I visited the site twice last summer: once on the way to Reno, and once on the way back. On my second visit, I wandered around, and everything was as wide-open as before. Then I got to the blockhouse, and one of the steel blast doors was shut and battened. Seeing that big old door closed tight suddenly made me feel alone, and far from help. I decided to call it a day. Just to the side of the assembly building, I came across this mobile home. It was dotted with bullet holes.
I walked to the far corner of the complex, where there was another missile assembly area. The assembly shed was gone, but there was still the long concrete pad with a 'danger' sign painted on it. Nearby, there were a couple telephone poles with numbers on them. Long metal rods that looked like fly swatters stuck out from the sides.
The fly swatters had target holes cut in them, marked off with crosshairs. I stared at the poles for a while. I liked the idea that there was something to aim at out here, in the middle of the Utah desert. Something to track, to lock onto. Or maybe that was the problem. Maybe there were no targets to hit. Just lots of empty space. Maybe that's why the missile guys packed up and left.
People don't seem to know what to do with ruins. Like it's not enough just to let them fall to pieces. They have to be interpreted and stabilized.  Maybe restored. Maybe demolished. I read somewhere that America has more acreage dedicated to ruins than to parkland. I don't know if I believe that. And if it's true, I don't know if I mind.

There's no graffiti at the launch complex. That's one of its creepiest features. It's obvious that kids come out here. They've smashed all the windows and left behind beer cans and shotgun shells. But there's no spray paint. At first, I thought maybe the desert sun faded it all away. Then, finally, in a far corner of the place, I found a tag: $.A.M., 5-19-73. Twenty-five year-old graffiti. And that was it.