Like we really are friends, who simply hadn't met in person yet!
So they drove over here yesterday morning along with their dog Gretchen to meet us and Sherman!
We were close by to the San Xavier Mission, an old church that was originally completed in 1797. It's actually the oldest European structure in Arizona. So we drove over there to check it out.
The San Xavier Mission.
Pretty busy, but then it was a Sunday!
Pretty ornate. The cross built into the wall is kind of neat!
This little chapel had so many candles burning that it was warm inside!
Some old religious book, written on sheepskin.
Grace, Steve, and Ruth.
The San Xavier Mission.
Some of the locals sell food every Sunday. There's Kevin (orange baseball cap) in line with Grace. We were getting tamales. They tasted good, but I think mine needed to be cooked more!
From there, we decided to go to the Titan Missile Museum.
Back in the early 1960's, The United States built 54 underground launching sites of Titan II missiles with nuclear warheads on them. These were to remain fully operational until a treaty with Russia in 1987 when the sites were decommissioned and the missiles were removed and deactivated.
All, except for one.
There is one site just south of Tucson where a deactivated missile was allowed to remain in order to be turned in to a display and museum of the Cold War.
We were interested in this, partly because of our visit to the Canadian "Diefenbunker" complex back in May of 2012. You can read that story here...
Arrived at the Titan Missile Museum.
Tours begin every half hour, but it was fairly busy so we had about a 45 minute wait until our 2:30pm start time. That actually worked out perfectly because it gave us a chance to read the displays in the waiting area before the tour began.
The waiting area, gift shop, and displays.
Our 2:30pm start time approached, and we were led into a small room where we sat and watched a 20 minute movie about the Titan Missile. We were then told that anybody over 5'10" tall had to wear a hard hat (that's me!), and we were led outside to the stairs that went underground. There's also an elevator available for anybody who can't handle the six flights of stairs.
Apparently rattlesnakes get everywhere!
Our guide Ed, telling us about how the structure was built. Look how thick that door is! It weighs 6,000 lbs!
Into the missile control area, where Ed was really good at explaining the daily procedures the four member missile crews went through. Each crew would work a 24 hour shift, and then have one day off and two days of training before going back for another 24 hour shift. The missile station was ready 24 hours a day for over 20 years.
Thankfully, it was all a total waste of time. Obviously, the missiles were never fired.
The hallway leading down to the missile chamber.
At the missile chamber, there are two good sized viewing windows.
The Titan II missile system would have taken exactly 58 seconds from the time they were told to execute the command. It could deliver 9 megaton nuclear warhead to a target more than 6,300 miles (10,000 kms) away in 30 minutes.
Looking down from the top.
At ground level, this is all you see of the missile site. It's all underground!
Back in the gift shop, they have original cans of emergency drinking water that would have been stocked in fall out shelters. This can was from 1952!
But at $24.95, that's a pretty expensive can of water. Yes, I know, it's a collectible.
It was a good tour, and we think it's worth the $9.50 admission price. The museum is all self funded and they have a lot of volunteers as well to keep it running.
By the time we finished and made it back to Sherman, it was happy hour! Great timing!
Ruth made a great lasagna for dinner, and we had some good conversation about RV'ing. Grace and Steve have a 25 ft Class C, and they've got it all kitted out with solar. And they're pretty excited because Grace only has 8 days of work left before they're both retired and they head out full time!
Dinner is served! Grace, Steve, and Kevin.
Kevin, Steve, Ruth, and Grace.
And their dog Gretchen!
What a good day we had! Looking forward to meeting up with Grace and Steve on the road someday!
A great deal on a highly rated camping hammock at Amazon.com...