Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 16. The Last Day.

Friday the 19th.

After breakfast in the cafe at the Chieftain Motel, we left with 2 goals for the day. Vist the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site, and make it home by sundown.
The first stop was just 47 miles away in Cooperstown. 4 miles north of hwy 200 on hwy 45 is the North Dakota State Historical Society's very well preserved Minuteman Missile LCC (launch control center). I visited the similar facility run by the National Parks Service near the Badlands this June. I have to say that the Parks Service facility is nowhere near as complete or nicely restored as the one in Cooperstown! John and I spent nearly 2 hours looking at every square foot of the place. At the Badlands facility, I felt rushed and it seemed like I was through it in 15 minutes. I was happy to pay the $10 admission. I'm sure it's going to help keep the LCC open. It's a great piece of Cold War history.

View of front gate from inside security office.

Underground mechanical room. The floor is hanging on 4 huge shock absorbers. There are parts of 2 of them in the background.

Blast door for mechanical room.

Door frame of blast door for control room. Signed by crew on the last day the facility was active. At the bottom, "in aquilea cura" was the motto of the 448th Missile Squadron. It translates to "under the care of the eagle"

2 red chairs for launch control officers.

Launch control board, 1 of 2. The red box is where the missile launch keys were kept. Each officer had his own padlock on the box.

Keys were inserted here...

After the tour of the LCC it was pretty much a minimal stop run to home. We stayed on 200 until it ended at US-2 near Floodwood, MN.
A quick run down I-35 to the twin cities, and I split off on 694 to Cottage Grove, then into WI on hwy 10. To home... just before sundown

Total mileage for the 16 day trip.... 4753

Day 15.

Day 15. Thursday the 18th

We had spent the night at Fellman's Motel in Jordan, MT. It was a nice place. The price was right. It also had a great shower, small, but the water pressure and flow were awesome.
We left town and continued east. We crossed into ND and noticed all the oil wells and temporary housing. It's a booming area.

We came across a coal field. There was an electric dragline working. It's a Marion 8750. It weighs 13.5 Million pounds. The boom is 360 feet long. The bucket is 20'x16'x10' it weighs 244,000 pounds. It holds 125 cubic yards of overburden(dirt). It's HUGE!!

for a while, we thought the weather was going to turn bad. This was ahead of us, but by the time we got to it, there was nothing but gray skies.

We stopped for the night at the Chieftain Motel in Carrington, ND.