One who has been to rural Nevada has come a lot closer to another planet. The desert vistas, jagged-edged with weathered rock formations and sparsely spotted (if at all) with exotic vegetation, make a perfect backdrop to any tale of science fiction — or science fact, as the case may be.

“As a truck injury lawyer my next case took me to Las Vegas. I was representing the family of a man who had been killed in a serious vehicular accident involving a car and a big rig truck on Rt 95 in north Las Vegas. It appears the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and veered into the other lane hitting my client’s car head on. I was with my specialists who reconstruct accident scenes. When we landed in Las Vegas, I was thinking that I knew what to expect. But it had been two decades since I’d last been there, and the city had changed in countless ways…very few of them for the better. I had spent way too much time in the past in the casinos, but I needed to stay away from them on this trip. From my laptop, I did do a couple of searches for US slots, and I did spend a little money, but doing so from a computer is so much less engaging that I was easily able to pull away when I needed to. Don’t know what it is about slots, but as addictive as they are in the brick and mortar environment where you have the excitement of all these other players around you, not so much when I’m playing an online version, something I need to work on personally. So I thought I’d quiet my inner complainer with a leisurely ride out to the desert with my team. After all the truck accident was why I was there. After my legal work was completed I thought I would take a couple of side trips.

“My original plan was to drive by Lake Mead and Boulder Dam (or is it Hoover Dam? I can never remember which came first) and stop at a park called the Valley of Fire which has some neat mineral deposits. However, while I was at Valley of Fire I read something about Area 51 and made up my mind to drive up there instead.

“It was a long trip, and my mood began to sour after the second consecutive hour of dreary desert scenery. I’d come in the fall, and the sky and rock seemed to be made of the same grayish-beige material, like once-soggy khaki left to crack and disintegrate.

“I stopped in at the Little Alienn in Rachel and talked a little with the waitress, but mainly about horses and online slots. I’d forgotten how early night came on in the desert in the fall, so I had to get moving if I didn’t want to be driving down a dirt road in the dark.

“I turned off the highway when I saw a mailbox, totally covered in graffiti (some of it pretty funny), next to a completely nondescript road. It was very dusty and cold, and quiet. There were cows right by the road, and I felt strangely sorry for them as well as worried that they would simply move into the road and block me — from going further or going back, I’m not sure which…

“I expected to drive up to some old farmhouse any second, but I just passed more dirt roads and more cows. There were some odd little devices sticking up out of the ground, but I have no clue what they were…the rancher could use them for something totally normal, for all I know.

“Eventually I got to a sign that forbade taking pictures and said ‘use of unauthorized force recommended’ or something like that. That was it. The drive home, in the dark, was even worse.”


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