What better to do on a Sunday drive than go to the Nevada Test Site. A few years before this particular Sunday, we took a family drive out to the front gate of Area 51. I studied for weeks all of the information I could (mainly info. from DLR) and looked at many maps. I felt completely comfortable taking the family to the warning signs on GRL.
A year later, I admit, I didn't really research the NTS as I should have. And yes, my wife let me hear about this oversight! She certainly was right. What the heck was I thinking when taking the family out to the NTS? Since it is a quick 46 minute ride from our house, I decided on August 23, 2007 in the late afternoon on a Sunday to take a quick ride and see what we could find. I honestly wasn't sure what the heck kind of town Mercury was. I told my wife since it is on the map and there are signs for the turnoff, it must be ok to drive to Mercury. I should have realized that it is not you average Nevada town when all the turnoff signs clearly say "No Services". The other hint that I sort of ignored was the first sign at Gate 1 that said "No Trespassing". Since nobody was around I figured I would play "stupid" and drive to the front checkin gage. Yes, that was "stupid" now that I have had many years to reflect on my trip.
So after turning down the road, once we go off the highway, we kept heading towards Mercury. I took photos of each of the signs as we traveled down the road. They were really interesting, but obviously not meant to be read by Sunday drivers! No sign of security at all. I told my wife, once we see Security, I would turn around and leave. We went for a few miles are reached a checkin building near the main entrance. I figured this would definately be the ending of our trip. Still nobody around!! I couldn't believe it. There were signs telling truckers where to go and what lane to stay on. There was an area to check in your weapons. The building had a parking lot that was completely empty. The guardshack at the main gate entrance was completely empty. I could have driven right through and into Mercury, but I am not that "stupid".
As soon as my wife had convinced me to turn around and get out of there, security finally came. It was a single "cammo dude" driving a white goverment pickup. He dressed exactly the same as the "cammo dudes" at GLR. He drove up beside me and I clearly noticed his M16 sticking up the way the CHP in California sometimes carry their shotguns. He nicely gestured at me to turn the vehicle around. I complied completely and he similed and followed us out until we got to the highway. I figured that went about as well as it could have. I realize I got damn lucky!