Nov 102011

Arilem found a couple exterior photos of an amazing looking power plant in Wyoming.  Armed with only a name neither one of us could find it. I searched and searched the topographical maps trying to find it until I stumbled across it while looking for something else all together.  It appears to be a very large building which I believe is limestone.  I don’t know much about it – I don’t know when it was built or when its use was discontinued.  On the one side of it is a switching yard that is still in use.

After many hours of driving we finally arrived.  It looked so promising from the exterior however it was very gutted on the inside.  It appears to have utilized by a local farmer that uses it for storage.  It was still well worth the visit and was very photogenic.

Outside the plant
Our first look of the plant – it looked amazing

First look inside the empty plant
However it is an empty shell

Inside again

Looking up
It is a very nice piece of architecture

A look inside from the other side
Another look inside from the other end

Inside from the other end

Active switching yard
The switching yard is still used

Basement Area
The basement area where the some of the cooling was – there were pits of water and remains of huge pipes

The plant with foundations in front
There was once a lot more to this place as there are foundations all around it

 Posted by at 21:41
Nov 092011

In September I took a trip to Wyoming for a week.  Although not exactly full of epic locations we did find a few places that were worth a look.

In the windy high prairie around Cheyenne lie the remains of several intercontinental ballistic missile bases.  Visiting a missile base is something that I always wanted to do.  There are a few bases that have been turned into historical sites The Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site for example is one that I plan to visit someday however for now I wanted to see the remains of the one that isn’t a museum.

Base Overview from Google Maps

I had a list of about 4 of them that looked possible however it was mid afternoon before we even made it to the area.  We checked out the first one via the back roads and found that it was buried deep inside private property where even the county roads where private and posted with many no trespassing signs.  We then headed to the main entrance and saw someone opening the gate to the base.  We decided to try the asking for permission approach.  As we approached he saw us and he quickly closed the gate behind him and jumped into his SUV and took off which I have to say was strange.  We then decided to head to another facility all together.  It was quite a bit further than we expected and found it too was fenced off and didn’t exactly look too inviting.  We decided to go back to the first one and just risk entering it from the back roads as we were running out of daylight and didn’t have time to look at the other two – it was now or never.

We approached the base and decided if we were confronted to use the ignorant Canadian tourist angle however that wasn’t necessary as we made it in and out unscathed.  The base is an Atlas D base that utilized a semi hard facility in which the missile was stored above ground horizontally.  There is a 400 ton overhead door that would be opened and the missile would be raised to a vertical position and then fueled to be ready for launch.  This facility went on operational alert on September 2, 1960 and was inactivated on March 25, 1965.  I found it hard to believe that this impressive facility was only used for such a short time period.  It was replaced by titan II facilities that didn’t involve the extra time of lifting the missile before it was ready to launch.  All the overhead doors are left open and I wonder if that was done when they were closed or after.  I know some of the treaties for removing missiles required the doors to be left open to prove there wasn’t a missile inside however I believe those treaties were long after 1965.

Base overview with location labels

We explored the closest launcher we could get to and then realized that the vehicle I had seen earlier at the gate was parked at one of the other launchers along with another vehicle – I think they were just hunters but I didn’t want to risk it and be seen by them so we only explored the single launcher however all 3 would be identical.  The most interesting thing about the launchers in my opinion was the fact they still had the missile cradle/erector in them.  From the launcher we checked out the mostly pillaged power plant – almost all the original equipment was long gone.  We then moved on to the guidance control / launch facility which was heavily vandalized in the 46 years since it was closed.  It still contained many racks in the original computer / server room.  The amount of money that must have been spent building this facility is staggering.  I hope you enjoy the photos and a look at a location that is uniquely American.

One of the Missile Launchers
The missile launcher as we made our approach

Missile Cradle
The launcher with the intact missile cradle

Looking down the blast channel for the exhaust from the rocket
Looking down the blast / exhaust channel

Another shot of the cradle
Another view of the missile cradle

Another launcher with vehicles from what I believe were hunters
Looking at another launcher with the vehicles that I believe belonged to the hunters

Stripped power / heating plant
The stripped power / heating plant

Entrance to the guidance control / launch facility
Looking inside the door of the guidance control / launch facility

Remains of the guidance / launch computers - lots of racks!
The remains of the guidance / launch computer room

Remains of the bathrooms in guidance control / launch facility
Bathrooms in the guidance / launch facility

Outside of the guidance / launch facility
Outside view of the guidance / launch facility

Looking back at the power plant as we made our exit
Looking back at the power plant as we made our exit

After exploring this base we headed to one of the other facilities on our list and it looked very doable as a location but we were tired and the sun was setting and we had a 3 hour drive ahead of us to the city we planned on spending the night. So next time we go we have a potential location to see.

 Posted by at 21:55
Oct 132011

Saskatchewan is known as being a flat province.   The jokes of seeing your dog run away for three days are well known around here.  However much of the province is rolling hills, valleys, and forests.  So the idea of skiing in Saskatchewan is not as crazy as some may think.  Several smaller ski hills have come and gone over the years and only a few have survived.  In August Arilem and I made it out to a ski hill that seems to have just dropped off the map. It clearly hadn’t been used in some time.  I skied here a couple times about 15 years ago and I am not sure exactly when it closed, but I haven’t heard much about it in several years and web searches bring up nothing.

Its location makes it a place that I am not comfortable to explore and the local’s generally aren’t very accepting of people like us stopping by to take a look.  Our exploration lasted less than half an hour.  It’s an interesting place but I doubt I will go back there.

Ski Resort
The day lodge – it was never anything too fancy but it did the job.

Ski Resort
The ski hill had some kind of partnership with Sunshine Village – which happens to be one of my favourite resorts. Judging by the poster it is from about 1995 when they opened the Goats Eye Mountain.

Ski Resort
The lack of vandalism around here intrigues me – I believe someone is keeping a close eye on it.

Ski Resort
Display case full of plaques and trophies

Ski Resort
A small model of the ski hill

Ski Resort
Upstairs in the Day Lodge

Ski Resort
Be Aware – Ski with care (no reference to snowboarding gives you an idea to it’s age)

Ski Resort
On the filing cabinet in the office area – lots of personal information left laying around in there.

Ski Resort
Hospital beds for the ski patrol – it appears the lodge was in the middle of renovations when it shut down.

Ski Resort
Exiting the lodge to the hill

Ski Resort
The lodge as seen from close to one of the t-bar lifts.

Ski Resort
Not to many hills in Saskatchewan had actual chairlifts let alone a quad – I have never seen such a new chairlift abandoned like this.

Ski Resort
Day lodge in the back ground and T-bar station in the foreground

Ski Resort
Looking up the chairlift from the loading area

Ski Resort
Looking up the chairlift from the machinery room.

Ski Resort
Inside the machinery room above the loading area on the chairlift.

Ski Resort
Looking up the chairlift from the entrance of the machine room

Ski Resort
The hill as we were leaving the area

 Posted by at 20:31