Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Not dead yet but close!

I keep falling off the blog-train.  Sorry about that.  We had two stops left before arriving home.  The first was Petrified Forest-Painted Desert National Park.  It was pretty cool.  There is a road through the park with stops where there are lookouts and some short walks.  You go into one park and exit from the other!  We started with Petrified Forest and sure enough there is petrified wood.
We went through the gift shop and actually bought a couple hats since we had stupidly left ours in the trailer.  The rest room had a sign I've never seen before!
We had a fairly cloudy day so it was really quite pleasant.  The views are amazing.  The rock layers, the way they are eroded, it's just really cool. 
At one stop you are above this canyon; maybe 50-60 feet above the floor where there are rocks that ancient people used to tell their stories.  Real petroglyphs just being there does something to me.
The rocks are quite a distance but that's why they can just sit there as they have for so long and people aren't defacing them.  That was pretty cool. 

After all this we needed one last stop to drain our tanks so we decided to try the Oasis Las Vvegas RV Resort.  This is definitely NOT the kind of place we usually stay but thought we might give it a try.  First it is huge - over 700 spaces!  It was also kind of expensive but not outrageous.  They had lots of rules of course and wifi was $6 a day extra.  This is Vegas after all.  Would we stay there again?  Yes, I guess, but only because it is really convenient for us. 

So what's been happening in the last month?  Lots of not much but one kind of interesting thing.  I got appointed to represent Pahrump on the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board.  It sounds like typical government speak and it pretty much is just that.  Part of the desert north of Las Vegas was used to test nuclear weapons from the 1950's to the 1990's.  Everyone just calls it the 'Test Site'.  There are other sites around the country where nuclear weapons were made or stored.  Each site has a board of 15-20 people from the surrounding area to advise the Dept. of Energy on what people are going to think about things they are doing on that site.  (I'm still confused about how this became a Dept. of Energy site but maybe it will become clear sometime.)  It's pretty easy stuff:  go to a meeting once a month or so, read up on what's going on and tell them if anything stands out as really stupid. 

These days the Test Site is still used for testing that doesn't include actually setting off a bomb; they call it 'subcritical' testing.  The scientists have plenty of room to play and security is pretty tight.  They also have a bunch of cars, trucks and planes lying around that are used to train first-responders on what to do if there is, for example, a guy with a bomb on a plane.  They are trained to find the bomb and how to deal with it safely.  More than 150,000 people have gone through this course.  I thought that was pretty cool.  They also have what is basically a garbage dump for low-level nuclear waste.  When they say 'low level' they mean it.  Trucks bring stuff from other DOE sites, like Oak Ridge, TN.  The radioactivity level is so low that the drivers don't need any safety gear.  They have a dosimeter but that's it.  The trash, and a lot of it is just that, is in barrels or even containers like you would see on a ship.  It is stacked carefully in a huge hole then when the hole is getting full it is covered over with dirt.  The one thing they don't allow is any liquid waste. 

Personlly we are now getting set for winter.  This morning is the first morning I've seen ice on the bird bath - about a quarter inch.  The desert still looks pretty much the same but we'll have snow on the mountains soon.  Those neighbors who love to decorate for Christmas should be starting soon.  I'm just going to say "Bah, humbug!"  But I'll try to blog before then!  Take care & thanks for stopping by.

No comments: