Although the mailbox has since been painted white, it was still interesting to see such a piece of nostalgia. The next stop was just at the edge of the restricted area, where we parked the car and went poking around a little bit. The two vantage points (if you can really call them that since the nearest one is 26 miles away) are Hawkeye Hill and Tikaboo Peak. Hawkeye Hill is the easier of the two to explore, however, still not for the faint of heart as there is about a 20-minute hike involved. Once at the top, it offers a bird's eye view of the office/shack of the "cammo dudes" (security guards).
Our presence did draw a little attention. Even though we were on public land, we promptly decided that it was time to leave. Unfortunately, we didn't get a good photo to share with you. The other vantage point, Tikaboo Peak, offers the best view of the Area 51 base itself; although, you will, obviously, need a fantastic telephoto lens. Since we didn't have one, the daunting journey seemed worthless. If you are more enthusiastic than us, more information about the climb to the top can be found here.
All of this hiking around did make us a little hungry and thus lead to the last little stop on our journey. Little A'Le'Inn is something of a local legend in these part and, apparently, they have a burger that is "out of this world." Maybe it was the 10 miles of walking we did earlier or the hot desert sun, but the burger here was one of the better ones we tasted, although, very basic!
After lunch, we poked around the attached store and souvenir shop. We just couldn't help ourselves. There is every piece of alien memorabilia you would ever really want to find in there, but also some neat pictures of "aliencraft" photographed from across the country (mainly near Area 51). However, the only alien spaceships we saw were directly outside the shop.
The word 'nostalgia,' in a sense, represented the feeling we kept coming back to when describing the entire experience. The hype, myths, stories, pictures, interviews, everything that led us on this crazy witch hunt in the first place was no part of what we found. If you are looking for a day filled with waiting, climbing, and walking then this is for you. (Although, personally, we recommend other ways to enjoy the desert!) Otherwise, you will just find yourself disappointed.
With so much romanticism surrounding alien myths, Area 51, and all its secrecy, there really is nothing out there that you are able to see, do, or hear that can fulfill the answers you are likely seeking. If you're in Vegas, your day would be much better spent at the relatively new AREA 51: Myth or Reality exhibit that is currently running at the Atomic Testing Museum.