Vacation Time

Copyright 2007-2010, Scott D. Murdock
19 Aug 2010 - Added additional photos.

I've had lots of business trips lately, and a couple of brief personal getaways last year.  But it had been way too long since I had a week-long road trip vacation.  The primary objective was to spend a couple days visiting my dad in Iowa, and I chose a route that would take two days to get there, and three days to return.

Saturday, 10 Mar 2007

Our only military history tourist stop on this day was Fort Scott, Kansas, 37-50-36, 94-42-18.  This historic fort, in eastern Kansas, is open as a park and has numerous reconstructed buildings.

We made it as far as Olathe, Kansas, where we stopped for the night.

Sunday, 11 Mar 2007

We started with some gloomy weather, but managed to have a fun day of travel. 

Only slightly out of our path, we found Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Kansas, WMMC, 38-55-00, 95-01-00.  This plant was recently inactivated by the Army and is now under a contractor's control, possibly for environmental cleanup.  From the main gate, we could see some administrative buildings and a curious row of four elevated water storage tanks.

Next on our list were some Atlas F missile sites in Nebraska.  These were in the area around the former Lincoln AFB, and were operational in the early 1960s.  First we found Lincoln AF Missile Site #5, gated but with the security gate visible in the distance.

Then we located Lincoln AF Missile Site #2. It was also gated, with a Quonset hut visible in the distance. 

Purely by chance, I noticed a familiar Butler building down and across the road from the missile site.  This was Lincoln AF Missile Site #2 Water System Annex, and there were two wells about a quarter of a mile apart.

We were pleased to find that Lincoln AF Missile Site #1 had open access since it is a business, Eastern Nebraska Auto Recyclers.  The gentleman in charge kindly allowed us to look around and take photos.  One of the two silo doors is open, and we could see that much of the silo interior is filled with old tires.  The distinctive personnel entryway still stands, as does the site entrance gate.

Our stopping place for the night was Offutt AFB, Nebraska, SGBP.  We stayed in lodging for two nights.  (It would have been three, but my reservation was input incorrectly, a day earlier than was requested and approved.  Oh well, I've stayed at Offutt several times and this is the first glitch in service -- usually they get it exactly right.)

Monday, 12 Mar 2007

This was a day of fun and exploration with my dad, who lives in Glenwood, Iowa.  There was no military "stuff" on the agenda, but it just so happens that dad lives a couple miles from Glenwood Communications Site GWEN 850, JAGM, so we happened to pass right by it.  The main tower, shelter, portable equipment shelters, and small self-supporting tower were still in place at the inactive site

Tuesday was also a family day, and we spent the night at a motel in Glenwood, Iowa.

Wednesday, 14 Mar 2007

Our path took us past several former Minuteman II sites in Missouri.  We paused to look at a few.

Whiteman AF Missile Site N-01, YWJE, 38-58-14, 93-53-31. Behind the open gate, the launch control building and a hardened antenna were visible.

Whiteman AF Missile Site A-07, YWJG, 38-59-46, 93-40-52. The access road was visible from the gate.

Whiteman AF Missile Site A-05, YWJE, 38-58-25, 93-27-37. The site gate was visible from the gate at the public road.

Whiteman AF Missile Site B-01, YWJM, 38-55-38, 93-12-42. The launch control building and the security gate were visible from the access road.

Our overnight stop was Scott AFB, Illinois, 1296, VDYD.  After settling in to our room, we met the legendary Mark Morgan for dinner.  It's always a pleasure to visit with Mark, and this time was no exception. 

Thursday, 15 Mar 2007

This was an overcast day, but we had fun.  First stop was the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.  We spent a couple hours exploring the site, and I had some mentoring in archaeology. 

Nike Site SL-60C, Missouri, is home to a business, and they have constructed several buildings on the site.  A few of the old Army buildings remain, including the gate guard shack and the pad from one of the radar towers.  After checking in at the office, we were given a quick tour of the property.

Nike Site SL-60L, also in Missouri, is now the property of a school, and is used for school bus parking and maintenance.  We first stopped at the school office, located in a newer building next to but not on the former Nike property.  The principal kindly asked the transportation supervisor to give us access to the Nike buildings, and after we spoke with him he gave us the run of the place.  Quite a few original buildings were still standing, being used by the school system. This site had three underground magazines, and two of them had the original doors.  The warheading building and various blast plates, entryways, hatches, and vents sit ignored among parked school buses.

Since we were so close and were doing good with time, we took a detour to visit the Vichy Gap Filler Annex, Missouri, 38-08-08, 91-46-24.  I had seen it before but took a few photos anyway.  Not many vintage gap fillers have the radome still installed, and this is the first one I've personally seen atop the tower.

The gap filler is on the grounds of the former Vichy Army Air Field, 38-07-30, 91-46-30. In addition to the 184-foot demountable hangar, a few buildings still remained from W.W.II. The FBO manager allowed me out on the ramp to get a photo of the hangar.

We ended our day in Lebanon, Missouri.

Friday, 16 Mar 2007

This was a light day.  Sleep in, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, and drive home.  Total distance in seven days was 2,175 miles.

The next morning brought bad news.  An early morning telephone call informed me that my little brother Eric had died overnight.  He had a stroke in his sleep and never woke up.  He was 43.

A memorial service -- right back in Glenwood, Iowa, was set for Saturday March 24.  I left work early on Friday the 23rd, and spent the night in Sabetha, Kansas, arriving just in time for the service.  I spent Saturday night on Offutt AFB.  I allowed two days for the drive home, to have some quiet time for contemplation and see some missile sites at the same time. 

Sunday, 25 Mar 2007

Eric always enjoyed my trip reports, and was himself an enthusiastic visitor of civil war battlefields and forts.  So I imagined him with me in spirit as I worked my way south, spending a lot of time bouncing along on hilly, muddy, bumpy, dirt section roads.  This day was for Eric.  I think he would have enjoyed the drive.  The following are all located in Kansas.

Forbes AF Missile Site #1 (548-1). I had a view of the access road from the gate.

Forbes AF Missile Site #8 (548-8). From the gate, not much of the site was visible except a ventilation hood.

Forbes AF Missile Site #7 (548-7). Nothing was visible from the closed gate except the access road.

Forbes AF Missile Site #6 (548-6). From the gate and sign, the added turrets were visible at the site.

McConnell AF Missile Site #1 Water System Annex, 37-59-02, 96-55-55. The water system building still stands in the fenced comound.

McConnell AF Missile Site #1 (533-1), 7425, PRQS, 37-58-55, 97-00-04.  I observed two azimuth marker posts, one north and one northwest of the former silo.

McConnell AF Missile Site #4 Water System Annex, 37-41-56, 96-39-39. The building still stands in the fenced, gated compound.

McConnell AF Missile Site #4 (533-4), 7428, PRQV, 37-39-42, 96-39-25. Only the access road was visible from the gate.

McConnell AF Missile Site #5 Water System Annex, 37-37-05, 96-46-19. The building stands, inside the fenced compound.

McConnell AF Missile Site #5 (533-5), 7994, PRQW, 37-34-16, 96-46-27. At this site, two concrete pads were visible from the access road.

McConnell AF Missile Site #6 (533-6), 7900, PRQX, 37-30-06, 96-54-12. Only the access road was visible from the entry gate at this site.

McConnell AF Missile Site #6 Water System Annex, 37-29-09, 96-55-04. I only had a distant view of the general area.

Winfield Gap Filler Annex, 37-12-48, 96-57-00. This small radar site was hidden away behind a gate.

This was a long day.  600 miles in 12.5 hours.  I hope you enjoyed the ride, my brother.  I spent the night in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Monday was a straightforward cruise home, with no tourist stops.