Tag: Santa Rita Mountains

The Road Less Traveled

Yesterday’s post ended with a road sign and multiple possible directions to take. Did you guess correctly? Given the choice, Bill and I will always take the scenic route, choosing a route we’ve never been on before rather than going back the way we came. We took the dusty eight mile dirt road to Highway 82. It was glorious!

It took us an hour to travel the eight miles – twice the amount of time we spent at the Roundup! – never getting above ten miles per hour. We found a lot more interesting things on our drive than we did at the Roundup also.

There were mountain ranges and waving grasses all around us.

Whetstone Mountains

The Whetstone Mountains to the east.

Mustang Mountains

The Mustang Mountains to the southeast.

Huachuca Mountains

The Huachuca Mountains to the South.

Santa Rita Mountains

The Santa Rita Mountains to the west.

At some point we noticed that the soil composition began to change, as there were many more large rocks in and along the side of the road.

We saw real trees! Not the little scrub mesquite, but BIG TREES!

Arizona tree

I saw this tree as we drove up out of a wash. The contrast between the green leaves and the blue sky was incredible. I asked Bill to stop after got up out of the draw and I got out, walked back down into the draw, and took pictures while walking up out of the draw.

Arizona Tree

We definitely would not have wanted to travel this road during monsoon season. We could see places where the road had recently been graded, throwing a berm of rocks and dirt off to the side. I imagine the monsoon rains wreak havoc with the road, even where it doesn’t cross a draw like this.

Arizona wash

Turpentine bushes

I think these are turpentine bushes.

hawk

We saw birds.

Eventually we found the main highway, drove to Sonoita for lunch at a small-town diner, and then went home.

It was one of the most enjoyable days we’ve had in quite some time.

Titan Missile Museum – 365 – 143

Sunday we trekked to Green Valley and visited the Titan Missile Museum. This is the only publicly accessible Titan II missile site in the nation; all others were decommissioned and destroyed in the 1980s.

We took the one-hour guided tour, which the guys found it quite interesting. They also have a “top to bottom” tour which is almost five hours long. I don’t think I could do that one, as I had some issues with being in the underground missile complex, reminiscent of my visit years ago to Ruby Falls. The air felt too close, too humid and I had to find a place to sit for a bit. I didn’t get light-headed or feel faint, but I definitely felt like that might have been an eventual possibility if I had stayed there for a longer period of time. Once we moved on to the silo area and where there was more fresh air movement, I did better. And I definitely would not want to do their “Titan Overnight Experience”!!

The view from the parking lot of the Titan Missile Museum, looking east to the Santa Rita Mountains.

Here is another view of the Santa Rita Mountains, panning just slightly north of the previous picture. I’m not sure what the white is, whether it’s a mining area or just the natural color of the stone.

Bill and David ready to being the tour. Anyone 5 foot 10 inches or taller had to wear a hard hat. There were definitely some very low hanging pipes, tubes, etc., down in the underground area, so hard hats were needed.

Many areas in the complex were designated at “no lone zones” when the missile complex was operational. This meant that, for safety as well as security reason, one always had to be accompanied by another person. Sometimes it also meant the other person had to be an officer, depending upon the specific area of the complex you were in. The only area where one did not need to be with another person was the crews quarters.

The missile silo doors, which are permanently half open. In order to use this as a museum and prove to the Russians that this silo was not operational, the silo doors must be left half open. As such, the missile cannot be launched.

The actual missile or at least the top of it!