We drove out to the base from Las Vegas at around 1:00 am on July 30th, a few days after a new moon. It was very dark out. Slightly overcast and had been raining earlier in the day and on previous days. Conditions were very muddy which made the ride a little more fun than usual.
First thing I noticed immediately was how much more active the base security seemed. On a typical drive up to the main gate, I would get flashed once by base security letting me know they are perched in their SUV on top of the hill. But this night, they flashed and then kept a spot light on me. We exited our truck near the perimeter signs and hiked up the hill a little bit. They followed us with spot beams and seemed to be looking around for any additional travelers that rode in with us. They would occasionally flash their spot back to my truck to look around.
We hung out on a hill for a while but our eyes were never able to fully adjust to dark because they kept flashing us with the spotlight. This is the first time Iíve ever seen them do that.
We left the main gate and drove to the back gate, with a brief stop at the Little AleíInn. The road to the back gate was very muddy. Conditions were slippery and I could feel the four wheel drive working overtime. There were a few grooves in the road that caused water to reach up to my doors - notable as I was driving a Hummer H2!
We finally reached the back gate and security inside seemed to be waiting for us. They were moving around in the windows - again something I had never seen before - and were constantly checking on us. They turned out the door light above their guard shack and I heard (but never saw) someone exit the front door. We hung around listening to the skies and enjoying a little bit of star gazing, before getting back into the truck and driving out of there.
On the return trip up the road, heading back to the highway, we were surprised by a camo dude truck parked off the rode, exterior and interior lights off. Two guys sitting inside. They appeared to have snuck up behind us while we were parked at the back gate and were approximately 3/4 of a mile up the road. I drove by slowly and they lowered their visors to obscure their face. I gave a friendly wave, didnít stop my vehicle, and drove slowly by. Immediately after we passed, they turned on their truck, made a u-turn and followed us for a bit. Eventually they stopped in the middle of the road while we continued towards the highway.
This is the first time in all of my night-time trips to Area 51 that I have ever seen camo dudes outside of the base perimeter. The first time I have ever been repeatedly flashed and followed by a spot light, and the first time Iíve ever heard anyone exit the guard shack. All of this gave me the impression they were very anxious and aware this night and did not appreciate our presence. On all previous trips security was 'present' but generally nonchalant and didnít seem to care I was close. This night was definitely different.