All Eyes On Vegas Once More


Publication is resuming from a new vantage point at the upper edge of the Valley…

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A few weeks ago I announced here that I would be leaving Oregon and moving full-time to Sin City. A lot has happened since that article was published, most of it great…and some a bit sad.

It’s rare that I share personal details at Vegas Unfiltered…that is, unless they’re related to the topic at hand. But I’m pleased to say that my crew of rescue kitties and I survived the two-day drive.

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We settled into our new home (a gorgeous four-level structure with a roof-top deck) and are adjusting quite nicely. All have done remarkably well…except for a big orange tabby named “Sunny”.

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Sunny enjoys watching the sunrise with his dad on our overnight drive to Vegas…

Sunny has had a really tough life. I found him dying in a snow storm four years ago in rural Salem Oregon. He had been run over and left for dead. I took him to a vet, he survived surgeries and an extensive recovery period. Despite having the feline version of HIV called FIV (yes, it’s a real thing), Sunny grew to be healthy, happy and loved.

Sadly, only two days after unloading my moving truck, Sunny was at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center. His new oncologist and I were discussing options to treat his nasal lymphoma, a non-curable cancer.

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As I write this, Sunny is in the next room being comforted by his gal-pal Tasha. My buddy underwent his first chemotherapy treatment last Thursday and is still hanging in there. Life for him will go only as long as the fates (and wonders of science) can allow.

My pal will enjoy being with us only. as long as his quality of life warrants it…then we’ll sadly say goodbye. Tasha will take it the hardest. She showed up a few months after I found Sunny and they’ve become inseparable.

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            George Blick will be in the Vegas Unfiltered spotlight very soon…

In the meantime, yours truly is ready to get back to publishing new profiles and experiences. Next up will be a profile of multi-hyphenate performer George Blick. Soon after will be a luxury Grand Canyon tour with Serenity Helicopters, a true VIP service. I’ll also be publishing my next piece through BestOfVegas.com. More on that one later.

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Thank you for sticking with me during this time of transition. I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait….these Vegas sunrises are certainly inspiring enough! Our Vegas Unfiltered adventure together is just beginning!

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Photos: Sammasseur, Serenity Helicopters, George Blick

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Behind the Mysterious Doors of the 29th Floor

 


A long-touted mystery is about to be revealed…

You may remember the pictoral series I did with photographer Greg C. on the splendid and spectacular Westgate Sky Villas. Ornate and opulent, the Sky Villas are the height of classic Sin City excess. While you can visit them via our articles, these high-roller penthouses are out of reach for just about everyone.

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One floor below, down a quiet and rarely-scene corridor off a private scenic elevator, the north wing of the 29th floor has a series of uniquely designed doors. Behind each is one of a collection of amazing Specialty Suites. Every suite is unique in style and layout, offering amenities in keeping with the theme and atmosphere of its particular presentation.

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Being a frequent and loyal guest of Westgate (as if you didn’t already know that), I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to many of the Specialty Suites….and have actually stayed in several. In fact, I’m typing this piece while reclining in the atrium of the Bahamas Suite…overlooking the lush greens of the  Las Vegas Country Club.

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While I enjoy including photos in my articles to help paint a picture, sometimes it’s best to keep the words to a minimum and let the photos do the talking. So please enjoy this sampling of what lies behind the doors of Westgate’s 29th floor.

The Bahamas Suite –

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The Bahamas Suite is an epic 2,268 square feet of splendor. With a pool table as its centerpiece, the Bahamas Suite has an atrium-style sitting area, suspended swing chair, four-stool bar, king-sized four-poster bed and a large soaking tub with a view of the eastern horizon.

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Velvet chaise lounges, a step-up bedroom area, shower and bidet, a mini kitchen and wall-mounted televisions are enhanced by plush carpeting, deeply-textured wall coverings and a grey-and-purple color scheme. A great place to throw a party…or spoil yourself in the lap of luxury.

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Desert Suite aka “Suzanne Somers Suite” –

2,200 square feet, one bedroom, two baths, large balcony and space to entertain fifty…

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Westgate founder David Siegel has a profound admiration for entertainer Suzanne Somers. Prior to the residency of her “Suzanne Sizzles” musical production, the resort’s CEO commissioned the Desert Suite to be redesigned just for her.

As you may know, Ms. Somers is a survivor of cancer and an advocate for healthy living and natural healing. In order for her to stay here comfortably, Mr. Siegel had the Desert Suite fitted with organic and non-toxic materials that met her lifestyle requirements.

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If you’re a business person (or writer like myself) you couldn’t hope for a more relaxing and inspirational view from your desk. Many a Vegas Unfiltered article was created from this very space.

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Even though Suzanne’s show and personal residencies were short-term, the custom suite that carries her name reflects her role as a crusader for health. I’m betting she felt right at home using the private workout facility.

Under a floor-to-ceiling glass enclosure with retractable shades, Suzanne was able to work up a sweat with a full assortment of free weights and a bench.

Perhaps Suzanne preferred upping her heart rate while drinking in the panoramic view from her own personal treadmill. Afterwards, she (or you) could create a refreshing smoothie in the nicely-stocked kitchenette to enjoy on the expansive balcony.

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What a great cool-down before stepping into the bedroom’s extra-deep tub prior to entertaining in the suite’s sleek, minimalist dining and living spaces.

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The primary bathroom is massive, with dual sinks, a full make-up counter, walk-in shower and bidet.

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          Click here for a 360-degree virtual tour of Suzane Somers Suite…

With all of the comforts of home…and more…you’ll never have to leave the Suzanne Somers Suite. Unless you feel like crossing the hall and visiting…

The Gold Coast Suite

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If minimalist decor doesn’t suit your fancy, perhaps the wilds of Africa’s west coast will put you in the proper mood. Step through these massive carved double doors and into turn-of-the-century British Colonies. The Gold Coast Suite will take you back to a pre-modern era of warm woods, lush textiles and bold animal prints.

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The floor plan of Gold Coast mirrors that of the Bahamas…with the addition of a small balcony off the bedroom. The pool table, spacious living areas and sun room are back. So is the bar…this time enhanced with lots of artwork and expensive-looking accents.

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Nobody wants to “sleep with the fishes” when they get to Sin City, but you can cuddle up next to giraffes, elephants and big cats right here. The Gold Coast Suite boasts a veritable menagerie of African wildlife…so you can throw your own “Hangover”-style bachelor party without the risk of a real life tiger encounter.

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The Gold Coast Suite will surround you in luxury with its elevated sleeping quarters and a jetted bathtub boasting an unspoiled view of the city and pool deck below.

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Enjoy the sight of helicopters flying past in an endless stream of sunset tours from the atrium. Relax on one of the enormous colorful sofas and chairs in front of the wall-mounted high-definition screen.

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With so many amenities to offer, the Gold Coast Suite is clearly ideal for entertaining large groups. But if you’re looking for something a little more intimate, you might want to peek through the keyhole of…

The Bedroom Suite – 

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Westgate’s adults-only Bedroom Suite will alter your perceptions of reality…and forever change the way you think about Westgate Resort. This 918-square-ft one bed/one bath retreat is designed for daring couples…and those who want to “tie one on” while in Vegas.

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Step through the polished and slightly-deceiving doors of this entry into a small world of fantasy, bondage and passion. Prepare to be shocked, titillated, amazed and intrigued. Leave your inhibitions in the hallway and indulge in your deepest desires.

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Drink in the colors of red, black…and several shades of grey…that set a sexy tone for memorable encounters. The large circular bed is nestled underneath a matching mirror, tucked into a plush black headboard that divides the sleeping area from a jet tub made just for two.

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Sip champagne as the bubbles flow over your body…and try not to blush as your eyes are drawn to a St. Andrews cross mounted to the wall, complete with softly-lined handcuffs.

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Slip into something comfortable…or out of it, as the case may be…to enjoy a picturesque sunset. Your full-length balcony offers excellent views of the city and mountains that form the western horizon.

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Click here to enjoy a 360-degree virtual tour of The Bedroom Suite.

There are five more Specialty Suites at Westgate Casino Resort to explore. With any luck, I’ll be able to share them with you in a future article. There’s also a myriad of villas that fan out from a central corridor on the same floor.

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These mystery villas carry names like “Windsor”, “Ambassador”, “Mediterranean” and “Viena”. Perhaps they’ll show up in a future article as well.

Acquiring one of the Westgate Specialty Suites is a bit of a gamble. Quite literally, actually. They’re usually reserved for high roller guests but sometimes show up on the Westgate reservation website. Check out this page from time to time and you might get the opportunity to splurge on one for yourself.

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Before we close this chapter, there’s one more perk you should know about….an over-the-top private penthouse elevator straight to the 29th floor. Take a selfie on the plush settee as you enjoy the gorgeous paintings and polished brass.

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All trips to the top should be this fun.

Photos by Sammasseur, Westgate Las Vegas

Models: Lisa and Scott Land, Jeff Desruisseaux

 

 

 

Your Invitation to “The Magician’s Study”


Be a part of a Vegas Unfiltered exclusive invitation-only event…

Everyone loves a good mystery. And you’re here because you love all things “Sin City”. Put those two elements together and you’ve got another only-in-Vegas event for the top of your to-do list. This one is called The Magician’s Study.

I first learned about The Magician’s Study just last evening. The entertainer behind this unique experience is already known to me…but must remain a secret to you. That is, until you walk through the doors of his (or her) magical lair.

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Your host is an internationally-known (and very charismatic) entertainer. You’ll be drawn into their web of intrigue as you settle in for an intimate evening of astonishment. Here’s an official description courtesy of the star:

The Magician’s Study is a speakeasy-style experience where guests need to first secure a code word to enter. Although you can see available dates and ticket prices on our ticketing page (http://themagiciansstudy.com/tickets ) guests will need the code word to be able to complete their purchase.

Guests will then receive instructions at midday on the day they are attending on where to meet 15 to 30 mins prior to the performance time, adding to the experience and secretive nature of the show.

I have crafted this to be a unique experience where guests feel special being able to attend something so secretive and highly exclusive that not just anyone can purchase tickets to. Guests pass along their code word like passing along a secret to others, allowing them to experience the evening.

The next scheduled session of  is this coming Sunday the 16th at 7pm, with additional dates listed on the official ticketing page. A special Halloween evening performance is slated for 7pm on October 31st. Remember, you must receive the code word before ordering tickets, so follow the full instructions on this page first.

A dedicated Facebook page includes reviews from previous guests and might give you a little more insight into what to expect. This writer isn’t about to spoil anything, but if you’d like to peek behind the magic curtain, it’s yours to discover. You can also reach out by calling 702.934.2481 or emailing info@themagiciansstudy.com.

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Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of a Vegas Unfiltered exclusive. Have yourself a magical time!

The Magician’s Study is for audiences 21 and older. A mixologist will be present to craft custom cocktails for guests. No food is allowed. Due to the intimate nature of this experience, seating is extremely limited. Please RSVP to be considered for an invitation.

 

Find Your Inner Ariel at MERMAID SCHOOL


Weekend childrens’ classes are Westgate’s latest “outside the box”…

Going through my daily round of press release emails is a lot like attacking the pile of presents under the Christmas tree. Some of them I can’t wait to open up (“Chippendales Announces Latest Guest Host”). Others feel obligatory…like a Visa gift card from the mother-in-law (“Hash House A Go Go Introduces New Cocktail, Extends Happy Hour).

Then there are the ones that stink like rotten fish and get tossed into the garbage without opening (“Chris Brown Returns to Drai’s Nightclub”, “Mariah Carey Announces Christmas Show at Caesars Palace”). But my favorite emails are the ones that have you scratching your head in wonder. Things like “Learn To Be A Mermaid at Westgate Las Vegas”. Seriously?

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Regular readers know that bringing the children to Vegas is one of my biggest pet peeves. But Westgate is a different kind of resort. A privately-held timeshare company, their twenty-eight locations cater to families around the country. Of them, only the Vegas location on Paradise Road has a casino (and a topless revue).

Naturally there is crossover of timeshare owners with kids, so Westgate Las Vegas offers a limited selection of entertainment and activities that appeal to the little ones. Shows like Magic of Jen Kramer…and Dirk Arthur before her. Dining at the glorious gardens of Benihana Village. And yes, weekend mermaid classes.

I’ll admit to initially being tempted to toss this press release into the trash folder. But “only in Vegas” experiences should be treasured. So after a long night of partying with the guys, I donned my shades and took the elevator down to Westgate’s expansive third-floor pool deck to meet Mermaid Farasha and the little ones who had lined up for that morning’s class.

Mermaid Farasha DesertSiren goes by the name of Farasha Millner when in human form. A professional belly dancer and mermaid performer, Ms. Farasha travels with her mobile tank and seashell to entertain, educate and promote the “Mermaid Code of Ethics”. In other words, she’s a positive role model for youngsters…and anyone in need of a little course correction through the sea of life.

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I was able to briefly meet Mermaid Farasha before the morning’s class and she was indeed glowing with compliments and positive vibes. “Oooh, you give off a great energy” she cooed in my ear. “You’d make a great mer-man”. Yes, I really was blushing.

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Although the Desert Siren was eager to begin, one fledgling mermaid had already been waiting long before anyone else arrived. Nine year old Carson Parker of Florida was up at the crack of dawn…and ready to slip into her fin.

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Accompanied by great aunt Becky Knowles (left) and aunt Kelli Wilkin, Carson was staying at Westgate while mother Melissa Parker, the reigning Mrs. Florida America, was competing in the Mrs. America Pageant. That event was being held the same weekend at the off-Strip resort.

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With her mother in rehearsal for the evening’s show, Carson was eager to learn some new tricks in the water. As fortunes would have it, Carson was already an avid mermaid-er. Adept at doing front flips, she regularly practices at the family’s pool in Melbourne.

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Word had gotten out to Vegas locals about the new classes, too. Seven-year-old Dionni signed up after her mother Tavia heard about Mermaid School from a Facebook friend…who in turn saw a piece on local station KTNV. She proudly posed with her new mermaid fin and couldn’t wait to begin.

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          Seven year old Dionni was eager to go “Under The Sea” in Mermaid School…

Also attending that weekend was Abbie Losch, aka “Mermaid Coral”. You may remember Abbie as the adventurous daughter of Westgate’s own superstar Chef Aaron Losch, whom I profiled earlier this year.

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                   Abbie Losch makes a striking mermaid at Westgate’s pool…

Inside the pool’s merchandise shop, other youngsters were lining up to buy or rent their fins. Some were singing from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, whose soundtrack would soon be playing over and over (and over) on speakers during the morning’s lessons.

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The class began with a preliminary introduction and explanation of basics for the newbies. The students were assisted in learning to don and stand in their fins. Then came introductions all around. The young ladies were asked to choose a personal mermaid name, then the real fun began.

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After a brief absence, the Desert Siren returned to the pool in full mermaid regalia and shimmied into the pool. Along with showing her students new maneuvers, Farasha emphasized the importance of support, encouragement and respect for each other and one’s own self.

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“You’re in control. You are beautiful. In the mermaid’s world we support one another” she told them. The students learned how to tread water, give a “tail salute” and speak seafaring lingo like “Shello!”. But most of all, they learned how to be feminine, graceful and kind. “There’s so much you can do with this. You are a Mer!”.

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As the class wound down, curious onlookers came over to see what Mermaid School was all about and pose for pictures. Then a young boy swam over to chat to Mermaid Farasha about being a mer-man. “I love your British accent, handsome!”. Yes, the classes are open to boys as well.

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If interest continues to grow, there’s a possibility of adding adult groups into the mix. And why not? Apparently this is a new social movement. Mermaid Schools are popping up all over the country. And they’re a nice fit to Westgate’s other poolside offerings like sunrise yoga classes (Friday-Sunday from 7 am to 8 am, weather permitting) and the Silent Savana sunset sessions I told you about here.

Despite Farasha‘s suggestion that I try on the fins myself, I’ll leave that kind of fun to the younger guests. I’ll be content just to sip a fireball mojito and watch the activities from The Playground, Westgate’s 21-and-up dayclub that I told you about here.

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      Kate’s Island Shop at Westgate’s retail corridor has gotten into the mermaid spirit…

That’s what’s so great about Sin City. There’s something for every taste. And just when you think you’ve seen and done it all, another WTF press release will appear in your in-box. Let’s hope the next one isn’t “Mariah Carey Extends Latest Residency”. There’s got to be a limit to the madness!

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All participants agreed to being interviewed and their guardians signed waivers for press coverage…

Tickets for Mermaid Class are available at Serenity Spa at Westgate’s 3rd floor pool deck. Call 702-732-5648 to purchase tickets by phone. Classes are capped at 15 students.

  • Ages: 7-12. [Participants must know how to swim/parent or guardian must be present during the duration of the class and sign Mermaid School waiver.]

  • Price: $25.00 per class

  • Dates/Time: Saturdays & Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 

Photos: Sammasseur, Jamie Losch

Branching Out Under The Bamboo of The Golden Tiki


Having a Q & A with Branden Powers, the ultimate lounge lizard…

As you may have heard from this blog’s Facebook posts, yours truly is branching out and writing pieces for other sites along with this one. My most recent, for BestofVegas.com, covers wonderful Golden Tiki in the Chinatown district of Las Vegas.

Click this link to read all about it…and be sure to include The Golden Tiki in your next Sin City adventure.

https://www.bestofvegas.com/articles/must-visit-vegas-golden-tiki-branden-powers/

 

 

 

Close Encounters with Area 51’s Men In Black


Guest author Tasja Dubenko returns with a continuation of her eerie experiences in the Nevada desert…

I can recall vividly about seven years ago my friend Crysti and I doing endless research about Area 51. We would stay up late, sometimes even until 5am exploring Google until there were no more search results available. We had multiple books cracked open to various pages next to our laptops as we relentlessly combed through every tidbit there was to know about the subject.

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We were only nineteen or twenty at the time, but the subject absolutely fascinated us. We couldn’t gain enough knowledge and even came up with our own conspiracy theories about what experiments took place there. Thinking about Area 51 excited us. It was like reading about something sci-fi with so much mystery encasing a hidden truth in it.

As I recall, we did this almost every weekend for months. Crysti would often sigh and exclaim, “Wouldn’t it be so awesome if one day we could at least just see the entrance? If we actually took a trip specifically just to see Area 51?” We would continue to dream about the opportunity that seemed so far-fetched. Little did we know that we would in fact do just that several years later. However, we may have gotten a little more than we bargained for.

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We had just gotten done doing a four hour hike in the middle of the desert on our geocaching adventure that was relatively close to Area 51. But our day was not complete. We absolutely had to see the enigmatic place that holds some of the greatest secrets that have been hidden from civilians for years.

Crysti guided me as I drove for what seemed like an eternity that appeared to lead to nowhere. And I mean nowhere. We literally drove at the bare minimum for an hour or two from our last destination at the Alien Head where we had geocached. I was going a little faster than I should have on the heavily graveled road, as the drive seemed endless and we had no concerns of encountering anyone else.

As expected, it was in the middle of nowhere and a very unusual place. There were several side roads that seemed to just disappear out of view. They would either lead towards a mountain where you could no longer see the road, or even on a flat terrain that seemed to just continue on, leading to nothing. As I continued driving, I got to a point where I thought to myself, “This is really weird. It’s like a maze deliberately trying to deter us with no real end point.”

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I also had a weird vibe about the area. It was exciting as we had dreamed about doing this for years, but something was off. Something just didn’t feel quite right. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. My friend and I had been in a deep conversation for quite some time about certain events that happened in our earlier years when she abruptly interrupted the conversation to say, “You know, I have a really weird feeling about this place. It’s like a really weird feeling I’ve never had before and it’s not good.”

We discussed it briefly and came to a consensus that despite our peculiar feeling, we had come too far to turn around. So we pressed forward. We took a few random turns according to the map while Crysti convinced me we were on the right path. Nothing made sense out there, but maybe that is precisely their reasoning for it.

Suddenly the gravel road began to transition into a paved road. “We are only about thirty minutes away now!” she exclaimed. I continued to follow the random directions to Area 51 and as I did, the anticipation and excitement continued to grow and grow along with the uneasy feeling.

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When we saw the gate entrance in our horizon, we couldn’t have been any more exhilarated. After all these years, our dreams of this day happening had finally come true. As we drove closer and our destination became tangible, we became overcome with feelings of anxiety. “I feel like we shouldn’t be here,” I said quietly.

“I know. I feel weird like we are being watched from every angle” Cristi replied. “Don’t park too close to the gate. Should we even get out?”

“I didn’t drive all this way not to!” I said as I jumped out of the car.

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We only walked a few short feet away from where I stopped the car. We could feel as if a thousand eyes were watching us although we didn’t see anyone. It was the mother of all Big-Brother kind of feelings. “Let’s just take a few quick pictures and get out of here!” Crysti suggested. I was more than happy with that idea.

For being in such a remote area, I never had such an uncomfortable feeling before in my life. However, we both have always been extra sensitive to feelings and vibes we get, whether it is from a person or place. I quickly pulled out my phone and hit the button as many times as I could in the shortest amount of time possible to get a selfie of us.

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The sun was blinding us as we faced it to capture the gate and building behind us. But I couldn’t stop. “Let’s go!” she shouted to me as she began to walk to the car. “I want to get a quick picture of the sign!” I yelled back. I snapped a few of a post that had a sign that read ‘Military Installation, Off Limits to Unauthorized Personnel.”

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As I began to walk back to the car, I briefly looked over my shoulder just to catch one last glance of the gates that led to Area 51. Suddenly, my heart briefly stopped. There was another sign I didn’t see before that stated something along the lines of ‘Will Use Deadly Force.’ Shit. We had literally just cracked a joke about us accidentally dying due to getting lost and shot because we came too close to Area 51.

It was all fun and games when we were in the car joking about it, but now it felt like a real possibility. As we power walked to the car, suddenly we saw something coming towards us in our horizon. It was another car. In uncomfortable times we tend to make jokes. We laughed about the idea of another tourist getting lost and ending up where we were now. That joke quickly ended.

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As we sat in our car waiting for the other vehicle to drive closer to us, it suddenly pulled over and came to an abrupt halt still at a far distance from us. We were puzzled. “What should I do?” I asked. “Just drive, maybe they really are just tourists and are waiting for us to leave so they can take pictures,” she answered.

They were not tourists. As I began to drive the car slowly forward, the other car began to do the same. When we finally began to pass them, Crysti and I couldn’t help but stare. I mean, I could be wrong about them not being tourists, but both the driver and the passenger were dressed in suits with thin sunglasses that made them look like the Men in Black. They weren’t like any tourists I had ever seen before.

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“Drive slowly, I want to see them go through the gate.” I slowed the car to a crawl. We waited to see if they would go through the gate. They sat there directly in front of it, not budging. We were almost out of eye-shot when I started to see the gate lift and the car go forward right as they disappeared from site of our rear view mirrors. We wondered why they would wait until we were so far away before they actually went through, as we must have been a mile away.

We laughed it off and continued to joke that maybe they were actually not humans but maybe a part of some experiment that was being conducted at Area 51. We quickly dismissed the encounter as anything to be alarmed over and continued to drive for some time.

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At this point, we forgot about the car and had gotten into another in depth conversation that was suddenly interrupted. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a vehicle hauling ass towards us kicking up every bit of dust possible. We were now back on the gravel roads and a ways away from the gate at Area 51.

“Did you notice that white pick-up truck at the gate?” “Yeah.” “Is that the same one?” Holy crap it was. When we were taking pictures, we had noticed a truck behind the gate next to the building. But we didn’t see anyone there. I guess people really were watching us the entire time.

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Now they were after us, coming in hot. I began to panic. “What should I do?” “Pull over and see if he passes you,” Crysti said with some concern in her tone. I pulled the car over and the truck came to a screeching halt. It felt like a standoff with neither vehicle moving. The moment seemed to last forever even though it was only ten seconds or so. Still, the truck wouldn’t move.

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I began to drive again slowly. The truck waited for me to drive an acceptable distance before turning 180 degrees and drove off at an incredibly slower pace than when he was tailing us. The truck made it a point to ensure we were still continuing to drive in the direction away from the gate at Area 51. It was obvious our every move was being tracked and watched.

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Whoever they were, did not take unsolicited visitations lightly. They were willing to hunt our location down to protect their territory. As we watched the truck drive until we were out of view from each other, we breathed a sigh of relief thinking all this nonsense was behind us. We were actually eager to get out of there and back to our hotel hundreds of miles away.

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When we were (semi) close to getting back onto the highway, I noticed the road I was on didn’t look familiar and asked Crysti if we were on the right path. “I mean, the map says we are but I don’t recognize this either.” We continued to follow the directions, turning onto roads we obviously didn’t take when we started the journey.

We saw a few houses, but had another weird feeling about the direction we were taking. Finally, we saw the highway and were able to get onto it after a few more turns. Crysti seemed puzzled. “It’s weird because the last five roads we took aren’t even on the map.” “What do you mean? You told me to go this way,” I questioned. “I know but it just isn’t on the map. There are no roads names listed. It only told me to take a right or left. Like none of these roads exist on GPS or Google Earth. Even the houses aren’t showing up as listed addresses.

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What’s even weirder is that when we were headed to Area 51, the option of taking a right or left on these roads wasn’t there. I didn’t even see this area.” “What do you think that means?” I asked. “I have no idea, I’ve geocached all over the place in some really weird places but never had this happen. It’s almost seems like someone changed the routes on our map to make us head a different direction. I wonder if these homes belong to the people who work at Area 51?”

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This area wasn’t even visible when we started driving to Area 51. It was carefully tucked away and apparently hidden even from maps. Whether they belonged to anyone who worked at Area 51 or not, we were relieved to be out of there and on the highway again.

“Thinking back, did you ever think we would actually do this?” I asked. “We talked about it for years but I never thought if we ever did, we would have gotten chased down, discovered unlisted areas, or have seen the MIB!”

Be sure to check out Tasja’s previous article “Area 51 and the Alien Head” by clicking here.

All photos provided by the author (well, maybe)…

Area 51 and the Alien Head


Guest writer Tasja Dubenko takes us on a modern-day treasure hunt into the forbidden desert….

A year ago, my friend Crysti succumbed to a new-found obsession called geocaching. To many it’s known as the world’s largest scavenger hunt. A few months ago she turned me on to the idea of trying her new addiction. At first I was apprehensive of such a “frivolous hobby”, but with the right company it could be an enjoyable past-time.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

For those who aren’t familiar with geocaching, it’s basically treasure hunting for adults. You follow the coordinates on your smartphone’s geocaching app and look for hidden containers. Those vessels can hold anything from undesirable trinkets to something worthwhile…or even “trackables”.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

Trackables are objects or coins with a code on them. The code can tell you (through the app) where they have been previously placed by other geocachers. Sometimes you will find trackables that have traveled all over the world.

My first find was a swift but exhilarating experience. Crysti found hers instantly but I took a good ten minutes or so of searching. When I found it, placed in a birdhouse behind some trees, there an instant reward. I popped the bottom loose and watched a scroll of paper with some miscellaneous items fall out.

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After about a month of accompanying Crysti on her adventures, she turned to me and said, “What would you think about flying down to Las Vegas, renting a car and driving the Extraterrestrial Highway to the Alien Head to geocache?”

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                                           Photo by geocacher JBase…

There are 2,000 geocaches along the E.T. Highway and fifty-one are in the shape of an alien head in the middle of the desert. At first when she asked I thought to myself how crazy that sounded. I was convinced as a novice that there was no way I could accomplish such a task.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

However, the impulsive and adventurous side of me whispered the words, “Let’s do it!”. Within the very next moment we had already booked our flight and hotel and had reserved a car. Fast forward a couple months later, we had only two hours of sleep each night for three out of our six-day Vegas trip.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

When the big day arrived, we woke up at 2 am and grabbed our backpack (that had been packed the night before) and drove our car two and a half hours into the desert. We had wanted to watch the sun rise over the mountains and grab a few caches in the dark before reaching the Alien Head.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

The plan was to complete the three-four hour hike before 10 am…when the heat would reach an unbearable temperature. Crysti is worry-free and a thorough planner whereas I prepare for obstacles, potential dangers and am a more “go with the flow” type of person. Despite these differences, we make an excellent team leaving no potential situations unconsidered.

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I’d had my reservations about the trip but what happened next I couldn’t prepare for. By the time we had driven an hour and a half into the desert, we were far from the nearest gas station or town. The view was absolutely incredible. We had just enough light from the moon to see the outline of the mountains and grab a few quick caches under its brilliance.

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                    Our first geocache of the trip on the E.T. highway…

After ten or so caches, we could stand on one side of the mountain range to watch the moon slowly begin to peak behind the mountain top while turning 180 degrees towards another mountain range and watch the sun begin to rise. At that moment I looked at my friend in awe and said, “You can’t buy experiences like this. You have to go live it.”

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             The moon slowing beginning to hide behind the mountains…

It was truly remarkable to witness the ending of night and beginning of day simultaneously in the heart of nature. Another hour or so later, we finally reached our destination at the Alien Head in the most desolate area I had ever dreamed of experiencing.

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             We got to watch the sun rise in the desert. What an experience…

There was nothing but the land and the highway we drove on, which stretched miles far away from our hiking spot. Our pictures did us a disservice attempting to capture the raw beauty of nature at its finest. With that being said, it was an experience not for the novice hiker or geocacher.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

The hike took us roughly three hours (which is above average) in 112-degree weather. We came fully prepared with our fifty-pound backpack stocked with water, sunblock and some rocks with alien heads we had painted onto them to place at a few of the cache spots.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

The desert was mysteriously quiet. Aside from the sound of your own footsteps or a lizard running across your path, the only sound you could hear was your own blood pumping and circulating throughout your body. It was a place where I had pushed my physical and mental limits while obtaining clarity I had never previously experienced.

However, there was something else about this barren area that seemed to hold a silent secret or contain an eerie vibe about it. I had heard before that this particular area has a reputation for multiple UFO sightings and having unusual events occur. During the first thirty minutes or so of our hike, it had been complete silence between us as we were fixated on our goal.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

Suddenly, I stopped walking and turned to her and asked, “Do you hear that?”. She stopped to listen. “I don’t hear anything,” she replied. “I swear I heard a man yelling at us,” I stated.

I turned 360 degrees, taking in everything around me. “Obviously there is no one here,” I concluded. I had sworn I heard distinctive but inaudible yelling, yet nothing was within miles of us as far as the eye could see.

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We pressed on for another forty-five minutes and I forgot about the event until Crysti abruptly stopped. “Do you hear that?” she asked. I closely listened and heard nothing. “No, I don’t hear anything.” “That’s so weird, because I swear I heard someone yelling at us now too,” she remarked.

This unusual event had struck an unsettling feeling for both of us for many reasons. Clearly, we were the only ones out there. Not another soul was around for miles and if there was, we would have noticed long before they would’ve been able to approach us. At first I had thought maybe we were experiencing some sort of “delusion” from being out in the desert.

Area 51 Alien Head Geocaching

However, the other thing that struck me as odd was that we previously drank plenty of water before our hike as well as during. So dehydration wasn’t a concern, nor was the duration since we hadn’t been out there long before it happened the first time.

We did not have any more experiences like that, but I couldn’t help but feel like there was something beyond my comprehension lurking in the back of my mind. The longer we hiked, the more thankful I became that Crysti had downloaded a map on her phone to use offline since we anticipated losing service. Everything began to look the same the longer we pressed on.

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                    A little unsettling to find in the middle of the desert…

I couldn’t help but wonder if some unimaginable or sci-fi things actually took place around this area. Just as the thought crossed my mind, something caught my eye. It was some sort of skeleton. I have been a vet technician for seven years and it didn’t resemble any dog or cat skeleton. It quite possibly could have belonged to a deer, but there was something peculiar about it. There was only half of the pelvis and seven vertebrae attached.

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                                      The things you find in the desert…

The rest of the skeleton was nowhere to be found. Furthermore, we hadn’t seen anything living except the lizards. But earlier in the day while driving I had seen two separate cows along the highway. Both were deceased with a perfect split down their sagittal planes.

The cows were perfectly hollow with no bodily organs or parts. It was simply the skeleton and skin. The fur had been sliced open with such precision that I couldn’t help wondering what had caused their deaths. As I gazed at the skeleton in front of me now, I wondered the same.

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At the end of our journey we met our goal of all fifty-one geocaches. And we’d accomplished it while walking ten miles under a blazing sun in one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen. It was unlike any experience I had ever had.

As we left in our car it was all I could do to look in the rear view mirror for a last glance at the untamed ground we had just covered.

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I turned to my dear friend as a smile crept upon my face and exclaimed breathlessly, “I can’t believe we just did that”.

Photos: Tasja Dubenko except where otherwise indicated