Front Gate, Back Gate, Rachel (June 12, 2005)
by Scot M Tway

Arrived at McCarran about 20:30, picked up rental and dropped other members of my party at hotel before heading up I-15 to 93 then 318 to 375 to Groom Lake Road to parking area on right before Front Gate. Arrived about 01:30 (6-13-05). Had some night vision binoculars with me and saw no evidence that the Camos were up on the hill as usual. Found this to be rather surprising. I enjoyed the desert night sky and lots of meteors and checked the surrounding desert with my night vision binocs' but saw no activity at all. Called it a night around 02:45 and slept in the car. Had set my phone to wake me at 05:00 but woke up on my own about 04:50 and watched the sun come up as did the Camos who now were up on their usual perch. I took some photos of sunrise then dozed back off until about 06:30 when I got up and walked down to the signs and took some shots up close.

Chuck Clark with the ID-4 Monument
About 06:45 I waved to the Camos and drove out Groom Lake Road to 375 and headed North to Valley Rd to go see the Back Gate where I had never been. Upon arriving saw no signs of life at all. Took some shots of the guard house, gate and signs and headed back out Valley Road. About 1/2 way to 375 I noticed a dust plume coming across the desert from the south on what appeared to be an intercept course to Valley Road ahead of me. As we approached the same spot on Valley Road I could see that it appeared to be the same brown F-150 that had been up on Camo Hill at the Front Gate! I slowed down and very much to my surprise when their truck reached the intersection of the small track they had taken up from the South and Valley Road they stopped, got out of the truck, and as I passed somewhat dumbfounded, they smiled and waved profusely!!! I was so surprised it took a minute to dawn on me what had just happened where upon I quickly slowed and started to turn around and go back and see if per-chance they would have a chat! Unfortunately, when they saw me turning around, they got back into their truck and headed back South. I then proceeded out Valley Road and left on 375 to Rachel and The Inn.

Pat greeted me warmly as usual and had a cup of much needed coffee in front of me before I could even ask for it. There was a family eating breakfast and saying how it was their first trip out and how much fun they were having. I ordered breakfast and before it was served Chuck Clark walked in. I introduced myself and he sat down and we discussed our favorite topic for a good hour before we both had to go tend to business. He was gracious enough to let me snap a photo of him by the time capsule which is attached.

I hope a 51st anniversary camp-out is held as I would find a way to attend!

Scot M Tway

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