Once upon a time, my husband and I were driving back from the Sand Dunes in eastern Southern California. Suddenly, I spied an interesting rock tower on a hill, and like a child, whined until he exited so we could check it out. We didn’t even get to the Desert View Tower before we screeched to a halt. Here’s why we stopped on the side of the road:

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You can see why we stopped. I thought maybe a bunch of conspiracy theorists had gathered for a weekend party. But no. One man, who calls himself Coyote, has made a sort of community with various trailers, vehicles, and yes, flying saucers. He’d been there since 1999. In fact, he has a “business:” Coyote’s Flying Saucer Retrieval and Repair. We talked to him for a minute and realized that he operated on a plane other than this one. 

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He said he had a gift for us and walked over to a filing cabinet.

“You know the X Files, right?”

“Yes.”

“Well, this is the TRIPLE X Files! Don’t ask me what’s in it because you’re too young!” He chuckled at his joke, which he’s probably told a thousand times, and pulled out bookmarks with an alien head and the word “believe” on them and gave them to us.

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After continuing on to the Desert View Tower, we came back and got out, since Coyote had invited us to walk around. It was a pretty cool setup: he even had a dozen ratty couches positioned facing a large rock where he and his friends (of the alien persuasion as well as human) watched projected movies. Odd alien and werewolf dolls peered from vehicle windows. A shrine of alien-themed oddities stood front and center, along with a tip jar.

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And then there was the motherlode: two flying saucers, fully operable thanks to the golf carts positioned underneath.

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“Have you ever rode in a flying saucer?”

My eyes were agog, “No!”

“Do ya want to?”

Um, yes please. So for the next half hour, the three of us slowly puttered down the access road. My role was to bend down and look under the back of the saucer to make sure we wouldn’t get run over. We needn’t have worried; every car that passed us slowed down to gape. We waved merrily.

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Coyote regaled us of stories of working as a roadie in his younger years, attracting the Mother Ship with his nighttime lights, and even freaking out drivers on the highway below by turning on his flying saucer’s lights at night. Never have I met a complete stranger who was so open and eager to share his life with me as Coyote.

Best. Day. Ever.

The next time you’re on I-8 near Jacumba, stop by and meet Coyote. You’ll be glad you did.