Contact On The Extraterrestrial Highway!

The Humans of WheelingIt have returned to the Earthly Domain and can now report the series of astonishing events that led to contact on the Extraterrestrial Highway on April 15th, 2014 (Earth-Date). Read at your own risk….

I was pleasantly engaging the Aliens...
I was pleasantly engaging the Aliens…

It all started out innocently enough. A quick drive down the Extraterrestrial Highway to geek out on all the Alien stuff and gawk at the gates of elusive Area 51. In typical Nina style I had prepared myself extensively by absorbing reams of book material, crafting perfectly-formed foil hats and meditating in the lotus-position (quite a miracle feat, in and of itself I tell you) to be mentally zen for contact. Oh yes, baby, I was ready to immerse myself fully into the experience.

Oh dear....he's beaming up
Oh dear….he’s beaming up

On a fine afternoon we started the adventure. We puttered down the road to Hwy 375, tense with anticipation and eagerly on the lookout. A short way down the trail our radio knocked out (naturally), followed by our phone (obviously) and within minutes we saw them…little, green men sauntering along in the broad daylight of the Nevada sun. Contact!! Thanks to my aforementioned preparations I  was properly expectant of all this and not the least surprised. In hospitable Dane fashion I proceeded to engage the creatures pleasantly, posing for shots and even laughing at the cows being abducted around the corner. Inter-planetary a-la-WheelingIt if you will (even Commander Picard would have approved). All was going swimmingly until I rounded the corner and saw hubby disappear….

“Adieu Earthings”….he muttered as he beamed up to the spaceship

This was an unexpected twist. I drove back to the rig for a thought-provoking Rum & Coke and pondered the extraterrestrial philosophy of things.  By the time said drink was halfway consumed, I had an epiphany…and a plan. With meticulous detail I crafted a large sign on the RV roof “Free Earth-cocktails in return for Cuban“. Sufficiently satisfied this would be an irresistible draw (and rather hoping the Aliens understood I was looking for hubby and not cigars) I waited. Would he ever return or would WheelingIt be forever one Earthling short of a full beast?

General Map of Area 51 & Hwy 375
General Map of Area 51 & Hwy 375

As you can tell I totally dig all this stuff, and if it ever there was a place to experience it this is it. Area 51, more officially called “Groom Lake” is nondescript corner of southern Nevada so steeped in rumors & secrets it’s existence was denied for the longest time. On it’s western side it bounds the Nevada Test Site the location of no less than 739 nuclear bomb tests. On it’s eastern side the Nellis Air Force Range. Declassified documents have revealed it to be a research and test facility for super-secret military aircraft, but it’s what isn’t known that makes it so intriguing.

For years and years rumors have bubbled about secret Alien research and unusual activity, and that’s just the kind of tantalizingly juicy stuff even the most placid of conspiracy theorists can’t resist. For the few folks who live along the 98 miles (158 km) stretch of Hwy 375 this is not just another Nevada highway, it’s the Extraterrestrial Highway and the Alien thing here is so deeply entrenched you just can’t get around it. Whether you come here for the dusty drive or little, green men it is SO MUCH FUN to throw yourself into the spirit of the place and just bask in the outer-worldliness of it all.

There are lots of good websites & blog posts about the sights & intrigues of Hwy 375 so I’m not going to go into alot of details, but what I do want to do is prepare you for the ride. If you’re going to take your “beast” here I propose you do with the proper panache. After all, why just drive the highway when you can live it, Eathling? With that said here’s the WheelingIt guide to the ultimate Hwy 375 immersion experience:

Get In The Mood

The Extraterrestrial Research Institute...yeah, baby!
The Extraterrestrial Research Institute. Oh yeah!

One of the best ways to get in the mood for a place is to read about it. Start your week with a little history in the form of Area 51: The Dreamland Chronicles (great info on the base and the fine folks who flew the aircraft there), then proceed into deeper space with UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record (an intriguing book for anyone even remotely interested in unidentified flying objects). Finish your week with full-out contact and a good laugh by watching Paul (part of which was filmed right here on Hwy 375). Now, you’re primed and ready for step 2.

Scope Out The Spots

If you're a Geocaching fan you can't miss doing this one!
If you’re a Geocaching fan you can’t miss doing this one!

All the “must visit” spots for Area 51 are HERE and HERE . Since cellphone can be iffy on the Highway (what else would you expect?) it’s a good idea to print out the details before you go. You can’t “do” the Area without (at the minimum) a stop at the Black Mailbox (now white, but the name persists regardless) and a visit to the dusty little town of Rachel, NV. For the more enterprising you can drive right up to the Area 51 gates (just don’t step across) or 4×4 to one of the Area 51 overlooks. For Geocaching fans there are no less than 1,500 Geocaches (!!!!) along the entire length of 375 including a super-cool Alien Head Geocache right near Rachel (thank you blog reader Yvette for this tip). Who wouldn’t want to snag this one?

Boondock The Night

The Little A'Le'Inn. See us in the back?
The Little A’Le’Inn. See us in the back left?

The full experience of Hwy 375 would not be complete without an overnight boondocking stay. I mean if there’s any chance of sighting unusual activity, this is clearly the spot. Even if you don’t see Aliens you might catch a glimpse (or hear the sonic boom) of some new ultra-secret-fragilistic-tech Military aircraft. Too cool to miss! As it so happens the ENTIRE length of 375 is BLM land and you can pretty much pull off and camp anywhere you can fit. This site lists a few spots, all of which are fairly easy to get to. Our preferences were either the Black Mailbox (why not -> 37.457139,-115.482675), a large pull-out which we saw on the south side of the road between milemarker 16 & 17 (quite scenic) or the large, gravel lot opposite Little A’Le’Inn (thus allowing you to eat and stagger home. The inn offers paid hookups, but also allows you to boondock right opposite for free -> 37.6463559,-115.7452758).

Make Contact

Making contact w/ the locals at the Little A'Le'Inn
Making contact w/ the locals at the Little A’Le’Inn

Once you decide to make the drive, take your time and soak it all in. Stop to take pics of the cool murals & down some jerky at ET Fresh Jerky, pose by the massive Alien sculpture at the Alien Research Institute (it’s never open, but it’s fun to pose anyway), ponder the mysteries of the Black-now-White Mailbox and then chow down on a Saucer Burger with an Alien Beer (quite tasty) at the Little A’Le’Inn. Throw in a few Geocaches and you’ve got yourself a full day. Contact (and thus your experience) is now complete.

Maybe I shouldn't have made fun of the cows?
Moral of the story…don’t make fun of the cows…

What did we do? ALL OF IT, of course. We puttered around all the sites, Geocached the Alien Head (with doggie in tow) and boondocked the night at the Little A’Le’Inn (dusty and superbly fun). Despite his abduction experience Paul was returned safely and seems to have no new powers (I was so hoping). Also our quest for an all-night vigil for extraterrestrial lights was thwarted when we fell asleep at 9PM (darn that Alien beer). Perhaps next time we’ll all get beamed up and I can re-market the blog as SpaceTravellingIt (or possibly The Beast In Space? 12 Paws In Orbit? Boondocking On Mars?)…now wouldn’t that be something?

Outer-Worldy Links

  • -> Maps, sightseeing details, camping spots for Hwy375. It’s all here. CLICKY
  • -> Another great site with links, maps & camping info. CLICKY
  • Little A’Le’Inn -> Make contact, drink beer, eat Alien Burgers. CLICKY
  • ET Fresh Jerky -> Pose with cool murals & get some Jerky. CLICKY
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. greggino says

    As always I am humbled by your patience and detail. I need to bother you with a question regarding Calgon Softener. Where do you find it? I have tried Wal-Mart, all the local grocery stores, Dollar stores, Big Lots..Your March 2012 Blog, I believe, mentioned Borax. That is a soap. Is there a substitute softener you use in lieu of Calgon? Thanks so much.
    Greg V

    • libertatemamo says

      You know interestingly enough you only really find Calgon consistently in the states with really hard water. It’s at just about every single Walmart in Arizona, but plain impossible to find in Oregon. If you’re in one of the latter areas you’re best bet is online.


  2. says

    Great fun post.
    We did the Nevada Test Site tour this last Nov and saw drones being flow and watched perfect landings. The NTS tour is free and if you look left when they say look right, you can look down the Area 51 runway. The tour leaves from the Atomic Museum in Vegas near the MGM and Luxor. The museum is worthwhile to visit also, just the gov version of facts. There is a long wait list for the tour, but they have no shows sometimes. It is an amazing tour to take.
    Thanks for the post.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh outstanding! For some reason I didn’t even know you could tour the NTS. This is great info and something we’ll definitely come back for. Thanks!


  3. Smitty says

    Oddly, I’ve never seen you fit into a location quite as well as ‘This Spot!’… Keep an eye out for ‘weather balloons’, and of course ‘The Truth’ – because it’s ‘out there’. “X”

    I’ve also heard it from reliable rumors, that the little green man is now doing commercials for some car insurance company. Slight facelift to make him look semi gekko like:)!

    Very fun post, and neat pictures…

    • libertatemamo says

      Hehe…yes, we fit rather spaciously. Allot of dirt flats out here. I did see the guy on the commercials…wonder if it’s the same one we met on 375? 😉


    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, Internet might have been tough out there in space. Of course the Aliens probably already have that figured out and are able to tap directly into our Verizon network tee hee..:)


  4. says

    Great post and really funny! I have my own personal copy of “Paul” and watch it when I need to cheer up. Part of the the movie was filmed in Northern New Mexico and on a trip to Chimayo I saw the infamous RV! :-)

    • libertatemamo says

      I recognized a lot of familiar roads in that movie and have also seen it multiple times. A great feel-good comedy and really fun for RVers.


  5. says

    Haha, glad to hear you enjoyed the alien head! :)

    Fun fact, several years ago I spent a summer working at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA as a student intern. Never found aliens, but kinda wonder what kind of reputation I’d have visiting an area like the ET highway if I mentioned it.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh how fascinating!! I would personally love to explore something like that. I certainly don’t discount the possibility of life in this great, big universe of ours. Whether extraterrestrial life has made it to earth I can’t say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some form of life has developed on other planets. The odds are certainly there.


    • Rattlesnake Joe says

      Hi Yvette, Most people in the know don’t believe in SETI. It is a waste of time and money. But do go out and visit Rachael NV. Lots of nice people and fun.

      • Rattlesnake Joe says

        When you are taken, you have no will of your own anymore. You are like a Zombie. Check Pauls body for bruises and little Alien marks that they tag us with. He probably won’t remember anything that happened aboard the UFO. They also give people screen memories to cover up what really happened.

    • libertatemamo says

      I had NO IDEA!! I came up with the term “wheeling it” back when we first started RVing. At least, I thought it was an original idea. How interesting that it actually references something in the Urban Dictionary. Thanks for sharing!!


  6. Rattlesnake Joe says

    Been there a few times and love the people and atmosphere. One BIG THING is there are no gas stations out that way, so best fill up at last town before venturing on Hwy 375. Keep a close watch on your wristwatch to see if you have any Missing Time.

    • libertatemamo says

      Good tip on the gas!! Forgot to mention that in my guide. There’s no grocery either so it’s worth stocking up before the trip.

      Isn’t it now 2024?


      • Rattlesnake Joe says

        Yes it is 2024 but you are in a parallel universe different from mine. Suggest you go back to the future and start again. :)

  7. John says

    Great post as usual. You have a way of making every place seem like the best place on earth. I imagine this would be as much fun as you say.
    I have an off the subject question for you. A while back you posted about desiring a trailer or something smaller than the “Beast”. I am still trying to decide what my home should be when I fulltime/boondock. I am leaning toward a 5th wheel. My question is do you see much difficulty in boondocking in a 5th wheel. Some are so quite large, but I would like a smaller one if I could find it. But obviously if you can go in the “Beast” a 5th wheel should be able to go in the same places, but do you see many places where you think a 5th wheel could go where you couldn’t?

    • libertatemamo says

      The biggest thing about boondocking in any vehicle is size and ground clearance. I see no problem at all with boondocking in a 5th wheel (in fact, most of the folks we see boondocking prefer 5th wheels) except when you get to the really big ones. We boondocked with buddies of ours last year who had a large 35′ 5th wheel and the back overhang on that thing was so long he kept scraping the ground as we were driving down the dirt road to our site, even over smallish bumps.

      So, my advice would just be to choose a middle-of-the-road size and check the ground clearance and back overhang. Tank sizes (I.e. Having nice, big holding tanks) is also a big positive for boondocking, but the clearance comes first. You should have no problems at all in a 5th wheel. In fact you’ll probably even be able to get to spots we can’t because you’ll be quite a bit lighter in weight. Good luck with all your plans!


      • John says

        Thank you so much Nina, that is exactly the insightful comments I was hoping for. I would not have thought of ground clearance and overhang. I was just thinking of weight and maneuverability.

        • Jil says

          For what it is worth, John…we have a 30 ft 5th wheel that we have been full timing in since 2003…boon docking and all and do very well with it…

  8. Rowanova says

    Lol! Great creativity put to words. I gotta love it.
    I’d ask what you two may have been smoking out there, but I’d be green with rudeness if I did, so…. :)

    Another interesting place in Nevada to mark for a visit. Err,,, uhmm,,, maybe a visit and an other worldly experience, both in the same trip. I’ll try rocking out with some good ol’ Deep Purple…dialed up loud. Lol.
    Thanks for an entertaining post. Much appreciated. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      Sounds like you’ll have quite the ride when you come here LOL..


      P.s. Totally with you on Deep Purple…awesome stuff.

      • Rowanova says

        Lol! A little Space Trucking around Area 51 with the little green dudes, hoping I don’t get beamed off the road by any Beast. :)

  9. says

    Love your posts, Nina! Getting ready to live the RV lifestyle and you are my go-to site for all kinds of helpful, interesting information. Can’t tell you how excited I am about embarking on this new adventure.

    • libertatemamo says

      Well, congrats on the upcoming adventure!! I hope it turns out to be everything you imagine & more.


  10. says

    Nina .. err space person.

    What a great, great post. It is a treasure for sure. Just love those beautiful descriptions rolling off that clever brain. You have become a silver tongue devil teasing us like this.

    I stopped reading, put on Patsy Cline and started reading it all over again, savoring every word.

    You’re one in a million. Thanks for the trip. You should sent the post to the Area 51 Chamber or whoever does their promotions. You never know, they may throw in a overnight camp for you. LOL

    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks so much for the lovely compliment {{blush}}. Love the fact that you paired the post with music…now that’s rockin’ it!


  11. says

    Nina, our house is on the market and we’ve been reading and researching all winter to go full-timing. Your blogs have been a huge help. My questions, as an amateur photographer (and enjoying your photos!), are 1) How do you protect your equipment in the desert or at beaches with the high amounts of sand and dust in the air (especially when changing lenses)?, 2) What photo software do you use? TIA, Martha

    • libertatemamo says

      The sand question is a really good question! I have 2 cameras which I use, a point-and-shoot and an SLR with 2 lenses. I use the point-and-shoot for most of my daily stuff since it’s easy to hike with and has no lenses to switch out making it a little more sand-tolerable. I use the SLR for my more artistic shots and always keep it zipped up in a camera bag when I’m not using it. I tend to avoid shooting if it’s blowing sand (there’s no fool-proof way to protect your camera if it’s really nasty outside) and try to keep lens changes to a minimum (most of my shots I use my trusty 18-200mm zoom). Mostly, however, the weather is fine enough to shoot and as long as I zip up my camera when I’m not using it, I do ok.

      For software I use full-fledged Photoshop. I have a very old version which I’ve used for years and years. It took a long time to learn initially, but now I love it! However I probably won’t upgrade since I really don’t like their new subscription plan. If you’re a first-time software user I’d probably recommend starting with something like Picassa (very easy and simple) or, for more advanced processing Photoshop Elements (a totally versatile program -> this is what I would use if I didn’t have my old software) or Lightroom (also very nifty -> many photographers love it).


  12. says

    Nina…after seven years full-timing in our motorhome, I gotta say you guys have the best travel blog out there. It’s a total delight to read and learn about things I missed on previous travels. I love the Extraterrestrial stuff. I had hoped to connect with you this summer as we usually volunteer with the Oregon State Parks and we were going to share Lighthouse duty. However, we needed a bit more cash-flow so we are working for Hoodoo, Inc. at Camp Sherman (near Sisters, OR) for four months as camp-hopsts during the summer season. Stop by and say hello if you get up this way. In the meantime, great work on your blog and sharing your travels.

    • libertatemamo says

      When are you guys starting to host? With our new jello plans we may end up around that area mid-May. If you’ll be there let us know!!


      • says

        Theoretically, I start in mid-May but a lot depends on the weather. It has snowed that time of year so they hedging all bets (the Concessionaire). Unfortunately, there are no hook-ups except at Hoodoo’s Camp Sherman Resort and RV Park. It’s NFS campgrounds all along the Metolius River in a beautiful part of Oregon. Hope to see you there!

        • libertatemamo says

          Well goodness we may end up being in Bend right around that same time! Let’s stay in touch. Maybe we can meet-up when were there.


  13. says

    I enjoyed this post! Did you offer a Cuba Libre to take back Paul?
    Not sure if we will pass there but glad to know its there if we so inclined to be beamed up or mingle with the green aliens.

    • libertatemamo says

      We loved Roswell when we went there a few years back. Another of my fav “alien” towns. Hwy 375 is much more remote (not nearly as developed), but just as fun.


  14. says

    This was such a fun post! I would love to experience all of it so we keep this place in mind when we head back out west. Too bad you weren’t the one abducted instead of Paul; imagine the images you would have brought back with you. :)

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah I would DEFINITELY have come back with photographic evidence. Imagine the news sensation! :)


    • libertatemamo says

      It sure was fun. I’d been looking forward to this drive (and this area) for months. Paul doesn’t get quite as much into these things as I do, but he was happy to play along tee hee…


  15. Andy says

    Thanks for the great info. Where is the quonset hut with the tall metal alien located? We can’t find it anywhere.
    Thanks in advance, Andy R

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s on the right about 1 mile down 375 coming from the 375/93 split (the east end of the Extraterrestrial Hwy). You can’t miss it.


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