15 August 2010

Monsoon Skies

Not much to report lately.

Just got back from Arizona. The monsoon season is in full effect in the southwest and lends itself to some nice photos.

While in Winslow, AZ I stopped by the restored La Posada Hotel where I took my aunt to lunch at the Turquoise Dining Room.

Mmmmm... stuffed squash blossom... excellent...

The carnitas plate definitely ranks as one of my favorite meals ever.

...sunset over the San Francisco Peaks east of town at Flagstaff.

Time to start packing... headed west soon..

I'm out.

06 August 2010

The Destroyer of Worlds - Revisited

Sixty years ago today the Atomic Bomb 'Little Boy' was dropped over Hiroshima followed by 'Fat Man' over Nagasaki.

Earlier this year I visited the Trinity Site, birthplace of the Atomic Age.

My report follows:

Sixty-four years ago the Atomic Age began here in New Mexico.

After having lived here for four years I felt it was time to visit J Robert Oppenheimer and General Groves legacy.

The National Museum of Atomic History and Science here in Albuquerque sponsored a tour to visit the Trinity Site, the site of the first atomic bomb detonation.

Trinity Site is only open twice a year, the first Saturdays in April and October. It is still a top secret weapons testing facility and you would be wise to keep to the designated trails.

The trip started out at 05:45 hrs.

Our host, Milo, did a great job on bringing us up to date on the history of the bomb.

It is a two hour bus ride to Trinity Site from Albuquerque. It is a desolate trip. It is the same route you would take though to San Antonio, NM and the Buckhorn Tavern or the original Owl Bar [which the fellas from the Manhattan Project used to drive to for lunch and dinner -- oh to be a fly on that wall].

You would also take this road to reach the Lincoln National Forest to see Smokey Bear's museum and the town of Lincoln [see links to the right on both places].

As you pass Stallion Gate, the entrance to Trinity Site, your first stop will be the George McDonald Ranch House.

The house was originally built by Franz Schmidt in 1913, a year after New Mexico became a state. Later it was purchased by the McDonalds who were evicted in 1942 when the government took over the area for the Alamagordo Bombing and Gunnery Range. At the time the family had no recourse. War sucks.

When the Manhattan Project started, the government used the house to build the plutonium core, creating a 'clean room' or assembly area in the master bedroom.

There are two water holding areas outside of the house. The day before the detonation it is said the scientists went for a swim.

The house is two miles away form the blast area. It actually held up, with only the windows being blown out and the chimney collapsing.

The barn and holding pens did not fare so well.

Our next stop would be Trinity Site. The first time an atomic weapon was ever used [ok ok unless you count Sodom and Gommorah but that is debateable].

This is a replica of Fat Boy, the plutonium bomb detonated at Trinity and on Hiroshima. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki, 'Little Boy', was a uranium device.

The object below is known as 'Jumbo' the casing for the bomb tested here at Trinity.

An obelisk in the spot where the first atomic device was detonated stands as a reminder of world history, bringing both an end to World War 2 and an end to many innocent lives.

Because the Trinity Site is only open two times a year to the public you can imagine the crowds. There was just no way I could get a solitary pic of the monument marker. That's too bad; however, I thought it was cool that so many people still turn out.