There were a lot of pictures yesterday, so I'll tone down today's post. This corner of Idaho actually has it's own interesting history. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has gone through many names over the years, but that's the current one. It played a pioneering role in the dawning of the nuclear age.
It isn't as explosive a history as White Sands, in New Mexico, or Jackass Flats, in Nevada. This has to do with a more peaceful use of nuclear power. (That's subjective though when you consider the nuclear Navy.)
There were accidents, and they tell me there are three people buried out there in lead coffins. Think about that for a while. Maybe you want to write about a nuclear powered superhero or villain.
There have been over fifty nuclear generators built at INL. These include the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus. The little town we are staying in, Arco, was the first city on Earth lit entirely by nuclear powered electricity.
There is a conning tower in the city park that reflects upon this era. The name of the ship is there, but it isn't important for this post.
The ship's number isn't lost on me either, but I don't get a paranormal vibe about the place.
Saturday afternoon we stopped at the camper for a sandwich. Then we went to a pseudo ghost town called Atomic City. The name appealed to me more than anything else. What a great name for a science fiction town.
Hee Haw reference, “Atomic City, Idaho. Population 29. Sal-oot.”
This appears to have been a place for workers at INL. It has a definite fifties vibe. There are even homes that look like the old cinder block barracks buildings. There is still a kind of biker bar here, but not much else. Check out these two abandoned buildings:
I can just see a stranger in a black suit pulling into town in a black Hudson Hornet. He gets fuel at the station, then stops at the bar where he meets a girl. What kind of trouble can they get into?
INL still requires a security clearance, and most of it is posted No Trespassing. There is an ancient train track into the facility, and it isn't hard to imagine a black train, accompanied by black helicopters, shipping some top secret item out. Of course there would be an anarchist or something screwing it all up.
There is an atomic museum further down the road, but we chose to pass. It makes me sad, but you don't leave a puppy in a hot car. You just don't.
Maybe the “man in black” and the waitress have to flee through Craters of the Moon. Want to write a late 50s or early sixties Cold War story, start your research right here. Maybe you want to try a diesel-punk story with some older technology.
I've had a drink at the Little Alie-Inn in Rachel, Nevada. This is where Area 51 is. I've also trekked through the mountains about fifty feet beyond the nuclear test site outside Las Vegas. These places get over used though. This is an area that has a lot of potential.
What would you do with this setup? I'll schedule this to go live on Sunday, since I have to hook up the camper and head home.