Saturday, June 16, 2012

Between the Black Hills and the Badlands~

Our adventures in South Dakota continued at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site...which is really out in the middle of nowhere-between the Black Hills and the Badlands.

This site is actually the visitor center for an area.  There are launch facilities and missile silos all over South Dakota.
We watched a film, worked on jr. ranger books, and read the plaques here.
This shows the trajectory of our missile line, as well as the missile locations in the bottom left corner.
Look closely in the left corner, you can see how the missiles are laid out.  The dark line is I-90 through SD.
The black tag is the "You are here" location of the visitor center.
After our Cold War history lesson, we drove 17 miles to a launch facility tour.
Again...out in the middle of nowhere South Dakota :)
Launch facility is on the left.
While waiting to be admitted in, we read even more about the "Invisible Warriors" of the Cold War.
The missiliers were on the front lines of the Cold War...they were ready to launch 24/7 for decades.
Because of their service, they deterred the Cold War from becoming a "real" battlefield.
Our missiles were deactivated when the START Treaty was signed in Sept. 1991.
This is what is UNDER the building above:
A picture of them burying the launch room that we toured (see photos below).
It was made of concrete without any seams, multiple feet thick.

Inside the launch facility:
The lunch room and break area.
There are pictures on the wall on the right of all the missiliers who have served here...
and we actually knew one!  Jon served with him at OTS (Officer Training School) in Montgomery, AL. :)
Heading into where the missiliers worked...under ground, in a concrete tube.
Read the blast door!  So funny :)
Our missiles could reach Russia in LESS than 30 minutes!
Two missiliers worked together in this room.  One sat in this red chair, the other sat in the back near the ranger.
They had bunks and a toilet in this small space, too!
All of these metal contraptions equal ONE computer!
Insert the Launch Key HERE
Remember the movie, War Games with Matthew Broderick?  :)

We drove up the road a couple of miles to check out 
a real missile silo!
Missile D-9
One of MANY across the northern plains

This could destroy Russia in 30 minutes!

On our way back to Ellsworth AFB, we passed a famous landmark, also out in the middle of nowhere...
Wall Drug!
I encourage you to read the history of Wall Drug.  I was so impressed to learn how this landmark and tourist stop came to be.  I love visionary stories like these, and especially the way the wife encouraged her husband's dream :)
There are Wall Drug billboards for MILES and MILES before you ever reach Wall, SD.
Downtown Wall, SD.
Wall Drug is on the left...ALL of the buildings on the left :)

Enjoying our FREE Ice Water (what made Wall Drug famous!)
And our FREE donuts for Veterans!
We spent time wandering through the shops, ice cream parlor, and touring the "Backyard".
Just what I've always wanted...a rattlesnake coffee mug :)

This T-Rex came to life every 12 minutes...
and it SCARED my kids!  :)

Love this sweet Travelers' Chapel...
we went inside and thanked God for His protection and provision
for our family during this grand adventure.

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