Expedition 6: Sioux Army Depot
A few hundred years ago when I was in college studying to be a pilot I flew over Sidney, Nebraska as part of one of the cross country flights required to get my commercial license. I left Sidney heading for Scottsbluff when I saw the weirdest damned thing. For miles and miles there were these little bunkers. Hundreds of them were strewn in symmetrical grids all across about 70 square miles. I wondered what it was but didn't care enough to ask anyone...
Fast forward to my recent fascination with abandoned buildings...
Research showed this facility was called "Sioux Army Depot" and had been abandoned in the late 60's. I also found interesting intel that showed several large warehouses and other buildings on the base. Looked like a ripe target for a Subciety mission.
Sidney is quite a haul from where I live now, so I knew I'd need some hard-core agents to accompany me. Sub-Commanders Big E and Quad were in, as well as agent stretch. We also picked up a newbie, he hates it when we call him BamBam, but that's his nickname.
With such a long drive ahead of us I invited the boys to stay the night at Subciety Headquarters (my basement). We stayed up late watching movies and shooting the shit and crashed a little later than we should have.
The next time I plan a mission start time of 7:00am someone shoot me! It's way too early. We met BamBam at a secondary staging area and promptly decided it was time for breakfast, with no VI handy we stopped at a nearby IHOP. We ended up taking two cars in case we had a breakdown, but we all could have fit in the Subciety Command Vehicle (Sub-Commander Quad's minivan). Sub-Commander Big-E's wife relented and let us use her Kia Sportage.
Agent Stretch made a quick stop at target and picked up a couple two-way radios so we had a great time insulting one another throughout the day. If you're doing this kind of thing and you have multiple groups I recommend getting a few radios, they came in really handy a couple times.
We started out on the SE corner of the base, I was hoping to check out some large structures that showed up really well on the sat photos, they turned out to be big windowless warehouses and a few of them were open for business. Judging by the acres of train parts we guess they salvage old rail cars. We decided not to get to close as there were people about but a few of the building looked disused.
We moseyed' around a bit looking for the right roads and eventually found our selves in amongst the hundreds of igloos. They go for miles in every direction from center, all lined up in neat rows. Some of the first few we passed were padlocked so we kept going. There was a fence blocking the road at one point with a big friendly sign that said "No Hunting", well, we weren't hunting, so in we went. Once we felt certain we were out of view from the surrounding roads and buildings we picked an igloo at random.
BamBam was all gung-ho and started digging through the 12-foot pile of tumbleweeds that had built up over the door. Four or five inches of mud succumbed to yanking on the door and we were in. The igloos are pretty cool, about 50' across, dome shaped, concrete, little drainage gutter around the outside. The echoes are bizarre. The one we entered had lost its vent cover and it was obvious pigeons had been pooping down it for decades, one poor little mouse was scuttling around inside and was probably pretty wigged out by our lights and all the noise we made playing with the echoes.
Several of us tromped up to the top of our igloo and determined that they are laid out very evenly; they also appear to be a favorite target for local hillbillies, lots of bullet holes in the vent stack.
Sub Commanders Big E and Quad hoofed it over to a little concrete building that was replicated between several of the rows of igloos. It looks like it was a shelter in case of fire/explosion or whatever, windowless, a bench running down the middle. Though not as numerous as the igloos they were all over the place too. I guess if you're handling TONS of ammunition and a fire starts you need a good place to hide.
Several of the igloos to the north appeared much larger than the others so we decided to head over and see if they were any different. Upon closer inspection we realized they only looked bigger because they were sitting on hills, so they lined them all up in rows, but didn't level anything when they built them.
We had also spotted a strange black something on one of the far away igloos off to the west. A lot of the roads on the sat pictures and maps we had just don't exist anymore. A lot of the space between the rows of igloos had been plowed and are in use for agriculture. This makes it a bit tricky to find your way around, dead end after dead end. When we got to the anomalous igloo we found that someone had somehow cut off the side and attached a little roof, it was being used as a shelter for the cows.
As we cruised through the igloo fields we came up with a new Subciety motto - "Make the rookie do it!" - Poor BamBam - we had him opening gates, closing gates, digging through tumbleweeds, that kind of thing...
Once we had checked out the cutout igloo we decided to head to the SW corner of the base to inspect the warehouses and other buildings there. Each time we tried to get there from the igloo field we would come to a locked fence or menacing No Trespassing signs...Turns out we were lucky we didn't get through there, once we located a better map on site we found out the areas we had been trying to cross were "CONTAMINATED BURN AREA" or some such. Lucky us! Just another example of why you should not do this sort of thing.
Our next stop was a large cluster of warehouse buildings. Several of them are in use as Cabella's warehouses. They are well lit, fenced and have cameras installed, but several of the other warehouses in that area were either big piles of rubble or totally disused.
We entered one of these warehouses through an unlocked door. About 20% of the roof was missing, lots of angry pigeons and piles of weird shit everywhere. Camshafts for trains, warehouse storage rack pieces, gigantic electric motors. We didn't dig through it too much thinking that it might not be as abandoned as we though it was, but really, how much could they care about it if they are keeping it in a warehouse with giant holes in the roof and walls? Of course we didn't take anything.
We drove around amongst the warehouses and decided to head over to the living areas of the base. There looks to be an operating administration building for the I-80 Industrial Park, a firehouse and a few old houses that are still in use. There was a large cafeteria building, abandoned, just across the street from the admin building, but really, why break into an abandoned cafeteria when there's almost a whole military base to explore.
Off to the SE of the cafeteria was what I believe to be an active missile command center, looks just like the pictures I've seen. We also saw an active missile silo on the SE corner, but we steered very clear of both of these.
Just below the cafeteria (and not visible from the 'active' buildings on the base) there was a large brick building labeled "Gym Building" we found an open door and checked it out. It was laid out like a regular ol' school building, big gymnasium on one end with an attached kitchen, a long hallway with 7 or 8 classrooms on either side and at the end of the hallway a little office area. The fire extinguishers had last been checked in 94' and clues led us to find out that back in the early 90's they had setup a community college in the building. The basement yielded a very good map of the entire base, a few broken toilets and some old plumbing equipment.
We had seen three large metal buildings but couldn't figure out how to get there. One road was closed with a cable and a "no trespassing" sign, one road was blocked by about 20 rail cars. We circumnavigated the buildings until we found an obscure way in and parked between the 2 north buildings.
There were a couple of junked trucks parked back there, and a brand spanking new electric meter between the buildings. From the readout it looked like the building had used 0 KWh in the last few months. One of the rolling garage doors was busted up and had room to slide underneath to get inside.
This was a really cool building and much to our surprise the electric winch operated, but we didn't move it back and forth, just up and down a couple feet.
This is apparently where they loaded/unloaded ammunition onto train cars. You could easily fit 6 rail cars into each of these buildings. Most of the glass a good amount of the roof in this building was gone, and it didn't look like anyone had been inside for years.
One of the things we discovered on the map was called the "Surveillance Workshop Area", sounded cool, so off we went. Our first route was a dead end. The second route led us past the "Ammunition Assembly Area" which was a little brick building and two gigantic blast walls. As we continued past this area the road became more and more a wheat field and less and less a road. Our map showed an intersection and we hoped the cross road would be better.
Nope, just as bad, so we came up on the backside of another very large concrete building that was part of the munitions assembly area and had giant piles of junk all around it. We met "Rob" who said he was the father of the guy who owned the land. He mainly wanted to make sure we weren't out there shooting up his piles of junk and left us alone once we told him we didn't have any intentions of shooting or stealing anything, but we did decide to leave their junk piles in peace and kept rolling.
A couple turns down the good roads and we found that the Surveillance Workshop was now a field lab for some ag college. Of course, it could be CIA, but we didn't knock or anything.
A quick stop at Cabella's on the way out of town led Agent Stretch to buy his own pieces/parts to build a superlight for himself, and I got a Steak-On-A-Stick from a vendor at the boat show they had going on, then it was back on the highway and time to head home.
BamBam did a good job, took orders well and wasn't an ass so I promoted him from Sub-Agent to full agent status. I lobbied my sub-commanders to get myself promoted to "Supreme Commander", informing them that my promotion would open up a couple of "Commander" positions, but it didn't fly, oh well.
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