Monday, June 13, 2011

STN Rally, Day 2

I had a great nights sleep in Winner last night. I woke up at 0130 to a loud thunder crack. It was raining really hard. I went back to sleep and woke up around 0600. I watched the weather channel, took a shower, had a quick breakfast and packed. I was on the road by 0800.

My route took me through the Pine Ridge Reservation.  After the reservation, I saw something that looked out of place....

That's a peacock sitting on the sign. I also saw some long horn cattle.

I made my way to Interior, SD for gas and a water then up hwy 240 into Badlands N.P. where I picked up my park pass. I plan to go back through the park later this week. I left the park and stopped at the Minuteman Missile N.H.S. I watched the video they had playing and spoke to the Park Ranger. She asked me if I wanted to tour the Launch Control Facility. I got my free ticket for the 10:45 tour.  I drove out I-90 to exit 127. Then a very short drive on a gravel road to the facility.
 There were 6 of us waiting at the gate for the Ranger to start the tour. Ranger Butch was great tour guide. We started at the back of the building and worked our way towards the front. Everything in Launch Control Facility Delta-01, was pretty much just like it was when the last person left the building after it was deactivated in 1992. I saw typical military bunks, A day room with vintage 90's magazines on the table. We then went to the front section of the building where the security force sat and watched the main gate. Behind a door in that area, we rode an elevator down 31 feet to the under ground control room. That's the room that 2 Air Force Officers would sit in, for a 24 hour shift, behind a 3 and a half foot thick steel blast door, and wait for orders to launch their 10, nuclear warhead equipped, Minuteman II missiles.

From the Launch Control Facility, I went to exit 116 where the Parks Service has a self guided tour set up at Launch Facility (missile silo) Delta-09.
There is normally a 90 ton concrete cover over the silo that opens when a missile is launched. This silo cover is partly open and covered with a glass enclosure. You can look into the silo and see a Minuteman II missile.

As a child of the 60's, that grew up reading Civil Defence materials about building fallout shelters in your basement, I thought the chance to tour a nuclear missile facility was AWESOME!!!

After the silo, I rode to Custer and checked in to the Bavarian Inn. I met a few of the guys from the web site. We all hung out in the parking lot and b-s'd a while, then Jack(madjack) and I went for dinner. It started to rain just after I pulled into the parking lot.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow.