Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

5/8/2016

Another bit of Cold War history

Filed under: — stan @ 2:14 pm

A few weeks ago, I read an article about how the National Park Service is preserving sites used by the Manhattan Project during the development of the atomic bomb. Sadly, these are all too far away for us to ride to. But along the way, I found another article in a related vein. It was about how nuclear-armed missiles used to kept at sites in the middle of cities, including Los Angeles. Most of these sites are gone now, with the land being used for other purposes. But the one in Van Nuys is basically intact, although the missiles were removed in the ’70s. So today’s ride was to go and see it.

The Nike-Hercules system was built in the 1950s as defense against Russian bombers. One of the sites near San Francisco has been turned into a museum, which we visited a couple years ago. So even though we can’t go inside the site here, we know what it looks like. And it’s still odd to think they kept nuclear warheads right here in the city. The site is right next to the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which we’ve visited before.

We basically took the shortest route there and back, since Van Nuys is a bit farther than we usually roam. The Valley is pretty flat, so we made pretty good time. When we got there, we could see that the old launch site really is basically unchanged. The doors to the underground missile magazines are still there. But it’s all surrounded by a fence, so we couldn’t see it all that close up.

Heading back, we took the Orange Line bike path back to North Hollywood and our snack stop at Panera. We rested there for a bit, and then headed back. We took the Chandler Bikeway across Burbank, and then straight across Glendale and Eagle Rock, up the Colorado hill, and back into Pasadena. It was a pleasant ride.

53 miles

Route map and elevation profile

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