I linked up with Joerg for a little exploring and a Tikaboo hike. I'll leave the details on the Tikaboo hike to Joerg but let's just say I didn't break any speed records or bones. I'm more likely than not to do the September hike as well, since the July viewing conditions were not very good.
We explored the 3 border roads near Bald Mountain, with the cammo dudes watching of course. On Monday (7/16) I went back to take some photos of the gear on Bald Mountain from what I'll call the middle border road. The powers that be detected me and sent the helicopter to investigate, making my day of course. Close? You bet. The chopper filled the viewfinder using a 100mm lens. The helicopter did a few loops nearby, probably looking for other observers. What was interesting is no cammo dudes were seen. However, when I left the area the cammo dudes were parked near the "placebo" camera at one of the other border roads. Were they watching me remotely via CCTV?
Gravel by the road observation point:
The gravel by the road seems to have replaced the mail box area for nightime viewing. We saw one hell of a meteor go wizzing by, breaking up into 3 pieces. Perhaps a plane or two were spotted, but it's really hard to be sure at night. Lots of things in the sky have blinkers other than planes.
A bird watcher had broken down during the day had to abandon his camper at the gravel spot. [I really do mean birds, and not planes.] What was interesting was prior to working for the University of Nevada, he was an electrician at the TTR and wired up the F117 hangers.
Front Gate at night:
I drove to the front gate parking (camping) area with the goal of trying to find the cammo dudes at night with virtually no moon. This turned out not to be a challenge since the dude turned on his red and blue police lights as soon as I parked. This made zero sense since I didn't cross the border and since when do the dudes announce their presense. I suspect a dude was reaching for a Krispy Kreme and hit the emergency lights by mistake.
Since the cammo dude vehicle have no light bars, I guess these lights are internal to the vehicle. This means the dude should of known right away that the lights were on, but let them run about 20 seconds.
The area seemed pretty dead until I drove to the "cactus" sign at the border. I noticed a flashing light off in the distance, at least a mile away. It is unclear if this was a strobe light or the reflection from a rotating device, such as radar. I heard a bird very high up in the air and eventually it did the air show trick where they fly over you low from behind to scare the @#$ out of you. I had the binoculars in hand, so it was pretty easy to identify the bird as a F15 (with afterburners on).
Somebody made a flying saucer stencil and augmented the cattle signs with a black flying saucer above the bovine. I forgot to photograph one, so I encourage anyone in the area to get a photo in the unlikely event the Nevada DOT cleans the signs.
I paid the TTR an early AM visit and caught a Janet plane landing. I managed to get the telescope set up in time to get a photo (I hope) of the Janet plane on the ground near one of the old F117 hangers. There seemed to be little flying activity near the TTR other than the Janet planes.
Not really A51 related, but I decided to drive railroad valley for yucks, just to see what's there. The oil opperations were quite a bit bigger than I imagined. They even have a small refinery. Heading towards Basecamp I came accross a store and a gas station. If you drive highway 6, you know how rare it is to find gas. I took a waypoint which I could post later if anyone is interested, but I'd say the gas station is about 30 miles east of Warm Springs. [89 octane only; around $1.90]