Area 51, Lunar Crater and Project Faultless (June 24-27, 2006)
by Scot Tway

On 6/24/06 after having dropped the rest on my traveling companions at the Stratosphere Hotel I dropped by WalMart for supplies consisting of water, water and more water as well as a camp chair and some protein bars and granola bars. I chose the WalMart just outside Nellis AFB main gate. Around 02:30(am) I headed out Las Vegas Blvd right through the center of Nellis to I-15 and North to Hwy 93. Topped my gas up @ Alamo Chevron(Self Serve pumps are 24/7). As I turned onto Hwy318 and then Hwy375 the Eastern sky was starting to brighten up. I turned onto Groom Lake Rd. around 04:45. Stopped to take some photos of sunrise over Tikaboo Valley..quite a beautiful site before proceeding down GLR. At the intersection of Mail Box Rd and GLR someone had set up camp on the NW corner of the intersection on Mail Box Rd. A pickup truck and a SUV and 2 tents plus tables, chairs, grill....quite a set-up. I decided it was too early to drop by for breakfast or at least coffee so I proceeded down GLR to the parking area on right before signs. No Cammo Dudes on hill when I got there but they appeared about 10 minutes later. Was pretty beat as I had been up over 24 hours at this point. It dawned on me having armed sentries watching over me as I napped would make this a very secure snoozing spot! About 07:30 I walked down to the signs and took some photos. For photos relating to this trip report please Go To: http://nftway.home.mindspring.com/Lunar%20Crater%20&%20Project%20Faultless.html

I got a good shot of one of the surveillance cameras. I then drove back out to Mail Box Rd to find the campers already gone. I went on to Rachel and The Inn to get breakfast and check in as I had reserved a room for the night of the 24th. After breakfast I spoke with Pat to let her know where I was headed and when to expect me back. I headed North on Hwy375 to Warm Springs and turned right onto Hwy6 and headed East. I had a Verizon Tri-Mode(Analog & Digital) cell phone with me and got good signal 8~10 miles line of sight from Rachel and on most of Hwy 6. A short distance up Hwy 6 I passed Base Camp and although there were quite a few cars and trucks at the various buildings there were no aircraft visible. A little farther East on Hwy 6 brought me to the Lunar Crater Rd turn off. Well marked and easy to find on right I proceeded the 6~7 miles South on the dirt road to the Crater. The road is in good shape with a few sandy spots and is rutted up alittle in spots. Although I was in a 4X4 I never needed the 4WD. Check the Link above for some photos of the volcanically formed crater where the Apollo Astronauts trained.

Leaving the Lunar Crater I went back to Hwy 6 and back West to Moore's Station turnoff and North up dirt road over 20 miles to the Project Faultless area. I first noticed the fenced in area on my left as I approached the site (See Link). I got out and walked around and found monitoring equipment on South side of sunken or excavated area that was fenced in and also Well Head or Drill Hole head.

Talking with Pat at The Inn the next morning she told me that this area used to be an oil field and that was one reason it was chosen for Project Faultless; a lot of drilling had already been done at this site so information on geological makeup was available.

Heading West and North from fenced area I missed the track to Ground Zero of Project Faultless and found myself on a track that looked like it had recently had fairly heavy traffic. About 400 meters North of GZ I came upon a recently scrapped off area about 1 acre in size with some obviously brand new monitoring equipment in the center. No signs at all to identify it or who it belongs to much less what it's measuring. Having no radiation measuring devices with me I decided it better not to loiter too long so I drove back South to Project Faultless and took a few photos of Ground Zero.

I then tried to find some roads/tracks to Tybo but my Garmin City Select GPS software lacked some accuracy once I left major dirt roads so basically followed my nose back to Hwy 6. Drove West on Hwy 6 to Base Camp and turned right onto Base Camp/Tybo Road. This road literally splits Base Camp. You drive right through the center of the base. Went up this road and then up Keystone Ruins road which turns into a track and then a trail before you get up into the mountains to the ruins. After a few photos drove back out to Hwy 6 and West to Tonopah. Just past the turn to TTR the valley was full of Wild Mustangs. Quite a sight.

After a quick cruise around Tonopah and some Very expensive gas, I drove back to Rachel getting there around 20:45 and ready for dinner. After a leisurely dinner at The Inn I drove South down Hwy 375 to Coyote Summit and sat and looked at the sky for several hours. Even though it was the weekend I had hoped the lack of the moon being up might mean some testing would be done but didn't see or hear anything except the wonderful desert sky. After several hours went back to my room and got a good nights rest.

Sunday morning got up had breakfast spoke to Pat about what I'd seen at Project Faultless site and then headed back to Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas the next 3 days got very close to the Janet terminal and saw lots of flights going and coming at all hours. Construction around the Janet Terminal makes it easy to get close undetected. By 07:30 each day all 3) 737s were gone but came back at varying times during the day. I saw a few flights during the day between 14:00 and 16:00 leaving McCarren.

I left on the 27th but saw a Janet leave McCarren while waiting to leave ourselves around 16:30.

A great trip once again to one of my favorite places...The High Desert. Hope to be back next year once more.

Scot M Tway


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