Helong from Space

A while I wrote a blog piece about how I like to explore old buildings and such.  Well one of my favorite fantasies is to find an old abandoned military base to explore.  Something left over from the 50s would be ideal.  The other day I was fooling around with Google earth and found a place to match my fantasy.  The only drawback is that it appears to be occupied.  Which in itself is fascinating once you see where this place is located.

My search started out innocently enough by looking at a satellite view of Gerlach Nevada. I have been there several times to visit the Black Rock desert.  No not Burning Man, but Balls.  Look it up if you’re wondering.  Anyway, I was curious about what lies beyond the Black Rock desert.  This place is unquestioningly one of the least hospitable places on the planet. Located about 60 miles north of Reno Nevada the terrain is not only rugged, but nearly vegetation free.  The soil is not unlike dry wall, and in fact a lot of the gypsum is mined near there.  It gets very little rain and a lot of the free standing water is too alkaline to drink. Anyway, I was poking around the map, following roads and train tracks and ran across this.

2 mile scale

2 mile scale

Something about how orderly the lines were that caught my attention.  Plus the place is just on the other side of Pyramid Lake.  It is a beautiful lake, cold and harsh with dead nothing all around it. The lake reminds me a lot of where Charleston Hesston and crew landed in the origin al Planet of the Apes.


When I zoomed in I started to notice that the town/compound/base was huge.  Looks like about 10 x 20 miles in area.  Which is strange enough until you start to realize that this is all out in the middle of f*ing nowhere.


2000 foot scale

2000 foot scale

I zoomed in some more and started to realize exactly what was making up these square box like patterns.  I have seen these before. When I was in Maryland at the ordinance school, in Alabama at the chemical munition school, at Travis AFB near the firing range, and when I was in Egypt.  They are covered and buried storage bunkers.

500 foot

500 foot

You can see a road and an entrance into the bunker in this photo.  These bunkers look to be pretty standard, and yes they are big.  The ones I have visited had doors that were at least fifteen feet high and twenty wide double doors.  Heavy steel with multiple latches and locks.  Inside they are a concrete cave with a round ceiling.  Some have vents which are usually located in the sides and are ducted with concrete ducts to the outside.  Welded steel bars cover the air vents, if they have any.

Up close to bunker

Up close to bunker

I noticed that this place has quite a few bunkers.  Each group or square has one hundred bunkers and there are eight squares. Wow, how I would love to be free to explore all 800 bunkers.  I wonder what is inside.  I am sure that some have munitions inside, or maybe bulk explosives.  But also a number of these probably have more mundane stuff like old axle grease, and maybe a bunker full of old mattresses.   But I can dream of one bunker that may be full of old scientific equipment used for testing atomic bomb parts.  Or an attempt at making a vacuum tube computer from the 40s.

Oh and upon further inspection I found where tanks go to die.


Anyway, take a look on Google Earth and explore this interesting base.  It appears to be a military munitions dump and a federal prison.  I bet all kinds of interesting things happen there.  Probably some that we are not supposed to know.

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