Aliens and Distant Lands

My mom joined me on the “reposition the car” leg the following weekend. This new location will be even further away from home in Las Vegas, Nevada. We both beat the sunrise in the morning to start driving and that was the theme for the weekend, the earlier we started, the more we saw in the daylight.

The first stop along interstate 80 was back at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We drove out a little on them before going around to the land speed record area where the water was an almost infinite mirror! We saw a couple vehicles drive back from being out in the very salty water that appeared to only be 4-6 inches deep. I drove out super slow, just far enough into the water to get the cool reflection picture. There was a Jeep Cherokee that returned from the water and the owner turned it off to take some more pictures. Then his day instantly went south when his car wouldn’t restart. Like not even a click of the starter! I tried to jump him incase his battery didn’t have enough juice but still nothing. We got to talking and trying different things and I learned that he works for LEGO! My dream company! I even offered to tow him all the way back to the nearest gas station a couple miles away secretly hoping for a job referral or some Lego discounts. Got to shoot your shot, right? But he called a tow truck which meant it was time to keep going remembering the theme.

Just a couple more miles further was the border to Nevada. Typical for the state, the casinos were built right on the state line. We refueled and restocked the food reserves before heading South. Because leaving this town was like leaving civilization with just open straight road with few cars, if any, for miles on end. The road has the occasional dirt road off it but literally just traverses open plains. Ely, Nevada was the first time for gas in 2 hours, and we were already down a third of a tank. You MUST refuel when you see gas in this state. After continuing further South for another couple of hours, we reached Cathedral Gorge State Park. 

This park is the most hidden of gems I have ever seen. If you blink, you’ll miss it. We picked out a camping spot for the night which can be a very complicated process with a tent. You need to analyze the wind direction and the best way to park the car to block said wind or there will be no hope of sleeping before the wind stops. And you need to balance your proximity to big trailers with generators. Definitely my inner engineer. There was still enough daylight left to hike around the formations a little on the Juniper Draw Trail. We did about an hour of walking along the canyon floor arriving back by flashlight. It was pitch black by like 6pm but a clear moonless night. And with no light pollution, we got to see the entire sky filled with stars. There were even a couple shooting stars.

We woke up with the sun this time around and made a quick breakfast of dark chocolate chip pancakes. We hiked the Miller Point Trail which goes up and out of the canyon offering some more unique views. The formations are actually deep slots formed from water erosion where some of them are large enough to squeeze your body through. We headed back North 2 hours to Great Basin National Park for a guided cave tour of Leman Cave. We should have preplanned a little of what time zone the park was on since there was a lack of cell towers. Because of the emptiness, our phones would pick up Utah towers causing our phones to flip flop on time. Once in the park, we drove to the visitor center to figure out what time it actually was. We had a couple hours so we drove as high up as we could before the gate was closed due to snow and checked out the natural cave entrance to Leman Cave. My mom was the only one with a reservation for the cave tour, so I made lunch and reorganized the car while she went spelunking.

We drove and drove South past where we just camped to Crystal Springs, Nevada. It was getting late at this point but, this town marks the start of the Extraterrestrial Highway which borders AREA 51 on the North East. We went for it, hoping to not get abducted. At roughly the halfway point is the tiny town of Rachel. We got dinner at Little A’Le’Inn. The workers looked like they honestly could have been aliens. Our waiter had his hair completely spiked and died blond at the ends while the bartender just happened to be traveling though and never left the town. Kind of suspicious. They didn’t have any rooms available, just an area next to their trailers to camp. All the more perfect for abducting! The bartender explained to us and 2 other people how to get to the back gate of Area 51 if we were up for a late night adventure. As we left the diner, we could see bright lights up the hill towards where the gate should be. After 3.2 miles on the highway, we turned down the dirt road entrance and the lights on the hill shut off. We were on their radar. A lot of roads split off, but we stayed the course and then the road suddenly turned to pavement. More like abandoned pavement with huge potholes, broken asphalt, and plants growing. We reached the gate and only a little light was on inside the guard shack. As soon as we stepped out of the car though, all the lights on the complex turned on. Naturally, we had to take a picture right up at the barbed wire fence. There is definitely something going on. We hung around a little bit checking out the fortifications determining if they were meant to keep people out or something in because the barbed wire coils were large enough that I could fit through. There were no UFO’s sighted along the highway, just a faint city like glow over the mountains. 

The campground that night was at Valley of Fire State park nestled in the red rocks. We did a loop trail in the morning around Fire Wave which is definitely the best trail in the park and not terribly long either. It traverses a lot of different slick rock that isn’t just red, but yellow and purple. The roads in the park also curve around a lot of formations. We then refueled for the last time just outside of Las Vegas and drove to the airport to fly out. And in 4 days, the next adventure began to Death Valley National Park!

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