We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and left for New Mexico a little after 5:00am. It's about a 5 hour drive, but also have to account for adding an additional hour for the change in time zone.
Getting ready to hit the road
We drove into the town of Douglas for fuel, snacks, and to pickup Emmalee's wallet that she left at her Mom's house. I think Emmalee does these things to make me drive through Douglas. I HATE driving through Douglas. Think of all the worse driving habits that just irritate the crap out of you and then pass them onto all the driver's in small town. Anyway, we survived and got on the road. Emmalee got this pretty good shot of sunrise over Douglas.
We headed northeast, and I was keeping my eyes open as this time of day is when deer like to move to go feed. Sure enough, Emmalee tells me, "Dad, you better slow down". A small herd of deer were crossing the road about 100 yards ahead of us. They were being lead by two bucks. I kept my eye open for the stragglers...they like to suddenly cross the road when you think it's clear. No problem today.
A small herd of deer in the San Bernardino Valley northeast of Douglas, AZ
With no further incidents, we made it to New Mexico.
We went eastbound on I-10 to Deming, NM, and then took the cutoff towards Hatch and I-25. I saw this "Muffler Man" in Hatch and had to get a picture of him threatening to drop a model RV onto my car.
A couple of stops for gas, and then we went eastbound on Highway 380 towards the Stallion Gate, which is the only access to Trinity when it's open to the public. I've read reviews where folks get there 2 hours before the gate is opened so then can get in early. I don't know why the rush...the site isn't going to change?!?!?! As we were on 380, we saw lots of folks going westbound - the early birds was my guess.
I saw this sign a couple of miles in on highway 380. Only in America do you build a highway across an active missile test area. Ought to make some pretty interesting stories to tell, if one survives!
We finally made it to the Trinity site. Folks, there just isn't a whole lot to see here. Ground Zero, pictures posted on the perimeter fence, an old bunker that isn't used anymore, the cement where one of the tower legs survived the blast, etc. There are even shuttle buses that take us visitors the two miles to the McDonald Ranch House where the plutonium components for the bomb were assembled before it was take to site to be detonated. I like history, so it was very interesting to me. No rides, no interactive media, and no guided tours. You're on your own for this one.
I think I finally found a name for my car other than "the Mustang"
Should we be nervous here?
Ground Zero - the bomb was suspended in a tower about 100 feet above this spot.
The cement footing for one of the tower legs. I have been here before and I could swear there was actually part of the leg protruding above the ground.
An overview of Ground Zero area. As you can see, radiation creates some seriously mutated creatures. Look at the one in the green hat!
I present to you....the BOMB!
Emmalee holding a piece of Trinitite. Trinitite is the sand that was melted to a glass-like substance and turned green when the bomb exploded. It is still radioactive. You can see visitors walking around trying to find some of it laying around, but you are not allowed to remove it from the area. I told Emmalee that after today's visit, we won't have to turn on lights in the house for a few weeks as our bodies will be enough to illuminate a dark room. She didn't believe me.
At the MacDonald Ranch house, which is located about 2 miles from Ground Zero. This is the room where the components were put together to prepare the bomb for detonation.
When the bomb detonated, the shockwave blew out the windows in the main house, and caved in part of the roof on the barn. This picture of the barn shows one of the beams bent downward from the force of the blast. This is located approximately two miles from the blast site.
I had a "Kelly moment". I took a picture of people taking pictures of my car. This guy is posing in front while holding a small child. These weren't the only folks we saw doing this, but we got a good laugh out of it.
We'll head back home in the morning. It was a good trip with no problems at all. The weather was nice, the folks were friendly, and Emmalee and I got to spend a couple of days together talking, laughing, and making fun of each other. We finished our day at Denny's in Truth or Consequences, NM having a milkshake and a smoothie.