Wild Wild West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by freefallen, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    ahhh, if I knew it beforehand. I took Rt.16 to Rt.90 to Badlands. But I did some loops around Keystone.
  2. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    The sculptor Gutzon Botgium labored for 14 years on the granite and eventually removed all the extra rock.

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    Every time I wonder: how he knew that 4 presidents were hiding in the mountain: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln?!:up

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    Four presidents who were so different, belonging to 4 different political parties.


    George Washington was not a member of any political party.
    Thomas Jefferson - Democratic-Republican Party founded in the early 1790s by himself.
    Abraham Lincoln was the first president from the Republican Party.
    Theodore Roosevelt announced himself as a candidate for the Republican nomination then he created the Progressive Party.
  3. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Taking a detour from RT-90 I ended up in Badlands National Park - one of the world's richest fossil beds. Perhaps it would have impressed me. But after everything I saw out west, I rode past almost without stopping. I still had to cover 800 miles today. The roads there were great for riding. This park reminded me roughly of the Petrified Forest NP.

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    A few pictures from this place.

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  4. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Right near the exit of Badlands I passed by this museum. And if I didn't plan on stopping there beforehand, it would have been very easy to ride right past it.

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    Now it is a museum but not long ago it was highly classified. Until 1991 it was a highly secretive place and people exploring the Badlands had no idea what was going on under their noses.

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    At first the arms race, including nuclear weapons, was thought to be a local problem for Europe and Asia. In 1957 Russian launched their first satellite, Sputnik. When Sputnik flew over America, anyone with an FM radio could hear its beeping. American then understood that the race wasn't so local. This is where the project Minuteman Missile came from.

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    The famous speak of Russian Premier, "We will bury you", became one of the causes of the Cold War and arms race:

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  5. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Underground there were intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads. They were targeted towards Russia and could be delivered within 30 minutes. The ballistic missiles were not out for viewing, they were probably in a different location. The barracks, maintenance and the launch control facility are open to the public now.

    At the entrance to this place there was a checkpoint with a small booth surrounded by a fence. All returning personnel were greeted by the fence and a code that needed to be decoded.

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    Could you decipher it? I couldn't. But I guess it doesn't look too hard. Any mathematicians here, I could use your help?

    If the soldier couldn't decode it, he was given a second option. If he couldn't get it after the second attempt, 2 guards came out from either side and personally gave him a third option. If he failed to answer correctly the third time, he would be thrown face down to the ground and 2 M16 barrels were placed to the back of his head. Like this he would stay on the ground for 30 minutes, in the blistering hot summer or bitter cold winter, until a high ranked person can verify the soldier is really from this facility.


    One place looked like a BBQ but instead of meat, they burned classified documents. The papers were covered in gasoline and the ashes thoroughly mixed:

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    This is where the military personnel rested while serving their 24 hour shift. The windows were painting black so they could sleep any time of day:

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    This looks like a warhead but is in fact an antenna which kept in constant contact with the airplane:

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    This plane circled between America and Europe, passing over Greenland and Iceland, 24/7 for 30 years nonstop. The plane was refueled midair. Takeoffs and landings took place at different times at different airports to not be detected.

    A slightly modified commercial for Domino's Pizza that said they can deliver hot pizza to any part of the town within 30 minutes:

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    The trajectory of the missiles was above the North Pole:

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  6. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    The bunker, Minuteman Launch Facility, is located 32ft below ground which is accessible by a lift. Exiting the lift we entered the holy ground of the launch control facility.

    Just outside the lift this painting was waiting for us:

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    And the real photography:

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    The width of the metal is about 3 ft:

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    The ranger explained to us in detail how the missiles were prepared to launch. They key was worn around the neck to provide fast access to it. Two keys, 12 ft apart, had to be turned simultaneously. This was done so 2 people were required to operate the controls. After that the capsule had to be broken to obtain the "cookie", a piece of paper that had the launch codes written on it. The third key was with a high ranking officer. An entire essay can be written about the entire sequence, it was very interesting to see and hear about it.

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    Guard's vehicle:

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  7. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    I don't want to discuss the politics and lifestyles of these two countries, I'm just describing this through the eyes of the American public.

    Having lived more than 20 years in America and finishing college and the army in the former Soviet Union, I can judge the aspects of living in both countries.

    Despite our different approaches to economy, laws and totally opposite ideologies, especially during the cold war, I'm absolutely sure that the mentalities of the two nations are similar. The two nations have the analogous life values. Despite the 30 year cold war, nuclear arms race and being on the brink of two nuclear wars (Cuban Missile Crisis and Berlin Wall), both countries had enough common sense to realize that there would be no winner from these wrestling matches.:turkish

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    I have many doubts of today's nuclear confrontation. If these weapons fall into the hands of fundamentalist fanatics, whose belief is that real life starts after their death, I'm afraid that they won't hesitate to press the notorious red button.
    :kboom
  8. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Anybody? Come on, over 10 thousands hits on this thread and no one knows how to decipher?
  9. CurDog

    CurDog Adventurer

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    :wink:

    Now, what is the prize?
  10. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Peacekeeper! - makes sense, isn't it?
    well, cracking this code we'll have access to the missile launch control.
    oh, we already did. Thanks!:freaky
  11. sjeff35

    sjeff35 n00b

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    Cool, just like War Games!!! :)

    Awesome trip, love the pics!

    Thanks for sharing.
  12. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Yeah! Entering the missile launch control facility two stories below the ground, I felt like I'm touching the holy grail. I could picture those young men, the missileers, sitting here who were defending entire country from the nuke strikes.
  13. mullman

    mullman Adventurer

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    +1

    Peacekeeper.
  14. BOOGIEMAN

    BOOGIEMAN Been here awhile

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    Great report and outstanding pictures.:evil
  15. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    thank you, sir!
  16. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    Iowa, IA: People of Iowa Welcome You. Fields of Opportunities.

    These fields are like they were drawn with a few shades of green:

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    I rove through flooded areas. I could only see the roofs of cars and houses were half way under water. My road was surrounded by bags of sand on either side. It was very nerve racking riding between them. Actually flooding affected the larger part of America and still is today including my New Jersey. It was getting dark and I was behind schedule so I didn't want to stop and take pictures.

    I did not have an opportunity to make all my planned stops.

    I left in the direction of home from Grand Teton Park on Friday and I had to be at work on Monday. Other than my ambitious program on my way home I still had to travel 2500 miles.


    Sturgis, South Dakota - the motorcycle Mecca.
    Of course I wanted to view the city that draws in tens of thousands of bikers each year but it was 300 miles out of my way and I didn't have time.


    Big Horn - an outdoor paradise filled with recreational opportunities.
    Same problem as Sturgis.


    Black Hills - an oasis of pine-clad mountains on the Great Plains.
    You need the entire day otherwise it's a shame to waste your time at such a unique place.
  17. payton333

    payton333 Adventurer

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    Hi Freefallen,
    Do you have an outline of the route you took. Seems like a great trip and I am interested in doing something similar. Thank you for the inspiration! :D
  18. BOOGIEMAN

    BOOGIEMAN Been here awhile

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    There are a couple of these sites in upper New York state that were never finished. Unmarked and hard to find.
  19. Hogslayer

    Hogslayer motomaniac

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    Started reading your RR today and your excellent photography brought back memories of riding through alot of these places myself at one time or another.Thanks for the informative report and again you take some beautiful photo's and really capture the scenery which is hard to do.

    Not wanting to get in a debate about the Stroms, but at any time did you feel the bigger of the two bikes would have been better or more capable especially on the more open roads or when you were riding two up with your son?
  20. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    In the first page I put all of my POIs and if you're looking for the specific routes, here I put all them together starting from the Four Corners.