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Location DB > United States > Colorado > Eastern Plains > Titan Missile Bases > Another mission accomplished...

Story Info
Sun, Jul 31st, 2005
posted by statik
Another mission accomplished...

Titan I base B-2 successfully revisited without loss of limb or liberty, and much has changed. It's a strange feeling going back, like you're not only reliving its Cold War life, but also vicariously experiencing its decay. And I'm none too happy with what they've done with the place, as it were. But more on that later.

First, my reasons for going back. Tour guide duty, for one. I always have a disquiet feeling to know that people are going in, and have no frame of reference as to what's safe, what's not, where this tube goes to, how deep is that water, etc. Call it noble altruism, call it needless worry - whatever; I'd rather you go with me than without. Or, as the saying goes, it's better to have me and not need me, than to need me and not have me.
Also, pictures. Of four (wait, maybe three) visits, I have *zero* photographs. Brought along my SLR, tripod, flash, locking cable-shutter and three rolls of film; the plan being to try some 60-second exposures with multiple flashes from different locations, and maybe some light painting; whatever.

Our team leader and supreme commander Chainsaw was generous enough to drop us off, and wait somewhere else for three hours... Not the way I usually did it, but necessary; the access road has grown over to the point where the LEAST visible parking spot is in some farmer's front lawn. Being that our guy has the perfect urban assualt vehicle with optional suburban camoflauge trim package (i.e. minivan), it worked out nearly perfectly. Park the van, and while you're "lost looking at a map," four guys sneak out with their gear, and disappear into the brush. I say "nearly" perfectly, 'cause I lost my tripod under a seat somewhere, and wasted all the time I could looking for it.
So, I had only the opportunity to expose half a roll of film, and will likely not have anything worth keeping to show for it.
But, not being able to complete objective 2, I was the best damn tour guide I could be.

Anyway, someone's been making some changes. I was surprised to notice that in the interstice of my visits, someone has placed 1/4" steel cable across all precarious ledges and dropoffs; kind of a makeshift set of railings, which probably wouldn't help much in case of a fall. Also noticed an increase in the water level, and that the weather in late summer makes EVERYTHING condensate (that finally solved the mystery of exactly why they're filling with water).
The problem I have is what PEOPLE have been doing to the place. Apparently, someone hosted a rave down there, from all the "chill-out room" and such-type posters drawn in day-glo chalk. And some jackasses decided to use the antenna silo tunnel as a shooting range, telling from the hundreds of casings (3030, .45auto & .22) and the seriously dead beanbag.

But (and you know I saved the most disturbing for last) we were surprised to see all the tealights and the diary with the torn-out pages, then the mattress with the scraps of furs and some blankets, then the baby wipes (uh, oh) then the toys and stuffed animals.
Best guess is that someone, as recently as last winter, has been living there with a small child.
I believe that needs to be restated.
Best guess is that someone, as recently as last winter, has been living there with a small child.
I mean, seriously.
And we seriously couldn't believe it.
I know, you can say all you want about how, "oh, maybe they're homeless, and that's the only place to stay," and such. Odds are, that's the truth. But that ain't gonna work with me.
Being forced by the situation to evaluate my own actions were I similarly-plighted, I'd say the "let your child sleep in the missile base loaded with toxins including, but not limited to asbestos, lead, PCB's, kerosene, all manner of carcinogens, etc..." plan would be at the very bottom of my list.
The very bottom.
Right below the "let your child freeze to death outside" plan.
Screwed up, I tell you.
That's a set of images I wish I could erase.

On a lighter note, our ride, parked alone at a nearby gas station faced up to the Sheriff's deputy's "whaddya doin' here" line of questioning with a fantastic cover story, and a trustworthy demeanor. I call that a perfect plan.
And, I'm satisfied. I went to see it one more time, and I did. I feel no desire, nor any compelling need, to ever go back.
Unless, of course, someone needs a tour guide.
Oh, yeah, and I still need pictures...


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