Our time in South Dakota was coming to an end as we would start our way back home on this day. Before leaving South Dakota I made one last stop at the Minuteman Missile Silo just outside of Wall. Who doesn’t need a little cold war education on their road trip? And with missiles buried in South Dakota that is just what you’ll find.
So why are there missiles buried in South Dakota – well it has a handy proximity to Russia. A quick 30 minute flight and the missile could reach Mother Russia. I stopped at launch facility Delta-09, an inactive missile silo. As I listened to a cell phone tour about the missile I began to think about what it must have been like living in the cold war era… which I did but at that time I was more concerned with deciding which car Barbie and Ken were going to be driving for the day, not that there were missiles pointed at Russia and most likely at my country and that these missiles could potentially destroy not only my homeland but totally blow up (pun intended) Ken and Barbie’s plans for the day.
There was not much to this spot, the missile, a bunker like structure for maintenance and a huge antenna to let the missile know when it was time to go all surrounded by a chain-link fence. Pretty bare bones. There was a park office located a few miles away but the tour times did not work out. It was an interesting part of history that I had no idea of until my trip to South Dakota.
If you would like to visit Delta-09 Missile Silo they are located off of I-90 exit 116. Visiting the site is free. The site is open 8am – 4:30pm. If you would like to visit the visitor center it is located off of I-90 exit 131 by the gas station. They are open daily 8am – 4:30pm. Tours are offered on a first come first served basis. Large groups seeking tours should call 2-3 weeks ahead to ensure space availability.
After completing my tour of the missile Boomer and I continued on to our final destination for the night, Riverton Wyoming. I had never been to Riverton and we would be arriving late. In hindsight these are two things I will try to avoid while traveling alone in the future. I had a bad feeling about this hotel… I did not know why I had this feeling but it was just a bad feelin
Five hours later we arrived to Riverton. It was almost midnight and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. The GPS lead me past the main drag of well lit hotels off into the abyss of darkness. I am sure if it would have been light out I would have noticed I was driving through a residential area. I pulled into the hotel and my bad feeling were confirmed. The lobby was dark, the parking lot was full of bashed up cars… majority of them with Wyoming licence plates and people were hanging out outside of their hotel rooms. I realized that this may have been a hotel, but it appeared to have local residents living in it.
After I got the clerk to check me in (don’t worry he was sleeping in the back) I went to the my room and all I wanted was a clean room and clean sheets… well I got a room. I don’t know if Boomer could sense I was grossed out by the room but even he began acting strangely. Every other night he had been running around the different hotel rooms. Tonight he laid down on his blanket and did not move.
I took Boomer out for a bathroom break before we went to bed and could not locate anything but a small square of gravel that I could only assume was the hotel’s pet approved spot. Frustrated I walked Boomer down the street begging him to go the bathroom as quickly as possible.
It was an uncomfortable situation as it was the middle of the night and I felt insecure about being in that area with strange people lurking around. It eased my mind slightly that I had a 75 lb German Shepard mixed dog with me, but if someone were to approach us I am sure Boomer would try to make friends with them before he realized we could be in potential danger.
We returned to the hotel room and I think I got about 3 hours of sleep, mostly due to the paper thin walls and the residents chatting just loudly enough that I could hear them. It was pretty annoying.