These two aren't exactly bright. When they realize they're in the future they don't say "Oh, I see - I've traveled through time" they don't seem too bright. On the other hand, why were they in charge of the machine on the ship if they weren't that quick on the uptake?
I guess they were trained to handle the ship's electrical system, and turning this gadget on and off fell within their competence. On the other hand, leaving all that glassware exposed was just asking for trouble.
Forgive me, but this poor east coaster has never been to Nevada or California, but I do know the temperatures and climates are different according to mountains deserts and seasides, etc. In the film, it's snowy in Nevada, but then it's sunny and pleasant in California. Is that normal?
I wondered the same thing. Southern California does look pretty mid-summery while Utah looks more like late fall or early spring. But IMDb says, "The live-action scenes were shot in eight weeks.", so I guess they didn't film them months apart. If it helps, remember the vortex was causing wacky weather over a wide area around the base.
Herdeg does try to check in with the Navy early on, but after the run-in at the cafe he switches to 'on the run' mode and doesn't try again. The doctor at the hospital might have thought Herdeg was crazy, but didn't doubt that there was something very strange about his friend, Mr. Sparky.