I was looking for a little adventure -- and maybe an alien or two -- so I headed north out of Las Vegas for Area 51 and the Extraterrestrial Highway, aka Nevada State Route 375.
The Air Force's semi-secret Area 51 in Nevada's high desert is where experimental aircraft are tested. It's also rumored to house captured alien spaceships -- an idea that caught fire with the movie Independence Day, prompting the state to rename the route the Extraterrestrial Highway.
In the dusty little town of Rachel, we ate Alien Burgers at the Little A`Le'Inn restaurant and got directions to Area 51 along with a warning that we'd be watched.
After some miles on Groom Lake Road, we spotted cameras and motion sensors on one ridge above us, and a Jeep with blacked-out windows on the opposite ridge. Ahead, a sign warned us not to go any further and not to take photos.
Never miss a local story.
For a journalist, it was like a dare.
I told my husband not to stop, just to be slow as he turned the car around. I quickly snapped a couple shots through the dusty windows.
Then paranoia took over. I rewound the film -- this was 10 years ago, before I went digital -- and hid it. I loaded another roll and took some innocuous photos of the countryside so that if Air Force security stopped us, it would register that a few frames had been shot.
All the way back to Las Vegas, I kept checking whether anyone was following us. No one was.
The photos turned out worthless. Shooting from behind a dusty window, the car moving, all I got for my daring was a blur.
This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states.