Destinations: The Extraterrestrial Highway
By Joe Berk
At just less than 100 miles long, with lengthy straights, lonesome coyotes and long-horned cattle, the Extraterrestrial Highway is the stuff of legend.
The Extraterrestrial Highway
What: The Extraterrestrial Highway, Nevada’s SR 375, offering great riding and an experience like no other on the planet.
How to Get There: From Las Vegas, take US 95 north and US 6 east to grab the Extraterrestrial Highway from the west. Or, take US 93 north to start the ride from the east. Either way is way cool.
Best Kept Secret: There are many. We can’t share them with you. They’re all secret.
Avoid: Speeding. There are long straights and the temptation is great, but there may be livestock on the highway, and you are being watched (there’s the Nevada Highway Patrol and, perhaps, others?). And don’t fly by Rachel; you have to stop to grab a few photos!
More Info: Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 375)
More Photos: MotoFoto
Like more than a few of you out there, I grew up on a steady stream of science fiction movies featuring assorted aliens, space travel, phasers and flying saucers. And like all of us, I grew up on motorcycles. Motorcycle Classics focuses on the latter, but let’s go tangential for a moment and return to the stuff of our earlier dreams — flying saucers, wars between worlds and other stuff worthy of Spielberg and Star Trek. Let’s take it one step further and combine these interests. Our destination this issue is Nevada SR 375: The Extraterrestrial Highway!
At just less than 100 miles long, with lengthy straights, lonesome coyotes and long-horned cattle, the Extraterrestrial Highway is the stuff of legend. Running from SR 318 in Crystal Springs at its eastern starting point, the Extraterrestrial Highway rolls across three valleys (and some of the most desolate terrain imaginable) to US 6 in Warm Springs in the west. Crystal Springs is a ghost town (I didn’t see it at all), and Warm Springs … well, I didn’t see any springs there (warm or otherwise). The scenery is nice, but there’s not much out there, folks.
The only “town” along the Extraterrestrial Highway is Rachel, situated at just about the midpoint of this road. It’s the kind of place where you’ve got to stop to grab a few photos (if you have a phone these days, you have a camera, and you really do need to capture the memories here). It’s not just the “Little A’Le’Inn” (get it?) restaurant or the tow truck hauling a flying saucer that you’ll notice in Rachel; the road signs and the artwork make for interesting photos, too. It’s the kind of stuff you just can’t resist posting on Facebook. I know: Big guys like us are all beyond that. Or are we?
Originally just an unimproved dirt road, Nevada SR 25A became SR 25 in 1933, and the entire highway was paved by 1958. When Nevada renumbered its roads in 1976, this stretch of highway became SR 375.
The real fun started in the late 1980s, though, when a man claiming to have seen flying saucers told his story to a Las Vegas television crew. The story went viral before we even knew what that word meant, and the close proximity of the government’s super-secret Area 51 sure didn’t lessen the mystery surrounding this region.
Folks seeking a glimpse of E.T. were drawn to Rachel like moths to a lamp, and the legend continued to grow. The good folks in Nevada knew a good thing when they saw it, and in 1996 they christened SR 375 the Extraterrestrial Highway. The entertainment industry jumped on the bandwagon. Think The X-Files. The movie Independence Day came out around the same time. It was a match made in heaven, and many of the Independence Day stars were there for the Extraterrestrial Highway’s christening ceremonies. KFC even made a sign composed of 65,000 1-square-foot tiles on the ground just off the highway. It’s reputed to be the only corporate logo visible from outer space. Only in America, folks, and only in Nevada.
What’s fun about the Extraterrestrial Highway is its reputation, the fact that it parallels one of the most super-secret military installations on the planet (the world-famous Area 51), and the ride itself. As you ride along, you may wonder what exactly is being kept secret behind those hills? And all of those UFO sightings? Were they actually Top Secret experimental aircraft from Area 51? Or swamp gas? Or weather balloons? Mere mortals on motorcycles, folks like us, we’ll never know.
The Extraterrestrial Highway is great riding, but it sure is desolate. You’ll be on your own out there. Or will you? MC