We left Vegas around 0800 for the drive to "Dreamland". My daughter and I had previously arranged overnight lodging at the Little Ale' Inn, and had scheduled a tour with one of the Inn's employees. After an uneventful drive, we arrived at the Inn around 1030, and had a wonderful lunch, featuring the famous "alien burger"!!
We departed on the tour at 1145, and drove to the Area 51 "back gate". To our surprise, the gates opened as we approached, and shortly thereafter, a large truck carrying what looked to be generators drove past us into the security area. We left the back gate and headed for Timpahute and drove to the top. The mountain had snow, and we observed antelope grazing on the mountain side, a real treat for my daughter.
The view from here is beautiful, as all of Tikaboo Valley is visible. We then headed for Groom Lake Road, and drove to the warning signs. The cammo folks appeared on the hill, and gave us a good once over with their binoculars. From here we headed back to the Inn to rest before dinner. Great tour, I recommend it highly.
The rooms at the Inn are actually a trailor divided in to rooms. They are clean, small, without luxurious amenities, but it gave us a feel of "roughing it" in the desert. The atmosphere is wonderful, and the hosts from the Inn second to none. We had a treat that evening as we observed a "dog fight" in Rachel's Valley involving at least 10 fighters from the Red Flag exercise that was still in full swing. After dinner, we settled in to watch "Independence Day" on the VCR in our room. We were surprised by a snow shower, and heavy winds that knocked the power out for an hour or so!!!
WOW, I never imagined how dark the desert is with no lights!! We drank a Ginger Ale by candlelight at the Inn until the power came back on, then finished our movie. The sounds of sonic booms and bombs rang through the night, as the Red Flag maneuvers continued, giving the night a ghostly feeling indeed.
The next morning we left early, and after one last stop at the entrance to Groom Lake Road, we headed for Vegas. My daughter and I both agreed, this was one of the most enjoyable road trips we have ever taken, and will do it again in June 2002 when we return to Vegas. I cannot thank Pat Travis and her family enough, I recommend an overnight with them with no hesitation, you won't be sorry.
Looking forward to 2002.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!