InSITE--A Motorcycle Ride through a Ghost Town - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

InSITE--A Motorcycle Ride through a Ghost Town

It's a place few humans go and live very long to tell the tale. The very name reminds us of death and destruction. Chernobyl. The site of the world's worst nuclear accident. I found one woman's web page of her rides through a literal ghost town like you've never seen before.

There is some question over who she really is, or why she did this, but put that aside and read along on her amazing, and amazingly dangerous journey. She starts with a map and a science lesson about radiation. Bottom line. Step off the pavement or in the wrong place on this ride, and you will probably die within days. But the road is supposed to be relatively safe.

She takes us through farm country, with just a handful of farmers left, they refused to leave their radioactive land, and are literally dying away. Her father is a scientist, so she has permission to go through the checkpoints and see the material losses. This gear was all contaminated trying to fight the nuclear near- holocaust. A radioactive junkyard now. Check out a view of the river, huge ships just abandoned, like everything else.

These are the people who tried to clean it up. At least ten- thousand of them died in the effort, or soon after, from radiation poisoning. This is the heart. Chernobyl. The plant sealed as best they could, but the sarcophagus is deteriorating and dangerous.

As frightening as that is, take a look at the big picture, an entire town, now empty. Too dangerous for anyone to live there. The most optimistic estimates say the land will be safe again, not radioactive in about 600 years. While the big picture is frightening, it's the personal side you need to remember. Not just a town, but all the people, gone. The survivors were told to leave. They could bring nothing but the clothes on their backs. Their family photos, books, everything left behind in the ghost town. A kindergarten classroom, children's shoes drying on a windowsill, next to a gas mask. Old posters and photos. Their dolls and toys left behind. Shocking, but a reminder of a tragedy some of us forget, and some never even heard of.

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