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Published: March 23rd 2008
Obfuscator writes: This will be a rather short entry, since this was a largely driving sort of day. We left our motel in Pecos, and headed for a site fairly nearby that we had only just heard of, thanks to the motel's website. East of Pecos, near the town of Pyote, is an abandoned WWII airfield, nicknamed Rattlesnake Bomber Base. Rattlesnake was one of the major bomber crew training sites of the war, and had three huge runways and pretty extensive facilities. Like much of the war infrastructure, it became useless and expensive to maintain after the war, and so was decommissioned in the 50s. Now much of it is a juvenile corrections facility. There are a few structures still standing that can be accessed though, with a relatively minimal amount of trespassing, including the skeleton of one of the hangers.
We hiked a little ways out from the actual road, until we hit an old hardball road, which was quite a bit easier to walk on than the less even ground, and we figured that in case any of the namesake rattlesnakes were around, they'd be easier to spot on the hardball. After a ways walking on that, we
came to the first structure, what may have been a old powerhouse, or perhaps a guard house. It was small, and didn't have much to see, but we continued on. You pass a big concrete truck loading dock, and then after that, you start to see the foundations of all the old buildings.
The other structures were bigger, but not a whole lot more interesting. We found a couple of owls in one of them, and another seemed to have been a communications building, or something, since all the doors seemed to be of a vault type . . . heavy and secure. The only one of them that's particularly neat is the skeleton of the hanger, which actually still has its external ladders in place. I climbed up on top of it and surveyed what I could of the area, which really wasn't much. There are also some fading murals on the hanger walls. It's kind of neat though, since the parts that remain are the ones where the big hanger doors attached and slid into the recessed walls.
The runway stretches on for a long time. Aside from all the plants growing out of it, it
actually seems to be in decent shape. There are some oddly painted lines on it though, that made us wonder if it saw use as a racetrack after the war. Out on the runway, we did find something that I think made both of us think “IED!” A small white package with what could be wires protruding from it? On closer investigation, it was the sensor package from an NOAA Weather Balloon. It had instructions on how to send it back to them for study, so we took it with us.
We hiked back out and drove on to Odessa, where we stopped briefly at the Odessa Meteor Crater. The crater is big in terms of land area, but it's not terribly impressive to look at, because it's almost entirely filled in with dirt. You can barely even tell there's a crater there. There's a nice, short little museum about meteors though, and all of it is free.
We continued north until we got to Amarillo, not even stopping for the Texas Tech stadium in Lubbock. Since it was St. Patrick's Day, we went out to get streak and some drinks. We had heard good things about the
Big Texan Steakery in Amarillo, so we went there. I don't think either of us put the trust in the servers or cooks that we should have. When I cut into my medium steak, it looked more medium rare. When Onaxthiel cut into his medium rare, it looked more medium. Not caring too much, we traded. By the end of the meal, I had found that the steak I thought was medium, actually was probably almost entirely medium rare to rare, except for the little part Onaxthiel cut into. He had found that the stake I thought was medium rare, was in fact, almost fully medium. Oops.
Back to the motel room so we could upload and browse the internet for the night.
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