Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dodging G-Men and Aliens along the ET Highway

Hawthorne, NV  High 79  Low 52

We left Las Vegas on Monday and spent the night in Alamo, NV. Not much there we are in the middle of no-where Nevada and there was an RV park.

Tuesday we headed to the land of Aliens and Area 51.

First stop was at the beginning of the Extra Terrestrial Highway.


P1080274Yes, Jan, I’ve been driving. Haven’t tried to pull into a gas station or park it in a site yet, but that will happen eventually.



We kept a sharp lookout for any UFO’s or alien abductors, but we succeeded in making it to the black mail box without any problems.

mailboxThe Black Mailbox (which is now painted white) is known as a meeting place for those who are looking for UFO’s. The box’s owner is a rancher by the name of Steve Medlin who does not believe that aliens are landing to pick up their mail.

Steve added the smaller mailbox, marked Alien, after he got tired of receiving letters directed to visitors from outer space. It is constructed out of thick, bulletproof metal and locked with massive padlocks because alien hunting fanatics began stealing his mail and firing guns at the box.

If you continue down the road towards Groom Lake you will soon see signs that warn you to KEEP OUT! We didn’t venture down the dirt road so this picture is from the internet showing the sign and if you look on the hill you will see the G-men guarding the borders of Area 51. From what I learned, for a first offense at trespassing you get a $600 fine and escorted by armed guards off the property.

restricted area

We continued on our search for aliens and it wasn’t long before we found the Alien Research Center.



Not much happening in the research area so we continued on. There is very little traffic on this highway. Just goes on for many miles with some pretty scenery.



Next stop – Rachel, NV and the Little A'Le'Inn. Rachel is the only “town” along the ET Highway. And the only thing in the town is the A’Le”Inn.


P1080320We arrived long before lunch time so we didn’t try one of their Alien Burgers that are supposed to be very good.



Dollar bills cover the ceiling behind the bar.


Lots of alien stuff. The alien in red looks rather scary.


Continuing our journey, the wind started to howl. I turned the wheel back over to Jim.

No more encounters with aliens or G-men but we did have a few cows we had to slow down for. The highway is open range and cows wander all over the road. This would not be a good road to drive in the dark.

Wonder what happened to the little green man that was in this UFO that crashed.


We had planned to stay at the casino in Tonopah but the RV spots have all been taken by long term residents with big propane tanks. We aren’t boondocking because we did not bring our big generator and it is way too hot to not have air conditioning.

Even with the wind howling around us we pressed on for another 104 miles to Hawthorne, NV which is where we are currently parked at Whiskey Flats RV Park. Jim was very impressed with how well the Hensley Hitch controlled any sway from the wind.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Good Friends and Good Times

Las Vegas, NV  High 98  Low 74

The main reason that we stop in Las Vegas is to be able to visit with our good friends, Steve and Peter. Steve and I have been friends for 46 years. Peter has been fighting a battle with cancer and is winning which is fantastic news for us.


Since we are not big gamblers I am always on the lookout for other things for us to see while we are here. However, there is one experience that I can’t pass up and that is a trip downtown to Fremont Street.

It’s a world that is so foreign to us and yet I love every minute of it. Lots of nearly naked men and women of all ages and sizes. Definitely no pictures. They will pose with you so you can take a picture with your own camera and then they want you to pay them for posing.

Lots of people, looking up taking pictures overhead.


There are all kinds of street acts from dancers to statues to one of the best sax players. Also beggars (mostly wounded vets) and everything in between.

Sidney and Jim took time out to win a fortune – NOT!


There is a zipline but I couldn’t convince Jim to try it out. He didn’t want to ride it in the daylight and by the time it got dark, we were ready to go home. You start out in the middle of this slot machine.


Also, overhead is a huge theater that shows music videos and different scenes to really loud music.


After we rode the High Roller we walked down the Linq to the Flamingo.

Todd – this is a Ford worth owning.


Here’s a camper for that will only cost you $100,000.


The birds at the Flamingo are really pretty.




Sunday we’ll do laundry and watch the NASCAR race and Monday we head north to Alamo.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Soaring with Sidney

Las Vegas, NV  High 97  Low 74


Guess what we did yesterday.

Welcome to the High Roller. The highest Ferris wheel in the world.


The doors open on both sides and you enter or exit while in motion.


I had to conquer my extreme fear of Ferris wheels in order to get on this thing. I don’t have a fear of heights, just Ferris wheels. I get sick just watching one on TV. But Clark mentioned in his post on this ride that the cars don’t swing. So I informed my stomach we were going to do this and I was not going to embarrass everyone by getting sick. I conquered!!

Key went along with us for the ride..


Sidney was really excited about being able to soar above the crowds. Look at that view of the Strip.


The High Roller is not like an amusement park ride. It takes 30 minutes to make the trip so you are moving very slowly. The views are incredible so I’m just going to post a few of the 125 pictures Jim took.

That’s our truck, parked next to the colorful bus by the tree on the right.


This is another view of our truck.




The fountains at the Bellagio.



The monorail.


Coming in for our landing.


Once I overcame my fears, the ride is very relaxing with amazing views in all directions. The next time (and there will be a next time) will be at night so we can see all the lights.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wetlands? In the Desert? In the Middle of Las Vegas?

Las Vegas, NV  High 88  Low 71

I was absolutely amazed at the Clark County Wetlands Preserve. Key had discovered this place last year and invited us to go with him.

The Visitor’s Center is brand new – in fact it wasn’t finished when Key was here last year. It is definitely hands on and I had a great time checking everything out.



One really interesting fact I learned is that when the old casinos are imploded, the rubble is used to reinforce the banks of the Las Vegas Wash. It was nice to learn they do recycle.

P1080132We walked around only a very small part of the wetlands. The park is 2,900 acres of water, trails, and trees along the Las Vegas Wash.  It’s home to more than 200 species of birds and 70 species of mammals and reptiles. It features more than 13 miles of trails.

We did the loop around Vern’s Pond. There are beavers and coyotes wandering through these wetlands but we weren’t lucky enough to see any of them.

We did get to see a couple of “wild” animals.


Look at the markings on this bunnies’ face.


At the pond we got to see a few birds. Not being a bird person, someone is going to have to identify them for me.


This beauty came out of the reeds on the other side of the pond. He was fishing but I didn’t succeed in getting a picture of him with his head under water.



I do know that this one is a Mallard.


This is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert and if you come to Las Vegas, you really need to spend some time exploring this preserve.


We are staying at the Road Runner RV Park which is where we always stay when we come to town. We fit in one of the shorter sites and it was $16 for the first three nights and then $20 a night. They offer a weekly rate of $89 for the smaller sites.

road runner rv park

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Christmas Tree Pass

Cal-Nev-Ari, NV   High 88  Low 55

Monday morning we left Brenda and headed 150 miles further north to Cal-Nev-Ari. This tiny spot in the road is located about 70 miles south of Las Vegas and was originally established as an air landing strip for Camp Ibis, where US Troops were trained in WWII.

There is really nice RV park here for $19.34 per night including taxes. We’re about 25 miles from Laughlin. TV is almost non-existent but I have a good signal on the WIFI.


We spent two nights still recovering from packing up after almost six months of sitting. I also wanted to explore Christmas Tree Pass.

Sidney is soooo ready to start exploring.


Christmas Tree Road connects Highways 95 and 163. It is about 16 miles of a dirt road that needs a high clearance vehicle in many places. The road starts about a mile south on Highway 95 and then ends up in Laughlin where we met Key for lunch. We left about 8:30 and finally arrived at noon with our top speed of 15mph but usually 10 mph or less.


A fabulous scenic drive that starts in the Mohave Desert and ends up in the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Christmas Tree Road and Pass are named for the juniper and pinon pine which grow at the higher elevations.We climbed from 2510 feet to 3918 feet at the top of the pass. We did not see another vehicle until we were about two miles from the end of the road.

Wonderful rock formations.




Jim says this one looks like a frog.


We took over 150 pictures because everywhere we looked the beauty of the land was overwhelming. The views were incredible.


From the desert floor we drove up into the pinons and junipers near the top of the pass. Folks have taken the time to decorate several of the trees at the top.


Of course, we have to have a panty tree.


The east side of the pass is much more rocky and steep.


About two miles from Highway 163 is a sign for Grapevine Canyon. This is the only place along the road that has bathrooms. Very important information.

The drive up through the pass to Grapevine Canyon takes you past Spirit Mountain which is sacred land to the Yuman Indian tribes. They consider this area to be the birthplace of creation and was used for religious ceremonies.


After using the facilities at the trailhead, there is a 1/4 mile hike to the mouth of the canyon and treasures that await you there.


Petroglyphs!! Everywhere.


For those of you who are hikers, you can go much further into the canyon looking for even more of these wonderful images.


Looking back from the mouth of the canyon.


We met up with Key in Laughlin for a Mexican lunch and got fuel in Bullhead City. Definitely much cheaper in AZ then in NV. We took the highway back to the girls.

Key and Jim


I picked a fantastic drive for our first adventure of this journey.