Needed to empty a full gas tank so I could replace the throttle cables so we devised a day run from Las Vegas. We ran up past the top secret military base known as Area 51, then NE into Utah and back down toward home. Total trip length was 442 miles! Awesome scenery along the route.
Area 51 is where top secret jets are tested as well as being the test site for nuclear weapons in the 50's and 60's. But it's best known as a place where the feds theoretically store remains of alien life forms as well as the ship(s)they flew in on, hence the alien association all around, including the world famous and incredibly remote 'ExtraTerrestrial Highway'. The signs shown below are actual roadway signs in the area, one of them having been moved into the alien souvenir shop!
Great weather, left at 7 AM and got home around 5:30 PM. Looking for more local loops to ride out of Vegas. Most of the trip was at elevation so we could escape the Vegas heat, with our last fuel stop, Enterprise, Utah, at around 5500'. Lots of new sights because most of the back-country trip was new territory for us. You can change the MapQuest map
below to satellite view and then zoom in to get a feel for the terrain.
We hit an Alien store in the boonies at Crystal Springs, NV, just NE of Area 51 and 40 miles from the nearest gas station, then up into Caliente, NV for breakfast at the Knotty Pine Lodge. In Caliente they were having off road races so the tiny mountain town was full and active. Then we went east into Utah and down to Enterprise, UT before heading south to St. George, UT and back home. It got way too hot after we left St. George for home.
One of the shockers was stumbling onto the Mountain Meadows Massacre Site where more than 120 wealthy wagon train travelers in 1857 were slaughtered by Mormons who dressed as Indians so they could pass the blame to them, and then buried them all to hide the evidence. Only children under the age of 7 were spared. We'd never heard of this and researching it afterward was both shocking and eye-opening.
Mountain Meadows Massacre Details
This was an awesome and highly recommended ride with wide open spaces, gorgeous scenery, and very little traffic. If you hit it at the right times you'll catch the military doing low altitude high speed flyby's on remote areas of highway. Good pavement. We'll run it again, perhaps in reverse next time.
Here's the MapQuest route (zoom in):
MapQuest Map of Vegas to Area 51 to Utah to Vegas Loop
Here's a satellite shot of Area 51 which is officially an eastward extension of California's Edwards Air Force Base. Zoom in and out for a better view:
Area 51 from Space
Crystal Springs watering hole where travelers stopped for water and grazing in the 1800's.
The real deal, just west of Highway 93. Anne is doing her best alien impression.
Area 51 Alien Souvenirs in Crystal Springs, 50 miles west of Caliente.
Knotty Pine Lodge in Caliente, NV. Great food in a very small town.
The old railroad terminal in Caliente, now a museum.
Massacre burial site.
Virgin River Gorge in the NW corner of Arizona on I-15 between Utah and Nevada.
We stopped to cool down at a Love's truck stop and another customer let Anne hold his super friendly sidekick!
Last stop, only 35 miles from home but we were extremely overheated in the 105* temps and needed to cool off before hitting the interstate again. We had to lean the bike into the heavy side winds while on I-15. Pretty entertaining experience!