Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Los Alamos

Mock-ups of Little Boy and Fat Man at the Los Alamos Museum, New Mexico
I had a free day in New Mexico a few year's ago.  I went to Santa Fe and quickly became frustrated with traffic and the crowds, so I headed north to Los Alamos.  I had heard about it, the role that it played in the end of World War II.  It is out there a way, in the middle of no-where, the kind of place you would imagine putting a team of scientists and engineers working on the worlds most secret project.  There is a nice small museum in town, in one of the original cabins built for the Manhattan project. Very interesting, I looked around, took a couple of pictures and looked at the map.  I decided to go from there to a National Historic site with cliff dwelling remnants.

I programmed the destination into Ms Garmin and set off.  Following the directions, I was headed into the gates of what looked like the parking lots of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, I thought I must have missed a turn, did a U-turn and went around.  I hadn't missed a turn, Ms. Garmin and the maps directed me back to the security gate.  I pulled up and popped the window down.  I told the well armed guard where I was headed and asked how to get there, and he said, "we'll see."  He asked for my driver's license and said "your not from around here and your are driving a rental car, when you did the U-turn I ran the license plate - don't do that again."  Now I have been around our national Capital for a few year's but this was security at a level I have never seen before.  He stuck his head in the car and asked, "how much gas in the car?" Before I could answer he had checked the gauge and said "Three-quarters of tank, good, the most direct route to where you are going is through a highly secured area.  I can give you a pass to drive through but you have to agree to a couple of conditions.  You must drive at least 35 miles per hour, and not more then 60 miles per hour.  DO NOT STOP.  If you have a flat tire, keep driving until a security officer in a market truck with the blue lights on top motions for you to pull over and stop.  The officer will change the tire for you, you can not get out of the car, when you reach the cross road at the other end, turn right and you are on your way. Do you agree to all of that?"  Uh, yes, "good, here is your license and pass - leave the pass here on the dash clearly visible from the outside.  Remember, don't stop until you get to the right hand turn a the end of this road."

I have no idea what I drove through.  I didn't start glowing in the dark afterwards.  I am sure I am still in the database for having made the U-turn.


  1. Lots of adventures the journey of life.

  2. That sounds so sketchy! :)

  3. Sounds pretty exciting! I love it!

    Peace <3

  4. What an interesting story! I haven't been near Los Alamos in many years. It's a lovely area with a bizarre history.

  5. Anonymous5/21/2015

    I was reading along hoping the guard would end with "just kidding" and give you directions...wrong! I assume there was always strict security at Los Alamos labs but it likely was fortified after 9/11. I don't think I would've stayed as calm as you did. Leslie in NJ