Atlas-F nuclear missile silo revisited

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by markbvt, May 11, 2008.

  1. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Updated May 18, 2013, on page 4


    Some of you may remember the ride report that Questor and I posted last fall about our visit to an Atlas-F nuclear missile silo in upstate NY. Here's the thread for those of you who missed it:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277744

    We went back on Saturday, accompanied by four other ADVrider inmates (I confess, I was not able to retain their screen names in my poor memory -- I know they'll chime in here though).

    For me the morning started with missing Questor at our appointed meeting spot -- timing mixup. I headed down to an open house at the Suzuki dealership where I bought my WeeStrom, then from there headed west into NY and to the silo site. Questor was already there, and I found him and the silo's owner, Alexander Michael, chatting in the kitchen of the LCC.

    I didn't waste much time asking Alex's permission to explore the silo (last time, as you'll recall from the previous post, we only went down as far as Level 3).

    This is the tunnel leading from the LCC to the silo (seen from the silo end):
    [​IMG]

    Alex has removed the roof that was over the silo opening during our last visit, so a lot more light made it into the depths. Here's what you see looking down into the silo:
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    Silo door from below:
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    The tunnel enters the silo on Level 2 (Level 1 was removed from the silo ages ago for salvage). I started down to Level 3 and snapped this pic of Alex (left) and Questor on my way down:
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    Here's a tour of Level 3:
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    From there I continued down to Level 4:
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    Many of the overhead lamps still had lightbulbs in them:
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    Continuing our tour of Level 4:
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    This is the elevator shaft:
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    More of Level 4:
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    Continuing down to Level 5:
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    Here's the view down into the bottom of the silo from Level 5:
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    Continuing along Level 5:
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    Another view down into the silo. The large missing sections were cut out in order to remove the gigantic liquid oxygen tank.
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    And looking up towards the top of the silo:
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    Level 6. By this time the light was getting very, very dim.
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    Level 7:
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    Here's the view across the bottom of the silo:
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    Looking down to Level 8. The spiral stairs end on Level 7, and only this ladder goes down to Level 8. I was covered with enough rust already (my jacket is going to have red-brown spots on it for ages), so I decided not to venture down.
    [​IMG]

    I walked back up the spiral stairs to Level 2, then headed back into the LCC and up the stairs to the surface.

    Since the last visit, Alex has acquired the hydraulic rams that open and close the silo doors. They've just been rehabbed and are awaiting installation. They're big suckers:
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    Even the wrist pins they use are huge (large bag of chocolate chip cookies for reference):
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    The silo door, which explains why the hydraulic rams need to be so big:
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    Soon the four other ADVrider inmates arrived...
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    And Alex started giving them the tour. Here he is showing them the launch console in the LCC:
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    And the mounting bracket for the crib in the silo:
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    We walked down to Level 3 again, and I got this shot that's a nice bookend to one from the first visit:
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    Here's the original shot:
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    Once everyone was done exploring, we fired up the grill. I wonder if there are any other people in the world who have ever barbecued inside a nuclear missile silo.
    [​IMG]
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    We're calling it the Fire In The Hole Party.

    After dinner we watched "The Day After" and "On The Beach" before we all crashed out in the LCC. Then we made our way homewards Sunday morning.

    It was fascinating exploring all the way to the bottom of the silo (well, to the water, anyway), and it was great meeting everyone. This was a blast (no pun intended).

    And as before, thanks again to Alex for being such a gracious host, and to Questor for arranging this!

    --mark
    #1
  2. swingset

    swingset Got the knack.

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    Very cool!!
    #2
  3. 79SouthJim

    79SouthJim Been here awhile

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    First of all, those photos put a chill up my spine. Kind of frightening.

    Secondly, barbequing sausages in the place? You guys may be my new heros.:thumbup
    #3
  4. djekler

    djekler n00b

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    thanks, nice report, nice pics.

    What will become this silo?
    Whay bying a place like this?
    Is there a little radioactivity?
    #4
  5. KHVol

    KHVol Long timer

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    Wow..right out of H.G. Wells.....
    #5
  6. Junkyard

    Junkyard Been here awhile

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    Awesome pics Mark. So nice to meet everyone and hang out
    underground. Glad you liked the salsa. On to the silo......
    The sensations you experience being totally
    isolated in a floating room so far underground are really strange.
    It was a great experience and loads of fun with this group of people.
    Certainly doesn't hurt that our host is a fabulous person who made
    the visit a great time. The extent of the work and the quality of it
    was very impressive. The wiring on the control panels and the beefy-ness
    of the welded steel parts was top notch. I can see why this was such a
    boom time for American industry. I am soo glad I got this chance and
    will be back to visit Alex when he returns from Austraila.
    Great to hang with everyone.
    Happy Monday
    Junkyard
    :clap
    #6
    Scott_PDX likes this.
  7. Damir

    Damir AKA Pudla

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    :bow :bow


    Very cool! :thumb
    #7
  8. Colemanfu

    Colemanfu King of all manfu

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    That place is so cool - I could look at those pix all day. I bet it was a blast to explore. Looks like water at the bottom?
    #8
  9. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Back in my college days, there were a few of us who used to go exploring abandoned silos in SE Nebraska. I think they were all Titan II silos, but am not sure. It was pretty spooky.

    Every now and then a silo rehab takes place, where someone turns it into an underground abode. That'd be sweet, especially if it had a large underground garage attached.
    #9
  10. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

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    About eleven years ago I visited the Titan silo museum in Green Valley, Arizona, just south of Tucson. Most of it has been restored to its active-duty appearance and guided tours are just a few bucks.

    http://www.titanmissilemuseum.org/

    Way cool.
    #10
  11. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Nice photgraphs Markbtv. :thumb

    I'll add mine when I get to a 'real' computer.
    What began as a random bizare idea last year; turned into a great experience, and a wicked party with great folks. :clap

    Unless I suffer some kind of severe head trauma, I'll never forget it. :jump
    Q~
    #11
  12. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Yes -- when Alex bought the silo in the mid-'90s, it was flooded up to Level 2 (you can see the rust-colored water line on the wall). He's pumped most of the water out, but there will always be some in the bottom -- groundwater flows in at an impressive rate. On the lower levels you can see streams of it running down the silo walls.

    I couldn't agree more. This really was a lot of fun. I can't wait to see everyone else's pics -- I confess that I concentrated on photographing the place more than the events, so I'm looking forward to seeing some social pics.

    I also have to bring this up once again because it can't be said often enough: thanks many times over to Alex, who was a truly gracious host. He not only allowed us into his home, he fed us extremely well (filet mignon in a missile silo -- I bet no one ever ate so well there when it was operational!), and he even put up with my snoring!

    --mark
    #12
  13. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Cool report:clap
    #13
  14. MZcountryboy

    MZcountryboy Long timer

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    Definitely the top of the list for "craziest place to spend the night"

    The dripping in the silo would get to me over time, but the launch control center was eerily quiet. No daylight either, good thing there are 6 clocks with all different time zones, so you really don't have a fookin clue as to what time it is.

    Smells like a battleship I toured once. Must be the same gov't paint.

    Hard to comprehend the investment was simply abandoned after less than two years.

    It's just amazing what was there, and SO much is missing. Lookit the rams for the doors! They're unreal!

    Thanks to Alex for hosting, Questor for congregating, and Mark for cooking!


    Ain't nuthin tastes as good as filet mignon and sausage BBQ cooked in a nuke silo where a 4 megaton warhead used to live.

    Nuthin.

    :lol3
    #14
  15. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Very cool!:thumb

    Never had any luck finding those silos when in NY years ago.
    #15
  16. El Guero

    El Guero V4 Whore

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    Great pictures! Those looking-into-the-silo-from-the-top pictures scare the crap out of me though! :lol3
    #16
  17. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    I remember one Titan silo that we used to visit, had all of the superstructure from the missile silo itself removed. You would walk down a concrete corridor/tunnel from the control center to the silo, but it would end with nice long drop to the bottom, or to the doors 30' or so above.

    One trick we would do would be to stand at the edge of the tunnel, and turn out all of the flashlights. Of course, it would get totally dark, and the knowledge that the next step would be into nothingness was a bit freaky. Most of the time I'd take a step backward just to be on the safe side.
    #17
  18. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hello All. :wave

    Mark did an amazing job of photographing the Silo itself. It's not easy.
    Fortunately Mark has all the high end camera equipment and can get the difficult shots. Thanks again Mark. :thumb

    What I have to show you is more of a "Social Slideshow" of what it's like to dine like a king in a Nuclear Missile Silo. This whole party started off as a random "wouldn't it be crazy if..." and it turned into a reality.

    The idea was, a "Nuclear holocaust Film festival" in the silo.
    Our host Alex, not only agreed, but encouraged us, and finally raised the bar so high with the food he served, that I am still amazed.
    I've said this before, but "Thank you so much Alex."
    You are a unique indivdual. :thumb

    So I'll share with you a roughly chronological version of the event...
    I was supposed to meet Markbvt at 10:00am, but I got my times mixed up and though we were meeting at 8:00am. So by 9:00am I had left and took the "Long way" to the Missile Silo.

    Looking west towards the Adirondack's and the direction of Alex's silo.
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    Of couse I've instructed the GPS to take the smallest local roads possible to get me there. :ricky

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    When I got to the Silo at around noon, and helped Alex with some of the pumps he uses to keep the silo dry. But soon, the other ADV invitee's started to arrive. Mark got there first and went down below to get some pictures. He was down there alone for several hours. :eek1

    But by 3:00pm everyone was there, and we took a group ADV picture.
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    The ADV salute. :ken
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    After the introductions, the "tour" began.

    Explaining the Silo Blast Doors. (Yes, they are very big and weigh 25 tons each.)
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    Looking down into the Silo.

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    A view of the entryway on the surface, with the bikes in the background.

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    Alex, explaining the ventilation systems and such.

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    These are the two masive hydraulic rams that Alex has had refurbished, and will hopefully have installed later this month. What a project.
    First Alex will lower a 65 foot cherry picker into the silo and chain it to the metal framework in level 3. Then these 12 ton hydraulic rams will have to be lowered into place with a huge crane, and some poor idiot will be in the 65 foot cherry picker fastening the bolts while suspened accross and over a 200 foot deep missile silo hole. :eek1

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    Heres a pictue showing the rams as well as the silo doors in the background.

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    These hydrauic rams mount to the two plates shown below. You can see the two places with all the bolts in the center of the picture.

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    So we decend into the Complex.
    First down the entry way.

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    A few turns later...

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    You reach blast door #1.
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    Through the containment chamber you get to Blast door #2.

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    And down the access stairwell to Level 2 which has the top floor of the Command and Coltrol center.
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    Into Alex's "Living Room" where we will watch the movies, The Day After, On the Beach, Dawns Early Light, and A Boy and His dog.

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    Then down the access stairs again to level 2 of the Command and Control Center, also known as the "Bedroom". This is where they would launch the missile from. The console on the right used to contain "The Button" to launch.

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    A shot of the instrument pannel. Remember everyone, all this stuff is analog. Switches and relays - rooms full of them. I'll show you later...
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    We then went through the 40 foot long tunnel that connects the Command and Control part of the complex to the Missile Silo itself.
    (I was wearing full camoflage to get in the spirit of the event. :wink: )

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    At the end of the tunnel, inside the silo, looking back at the access tunnel towards the C&C, there is another huge blast door. This one, anong with two others was supposed to prevent the rockets exhaust from getting into and roasting the guys launching the Missile in the C&C.

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    So from Level 3, you can decend down to level 4 where I took some pictures of the "Computers".

    General Dynamics / Convair Astronautics was a defense contractor even back then.
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    Labels for "Propellant Level Panel 2" and "Fuel Tanking Panel 1".
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    Missile Lifting Platform Panel 1
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    When I came back up to Level 3 from my explorations, the Barbeque was lit.
    Well, actually we had 10 ft flames coming out of the grill. We were having a barbeque in a Nuclear Missile Silo! :clap

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    And having a great time. :thumb

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    Here's how close to the edge we were. One false step and you join all the rusted debris at the bottom of the silo, 180+ feet below.

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    Mark did an excellent job cooking on the grill.
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    Not your typical cook out location. :wink:
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    As I said before, Filet Mignon's in a Missile Silo - that's probably a first.
    We dub'ed it "The Fire in the Hole" party.

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    And then we ate!
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    Good friends, culinary delights, lot's of beer, a few bottles of red wine, and a secure, fortified, nulclear bomb shelter, to relax and enjoy the moment. :thumb
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    After dinner, we watched Nuclear Holocaust movies, and created drinking games. Whenever we saw a nuclear weapon in a movie, we would all drink. :beer
    By 2:30 am we were all comatose, and proceeded to crawl off to find a place to sleep. I must say, it is a strange place to sleep.
    No natural light, no sounds (aside from the snoring) and no idea what life is like "Up Top".

    The next morning, we emerged into the daylight, and it was painfull to open ones eyes. Some of us we working off hangovers, while hanging out over the edge of the Missile Silo.

    Deep thoughts...

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    As the day was Mother's Day, I had to leave early to see my Mom in CT.
    280 miles later, I was in CT with my parents.
    But all the way home, I was still replaying the evening before.
    What an opportunity. What a unique party. What good people to hang out with. Thanks to all.

    I hope you enjoyed the tour.
    Q~
    #18
  19. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

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    Thanks for the update. :thumb I just discovered two atlas sites near Roswell, NM. One is right across the hwy from the alleged alien crash site.:huh
    #19
  20. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    I think one of them is for sale for $750,000.
    http://www.siloworld.com/SITES%20FOR%20SALE/SitesForSale.htm

    If I had the money...
    Q~
    #20