Well, the decommisioned Radio Relay Facility that you see a couple posts back turned out to be a bust. It was located exactly 15 miles down a two-lane county road. This road ran the length of a valley that had maybe less than a dozen houses in it. The nearest house would have been over a mile away. Once you drove the fifteen miles you then opened a locked gate and had a 1.1 mile drive (and 500 foot climb) to the top of a hill/mountain where the station was waiting. The station building sits on an island of 1.77 acres. On three sides its bordered by National Forest land on the other side by a ranchers land. The 1.1 mile road has an easement, so basically, someone elses land is your buffer zone. And, of course, The Tower…..mmmmm….recon-a-rific!
So far so good, right?
The building itself is 8″ thick concrete walls covered with 4″ of foam insulation. The windows all had steel shutters over them. The inside of the building had 14′ ceilings and approximately 1600′ square feet. Really, it would have been *perfect* except for one huge, niggling detail – no water. The place was designed as, essentially, an unmanned remote-control facility. Hence, no water. You could, I suppose, try to drill a well but you’d have to go 500′ just to get to the level of the road you came in on. Now, yes, you could put in a cistern but they were talking about a 1500 gallon number and that aint nearly enough water for someone who doesnt want to have to leave the safety, security, and phenominal sniper vantage point that is this place. So why not put in two 1500 gallon cisterns? Youre missing the point, man…..at some point you have to a) find a vehicle to haul water (at 8# per gallon), b) find a container to haul water in, c) find a source of water thats clean and cheap, and d) do this every two or four weeks.
What was taken away from this experience? A newfound respect and appeal for concrete construction. This place was , essentially, a concrete shoebox but some paint and a couple skylights would make it really quite nice. The thermal mass would have made heating/cooling a breeze.
So, this wasnt the new Rancho Ballistica. (Although I already had a snazzy name picked out for it – ‘The Box’)