I only stopped in Baker, California because I’d read there was a penny smashing machine at the Alien Fresh Jerky store. I have a friend who collects smashed pennies (or at least she did once–I may be behind the times), so I thought I’d stop and get her a fast and cheap souvenir.
It was a contributor to Roadside America who alerted me to the possibility of smashing a penny. D. Pruiksma said on 10/10/2010,
Just across from the World’s Largest Thermometer, Alien Fresh Jerky has it all. There’s jerky, T-Shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets, strong political opinions and, of course, a place to smash a penny with one of four Alien Fresh Jerky imprints. And, let’s face it, what self respecting roadside attraction would be complete if one couldn’t smash a penny. Once they had that, they knew Alien Fresh had arrived.
Roadside America also said the store had a
self-serve, “sample” counter. Mmmm! (use the tongs).
I’m not a huge meat eater, but I did plan to try some free jerky samples.
I took some photos before I went into the store. There were lots of fake aliens at the Alien Fresh Jerky store, both inside and out. I found lots of opportunities for taking free photos of fake aliens. The store has aliens on the roof. There’s a car full of aliens in front of the store. Huge aliens stand above the parking lot. A dozen or more aliens live inside the store. Yeah, aliens galore.
There’s apparently a plan to build a UFO hotel. In 2013, the Roadside America team wrote,
The manager didn’t laugh when we asked about how the new “UFO hotel project” is going — he said that it was underway for 2013. The plan, publicized in late 2012, is to build a 3-story, saucer-shaped motel with a pool resembling an E.T.’s head. If all goes well, Baker will be promoted as the “Gateway to Area 51″…
When I stopped by the store in early December of 2016, there was no hotel onsite, UFO themed or otherwise. There were signs behind the store advertising the hotel and an empty lot beyond the signs, but no clean, comfortable (or otherwise) rooms. The vacant lot looked as if it had maybe been leveled, but no one should plan to stay at the (nonexistent) hotel any time soon.
Not only was there no hotel, when I went inside the store, I found no jerky samples and no penny smashing machine. Oh sad day!
There was a lot of jerky for sale in the store. Lots of snacks like nuts and dried fruits were also available. There were beverages for sale too. All the food and drinks seemed overpriced. I didn’t buy anything.
I did consider having the alien in the machine tell my fortune, but in the end, I decided to keep my dollar. What could a fake alien encased in plastic possibly tell me about my future?
There are fake aliens all over the store. I saw Yoda, as well as at least a dozen of the dudes with big heads.
The Alien Fresh Jerky store is a must-see spot for fans of aliens, but I probably won’t stop there again. I don’t need to see another fake alien because I saw enough fake aliens in this one convenient location to last a lifetime.
I took all of the photos in this post.
Baker is practically the end of the world. There used to be a decent 24-hour restaurant there, but it’s gone, probably driven out when the fast food joints moved in. The UFO Hotel was probably just an idea that the ‘creator’ hoped to get someone else to pay for. Anyone who stops in Baker is usually on their way to Las Vegas, and they only stop there to get a quick meal and stretch their legs. And if you ever break down there and need a tow, be sure that the tow truck has AAA painted on it, as there are a lot of ripoffs in the area. (Told to me by the Highway Patrol officer when I broke down near there).
Somewhere I read Baker described as something like “one continuous truck stop” and thought that summed it up pretty well.
I think my Las Vegas friends sometimes eat at the Greek restaurant.
I was going to get a breakfast burrito at Taco Bell in Baker, but what I pay $1 for at every other Taco Bell was priced at $1.99. I turned around and walked out. I had food in the van I decided to eat rather than be ripped off.
My Las Vegas friends also told me there is a penny squasher at the convenience store across the street from the Greek restaurant. Maybe I’ll check it out next time I go through.
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