That trip was out to a desolate highway, with plenty of open range, except the open range wasn't quite the same as it is throughout the rest of the West. This open range had the special designation shown above the cow on the sign. (Photo from rachel-nevada.com website). I kept expecting to see cows being beamed up, and the music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind played in my head.
This trip was out on the Extraterrestrial Highway, Nevada 375. This 98-mile long highway only passes one town, Rachel, NV. Calling it a town is a bit of a stretch, with just a scattering of buildings. Normally it would be totally ignored, but it has the fortune of being close to the infamous Area 51. If you like UFOs and aliens, this is a mecca.
The Little A'Le'Inn is a restaurant and hotel. When I went in, some folks from the military base were enjoying a little time off by entertaining themselves with looking at the numerous photos covering the walls of UFOs and clippings of strange sights seen in the area. Locals offer tours to special spots where outsiders can peek into the ultra-high security area and try to determine what's happening inside. (By the way--the magnet above is a bit old--the new area code is 775, but the rest of the phone and fax numbers are correct.)
At the time I took my trip, the Nevada tourism office was offering a promotion that if I turned in a couple receipts from the ET highway, I could get this cool bumper sticker. I still haven't ever seen anyone else with one. I wonder why not??
And after recalling that wonderful trip and all the potentially strange things happening over the Great Basin desert, I look closer at the image of the cow crossing the road. Maybe some of those white clouds really aren't clouds after all...