Ahhhh, Washington. The evergreen state. The home of Seattle. The backdrop to the Twilight Series. And the source of my first “well… fuck” response at a destination.

I didn’t have enough time to drive up to Seattle, so my single stop for Washington was going to be the Hanford Site B Reactor. It’s a retired nuclear reactor that was used as part of the Manhattan Project, so it sounded like a pretty awesome stop.

But since I didn’t know my route until yesterday, I wasn’t able to plan ahead to make reservations for a tour. However, my prior experience with most landmarks, museums, or national parks was that even if you don’t have reservations, you can at least look around if you get there during business hours.

Yeah… that’s not the case here.

I drove up to the gate, and a gentleman with an automatic weapon told me in no uncertain terms that I had gone “just about about far enough”.

Hanford Site

I asked if I was able to at least see the exterior of the building. In response, I was told I was free to look at whatever I could see from where I was currently stopped (which was still 15 miles away from the site, with plenty of hills in between).


Lesson learned – even retired nuclear reactors are closely guarded for some reason (who knew?). Anyway, if you want to check out Hanford Site, make sure you get reservations well in advance.

Up next… Idaho.