Still out there

They say the truth is out there. Well, I’m still out there … out here … on ultra-lonely Highway 375. I don’t know about the truth, but I would like to run into a burger and a beer right about now. Up ahead, a sign. It’s your standard yellow cattle sign, only this one shows a flying saucer over the cow. That can only mean one eccentric little outpost: Rachel, where the rednecks are waitin’ on the Mothership.

Rachel, the only bar/café/motel in the 160 miles between Tonopah and Alamo, is not your ordinary little gas stop in the middle of nowhere. Its uniqueness begins to emanate as soon as you pull into the parking lot of The Little A-Le-Inn and park next to the mock flying saucer. “Hmm,” you think, “this should be interesting.”

It is.

What sets the A-Le-Inn apart from literally every other juke joint on this planet? Well, there’s (1) the extensive display of flying saucer photos on the walls. Great stuff, featuring classic saucer shots dating back to the ‘50s. Yes, some of them look like pie plates flipped into the air by your fun-loving Uncle Herm. But some of them … (2) The UFO merchandise, brain-breaking in its scope. There are A-Le-Inn/Area 51 T-shirts, golf shirts, coffee mugs, jigsaw puzzles, shot glasses, ashtrays, mouse pads, refrigerator magnets, salt and pepper shakers and a ton of books and videos. That’s about half of it.

(3) The videos. Since the rooms don’t have cable or phones, the television in each has its own VCR. Each guest is free to grab what he or she likes, no charge, from the bar’s video library, which has everything from Boxing’s Greatest Knockouts to Hannah and Her Sisters to a bunch of alien/saucer flicks. I had a swell time taking a UFO burger to my room and watching Monterey Pop and The Pleiadian Connection. (4) No ocean sunset paintings on the walls at the A-Le-Inn, no siree. Here, you get a photo of a UFO over the bed. These folks have an agenda out here, and they’re stickin’ to it.

When I was checking out the movies, I told the bartender that I was especially intrigued by the Pleiadian flick, only I pronounced the word plee-uh-dee-un. That’s one of them there foe paws in Rachel, boy! He politely informed me that these highly advanced beings are known as plee-ay-dee-uns. While walking to my room under the cold, clear, blazing starry sky, I had to grin. Where else would a barkeep wearing a venomous Clinton cap set you straight with such an intergalactic piece of information?

A sonic boom rattled the windows at around 9 p.m. Interesting. Then, Rachel got real, real quiet, like it usually does. The next morning, after a deep and restful sleep, I stumbled into the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and noticed that I was sportin’ some extreme bed-head … unusually weird … severe upsweep … it looked like something … what … what …

Got it! Richard Dreyfuss’ infamous mashed potato sculpture in Close Encounters! Coincidence? Truth?

Out there!