prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Monday, March 31, 2014

(Wireline 9) Logging wells at the National Test Site (NTS) in Mercury, Nevada.

During the Cold War the US Government was busy at the National Test Site (NTS) in Mercury, Nevada. Mercury is an hour North of Las Vegas. In the fifties the US Government was doing all sorts of research and testing of atomic bombs. This required mine shafts and the drilling of many test holes. Bombs were set off in these. Monitoring of bombs going off were done with instruments in these holes.

Many Schlumberger logs were run in these holes. These logs were run by logging trucks from Bakersfield, California. I made many trips to the NTS. It was four hour drive to Las Vegas and another hour to Mercury.

This is a photo of the camp at the entrance to the NTS. I overnighted here sometimes. I was once arrested in the NTS. When we entered the NTS we were issued a pass. The pass said that it was only valid if we had an escort. One time when we were making prints of our logs the escort left. While he was gone Security showed up and looked at our pass. He arrested us for not having an escort and proceeded to lead my truck and my car to the main entrance. I will never forget that ride. It was a couple of hours. We did not have air conditioning in those days. I was driving behind my truck going over mountain roads. The truck went slow and I was following them. It was 110 degrees or more. What a miserable time. No AC in the truck either.

One time I was driving from Vegas to Bakersfield. It was so hot. At midnight I was driving with all four windows rolled down. We called it 4 times 80 air conditioning. Drive 80 mph with four windows rolled down.  At 1 am I pulled into Baker, California (gateway to Death Valley and close to the spot where the highest recorded temperature ever recorded on earth was recorded, around 135 degrees). The temperature was 115 degrees! At 1 am. The service station attendant said "you should have been here yesterday. It was really hot" I got in my car and got out of there.

World's highest thermometer in Baker.

We ran many logs on each NTS hole. As many as five or six. We made a bonus for each log'.

On one exceptional trip the crew was two engineers and three operators. For five days (day and night) we went from well to well (15 wells) and ran logs. I was one of the engineers. We traded off running the logs. It was a lot of work. During the five days we took one night off at a miner's camp (way back in the NTS). Showered and had a good meal at the miner's mess hall and got some sleep.

It was an exciting to go to the NTS. A rest stop was always required in Las Vegas on the way home. One of our crews had an experience. They left their truck at a truck stop and went to Fremont Street (downtown Vegas), they parked the car in a parking lot and proceeded to do some gambling. When they met back at the the parking lot the three men together did not have enough money to pay the parking lot bill. They had to steal their car off the lot! I hope the statute of limitations has expired,

In the fifties there was an area of the NTS that was numbered on the map as Area 51. Area 51 is the home of a very secret US Air Force research facility. It was highly secret. A secret poorly kept. In 2013 the veil was lifted by the Air Force. The base was used for testing the U2. It is the birth place of Stealth technology.

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