Area 51 – Not of this Earth

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And if that atmosphere is not enough, the whispering wind whipping through the desert at midnight, and the unearthly sirens and wails which occasionally float over the mountains, combine to create a disturbing extraterrestrial scene.

"We tried to create a certain type of atmosphere and experience for our guests," says Joe Travis. "The reality is, Rachel can be a really creepy place - you come here, and no matter what you thought before, you start to believe…"

Clever entrepreneurial ideas aside, the reasons behind the Travises' move to Rachel are almost as mysterious as the town itself.

"We just came along and fell in love with the place," Joe Travis says. "The peace and quiet, the wide open terrain, the mountains… obviously it's not for everybody, but it felt right for us. And it really has nothing to do with aliens… although of course the aliens help business, too."

One can only wonder what living in seclusion and dealing with the Area 51 phenomenon and aliens for a living, can do to a person. The Travises seem to draw pleasure from the guests they've received at the Inn, the travelers who stopped in hoping for a piece of the legend and magic of Area 51.

"The people who visit are great," says Pat Travis. "They're always eager to hear stories, and some of them even have stories of their own. Some of them claim to be abducted, or claim to work for the government. But mostly our visitors are normal, curious people."

Some of the visitors, however, are in these parts in a more official capacity. Military personnel are known to stop into the Inn from time to time, enjoying breakfast before returning to base or heading south toward Las Vegas. Occasionally the Travises will engage these personnel in conversation, hoping for a nugget of secret information.

"I have never had anybody who works at Area 51 tell us anything," says Joe with resignation. "We've had some of them get pretty drunk, and they still don't tell anything."

It's not hard to understand where that pall of suspicion and distrust which hangs over Rachel's shanties like a cloud, comes from. Despite the Travises' civic enthusiasm, Rachel could make a serious bid at being the strangest town in America.

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