Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

More on Tucson, Part II March 31-April 6

One of the "must see" attractions in the Tucson area is Biosphere 2.  I've been wanting to visit it for several years but just never made it a priority.  A coupon from  Tucson Attractions Passport book  helped me make it a priority for me this time,   and at a 2 for 1 ticket, it only costs $10.00 each for the tour.  The visit was well worth the $10.00.  Actually, $20.00 isn't too bad a price to pay for the tour.

Over view of the crew quarters.

Biosphere 2?  Well, Biosphere 1 is earth in case you didn't know.  Biosphere 2 was an experiment to see if humans could live in a sealed environment with no outside services. The crew had to learn to grow their own food, raise animals, slaughter them, and maintain the Biosphere mechanics.  The crew members worked an average of 65 hours a week.  Some say the experiment was a failure because of oxygen problems.  It was later determined the concrete absorbed oxygen from the Biosphere, thus causing low levels of oxygen in the blood of the participants.  In reality the experiment of the Biosphere 2 was successful because it lead to the birth of many more experiments and projects that are currently underway. Biosphere 2 was and is privately funded.

This structure houses the ocean, rain forest, and desert.  It is a huge green house where numerous experiments are being performed.

This is the "ocean".

This another part of the greenhouse where an artificial hill is being constructed. Note the black slope. It will be filled with soil and the path of water will be followed with cameras.
Another over view of the complex.  The round dome is the "lung"

This solar panels are being monitored on the side of the hill to determine efficiency and how they effect the side of the hill.,.. such as hills around land fills and mine tailings found in the area.
This is one of the long tunnels between structures. Some of them are really long and other are short.
This is the "lung". The black membrane expands and contracts with temperature so the seals in the Biosphere are not broken.
A shorter section of one of the tunnels between the greenhouse and lung.

Another day we took a short drive south of Tucson to Kitt Peak.  I had been there two years ago on a very cold windy day.  This time the  day was clear and warm.  We spent all day participating in three different tours to three different telescopes.  It was a pretty packed day. The docents were all very informative, and really knew their stuff.  Way to much information.

 Fortunately, we took a picnic lunch, because there are no restaurants on the premises. We only had a short hour break for lunch between the different tours.

You can see Kitt Peak from Snyder Hill where we are staying.  There is a tiny little white dome to the left of the highest peak in the picture.

Which is this dome:
This is the solar telescope.  We were able to see sun spots and flares.
There are over 25 observatories and telescopes on the ridge, but there could be as many as 33.  Depends on how you count them.
This is one of the very large telescopes.
Kitt Peak is the second most sacred peak of the Tahono O'dham nation.  The nation  leased the land to the government in the 1950s with the understanding that qualified members of the nation would  get priority for job openings and that the baskets and gifts of the nation could  be sold in the gift shop and no other commercial enterprise such as restaurants be allowed on the peak.  If you are interested in astronomy and space this is the place to go!  Very interesting.

While in downtown  Tucson  we took the walking tour.  You can pick up a map at the visitor center and then follow the turquoise line to the different points of interest.  Its about a 2 mile walk and a nice thing to do to acquaint you with the old part of town. This is the old courthouse. I really like the colors in the dome.

As I mentioned before we stayed at Snyder Hill, a little sliver of BLM land south of Tuscon.  It is only a few miles from the VA hospital and close to a lot of other attractions. But, most of all it's peaceful and  offers lots of open space on the desert.  You can see the "big house" for the top of Snyder Hill.

The main purpose for staying in Tucson for two weeks was so Joel could catch up on his routine medical checkups at the VA.  I'm happy to report everything is good, and he was sent on his way, but needs to return in October for a quick follow up.  I must say, this VA hospital outshines most hospitals that I have been in.  Everyone is so helpful, kind, polite, and most importantly Vet oriented. The campus is huge. One of the interesting things they have done (and I forgot to take a picture) is the installation of covered parking, not only to shade the cars, but to provide a base for installing solar panels.  Eventually the hospital will run mostly on solar least that is what I am thinking because it is the biggest solar farm I have ever seen.

It's been a very busy two weeks. We have a lot more coupons in the "book" would could have used, but not enough time.  Now, we are on our way north,  to Reno to pickup my RV and then on to  Oregon, so be sure check back and see what we are up to.

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