Sunset where we are parked at Ahmetbeyli, Turkiye..
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ahmetbeyli, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring Turkiye until April 20th or so.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Busy day with new friends!

We had made plans to get together with Grace and Steve, a couple who we've been in contact with quite a bit over the years. You may have noticed Grace commenting here occasionally as "Grace (in Tucson)" as she's been a regular reader here for as long as I can remember, and she's also on our personal facebook friends list.

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.

Heading down.

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


  1. What a beautiful old Church. Kind of scary all the old missile launch sites around the world - I wonder how many there are we still aren't made aware of .

    1. There were 54 old launch sites in the US and they have all now been blasted and then filled in and covered over and then the land sold, except of this one. The same happened in Russia. This was part of the treaty with Russia when the Cold War ended. This one was only allowed to stay open if the missile door was left open and that they cut a hole in the warhead to show that it is not armed and once a year a Russian satellite will zoom in and make sure it is still unarmed. At least that is the story that we were told.

  2. We had such a good time with you two! We were still talking about Ruth's delicious lasagna this morning. It's amazing what she can do in that little kitchen. We hope you really enjoy the rest of your Tucson and Arizona visit. Thank you so much... stay safe... until we meet again on the road someday. Grace & Steve (in Tucson)

    1. Thank you Grace, I am so happy that the lasagna turned out so well. I have no doubt that Kevin and I will enjoy the rest of our time in Tucson and Arizona. Thank you again for the wine and the lovely hair barrette that you made, it is gorgeous and I will think of you every time I wear it.

      Enjoy the new chapter in your life that will begin in only a few days and can't wait to meet up with you both again.

    2. Thank you, too, Ruth, and it was our pleasure. I hope you enjoy that barrette for many years to come.

  3. You certainly packed a lot into your day. Good thing you had Ruth's lasagna to replenish your energy! :c)

    1. We enjoyed every minute of the day and had a great time with Grace and Steve. :-)

  4. Yep I worked with the minuteman missiles during my short stint in the Air Force... they were the generation of missile after the Titans. The switch from liquid fuel to solid fuel made them more efficient as well as safer to work on...

    1. Wow, that must have been very interesting but scary time. Yes, we heard how the switch over in missiles was a much safer option for those working with them.

  5. What wonderfully special human beings!! And if that's not two of the prettiest women you've ever seen!....... (We're very lucky men!)

    We REALLY enjoyed your company, conversation, the fabulous meal, and very much look forward to seeing you two again down the road.
    Viaja seguro!

    1. What a wonderful compliment, thank you! Are you trying to get more lasagna?! ;-)

      We totally enjoyed our time with you both as well and I am pretty sure our paths will cross again down the road. Enjoy your new life on the road!

  6. Nice to finally meet a friend after all these years, we hope meet you guys some day soon, almost a few times..
    Another couple of things we wanted to check out this year, but....
    Some day...

    1. We have come close a number of times, but I am certain that one day we will meet.

  7. You mentioned yesterday about food quality. If you like Pecans, check out the Pecan orchard store off Old Nogales Hwy. about 10 miles south towards Green Valley.

    1. I'm not a fan of pecans but I know Kevin loves pecan pie! :-) Unfortunately we are not headed back down to Green Valley area on this trip, perhaps the next time we are in that area we can stop by.

  8. We visited the mission years ago when my sister and b-i-l lived in Tucson. I'd forgotten how beautiful the inside was, but do recall the vendors outside! Thanks for the memories. Also, congrats to Grace and Steve re beginning the next chapter of their lives. :)

    20 Years From Now

    1. So glad that you we were able to rekindle some old memories for you. It really is a beautiful spot. They have done a fabulous job of painstakingly restoring it and still giving you the feel of how old it is.

    2. Thank you, Dianne! We are very excited! Grace (in Tucson)


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