Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Ride to an ICBM Farm in NE Colorado

Temperatures in the 50s, sunny and very windy at times.

I left the house today around 1020hrs, the goal being to see if I could get close enough with Maria to an ICBM Missile Silo Site while not breaking any laws.

I did not even know, till about two weeks ago, that there were active missile silos in Colorado! I found out purely by accident when I was reading about an upcoming ride hosted by my club, the coloradobeemers. It's scheduled for April 12, or next Saturday and includes in its stops a visit to a nearby missile silo near New Raymer, CO.

The ride posting included useful links such as this map of the Silo Complex for Colorado and neighboring states. It's hosted on an anti-nuke site called coloradopeace.org. First time I found any use for such a site! Here's a link to the map and directions that I used today. LINK

Took me about 90 minutes to reach the intersection of CO52 and CO14, near the town of New Raymer. I wandered over to N1 which is supposed to be a Launch Control Center. As I neared it I looked for "keep out" signs and saw none so I turned from CR129 and parked a few feet from the fence line surrounding a few small buildings. That's when I saw the sign advertising the site:



Very soon after I took the above picture, a couple of armed Air Force Security Police came to the fence and politely told me that no pictures were allowed except from the county road. I thanked them and left quickly. Good to know that the security for this site was not asleep at the switch! :)

I got back on CO14 and decided to see how close one could legally get to an actual silo. Turns out, there was one about 200ft north of the pavement on CO14. This was the N5 site listed on the map below.




I must admit it felt a bit weird to be standing so close to a site that housed a nuclear tipped ICBM. I guess the locals are used to it and they did not even spare the silo site a glance as they drove by in their cages.

Here's some pictures from Strategic-Air-Command.com and Titan2ICBM.org offering more details of these missile silos and the history/background of the whole organizations involved. Interesting stuff, the 321st Missile Squadron has the Minutemen III missiles according to GlobalSecurity.org but the pictures give you an idea anyways of what it might look like inside one of these sites.



I left the vicinity of New Raymer soon after 1300 after checking in with my loving wife. I decided to head South on CO71 instead of backtracking on CO52 which is what I'd used from I-76 to get to New Raymer.

CO71 is a pretty straight, nicely paved road cutting through Colorado's eastern prairies with nothing but ranches and farms along the side to break up the monotony. So it was with some relief that I saw a sign stating that the town of "Last Chance" Colorado was just a few miles up ahead.


Once I got to Last Chance though, not much there but a few buildings/houses. From Wikipedia: The town was supposedly so named because it was once the only place for travelers to secure fuel and provisions for many miles in any direction.

Shortly after Last Chance I came upon CO36 which I took westbound towards Denver. I passed through the towns of Strasburg, Bennett and Watkins with no issues except for the winds that buffeted me as I rode.

I took Watkins Road South out of Watkins heading towards Quincy Road. I had an Arapahoe County Sheriff patrol right behind so I made sure to stay just a couple of miles above the speed limit. He followed me till about 2 miles from Quincy road when he must have radar'ed a cage heading northbound and turned around with his lights on. Oh well.

Quincy Road I took westbound and soon I was back in home neighborhoods. Racked up about 281 miles of riding with about 5.5 hrs of saddle time. The roads themselves were pretty straight and boring for the most part, glad I did it though, now I won't have to go with the group ride next Saturday except perhaps for the Genoa leg of the ride to see the Wonder Tower.




5 comments:

Scott Thigpen said...

That Last Chance sign looks photoshopped in :) Then again, there are places around me named Two Egg and Eridu, so what do I know?

Charlie6 said...

nope, it's real...just reflecting the camera's flash... : )

irondad said...

It's got to be that rare air. Who wakes up in the morning and wants to go find a missle silo? I'm just sorry I didn't think of it first. If they ever make a portable one, I could use it to deal with left lane dawdlers!

Conchscooter said...

In the darkest hours of the night I try to think of more boring jobs than mine. Missile silo operator, a previously ignored entry in the rankings,has to shoot to the top of the list. I cannot for the life of me imagine a job where a) I have absolutely nothing to do, or b) I have to incinerate the planet I live on. Cocktail parties must be a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Saw the silos near New Raymer...totally blown away (pardon the pun) that they are still active and so unassuming! I thought they might be dismantled until the humvees with 50. Cal guns mounted on them drove past us!!