WENDOVER

 

Tue, 6 Mar 2001

so I've finally arrived at this freakish desert border town.
Wendover is a complete anomaly.

Today a promotional calendar came in the mail published by the County Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. It lists all the siren test days. Each month has preparedness tips like the importance of retaining your strength after a disaster, what to put in your disaster kit, and how to listen to one of the many possible messages that will be broadcast on the siren speaker system such as "warning, warning, do not travel towards Deseret Chemical Depot" "Close all windows, turn off air conditioning/heating intake systems, remain indoors". And at the back of the calendar there's this fluorescent yellow sign with red letters that says EVACUATED on one side and NOTIFIED on the other that you're supposed to cut out and hang on your front door knob. The funny part is that all of the calendar images are romantic landscapes and eagles and sunsets and wild horses.

To the south there is nothing nothing nothing. All the way to Dugway Proving ground. Except the old airport runways. It's like being on an island at night, looking out over the black ocean. Next door is the Enola Gay hangar. I broke in yesterday. It's gargantuan inside. Somebody's storing an entire fleet of oil trucks from Elko. There's graffiti left over from when the airforce guys were here about butt fucking and french guys eat beaver. The little tiny holes in the corrugated roof and walls create circular camera obscuras all across the floor. There is a trailer about 600 feet south of my 'house' that some swat teams took out and blew up for maneuvers. Apparently this is a regular event. The taking out and blowing up of things. Hope they do some that I can see.

Yesterday I walked down to the munitions bunkers. Nearby are these old barracks that now are used for swat reconnaissance practice so they have these human dummies inside and fucked up furniture and empty liquor bottles and porn magazines and broken microwaves to fascimilate some sort of ghetto drug terrorist seizure. It's pretty creepy.

The only strip club in town is in the mini mall. AMERICAN BUSH. It's next to a restaurant and a pet supply store.

Next door to my left is the radar station for plane maneuvers. One of the satellite dish things is to simulate enemy radar and that's it's used in electronic warfare training.

Remember that story from the Goshute Indian reservation some years ago when Dugway had some kind of chemical weaponry accident that released all this anthrax and killed ALL of the Indian's sheep so the military had to go out in hazmat suits and just bury the sheep where they fell. They (the military) of course denied for years until very recently. I guess just a few months ago, all the 'contaminated dirt' which is only political dirt at this point, got removed and 'relocated' to a hill just on the north side of town. I'm going to call it anthrax hill.

There is certainly more dirty industry here than anyplace probably in the nation. There's even a 'hazardous industrial zone', or something like that.

The strangest thing about this place is that you can spend an entire day traipsing about surrounded by sage and rocks and salt, taking photos of power lines and not see a soul, then at night go the fecund technicolor mirrored jungle forest and have dinner at the allyoucaneat buffet.

I love it.

 

Thu, 8 Mar 2001

last night they blew up the mobile home trailer in my 'back yard'.
I guess it was military fire department practice or something.
As soon as they put it out with the huge water hoses, they would explode it again so the next guy could practice aiming.
This morning, all that was left was a twisted molten husk that some bulldozers came and pushed into a pile and carted away.

Today I met the coolest old crabby mechanic ever.
Lonnie Clark.
He's kind of the social hub of east wendover. Social club for funky old dude rejects who live way out in the bumble.
Lonnie's going to help me replace my tie rod tomorrow so I don't loose my ability to steer and drive into oncoming traffic.

Today I went to the local pawn shop to see if they had scanners.
I waited for a while looking at things because the owner was in the back having some very intense phone conversation. When she finally came out, her mascara and eyeliner were running all down her cheeks and she was wiping away huge tear streaks.
'Can I help you?'
Um... maybe I should come back later.
'No no. It's ok. Just a friend. god damn it (her dog ran outside. she spent the next 5 minutes screaming at it to come back)
The scanners were 100 ch. and 400 ch. for $40 and $80 respectively.

The day before I left, 2000 air force men showed up and erected a vast empire of blobby tents disguising ambiguous machines and radars and spinning square things and portapotties and canvas buildings in less than 4 hours.
They are all wore yellow safety helmets.
I set out a couple times across the concrete tundra to photograph them, but got chased off every time I got close enough for it to be interesting.

Lonnie told me a good story.
A few days before he had taken some guy's radiator to the do-it-yourself carwash because it had become filled up with oil because the head gasket had broken but the guy just kept driving his car until the radiator was entirely filled with oil instead of coolant, so now lonnie was washing it, the radiator, out with the high pressure nozzle thing at the carwash. Somehow, the jet got misdirected and it shot into his hand, blasting a little hole, and actually filled up his whole hand with hot soapy water, like a balloon udder with little puffed fingers. He freaked out and drove to the clinic but they said there was nothing they could do and that he should just squeeze it out.

- Deborah