Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 2, 2009

Titan Museum and Drive to Organ Pipe

We got up early and buttoned up the carbus for travel.  We left it parked in our old site and headed 30 miles south to the Titan Missile Museum.  DSC08564

Very cool, especially since I spent every third day for almost four years in a spot just like it.  The docents were very knowledgeable and gave a nonstop information filled tour.  When they learned I had been a crew commander they bounced references off me occasionally and it was fun to chat with old missilemen.  When the tour reached the control center they plopped me in the commanders chair and had me do the simulated launch.  DSC08590 I even got a card verifying that I turned the key.  It was fun.  Sue got questions from others on the tour about what it was like to be married to someone in that job and what family life was like.

DSC08581View of missile from top.

This fellow was on the shoulder of the road as we walked to a geocache near the missile museum.  I almost stepped on it.



After the tour we went back to the carbus and headed west and south to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  Not much to describe.  Long, straight, two lane roads.

The sun has set and I am now looking at lights of a town in Mexico several miles away.  Bummer.  Thought we might find total isolation out here.  Should be dark enough to have good look at stars though.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009

Mission San Xavier Del Bac

Built 1783-97.  Still active today.  Very impressive structure and the murals and carved statuary inside are extraordinary.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park

These two spots were close to our camp spot and in addition to the Titan museum (will see in a couple of days) were the two things I had planned on seeing in Tucson.

Advice on the Desert Museum – Go There!  Make plans sometime in your life to visit this place.  It is amazing.  Go early in the morning (cool, fewer people) and take the early docent led tour.  Lots of information well presented.  These people know their stuff.  The lady that led our tour was asked about being a docent.  She said she had three masters degrees and the hardest thing she ever did was prepare to docent at the desert museum. 

Barn owl was a warm-up prior to tour.20090429-1

Everything looks natural.  If you thought Disney did a good job of making things look authentic, come here.  There are many different animal species all in natural settings. 

You hardly notice they are caged. 

Wolves.  See a cage?


Prairie dog and Roadrunner






Burrowing animals have glass walls on their homes (think ant farm).  To see a scorpion you have to lift a rock.  Two amazing aviaries – one for hummingbirds and the other filled with a wide variety of birds.  Got within three feet of a nesting hummingbird and even closer to a nesting quail. 

 20090429-36 20090429-38

There are docents everywhere.  At many spots there are docents giving talks and demonstrations on a variety of things. 


Couple more.

20090429-53 20090429-43

The museum is a couple of miles south of the national park.  We were coming from the south so we figured we would hit the museum first then go on to Saguaro.  Good thing!  We ended up spending nearly six hours at the museum. 

Impossible to describe the experience.  Go there!

Saguaro National Park is one of the few places where the Saguaro cactus can be found.  There are two units – one on each side of Tucson.  Different feel from museum but still impressive to see acres and acres of this unique plant.

20090429-71 20090429-56

This one was pretty tall.  Yes, that is Sue at the base.


Petroqlyphs here too.20090429-68 20090429-63 20090429-66

Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009


As of yesterday or today this is the longest continuous trip we have taken in 43 years together.

Today was a sort of layover day.  We left the carbus at the RV park and took a short trip to Tombstone.  The only thing I knew about Tombstone was from movies and TV.  The buildings in town are old but not as old as what you see in the movies.  Definitely not as old as recent dwellings we have visited.  :)  The main street is very wide.  Sort of the Market street of its time.  All the streets of the historic town area are dirt or covered with dirt.  Nice touch.  The shops in these buildings are not as upscale as Santa Fe or Albuquerque but still catering to tourists.  Only saw one antique store.  Little specialization.  Every store sells everything.  Lots of touristy museums ($$) and shows ($$) and several tours ($$).  Even an old west mini-golf course.  First time I’ve seen a cowboy shill -inviting all to the next gunfight.  Or a miner shill wanting you to tour his mine.  Lots of locals dressed in boots, jeans, vests, and hats.  Shop people had different hats.  Interesting sign of evolution or progress;  except for the actors, all the holsters we saw had cell phones in them.

Look how wide the street is.


20090427-2Oldest continuous paper in west

Local resident




Tombstone taxi


Losers of gunfight at OK Corral


We could not see OK Corral.  It is surrounded by walls.  For a fee we could go in and watch reenactment of gunfight (four times a day).  Judging by the fences around it the corral is quite small.  Not like the movies.  I have seen living rooms twice as large.

This afternoon is a do nothing thing.  Weather is warm but overcast and breezy.  Quite pleasant.