High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Growth of a House

I noticed this house in Antonito, CO, on my way south to the Trinity Site on April 4. Not pressed for time, I turned out that street and photographed it. The house appears to have grown room by room, layer by layer, and theres a tower out back! Perspective in the photo has been controlled, but the tower is unstraight.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Trinity Site, New Mexico

This is the Trinity Site in New Mexico, east and a little south of Socorro, which in turn is south of Albuquerque. At this place, on July 16, 1945, the first atom bomb was tested.

I drove down there on Friday, April 4, 2008, stayed in Socorro, and visited the site the next morning. I regret the use of atom bombs, but this is a historical site and the testing process was fascinating. I'm glad to have visited. The Trinity Site, on the extensive grounds of the White Sands Missile Range, is only open two days each year. Next is the first Saturday in October.

The marker was the place of the actual blast, now 62 years ago. Note that the area is still dish-shaped.

Another view of the marker at the blast site.

After the explosion, Trinity Site was covered with "trinitite," a greenish glass formed from melted desert sand. Most has been scraped up and buried. What remains is inside this shed. It used to be visible through the opening that's visible. But the trinitite got covered by sand and isn't visible, so the window was closed.

This is a casing from a "Fat Man" type atomic bomb. There were over a hundred of these stockpiled once, around the beginning of the "cold war."

This is Jumbo, made in Ohio and moved by train and truck to the Trinity Site. At one time, the scientists planned to put the atomic bomb in here, thinking that if the high explosives went off but the main bomb didn't, Jumbo would prevent radioactive material from being blown all over the area. But confidence grew in the bomb, and Jumbo was never used.

Later, it was filled with explosives and both ends were blown off. It was moved to its present location at the gate, having been rather close to where the bomb was tested. Jumbo withstood the blast, but the tower it was on was vaporized!

This is an older house immediately east of the McDonald ranch house, pictured below.

The McDonald ranch house, two miles south of the Trinity Site. In the front room, where the people are entering, is the room where the plutonium core of the bomb was assembled.

The room where the bomb core was assembled.

The McDonald ranch house. The ranch was abandoned in 1942, then used as described above in 1945. Since then it has been restored.

Here is the gate through the outer fence, and the walkway toward the blast site. It was as busy as a New York City sidewalk on this day--and will be deserted until the next open day in October.

The full parking lot. Many people were visiting. In most years on visiting day in April, the number of visitors centers around 3000. Sometimes a few hundred more. Sometimes about that many less.

The road going away from the Trinity Site, which is on a northern part of the Jornada del Muerto.

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The End of Snow

At least it looks like the end, though reversals can easily happen this time of year.... Most of the snow shown here, which is a very small sample of what we had this winter, is gone now. But it can snow up through May in the mountains. The probable root cause of it all, warmer sea temperatures, is still the case.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Joy!

There is unbounded joy in Nathrop tonight--joy without limit! I figured out how to get the Silvio into my Prius!

Now, for example, if I do that bike ride from Albany to New York City again, I'll be able to drive there in my Prius, leaving less than half the carbon dioxide (and less than half as much money) all across the country.

I still don't have a way to pack the Silvio for foreign trips.
It won't fit my Iron Case (case for conventional bikes).
I must investigate....

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ride from Buena Vista

Above is the Silvio's drive system. It's just like that of a conventional bike, except the chain starts and ends in different places.

From East Main Street in Buena Vista, Colorado Avenue goes north. After it's gone north out of town for about two miles, it dips down among trees and a few houses, and crosses the Arkansas River on the bridge shown here.