from the turn of the century, with a few 20th century folks also.

We also found a geocache hidden just outside the main entrance to the cemetery in some cinder blocks that formed a wall.

Next, it was off to the Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, NV. This highway runs just outside of the famous Area 51, where the US government supposedly does secret testing, possibly with the remains of crashed alien spacecraft. The area is highly guarded and civilian intrusions are dealt with very harshly.

Highway signage letting us know we have arrived.

The highway begins at Rachel, NV. This is basically a stop on the road, with a unique bar/restaurant and easy access to the western gate of Area 51.

The sign and Rachel are pretty much the same. Out in the middle of nowhere.

The claim to fame for Rachel, NV is the Little A’LE’INN Restaurant and Bar. They have some very unique signage.

Looks like one alien called AAA.
What a friendly fellow!

We had a quick lunch in the restaurant and saw a bit of nature outside too.

A hummingbird, or alien in disguise, outside the restaurant.

We then got serious and got directions on how to get to Area 51. The lady in A’LE’INN said go 1.7 miles east, turn down the dirt road, and you will see the western entrance to Area 51 in 10 miles. She was right.

So, we left Rachel, heading to Area 51 and the first aliens we saw, looked vaguely familiar.

Hey, what better disguise for a Martian than to dress up like a cow and patrol Area 51. Makes sense to me!

We drove down the bumpy, very dusty, narrow dirt road, and saw the entrance to Area 51 in the distance. As photography is strictly prohibited, we took some video way before the entrance. Andrea was not impressed with our brave quest.

Here is a picture of the entrance, as close as we dared to get. Luckily, we didn’t get shot at or arrested.

Entrance to Area 51. We didn’t see any space ships or test planes. Bummer.

The Extraterrestrial Highway gets a lot of traffic each year. It also attracts a lot of geocache folks, including teams, that really place a lot of caches in small areas. Our app showed that there were 1,500 caches in about a 20 mile section of the highway. We found a few of them.

Black film canister hidden in the rocks.
White film canister, hidden in the rocks.

You see the theme? Lots of film canisters hidden in rocks and bushes all along the highway. Fairly easy to find, once you got out and hiked in a bit.

It was starting to get late in the afternoon, so we started to keep pushing east. All of a sudden, we saw it. Definite proof of alien life on Earth.

Or maybe, just a really tall statue in front of the Alien Museum.

Last year there was an internet initiative to get 1,000,000 people to gather in this part of the state to storm Area 51. At the museum here, in Crystal Springs, they had about 6,500 actually show up. This pretty much overwhelmed this little town. The operators of the museum set up a replica of the gate to Area 51 so they could have a “symbolic” storming of the gate. It was behind the museum.

Replica of the warning sign at Area 51.
These guys are not kidding around!!

We had a fun day chasing aliens and geocaches. We continued to head east, looking over our shoulders the whole way.

We ended up in Las Vegas, NV that night. Heck, we were just here a couple of weeks ago. We stayed in the RV Park at the Circus Circus Hotel. It was surprisingly nice. We had a nice dinner, lost a few dollars in the slot machines, and turned in for the evening.

We stayed in the RV park in the back

Map progress – San Jose, CA to Tonopah, NV via Tin Tin.

San Jose, CA to Tonopah, NV. Also shows entire western portion of the trip.
Tonopah, NV to Las Vegas, NV

Published by rsgoodell

We are recently retired and now traveling around Europe, Egypt, the United States, and hopefully soon Central and South America.

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