TITAN MISSILE MUSEUM

DSC01105South of Tucson AZ is a titan missile museum.  We (along with Larry’s sister and brother-in-law) visited it one day in January.  The location is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

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This was our tour guide (in the blue shirt).  He was former air force, and had worked at this missile site when it was active.  Now he conducts tours here.

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Walking through the underground tunnel to get to the control room.

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One of the tourists sitting at the control panel.

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Where the launch codes were kept.

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View of the rocket.  Nuclear war head has been long removed.

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From above ground.  Plexiglass covering has been placed over the rocket tube so you can see down into the silo.

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Info about the missile.

 

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WHITE SANDS AND CASA GRANDE

After we left Oklahoma on our way to Arizona, since there was a winter storm along I-40, we headed south through New Mexico (Highway 54) and stopped for the night at Las Cruses.  The next morning when we headed out on I- 10, we drove through the white sands area.

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That is white sand, not snow!

After being in Arizona a few days, we went to Casa Grande National Monument.

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We had a great guide from the Park service.  One thing he talked about was the bringing of water to this area.  The native americans had to dig an irrigation channel several miles long, with the correct slope to make the water flow down to their farm land.

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This is a photo of our guide.  Wonderful sense of humor.  (Reminded me of my husband’s brother-in-law, whose house we were staying at!  Even looked rather like him.)

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The “awning” over the ruins are to protect them from the Arizona sun!

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There are lots more ruins to be excavated here.  The ruins above, were excavated and then filled back in to protect the fragile walls.  You walk on the grave, but the excavation when down about 8 feet.

Yes, the sky really is that incredible blue.

I did not get any photos, but the museum at the headquarters was excellent.  Well worth a trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROUTE 66 (AGAIN)

When we were in Oklahoma we had to try another section of Route 66.  Before setting out, we headed north a little ways and passed through the town of Fairfax, Oklahoma

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Maria Tallchief was a Native American Prima Ballerina.   I read a book about her (and other ballerinas) when I was about 12, and was very impressed with all of them, but especially Maria.

Continuing North out of Fairfax, we passed through a lot of empty space, studded with oil wells and wind power “windmills” (sometimes right next to each other) – the old and the new.

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Continuing East a ways, we came to the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma (home of The Pioneer Woman).  We stopped at the Mercantile there and browsed for a bit – only bought a couple of things, but the store was full of everything you could imagine.

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This is a full shot of the Mercantile.

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And here I am outside the Mercantile.

After our visit here, we headed south/southeast to Tulsa.

In Claremore (a suburb of Tulsa) we visited the Will Rogers Museum.

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Here is the entrance to the Museum.

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Outside terrace by the museum.

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One of my favorite Will Rogers quotes is “My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower – but they were here to welcome those who did.”

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Statue in the “hallway” of the museum.

 

Back in the car, we headed down route 66 to “The Blue Whale”, a roadside attraction from the 70’s. The Blue Whale.

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The day we stopped was very cold – we were the only people there.  Signs noted that you were no longer allowed to swim in the lake, or use the slides attached to the whale.  You could fish off the whale, but it was strictly “catch and release”.

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The entrance to the area – no cost to walk around.  That’s me shivering in the wind!

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Here’s a picnic area, that was not being used!

Back on the road again, we left Route 66 and headed through Yale, Oklahoma.  The home of Jim Thorpe is located in Yale.

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The Jim Thorpe house.

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Since we arrived there about a quarter to five, we decided not to tour the home.  Just took a few pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AUSTIN, TEXAS

In January, we traveled to Austin, Texas with our daughter and granddaughter, to act as “nanny” to our granddaughter because Sara was presenting a poster at the American Linguistic Society annual meeting.

Since we were at a downtown hotel, and only about a block from the River Walk, we took baby for a walk by the river on a VERY cold morning!

We had her well bundled up, so I don’t think she got cold.  She was comfortable enough to fall asleep in the stroller.  After the walk we headed over to the Whole Foods store to buy lunch.

The next day we had baby dressed and ready to go early.  Still a cool day, but not as cold as the day before!

Ready to go!

We walked to the state capital, only a few blocks away.

The drive is lined with pecan trees.  Hundreds of pecans were lying on the ground.  I was tempted to pick some up, but I didn’t know if it was legal or not!

The front of the capital building.

And here is the back side of the capital building.

The grounds were studded with  lots of statues and monuments.  (sorry I did not get any photos)

On the walk back to the hotel, we noticed this car.  These “ornaments” were all permanently attached to the car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIOSPHERE 2

In Oracle, Arizona is the biosphere 2.  It was a scientific research center for self sustained life.  Twelve scientists entered the biosphere and the doors were sealed for two years.  They had to be totally self sufficient for that entire time.  If anything mechanical (water lines, electrical) broke, they were responsible to fix it.

Forests, rivers, gardens and livestock (pigs and chickens) were in the biosphere.  Two of the scientists had spent a year in Australia learning how to care for and butcher the pigs.  The scientists maintained a mostly vegetarian diet, eating meat only once a week.  In the first month or two (sorry, I don’t remember exactly how long), most of the people lost about 25 pounds.

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This is an outside view of the biosphere.  The “minaret” in the foreground was the library.

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The jungle part of the biosphere.

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The dessert part.

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Woods area.

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The “river”.

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The common area where the scientists spent their free time.  (Remind anyone of college?)

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A sample of one of the private rooms.  Each scientist had their own private space.

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Pathway to different areas.

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Walking to the “lung” of the biosphere.

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The “lung” that helped maintain the proper air pressure in biosphere and expel the carbon dioxide that was formed from people and animals.  This entire room, contained the lung.

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Our guide (with raised arm) explaining how the “lung” raised and lowered to either bring in fresh air or expel the carbon dioxide

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Another view of the outside.

Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ARIZONA

We spent some time in Arizona this winter.

We stayed at a “55 plus” resort.  (Yes, we really are that old).  There was a hiking club at the park that we joined.  This was our first hike.

Here are some of the people on the hike.  We kind of looked like a “snake” walking single file up the trail.

 

That’s me.

We hiked part way up this mountain (or hill)

It was considered a moderate hike, and I didn’t think it was too bad.  The group leader was 80 years old and had had two knee replacements.  I sometimes had a hard time keeping up with him.  Which makes me want to keep in shape now that we have time to do things like hike.

 

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ROUTE 66

I know I have posted about Route 66 before, but here goes again.

We were in Oklahoma recently for this reason:

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One day, we traveled down to just north of Oklahoma City and headed East on Route 66.  Our first stop was in Arcadia at “POPS”.  This is a gas station, restaurant and pop museum on the outskirts of town.

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All these bottles on the walls of this gas station/restaurant are different kinds of pop bottles.

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We happened to be there on a Tuesday, which is half price burger day, so we had burgers.

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Mine was the grilled onion burger.

I really enjoyed the burger and thought it was one of the better ones I have had.  Larry said it was OK, but nothing special.  We both agreed the fries were some of the worst we have ever had.

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In the parking lot was this restored old pickup truck.  I just thought it was really neat to be driving the road in this old car.

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Next stop, just down the road, was the round barn.

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From what I was told, the reason for the round barn was that people believed that a tornado would not destroy a round barn.  And Oklahoma is certainly in tornado alley!

Here is a picture of the road.

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Can you imagine back in the 1900’s when this was the major road between Chicago and California.  It was called the “mother road”.  A lot of history along the way!.  We stopped at a Route 66 Museum in Clinton OK along the way.

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One of the highlights of this museum was a slide show about a young man who had driven the road back in the 60’s and then drove it again in the early 2000’s.  He stopped the same places and took updated pictures (that were in the slide show).

One place we stopped, but did not go in was “The Rock” café.  If you remember the Disney movie “CARS”, you will be interested to know that the Corvette in that movie is based on the owner of the café.

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The rocks that are the building materials for this café came from the excavation for the original route 66 road.

All along the road are small “Tourist Cabins”, that people used to stay in as they traveled this road.   Some are still in operation, some are closed.  It is good to get off the freeway sometimes and explore the side roads where history happened.  To feel what it was like to take the road at a slower pace.  Where the trip was just as exciting as the destination.

We have purchased a couple of books about the road, and hope to travel more of it in the future.

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