Traffic report: the gate closest to the main road was closed and the rickety, mainly barbed-wire gate was open. This makes life easier. The least snow we've seen on Tikaboo despite it being a really good winter for skiing in Utah which made for a speedy ascent, despite carrying the largest amount of electronic equipment yet.
Before we made the final climb to the top, Groom Approach and Tower sounded particularly busy. Same frequencies as ever. Scooting around the valley to the south of the base was what appeared to be a Russian type and a F-16. Much to our surprise, N661BA BE200 callsign 'Comet 1' took up a holding pattern bang overhead us at 9000 feet (1000 feet above us) while reporting that he was holding at (I think) 'Demon Base'. After 10 minutes or so he was cleared to join right base for runway 30 at Groom. As a Janet 737 was also inbound I guess that the unusual hold was due to sheer volume of inbound traffic rather than them taking a look at us.
When established up Tikaboo the usual Janets were as active as ever including an extra 737 flight 'Comet 14' at approx 0930 departing off runway 14.
Callsign of the month for the Janets was Comet
Callsign of the based aircraft was Zapper
A flight of 3 F-16s departed on runway 14 at 1055 callsigns Zapper 68, 63 and 67.
One of the F-16s zapped up and down the valley either side of Tikaboo and at approx 1130 sonic boomed us; given the tranquillity up Tikaboo this was extremely loud; certainly compared to e.g. the Edwards show opening where a F-16 opens the show with a boom.
Meanwhile the base UH-60 did a couple of perimeter checks but studiously ignored us.
A contrailing jet was seen doing large orbits to the south of the base at 28000ft or so; this was possibly a B-1 although one of the skilled observers thought it was a Boeing 727 (maybe N289MT as I can't think of any others).
The names of the navigational fixes used for inbound and outbound Janets appear to have changed; there was no reference to Planet, Pyramid etc. This time, the fixes heard in routes were 'Abbey', 'Warren', 'Stage' and the aforementioned 'Demon'. It didn't help that Comet 1 and Comet 2 simply flew direct to and from to station 7 (I assume this is Tonopah) all day so no intermediate fixes were heard.
We departed Tikaboo at around 1430; another different experience. A Janet Beech at close quarters and sonic boomed by a F-16!
We foolishly decided to try the Northerly loop from Badger Spring. This was a real mistake as after the turn for the repeater station, the track deteriorated very quickly and we were really concerned that we would only be walking out. Eventually we made the sensible decision to give up and go out the fast, normal, Southerly route. I really do not recommend the Northerly route to Alamo unless one is brave or daft. It is very very slow going and the road in a terrible state.