The Road to Reno

Copyright 2016, Scott D. Murdock


A couple of years ago I planned an extensive driving trip out west, structured around attending a historical conference in Reno. The trip had to be cancelled, but I set the plan on the shelf for future use. Two years later, I dusted off the plan and hit the road.

Thursday, 28 Apr 2016

Strictly a travel day added at the last minute, I drove 159 miles from Denver to Laramie, Wyoming, in order to get out of the path of winter storms bearing down on Denver and Cheyenne. That's not a typo -- blizzards occur during late April in this part of the country!

Friday, 29 Apr 2016

I drove through light snow most of the day; when I crossed into Utah the sky cleared. In Ogden, I made a brief drive-on of the former Clearfield Naval Supply Depot UT but found it crowded with few places to park and lots of truck traffic. I'll get back for photos another time.

Hill AFB UT  (1740, KRSM)  41-07-20, 111-58-50  My only stop on the base (aside from the mandatory B.X. visit) was the Hill Aerospace Museum. I had scouted the outdoor exhibits on a previous visit but this time I toured the inside.
(Outdoor display aircraft)

From Hill AFB, I drove just a few more miles to my hotel in Ogden. This was a 10-hour day covering 412 miles.

Saturday, 30 Apr 2016

I hit the road at 0700, making one stop in Ogden before heading into Idaho.

Utah Army Depot UT  (49855, XQVA)  41-15-45, 111-59-50  This U.S. Army supply depot was built during WWII and served until 1997, when it was closed as a result of the 1995 BRAC. Over the years it was known by many names: Utah Quartermaster Depot, Utah Army Service Forces Depot, Utah General Distribution Depot, Utah General Depot, Utah Army Depot, Defense Depot Ogden, and Defense Distribution Depot Ogden. The Army tends to go overboard with name changes for its depots.
(Warehouse 5X)
(Warehouse 6C)
(Warehouse 7A)
(Warehouses 11A and 12A)
(Warehouse 13A)
(Warehouses 13A, 14A, and 15A)
(Warehouse 15A)
(Warehouse 16A)
(Elevated water storage tank)

Minidoka Japanese Relocation Center ID  42-40-43, 114-14-35  Locally known as Hunt Camp, this was one of several relocation centers (prisons, really) that housed Americans of Japanese ancestry during WWII. It has recently been taken over by the National Park Service as the Minidoka National Historic Site.
(General view)
(General view)
(Replica guard tower)
(Replica perimeter fence)
(Military police (L) and reception (R) buildings)
(Mess hall (L) and barrack (R))
(Refrigerated warehouse)
(Lavatory)
(Warehouse)
(Steward's storage warehouse)
(Motor repair and tire shop)
(Fire station)
(Root cellar)

Gowen Field ID  (7527, BXRH)  43-33-50, 116-13-40  The Boise Municipal Airport was renamed Gowen Field in 1941 and served 2AF during WWII. It was improved under the Defense Landing Areas for National Defense (DLAND) program. It went on inactive status in 1946, but military use by the ANG resumed in the mid 1950s. Also in the mid 1950s, the civilian side of the airport became known as Boise Air Terminal. Today, much of Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field (BOI) is still an ANG base. I did visit the Idaho Military History Museum, which is on former Gowen Field property.
(Museum building)
(Display aircraft)

I found the former Wilder Radar Bomb Scoring Site ID (9140, YYSG, 16913) but found it to be an active installation of the Army National Guard. My overnight destination was Caldwell, Idaho, after covering 411 miles in 9.5 hours.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

I departed Caldwell at 0645 on what would be the longest mileage day of the trip.

Seneca Communications Site GWEN 898 OR  (VHCL)  44-09-51, 119-03-35  This was a standard Ground Wave Emergency Network site with 299' tower. It began operations in approximately 1988, shut down in the late 1990s, and the property disposed of 8 Mar 2000.
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)
(Tower)
(Tower base)
(Equipment shelters)
(Equipment shelters)

Burns AFS OR  (3103, CUUM)  43-33-54, 119-09-06  This Air Defense Command radar site, also known by the designation M-118 (later Z-118) was activated in 1955. It was inactivated in 1970.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)

Christmas Valley Radar Site OR  (DRSY)  43-16-30, 120-22-40  This was the west coast transmitter site in the Over-the-Horizon Backscatter (OTH-B) radar network. The USAF accepted the system in 1990, and by 1992 it was placed in caretaker status. It was inactivated on 1 Oct 1997. It had three, nearly identical sectors allowing a wide range of coverage over the Pacific Ocean.

Sector 4
(General view)

Sector 5
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Sign frame)
(Transmitter building)
(Transmitter building)
(Transmitter building)
(Water storage tank)
(Electric substation)
(Fence)

Sector 6
(General view)

Alkali Lake Flight Strip OR  43-05-10, 119-58-31  This flight strip was used by 2AF during WWII as an auxiliary field. Although it doesn't see much use, it is still functions as Alkali Lake State Airport (R03).
(View from access road)
(Sign)
(Parking area with aircraft tie down point)
(General view)

I settled into Lakeview, Oregon, for the night. This was a 10.5-hour day covering 493 miles.

Monday, 2 May 2016

I cleared out of Lakeview at 0700, looking forward to seeing more of Oregon before dipping south into California.

Klamath Falls Communications Site GWEN 887 OR  (MFWS)  42-17-19, 121-40-14  Another typical Ground Wave Emergency Network site with 299' tower, it was activated in the late 1980s and shut down in the late 1990s. It was disposed of 8 Mar 2000.
(General view)
(Gate)
(Antenna tower)
(Antenna tower base)
(Equipment shelters)
(Equipment shelters)

Kingsley Field OR  (3345, MFWM)  42-09-45, 121-44-20  Early in WWII the Klamath Falls Airfield was listed as an AAF station, but in late 1943 construction began to make this Naval Air Station Klamath Falls. It served until late 1945 and was disposed of in 1946. A decade later, Klamath Falls Municipal Airport was activated by the Air Force for Air Defense Command. In 1957 it was renamed Kingsley Field. It was transferred to TAC in 1979, and then to the ANG in the mid 1980s. Much of the former base continues to serve with the ANG today (I stocked up on water and snacks at their small B.X.!), with part of the former airfield functioning as Klamath Falls Airport (LMT).
(WWII-era aircraft hangar)
(ADC fighter-interceptor alert hangar)

Siskiyou County Airport CA  (8822, VSWP)  41-46-50, 122-28-15  This airport served as a sub-base to Hamilton Field and Chico AAFld during WWII, and was declared surplus in late 1944. In 1962 the Air Force leased some land and acquired joint use of the runway. On 1 Jan 1963 the Siskiyou County Airport was activated under Air Defense Command. It served until 1 Jul 1971, and was disposed of in 1972. It still serves the community as Siskiyou County Airport (SIY). Two of the four alert aircraft shelters (hangars) still stand.

Flight Line Area
(Sentry house)
(Sentry house)
(Sentry house)
(Aircraft maintenance hangar)
(Aircraft maintenance hangar)
(Aircraft maintenance hangar)
(Aircraft maintenance hangar)
(Aircraft maintenance hangar)
(Facility 217, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 217, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 217, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 217, alert aircraft shelter detail)
(Facility 217, alert aircraft shelter, view from rear)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter detail)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter detail)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter detail)
(Facility 219, alert aircraft shelter, view from rear)
(Facility 221, Power plant)
(Facility 221, Power plant)
(Facility 221, Power plant)
(Facility 221, Power plant)
(Alert aircraft shelter foundation with non-historic structure)
(Alert aircraft shelter foundation with non-historic structure)

Weapon Storage Area
(General view)
(Facility 400, Security guard house)
(Facility 400, Security guard house)
(Facility 400, Security guard house and gate)
(Facility 409, Assembly and checkout building)
(Facility 409, Assembly and checkout building)
(Facility 409, Assembly and checkout building)
(Facility 411, Storage igloo)
(Facility 411, Storage igloo)
(Facility 411, Storage igloo)
(Building)

Support Area
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Readiness crew composite facility)
(Facility 200)
(Facility 3025)
(Facility 3025)
(Building [1])
(Building [1])
(Building [2])
(Building [2])
(Building [3])

This was a short day -- 245 miles in 7.5 hours -- and I stopped for the night in Yreka, California.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Another 0700 start time, and another nice day for travel. I really lucked out with good weather on this trip!

Tulelake POW Camp CA  41-58-04, 121-34-03  This small property was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as camp FW5-3. During WWII it became the Army's Tulelake Prisoner of War Camp, housing military prisoners of war. It also served briefly as an adjunct to the nearby Tulelake Japanese Reception Center, housing American citizens of Japanese ancestry, under the name Camp Tulelake. Now it is part of the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
(General view)
(Signs)
(Kitchen/mess hall)
(Kitchen/mess hall)
(Barracks)
(Barracks)
(Workshops)
(Workshops)
(Paint shop)
(Paint shop)

Tulelake Japanese Reception Center CA  41-53-20, 121-21-45  This large property, covering over 3,500 acres, was a major Japanese Relocation (at first) and Segregation Center (converted in 1943) during WWII. The small Tulelake Municipal Airport (081) now sits on the former segregation center property. Now part of the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the National Park Service describes this as the "largest and most controversial" of the 10 War Relocation Authority camps.
(General view)
(Signs)
(Monument)
(Building under protective shelter)
(Building under protective shelter)

Tulelake Radar Site CA  (XHSR)  41-42-45, 121-10-15  This was the receiver site of the west coast Over-the-Horizon Backscatter (OTH-B) radar network. It was activated as an installation 23 Jun 1987, and the Air Force accepted control of the system in Dec 1990. It was reduced to caretaker status in 1992, and inactivated 1 Nov 1997. It consisted of three, nearly identical sectors that provided a wide view of radar coverage over the Pacific Ocean.

Sector 4
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building)
(Entrance walkway)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Water storage tank)
(Vehicle garage)
(Vehicle garage)
(Microwave antenna detail)

Sector 5
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Sign)
(Receiver building)
(Water storage tank)
(Receiver building (L) and water storage tank (R))
(Fence detail)
(Rock jack fence support)

Sector 6
(General view)
(General view)
(Gate)
(Sign)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building)
(Receiver building detail)
(Receiver building detail)
(Receiver building detail)
(Water storage tank)
(Water storage tank detail)
(Water storage tank detail)
(Water storage tank (L) and receiver building (R))
(Receiver building (L) and water storage tank (R))
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Equipment)
(Security lighting)

After seeing those sights in northeast California, I headed into Nevada. This was another fairly short day, 389 miles in 9.25 hours. Reno would be my destination for two nights.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

I was delighted to sleep in after 5 1/2 days on the road. Close to lunch time, I drove the short distance to the airport and met Debbie at arrivals. She couldn't make the whole trip, but flew out so we could spend the last few days together driving back to Denver.

Stead AFB NV  (2562, WFUB)  39-40-00, 119-52-45  This is now the Reno/Stead Airport (RTS). Reno Army Air Base served the AAF during WWII, and was inactivated 20 Oct 1945. Disposal efforts were underway when the War Asset Administration transferred the base back to the Air Force on 18 Feb 1949. It was redesignated Stead Air Force Base on 1 Aug 1951, and was inactivated 15 Jun 1966.
(SAGE Direction Center DC-16)
(Facility 3702, Security guard house)
(Facility 3702, Security guard house)

A very restful day, we only put 37 miles on the Outback.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

At 0730 this was the latest start time of the trip. But that's okay, we enjoyed a nice breakfast before checking out.

Winnemucca AFS NV  (3310)  41-00-40, 117-46-03  This Air Defense Command radar site, known as M-127 (later, Z-127) was activated 3 Feb 1956 and served until inactivation on 1 Apr 1968.
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(General view)
(Operations building)
(Operations building)
(Operations building)
(Operations building)
(Operations building)
(Operations building showing metal addition)
(Operations building showing metal addition)
(Height finder radar tower)
(Height finder radar tower)
(Height finder tower (background) and height finder tower foundation (foreground)
(Search radar tower)
(Search radar tower and operations building)
(Search radar tower (L) and height finder tower (R background) and height finder tower foundation (L foreground)
(Ground-air transmitter/receiver (GATR) building)
(GATR building)
(GATR building)
(Operations building and search radar tower)
(Operations building and height finder radar tower)
(Metal hut [1])
(Metal hut [1])
(Metal hut [1])
(Metal hut [2], height finder radar tower in background)
(Power plant)
(Power plant)
(Power plant and fuel tanks)
(Fuel tanks, GATR building in background)
(Water storage tank)
(Water storage tank)

Winnemucca Housing Annex NV  (5718)  40-59-26, 117-44-25  This housing and support area was downhill from the radar site it supported.
(Building [1])
(Building [1])
(Building [1])
(Building [1])
(Building [2])
(Building [3])
(Building [4])
(Building [5])
(Metal hut [1])
(Metal hut [1])
(Metal hut [2])
(Metal hut [2])
(Metal hut [3])
(Metal hut [4])
(Metal hut [5])
(Metal hut [6])
(Metal hut [6])
(Metal hut [6])
(Metal hut [7])
(Metal hut [7])

Wendover AFB UT  (2090, YSGM)  40-43-30, 114-01-50  Now known as Wendover Airport (ENV), this airfield had its start as a Department of Commerce intermediate field in the 1930s. By Jun 1941 it was serving the AAC, under Fort Douglas. It was transferred under Hill Field in 1942. It was redesignated Wendover Air Force Base in 1948, then inactivated and redesignated Wendover Air Force Auxiliary Field in 1958. It was inactivated on 15 Aug 1961, and most of it was disposed of. A portion of the cantonment area remains under Air Force control as Wendover Communications Facility Annex UT. On my first visit to Wendover in 2008, I focused my attention on the flight line and munitions storage area, because I was provided an escort on the former and the keys to the latter. See my Wendover trip report for those photos. This time, we thoroughly toured the support and cantonment areas using the helpful Self-Guided Driving Tour Map and Brochure available at the Historic Wendover Airfield & Museum.
(Operations building and control tower)
(Operations building and control tower)
(Operations building and control tower)
(Operations building and control tower)
(Operations building and control tower)
(B-29 "Enola Gay" hangar)
(B-29 "Enola Gay" hangar)
(B-29 "Enola Gay" hangar)
(Squadron hangar [1])
(Squadron hangar [1])
(Squadron hangar [1])
(Squadron hangar [2])
(Squadron hangar [2])
(Squadron hangar [3])
(Squadron hangar [3])
(Squadron hangar [4])
(Base headquarters building)
(Squadron administration building [1])
(Squadron administration building [1])
(Squadron administration building [2])
(Squadron administration building [2])
(Squadron administration building [3])
(Squadron administration building [3])
(Armament and inspection building)
(Armament and inspection building)
(Bomb trainer building)
(Bomb trainer building)
(Link trainer building)
(Link trainer building)
(Celestial navigation training building foundation)
(Celestial navigation training building foundation)
(Celestial navigation training building foundation)
(Celestial navigation training building foundation)
(Celestial navigation training building foundation)
(Norden bomb sight storage and maintenance building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(First/small Norden bomb sight storage building)
(Fire station and guard house)
(Fire station and guard house (L) and first Norden bomb sight storage building (R))
(Chapel)
(Chapel)
(Chapel)
(Building [1])
(Building [2])
(Building [3])
(Warehouse [1])
(Warehouse [1])
(Warehouse [2])
(Warehouse [2])
(Warehouse [3])
(Warehouse [3])
(Hospital area buildings)
(Hospital area buildings)
(Hospital area buildings)
(Hospital area buildings)
(Noncommissioned officers' open mess)
(Noncommissioned officers' open mess)
(Airmen's dining hall and barracks)
(Airmen's dining hall and barracks)
(Officers' open mess)
(Officers' open mess)
(Officers' open mess)
(Swimming pool and bath house)
(Swimming pool and bath house)
(Swimming pool and bath house)
(Barracks)
(Barracks)
(Commissary)
(Ice house)
(Ice house)
(Power plant [1])
(Power plant [1])
(Power plant [2])
(Power plant [2])
(Power plant [2])
(Morgue)
(Morgue)
(Recreation hall foundation and chimney)
(Water storage tank)
(Water storage tank)

Our lodging from the night was in Wendover, just a couple of miles from the airfield. We covered 434 miles in 10.5 hours.

Friday, 6 May 2016

We didn't stop for any military history as we crossed Utah into Wyoming. But we did visit the Bonneville salt flats, finding to our disappointment that the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway was flooded over with water. We paused in Evanston, Wyoming, to photograph the Carnegie library before stopping for the night in Rock Springs. This was a leisurely driving day, only 321 miles in 8 hours.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Another 8-hour day, covering the final 365 miles from Rock Springs to Denver. The entire trip was 3,266 miles.


GO TO TRIP REPORTS PAGE


GO TO MAIN PAGE