If you are planning to head north later this week for the two events related to the Storm Area 51 viral event, there's a few things you should know.
There's a whole lot of empty desert between here and Hiko (Area 51 Basecamp) and Rachel (Alienstock).
Hiko is 116 miles from Las Vegas and Rachel is 148 miles from the valley. Both are only accessible by a two-lane road -- the Extraterrestrial Highway.
There are 3 places to get gas once you leave the valley: Love's Travel Stop, located right after the Interstate 15 and U.S. 95 interchange; the Sinclair gas station in Alamo; and Green Valley Grocery Shell Station in Ash Springs, which is about 50 miles from Rachel.
If you didn't bring plenty of water and snacks with you from Vegas, you will definitely need to make sure you grab those along the way. Even though there are supposed to be food trucks at the two events, there's no actual guarantee you will make it that far if your vehicle breaks down or you are stuck in traffic. If that happens, you might get thirsty and hungry before you can get to a place that has food. If you love jerky, check out the E.T. Fresh Jerky store right before you hit the Extraterrestrial Highway. We've heard it's out of this world.
Speaking of being stuck on the road, make sure you also bring jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-air kit, a small toolkit, Fix-a-Flat or something similar, a small fire extinguisher and blankets. Yes, it can be chilly in the desert at night and you are going to want a nice blankie to keep you warm if you are stuck overnight.
Speaking of temperatures, the weather is actually going to be quite pleasant for the most part.
Rachel is situated at 4,800 feet, which is twice as high as Las Vegas (about 2,000 feet above sea level). Daytime highs will be in the mid and upper 70s and it will be in the 30s at night. You will want a hoodie or jacket to go along with the blankie you brought in case of an emergency. You'll still want to bring your sunglasses and sunscreen though for when the sun is up. Layers are your friend.
Don't forget cash! There probably won't be any temporary ATMs at either event. That means you will need old-fashioned money to pay for food and drinks and merch. Be careful if you are carrying a wad though. You might want to divide it up among pockets or bags and you'll want to watch for pickpockets or bag grabbers.
Here are some other things you might want to now before you decide to make the drive:
How many people will be there?
No one knows for sure. Could be between 5,000 to 25,000 or even more. Or, it could be just a bunch of media people, first responders and food trucks.
Are people actually going to storm Area 51?
Let's hope not. People are being encouraged to attend the 2 planned events and just have a good time. However, there will probably be some thrill seekers who try to make it to the gates of Area 51. If they do, they can probably expect to be met by guys in uniforms who will arrest them and impound any vehicles involved. Just look at what happened to the two Dutch YouTube stars who tried to go there recently.
Will it be safe?
There's no guarantee despite the best efforts. Whenever you have a large crowd of people, there's sure to be problems. Especially if people are drinking and possibly taking drugs. There will be about 150 law enforcement officers there though to help keep the peace.
Will there be bathrooms?
Sort of. There will be portable toilets. We've heard there will be several dozen there. But if there are 30,000 people there, the lines could definitely be long. No showers, of course. Might want to bring some baby wipes or moist toilet wipes. Don't forget to bring a garbage bag with you and leave the area like you found it.
What if I get hurt?
We've heard that there will be emergency care tents and ambulances at both events. However, the closest hospital to Rachel is the Grover C. Dils Medical Center in Caliente, which is about 90 minutes by vehicle.
Will there be charging stations?
It's doubtful that you will be making phone calls or posting to social media (there is little to no reception in the area) but you should probably bring a backup charger just in case. We've also heard that people using the Verizon network have more luck making phone calls than people with AT&T. We don't know about T-Mobile etc.
What if we get to Las Vegas and change our minds?
Well, if you get here early enough, there's a Storm Area 51 celebration at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 19. A huge music/art/food festival called Life is Beautiful is also happening Friday through Sunday. And, you can always find something interesting to do on the Las Vegas Strip.