Extraterrestrial Highway

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

I am heading out, yet again, for the third time this summer, across the Salt Flats and the long stretch of Interstate 80 from Salt Lake to San Francisco through the deserts of Utah and Nevada.

Last time that I drove from San Fran to Salt Lake, I decided to take a more obscure route and wound my way through the Southern part of Nevada far from the busy interstate highway and the easily forgotten comforts of late-night truck stops, frequent fuel, hot coffee and even cell phone service.

I found myself, quite by accident on one of the most remote highways in the United States, mysteriously named the Extraterrestrial Highway. The only thing that looked vaguely like a town for 200 miles or so was a little spot in the Northern Mojave desert called Rachel, Nevada.


I had been driving for more than 4 hours and had barely seen another vehicle. The thought kept creeping into my mind, “What if I run out of gas? I don’t think AAA will make it all the way out here for quite a while.”

The sun was making its way to the top of the low hills and sunset, I pulled off the road to get out stretch my legs and enjoy the vista. There was absolutely no sound except for a slight breeze and the occasional woosh of sage stems and snakeweed.

As I was enjoying the expansive views and pondering the geological wonder of my current location in time and space, a strange motion caught my eye. Cruising at about 50 feet above the desert floor, directly 200 yards in front of me and moving from left to right, two solid black helicopters silently traversed the horizon. They had no FAA lights flashing, no markings and the windows were tinted darkly. A few strange apparatuses protruded from the nose and did I mention they were nearly silent. Not a sound.

I watched them for about 2 or 3 minutes, snapped a couple of pictures until they rounded and disappeared in the saddle between two small hills.

I returned to my vehicle and went to put on some tunes and drive towards civilization.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the entire contents of my phone: Contacts, music, pictures, notes had simply vanished. In a flash, I remembered that I had just recently backed up my phone to my laptop which was turned off and put away.

Luckily the backup was still there, I still don’t know what to make of the strange encounter. I wish I had some pictures to share with you. LB

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