They have a pickup truck, so we loaded up the bicycles, and off we went!
We didn't really have a plan...we just figured we'd follow a route, and see how it went. There aren't a lot of hills in Tucson, so its pretty easy riding on nice paved or concrete paths. Some sections were even brand new!
Jane, Ruth, and John
Riding by the air force base, we figured that we might see some military aircraft taking off or landing, and we were right...
We knew we were riding near the air force base, but we didn't really know that we were going to be seeing parts of the largest aircraft boneyard n the world. It turns out that these planes are either in long term storage, being dismantled for spare parts, or in various stages of being sold for scrap.
There are supposedly 4,400 aircraft parked here!
When aircraft arrive at the boneyard, they are processed. Each aircraft brings along its entire history of documentation, including maintenance actions over its years of service.
All aircraft going into storage are processed as follows:
All guns, ejection seat charges, and classified hardware are removed, along with clocks and data plates.
Each aircraft is washed on arrival . The washing is especially important for aircraft that have served aboard aircraft carriers or in tropical locations where they were subject to the corrosive effects of warm, salty air.
The fuel system is protected by draining it, refilling it with lightweight oil, and then draining it again, leaving a protective oil film.
The aircraft is sealed from dust, sunlight, and high temperatures. This is done using a variety of materials, ranging from "spraylat" (a white, opaque, high-tech vinyl plastic compound sprayed on the aircraft) to simple garbage bags. With the white coating, interior temperatures will usually remain within 15 degrees of the outside ambient air temperature.
The plane is towed by a tug to its designated "storage" position.
Not our taxpayer dollars, but I'm sure Canada's military has a aircraft boneyard too. Can't imagine the amount of money sitting on the ground here. 4,400 airplanes!
These are not all "old" airplanes either.
I came across one story about the C-27, a plane that only began production in 2007. There are already 12 of them here in the boneyard, with another five being sent here directly from the assembly line. The American Air Force has spent $567 million on 21 of these planes since 2007.
A partial aerial view I found online.
We had just come around to about our half way point in our bike ride, when Ruth said "uh, oh...I have a flat"!
Sure enough, her rear tire had several thorns in it. We must have run over something, because I had a couple as well, and so did John. Not enough to cause problems for us, but Ruth's was flat as a pancake.
We decided that Ruth and Janie would stay at the gas station where the flat happened and John and I would carry on and bring the truck back to pick them up.
On the way back, we were on a brand new section of bike path.
Man, we were still pretty far away. We didn't keep track of how many miles we were doing, but it took us an hour to get back to the truck! I figured the mileage out later and we had done 18 miles (29 kms)!
Anyhow, we sure got lots of fresh air and exercise, and lots of sunshine as well. On the way back, Janie and John insisted on taking us out for a meal at Tiny's Restaurant, a local hole in the wall place that they said makes the best ribs ever.
The ribs plate sells for $14.95, but there is easily enough food for two people. So we each split a plate of ribs and had a couple of beers. What a great meal, they were right... it was delicious!
We had such a good day...thanks guys!
Time for a new sewer hose? This Rhinoflex hose kit is the one we use. We've had ours for almost eight years now, and it's still as good as new. Best sewer hose ever! And, it's on sale...