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Thread: Planning a trip out west... need ideas!

  1. #1
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    Nov 2008
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    Smile Planning a trip out west... need ideas!

    Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum and new to exploring ghost towns. I love to travel and photography is a big hobby of mine. My boyfriend and I want to plan a road trip out west in March or April. We live near Chicago and are thinking of heading towards either New Mexico or Nevada. We want the entire trip to be exploring ghost towns and other abandoned locations. We think it would be awesome to explore one of those old nuclear test site "towns"... I do realize how stupid that sounds as the sites are probably radioactive and I don't even know if any such towns exist.

    Anyway - my main point is that I need some ideas for some really neat abandoned locations that are NOT tourist hot spots that we could explore on our trip out west. We are open to traveling to most any state, but don't want to drive all the way to west border states (we only have 10 days for our trip and California would be too far).

    So please - give us some ideas! Your help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    North Alabama
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    Here are some pics of my son and I trip out west this year: http://www.rocketcityrockcrawlers.co...p/2008_SDT.htm

    And for our trip 2006: http://www.rocketcityrockcrawlers.co...l_CO_06/Al.htm

    There is a bunch of ghost town pics, especially in NV.

    Visiting the Nevada Test Site isn't stupid, isn't radioactive and is easily doable. Just call the DOE Nevada Operations Office in Las Vegas NV and ask for the current schedule for visiting the NTS. It used to be the third or last Wednesday of the month. Age limit is +14 and over - and no cameras!, so be warned. You leave from LV and the tour takes a whole day.

    Good luck and have a great time!

    Al

  3. #3
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    Hi meltedspork
    I think a lot depends on what kind of vehicle you will be driving. Obviously, a 4wd will get you off the beaten path...so many of the easily accessible spots are not worth the trip or they've become tourist spots.
    So what kind of vehicle are you driving?

    The Trinity site at White Sands is open for tourists the first Saturday in April.
    http://www.atomictourist.com/trinity.htm
    Last edited by JoeZona; 12-01-2008 at 07:50 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys for the info on the test sites. And Al - those pics are awesome - that's the kind of stuff I want to see. Only problem is, we don't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle... will that be a major impairment to seeing cool sites?

    So here is my next question - Has anyone seen the new Indiana Jones movie or The Hills Have Eyes? Do you know the nuclear fake towns that are in those movies? Do those still exist anywhere? The test sites you guys mentioned look cool, but I don't see anything about the fake towns, except for 1 building that is still standing at the Nevada test site.

  5. #5
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    You mean to say The Hills Have Eyes wasn't real??? Well, I mean everyone knows the second one wsn't real, but the first was absolutely real. I know a guy who was there. I think it was in Victorville, and he says he'll never go back.
    Be careful...

  6. #6
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    Lol, not sure if you are joking or not? Was that filmed in a real place? What I'm trying to describe are those fake towns that were built for nuclear testing... as shown in The Hills Have Eyes and the new Indiana Jones movies. I don't know the correct name to call them... but the neighborhoods that were set up, complete with mannequins, to see the effects of a nuclear bomb on a community. I am wondering if any of these fake neighborhoods still exist anywhere and if it is possible to visit them.

    I am interested in visiting ghost towns as well as other creepy places such as old sanitariums and abandoned amusement parks. I am just having a hard time finding the stuff I am looking for on the internet. Even on this site, there are SO many ghost towns listed, it's hard to find the best ones!

  7. #7
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    North Alabama
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltedspork View Post
    Lol, not sure if you are joking or not? Was that filmed in a real place? What I'm trying to describe are those fake towns that were built for nuclear testing... as shown in The Hills Have Eyes and the new Indiana Jones movies. I don't know the correct name to call them... but the neighborhoods that were set up, complete with mannequins, to see the effects of a nuclear bomb on a community. I am wondering if any of these fake neighborhoods still exist anywhere and if it is possible to visit them.

    I am interested in visiting ghost towns as well as other creepy places such as old sanitariums and abandoned amusement parks. I am just having a hard time finding the stuff I am looking for on the internet. Even on this site, there are SO many ghost towns listed, it's hard to find the best ones!
    There's only one place this was done in the US and that was at Frenchman Flat in the Nevada Test Site. And the only way to get in to see them is to take the monthly DOE/NTS tour out of LV.

    Having said that, I don't know how much still exists since those tests were conducted in the mid-50's. But they are covered by the tour.

    Here's a description of the tour: http://www.clui.org/clui_4_1/lotl/00...001spsu3a.html. Buy the book by CLUI called "The Nevada Test Site, A guide to America's Nuclear Proving Ground", it's well worth it. http://cluistore.org/netesigutoam.html The book has some pics of what test articles, including buildings, left on Frenchman Flat.

    More pics: http://www.clui.org/clui_4_1/ludb/sites/NV3162.html

    Furthermore, there are at least 6 nuclear weapons test sites in CO, NV and NM not conducted on the NTS; unfortunately, most of them are on private land and cannot be reached.

    However, there are two sites in NV that are on public (BLM) land and are easily reached. The most interesting is the Faultless site, about 30 miles north of Warm Springs, NV about 12-15 miles off of Hwy 6. The exposed drill stem and plague shown below are located at: 38.0634233 -116.216172; the drill stem is visible in Google Earth.

    As you can see from the pics below, getting to Faultless in a non-four wheel drive vehicle is easy:






    The other nuclear weapons test site on public land is the Shoal test site, about 35 miles SE of Fallon, NV. It's located at about 39.200200 -118.380298. Although it's been about 25 years since I've been there, it's easily gettable by any decent vehicle.

    The vast majority of ghost towns that I've visited are near or just off of gravel roads. A typical 2 wheel drive pickup or SUV should have no trouble reaching most of them.

    Good luck.

    Al
    Last edited by Albin; 12-02-2008 at 05:15 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltedspork View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum and new to exploring ghost towns. I love to travel and photography is a big hobby of mine. My boyfriend and I want to plan a road trip out west in March or April. We live near Chicago and are thinking of heading towards either New Mexico or Nevada. We want the entire trip to be exploring ghost towns and other abandoned locations. We think it would be awesome to explore one of those old nuclear test site "towns"... I do realize how stupid that sounds as the sites are probably radioactive and I don't even know if any such towns exist.

    Anyway - my main point is that I need some ideas for some really neat abandoned locations that are NOT tourist hot spots that we could explore on our trip out west. We are open to traveling to most any state, but don't want to drive all the way to west border states (we only have 10 days for our trip and California would be too far).

    So please - give us some ideas! Your help would be greatly appreciated!
    Here are a few of my recent finds. Plenty more in Colorado with scenery that melts the eye.
    With this update several plains ghost towns – (Just click on the highlighted links to see the page)

    Aroya – And the snake skins
    Boyero – By the tracks
    Hugo – Not so much Ghost but a neat roundhouse
    Waldorf and the Santiago Mine from 2006 – well worth the trip
    Wild Horse – additional photos

    And some interesting events since last update. Just click on the underlined links and see the new or updated stuff.

    · Great story from a viewer and his search for his ancestors in Sunshine Cemetery and the Steelsmith’s.
    · Clarification on the Moffat Church
    · New contributions from viewers
    1. Park City (CO), And the 50’s photos
    2. JimTown, plenty of viewer responses
    3. Dearfield, a rebirth
    4. Fulford, Did he really shoot his tongue off?
    5. Cameron Train wreck
    6. Ironton updates
    · A resident of Roggen declared Roggen NOT a ghost town,
    · More Russell Gulch entries
    · Requests for research from National Geo
    · Requests for info on Salina
    Visit Colorado Ghost Towns at http://www.rockymountainprofiles.com

    No Sales pitch just plenty of photos and stories.

    "I led a quieter life before I got hearing aids." Mike

    Rocky

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    37

    Default Sierra County New Mexico full of ghost towns

    Here is what I wrote to our local paper of the many ghost towns in our county:
    The town you listed in the Chaparral Guide is not Animas City but Andrews as I have met people who lived there and mined there back in the twenties and in fact you can type it in on the internet and it will show the location to be where you allege “Animas City” is.
    And the two cars you are referring to are a 1914 Maxwell and a 1914 Hudson as I once was a historian for a large antique auto club in Oregon years ago.
    I have been all over Sierra County by four wheel drive having hiked and taken photos of places few natives of Sierra County even know about. An old miner some years ago who worked in Andrews showed me photos of how the town looked in the teens and the hotel also served as the bank. At its peak Andrews had over a thousand people and many of the homes fanned out north of the town. There was a large mill there. The town faded away in the early thirties.
    The abode building you speak of going to Andrews is the Gold Dust post office and when I first visited there, there were still mail slots for the mail and a post card was in one of those slots sent to a fellow marked Gold Dust, New Mexico. But since the card was so brittle I left it lay. Over the hill beyond the Gold Dust post office are a small store and saloon and a few crumbling ruins of houses belonging to the placer miners and further up the canyon an old store built during the Indian problems with gun slots still intact in the walls.
    On past Gold Dust is the cemetery with 21 graves of the pioneers as Gold Dust was settled in 1895 and only lasted until 1907.
    Between Andrews and Gold Dust on top of a hill is an old fort its walls still standing used to protect the miners from Indian attacks as the area around here has been mined since the eighteen eighties when there were troubles with the Indians.
    Then there is a small miner’s shack its roof still intact and a series of dams built along the creek to control the water in panning placer gold and a mine up a side canyon going back into the mountain about 100 feet.
    In these same mountains, the Animas Hills is the site of Richmond another ghost town but the buildings are all gone. Then there is town of Wicks and some of its building still remain. The town of Rattlesnake sets high up on the side of a mountain with several walls still standing and this was a fairly large town with an eight hundred and fifty foot deep shaft nearby fenced off and other deep shafts in the area. And up the canyon is a large warehouse still standing its roof gone but in other wise good shape.
    Then there is Percha City many of its walls still intact and two buildings still have their roofs on in the Black Range.
    Hermosa is the biggest and best preserved town with its buildings all east of the cemetery with trees growing close to the buildings now and all have roofs intact and some still have their windows in the buildings. There are hotels and other stores here and the rumor that the town sets on Ted Turner’s ranch is a fable as the town sets on government land and can be viewed by anyone.
    East of Turtle Back is Coalburg which from 1895 to 1915 was a coal mining town and there are yet the walls of some of the buildings still standing and the large open water storage tank made of rock and concrete still stand in good condition.
    LeRoy is just a site with trash and broken glass. There is a small Spanish town south of here off the Garfield exit but all that is left is a small fort like ruins.
    South of Palomas Gap on a road is the site of the town of Victoria with only one cement building remaining used as a store.
    On the east end of Palomas Gap is the site of two towns; Palomas Gap with one building remaining and Marion with the ruins of several buildings and a mill. Many lead mines are in the area.
    The town of Apache Gap is further to the south with only the saloon remaining later used as a bunk house.
    Goldsboro sets on the side of Vick’s Peak and only one building is still intact, a 1940 Ford body sets in the town.
    Davis is on old Highway 157 reached by four wheel drive where many foundations and old mining equipment remain.
    Shannon has many foundations left and Pittsburg has foundations also. There is an Animas City but its south of Lordsburg and people still live there.
    Sierra County has more ghost towns than any other county in the state and several old forts, natural bridges and historical trails than any one location in the state but few people know that as I am an avid hiker and historian having researched, interviewed people and walked or rode to every known ghost town and homestead from one end of the county to the other. There was also a small town just before you got into Winston coming from the east called Phillipsburg that up until fourteen years ago still had buildings in good shape there but a rancher tore them all down. And a small town was just south of the highway leading into Winston in which only foundations remain as it was a mining town.
    There is also two small mining towns in the Black Range in this county, one is a deep canyon that takes too long of hike to get to it and its buildings are mostly intact and I made it to the old steam engine to one and to the other I found the remains of its collapsed store. There is also the remains of an old Spanish town just off the interstate a few miles north of T or C, but nothing remains now.
    There are three towns covered over by Elephant Butte Lake and two covered over by Caballo Lake, one being old Oasis, the new Oasis is located where Lil Abner’s is.
    Sierra County has a lot more to offer in the way of history and places to see than any county in the state to an avid hiker or four wheeler.

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