My wife, father and I left Las Vegas around 0820 this Friday morning, and arrived at the start of Groom Lake Road around 1015. Before leaving Vegas, we drove by the JANET Terminal at the airport, and watched the loading of several people on one of the 737's. Security is tight at the terminal, so you can't get real close. On the way to Groom Lake Road, we gassed up in Alamo, at the Exxon station, the folks were very nice, and the service was good. Gas is high, as it is everywhere now, but is a little higher there than in the city.
The trip down Groom Lake Road was uneventful, I was a bit surprised by the "hill" and the curves right before the "Restricted" signs, as I didn't remember them mentioned in earlier reports. The "Cammo" folks watched us from the hill in their new Ford trucks with binoculars, but were very passive, and in fact, I think I caught a "wave" from the driver! We stayed about 5 minutes at the signs, then retreated to the top of the "hill", and parked for 15-20 minutes in the turnout area. We saw the numerous antenna on the mountains, and enjoyed the beautiful weather and crystal clear skies. No aircraft were seen, as Red Flag was to start the next morning. We headed for Rachel via the dirt road to the "black mailbox". The road was rougher than Groom Lake Road, and has a pretty good size ditch across it about mid-way down it. GO SLOW!!
We ate at the Little A'le'inn restaurant, and found the folks very friendly, and the food very good, and moderately priced. We discovered a tire on the rented S.U.V. was low, possibly from the ditch on the road to the mailbox, and a nice young man who is related to the owners of the restaurant helped us change the tire with the spare. I suggest making sure your rental has a FULL-SIZE spare tire before you start out from Vegas, I didn't check mine beforehand, but was just lucky that we had a full size tire as a spare. We bought $60.00 worth of "goodies" for people back in Virginia, and left for the Area 51 Research Center down the road. The research Center was nice, and had a lot of printed material. We bought a couple of hats, and left for Vegas. We stopped again in Alamo, for gas, then arrived back in Vegas by 4:00. A very nice day of driving through the desert, I would recommend the trip, and most definitely the Alien Burger at the Little A'lie'inn located in Rachel, Nevada.