By Mary Manning
LAS VEGAS SUN
The Nevada Commission on Tourism has created a traveler's kit and club for those looking for close encounters on the Extraterrestrial Highway.
"Since inexplicable phenomena happen randomly, we have created the ET Experience, a club and membership kit featuring some of the more reliable attractions on the route," said Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren, chairman of the tourism panel.
Since February, a 98-mile stretch of State Route 375 in Lincoln County has been formally known as the Extraterrestrial Highway because of its proximity to Area 51, a secret government air base that some consider a magnet for UFOs.
The ET Experience starts Monday.
First, call the Commission on Tourism's toll-free information hotline at (800) NEVADA-8.
That will get you the kit that includes a brochure about the ET Highway and nearby natural attractions, such as the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, the historic mining towns of Tonopah and Goldfield, and the Lunar Crater Volcanic Field.
The brochure also contains a mileage chart and suggested travel itinerary.
Callers also receive a Pioneer Territory pamphlet, a list of regional traveler services and a state map.
To become official members of the ET Experience Association, visitors must obtain a receipt from any business in Rachel, the town halfway along the ET Highway, and a receipt from one other business in Alamo, Amargosa Valley, Ash Springs, Beatty, Goldfield, Hawthorne, Luning, Mina, Pahrump, Scotty's Junction or Tonopah.
Prospective members must submit these receipts, plus a written account of their ET Highway experience (200-250 words suggested) to the NCOT, Capitol Complex, Carson City, NV 89710.
In return, travelers will be eligible to have their articles printed in the official ET Highway newsletter, Eyes Only.
They'll also receive a collection of exclusive ET Highway memorabilia, including a glow-in-the-dark license plate frame and a bumper sticker, both bearing the legend, "I Was Out There."
There's also a cloisonné lapel pin reproduction of the official ET Highway road sign, unveiled by Gov. Bob Miller on April 18.
In addition, the first 1,000 to call will receive a T-shirt with "The ET Experience" printed on the front and "I Was Out There" on the back. All who respond will receive the Eyes Only newsletter, tentatively set for publication twice a year.
Area 51 is a key location in the new movie "Independence Day" about aliens trying to take over the Earth.
HTML by Area 51 Research Center, 7/7/96.