Stretching for 98 miles across Nevada’s nearly empty Great Basin, the Extraterrestrial Highway is one of the West’s least traveled roads. On a typical day only about 200 cars travel along this road and Rachel, the only town on the highway has a population of 54 hardy people (and an undisclosed population of aliens.) But this rarely used road can boast more stories and more rumors than any of the congested freeways in LA. The nearest entrance to Area 51, the former site of the “Black Mailbox,” and the nearly daily UFO sightings have attracted the curious, conspiracy theorists, adventurous tourist, those with a sense of humor, believers , and sometimes outright nuts to this spot in the desert.
Area 51. That simple phrase conjures up images of conspiracies, little green men, UFOs and government agents in black suits and dark sunglasses. Regardless of what it really is, there is no longer any dispute that it is there. Is it just a military base developing and testing cutting edge aircraft, or is it where the government took the bodies of aliens and the remains of their spacecraft after crashing near Roswell, New Mexico? Whatever is going on out there we aren’t supposed to know, and it is that forbidden fruit that piques our interest and creates curiosities so strong that it attracts visitors from around the globe to the boundaries of Area 51 just miles down a dirt road off of the Extraterrestrial Highway.
The Black Mailbox that was located just to the west of the highway was rumored to be the mailbox for the nearby Area 51. The real purpose is nothing so nefarious as a clandestine drop spot for the most secretive military installation in the world. Instead, it is (or more accurately was) simply the mailbox of a nearby rancher. The notoriety of the mailbox led not only to his mail being stolen out of the box, but eventually the box itself being stolen. Even though the mailbox itself is no longer there, it is still a popular spot for UFO watchers to gather at night waiting to catch of glimpse of something that proves there is life out there beyond the stars.
So next time you are out wandering the back roads of Nevada, make sure to take a trip down the Extraterrestrial Highway. Who knows? Maybe you will have your own close encounter that will make you a believer.
Rachel, Nevada June 2012