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.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tucson area, Part I March 26- 30

Tucson is one of my favorite "city" areas to visit (I'm really not a city person) but  I was looking forward to several weeks of "hanging out" and exploring the area  in between Joel's routine doctors appointments.

We parked at Snyder Hill, a little sliver of BLM land south of Tucson, and convenient to the VA and shopping.  I was really surprised at the amount of RV that were parked here.  Last year, most of Snyder Hill was closed due to a gas line being put in and the RVers were "relocated" just up the Ajo Highway near the fire station. ...right on the highway and there weren't many "residents" .The work is all done and things seem to be back to normal.

Some of the attractions around Tucson are not cheap and while  there are lots of free things to see and do many of the  attractions  cost $$ and admission fees can add up quickly, so no visit to Tucson should be complete without:

It's a book of 2 for 1 coupons for most of the major sites around Tucson and Southern Arizona.  The cost is only $18.00 and will worth the cost if two people go in together.  I haven't seen it advertised anywhere except on the web and we had to ask for it at the visitor center. So, if you are planning to visit Southern Arizona check out the web for information on ordering the passport.  So far the passport has more than paid for itself.

We headed down to Sahuaritya, about 30 miles south of Tucson to the Titan Missile Museum, to tour the Titan II site 571-7.  During the cold war there were about 18 missile site around Southern Arizona and 54 sites located in the US.  The 571-7 site was "decommissioned" and staged as a museum.  All of the other sites have been disarmed and filled in.  If you are "60-80+ " something in age you probably remember the sites and the threat of nuclear war.  The tour was very interesting and informative.  Admission was $9.50 each but we only paid $4.25 each with the passport!

This is a view looking down into the silo at the missile.
 One of the long halls on the way to the control room.  The walls and doors are four feet thick.
 The control room, which was state of the art at the time.
 I guess these were protective suits in case of a problem.
 The control room and other parts of the operation were"no lone zones ".  There had to be at least two personnel present at all times as a security measure in these areas.
 This was the entrance into the site.  It was several stories down.
 A warhead which has been disarmed:
 Replica of the site and it's underground parts.

Tubac Presidio State Park was about 25 miles from the Titan Missile site so we continued onward.  We had a coupon for the State Park and had every intention of using it but got a little distracted.  There was a wonderful  outdoor sculpture gallery which caught my attention.  Some of my favorite sculptures:

The head on the bull was cantilevered so it moved up and down.  Joel is trying to figure out how it works!

 This was one of my favorites:
 And what fun!!
The little village of Tubac is an art lovers dream!  There were lots of hand made items by local artisans, all of exceptional quality and of course price!  I left with my pocket book intact but if I lived in a stick and brick house I would have come away with a few purchases.

The Arizona-Sonora museum is an absolute must see.  I've been several times and never see it all.  It is more than a museum.  Its a zoo of sorts as well as a botanical garden.  Most of the exhibits are out doors along natural walk ways.  My last visits to the Desert Museum  have been in January, and visiting during the Spring is a whole new experience.  Many of the cacti were in bloom:

 These prickly pear blooms hadn't opened up, but you can see they are almost ready.

I was really excited to see these animals, on my previous visits they were  shy.  These are Javalina.  I've seen signs of them in the wild, but have never been able to spot them up close.  They kind of look like giant mice the size of pigs.

 These are Coati. They are very elusive but  and are fun to watch once you find them.  
 Oops ! with this?  The box turtles were still hibernating and this little girl was demonstrating how turtles crawl.

The free flight exhibits where the raptures fly freely are really popular. There are two programs a day where trainers let the raptures fly freely. This is a Harris Hawk.  Look how he/she perches on the cactus.

This owl is in "training".  The volunteer is walking around with her trying to accustom her to people and conditions.  She wants to fly off his hand every time he takes a step and he is trying to teach her she can't do that.
 This humming bird stood still long enough for me to get a picture.
This is a crest on the Saguaro which is caused by a mutation.  I think it is a new addition to the museum because I don't remember it from before.  The crested Saguaro can be found in the desert, but they are few and far between. I've spotted several down towards Organ Pipe National Monument and they are all different.

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