Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tucson, Arizona 2015

Now we are another 70 miles south, in Tucson.
We are staying at the Moose Lodge. When we arrived there was nobody at the lodge. The lodge is far out of town and behind the lodge are discrepant mobil homes stored. On both side of the lodge the properties do not look any better.
It gives me not a secure feeling, but they have five sites with full hook ups.
We set up the motorhome and after lunch went to the Titan Missile Museum. There were 54 sites, at three locations in the United States. The Titan was the largest missile built in the U.S.
At the site is the only remaining missile.

A replica of the nuclear war head is displayed in the entrance hall of the museum.

So is the nuclear bomb.

On computers one can learn about the Titan missile program.

The Launch Control Center is sitting on large springs to protect it from a nuclear blast. The door is twelve inches thick and weighs 6000 pounds.

There is a long tunnel from the launch control center to the missile silo.

We could see the missile from two thirds up.

The concrete doors on top of the silo were partially removed and glass installed.

At the outside we could see a stage one engine.

The fuel for the titan was very toxic and people working around the missile had to wear special
protective clothing.
Special tanks were required.

At the base are many antennas. Most of them have two back-ups.

On the way home we stopped at Mission San Xavier Del Bac.

The inside of the church is beautifully decorated and there are many pictures.

In a building next to the church are many porcelain figures and burning candles, which create a lot of heat.

When we came back the bar in the lodge was open. I told the bartender that I was in the back and was worried about staying there. He and some of the patrons told me that it was very safe to stay at the lodge. Sure, they go home at 9:00 PM and we are here all alone.

Sabino Canyon is one of the premier hiking places in Tucson. I wanted to do at least a small hike there before I get too old.
When we arrived at the Canyon we knew we were at a popular spot. Hikers in all kind of gear were there. Volunteers informed us right away that, because of the heavy rain, the bridges are overflowing with water. Hikers who had planned to hike up the canyon and take the shuttle down would have to wade through ice cold water at the bridges. Of course people who had planned the hike in reverse would have the same problem.
Parking is $ 5.00, free with the Golden Age pass. We got tickets for the 11:00 AM shuttle, cost is $ 8.00.
We passed up the eight stops and got off at the last stop.

What was supposed to be a short hike turned out to be a wonderful experience.
Doris could not wait, she was ready to go.

We saw people on the high peak.

Doris is getting warm. The top is getting closer.

Another shuttle is arriving below.

We are pretty high now. I tried to talk some sense to Doris, but she told me that if I would be with the WINs I would get up there. And she asked just to go to the next corner. From one corner we went to the next.
When we came near the top we heard a flute. This was special. It sounded like an Indian was up there. It turned out to be a man from British Columbia who had some fun playing his flute. He and his wife were up there enjoying the view.

We could see the trail below winding slowly up to the top.

When we came down again we could see new people on top.

People were having a picnic on rocks in the river.

We had our lunch too.

We walked from stop nine to stop eight. Doris decided to walk also to stop seven. I told her that it is dangerous to walk across a slimy bridge not knowing the force of the water. When she kept on talking about trying it I took my shoes off and started walking toward the water. Doris had second thoughts by then and was worried I would slide down the bridge. My male ego was in full swing by then and I walked through that ice cold water. It was not slimy and I had no problem.
Doris followed me.

Sabino Canyon is a beautiful place in the desert.

Our next stop was the De Gracia Museum.

De Gracia is well known for painting the girls with the big eyes.

His favorite subject was Padre Kino.

De Gracia also built a chapel next to the museum.

This was a long day. On the way home we stopped at a Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful meal. The staff were not busy and took really good care of us and the food was very good and plenty of it. We took home the next day’s lunch.

Today we went to the Tubac Festival of the Arts.

Tubac is an artist town near the border with Mexico. Three streets were closed and booths selling all kind of art items were located on both sides of the street. One could easily spend a day going in all the art studios and looking at the wares in the booths.

 Doris was checking out some of the stores.

This vendor sold beautiful copper vessels and other items. I was really impressed.

There was a free shuttle.

The horses needed water.

A lot of vendors and studios displayed metal art.

The colors of some displays were out of this world. The Mexican influence was clearly visible.

Native American art was also at the festival. This Navajo painter created paintings at his booth.

Our next stop was the home of Paul Simpson. He gave us a tour of the beautiful neighborhood he lives in. The three of us went in his golf cart. He lives next to the golf course. He showed us this unusual barrel cactus.

This Saguaro is different too.

Paul and I worked at Convair and at McDonnel Douglas. 


We spent almost all day at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Besides plants which grow in this desert the museum has also animals from this area.

Our first stop was the reptile building. Here all kind of snakes and amphibians are on display. From there we went to the cave. We ended up with big ears.

Bats were hanging on the ceiling.

In one room were displays showing how scientists envision how the planet was millions years ago.

At the outdoors areas we encountered wolves.

Of course we saw some ground squirrels.

There are several armadas providing shade

The Javelinas were resting.

The desert is just beautiful this time of the year.

Besides real saguaros there was one made of bronze.

At the hummingbird enclosure we watched one little bird build his nest.

At the raptor flight show we saw a barn owl coming to get food which was put on branches of trees.

In the show were also four hawks.They flew very low over our heads and got their food from the branches. They also went to their trainers.

A visit to the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum is a must when spending some time in the Tucson area. I believe it is one of the best desert museums. Their animal displays are adding to the enjoyment of this park.

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