Friday, May 2, 2014

Busy Day: Slide Fixed – Sightseeing

(Tucson, AZ) Hi 88 Lo 62 – We got up early this morning to be out of our home by eight so the technicians at BandC RV Repair could finish up our slide repairs. We went to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, then to Desert Toyota to have our first servicing done on our Toyota RAV4. All scheduled service is free for the first two years we own the car, which is very sweet!

When the car was done we headed south out of Tucson on I-19 to do some sightseeing, bypassing the downtown area.

About 10 miles south of Tucson is the San Xavier Mission, a Spanish mission that was built in 1692, when this whole area belonged to Spain.

The Spanish architecture is beautiful, especially inside the church.

Here’s a closer look at the ceiling.

There’s a small museum on the grounds that tells the history of the mission.

Next to the main building is the bell tower.

There are some beautiful gardens on the grounds, displaying many kinds of colorful desert flowers.

It was a very fascinating visit, and amazing to see such a beautiful building that’s still around after more than 300 years. If you’d like to learn more about the San Xavier Mission, click here.
After our stop at San Xavier Mission we proceeded south another 20 miles to Green Valley to check out the Titan Missile Museum.

The receptionist at the RV repair shop told us about this, and it sounded like something right up our alley. This Titan II complex is one of eight or so that were around the Tucson area up until the 1980’s when all of the Titan complexes were deactivated at the end of the cold war. This complex is the only one that was preserved and made available to the public.

The building in the photo above has the gift shop, a few museum exhibits, and a video room to watch the 17-minute informational film about the Titan II Missile program that kept the peace in our country from the 1960’s through most of the 1980’s during the cold war. As far as the missile silo and control facility, there’s not much to see above ground.

To see everything we had to go underground. The elevator on the left is available for those who need it, but we went down the 55 steps that led from the hatchway on the right.

At the bottom of the stairs we came to one of the four blast doors in the complex. The door is two feet thick and weighs 6,000 pounds. You can see one of the huge hinges in this photo.

Although the door weighs three tons and has only 1/4 inch clearance from the floor, it’s so well balanced that it can be moved with one hand, which was demonstrated by this lady.

The tour guide said the doors haven’t been adjusted in the 50 years they’ve been hanging there. That’s pretty good precision construction!
Inside the blast door we reached the control room.

Four missile control officers worked a 24-hour shift, rotating control duty in pairs. All the technology was explained to us, including how it took “two inputs for one output.” That means one person could not launch the missile. It took both officers turning their individual keys, which were seven feet apart, at the same time.

We then proceeded down a long hallway to the missile silo. The Titan II was mounted 130 feet below ground in a vertical silo, and could be launched in less than a minute. The nine megaton nuclear warhead could reach its target in a little over a half hour, and could completely destroy a city of any size. There were some windows that looked into the silo at the massive missile.

We really enjoyed our visit to the Titan Missile Museum. It brought back memories of a scary time during the cold war. But remember, we still have plenty of active missile complexes scattered around the country, and those have modern Minuteman III missiles with multiple warheads. If you’d like to know more about the Titan Missile Museum, click here.

We returned to the repair shop around 3:30 and they were finishing up our slide repairs. The new motor is installed in the doorside slide. The large slide is another matter. If you recall from yesterday’s post, the top edge of the slide was coming in a little too far, which caused a minor separation of the seam along the vertical side of the slide. They tried to make some adjustments to it, but the design of it doesn’t allow for easy adjustments. After discussing it with us, we all decided to leave it the way it is and depend on the extra supporting screws they installed to protect the edge that was separating. It’s lasted 4 1/2 years, and with the beefing up they did it should last at least that many years or more. And it’s something that’s easy for us to keep an eye on. I give them credit for recognizing their limitations and not trying something they may not have been qualified to do. They removed all charges having to do with the large slide, so we’re satisfied. The next time we’re in the Elkhart, IN area we may have Fox RV look at it. They are one of the best RV repair shops in the country, and also they used to do warranty work for Carriage when they were in business. They know all about how Carriage slides work.

We’re back at Agave Gulch Famcamp on Davis-Monthan AFB. I plan to run both slides in and out a couple of times before we leave just to make sure everything is squared away.

Oh yeah, the wind has died down, and so has the dust. It’s beautiful and sunny and more like what we expect Arizona to be like. We can actually see mountains around us for the first time. We’re looking forward to some more sightseeing during the next week.

See you tomorrow.


Jim and Sandie said...

We also did the Titan tour and I found it so interesting. We also took the tour of the Asarco Mine that's right there. Good luck with that slide and hopefully they both work for you.

Bill and Nancy said...

Nice that you were able to do some interesting sight seeing while the rig got fixed!!

Safe Travels and Happy Trails...

Rick Dorr said...

Be sure to see the Biosphere2 just north of you in Oracle!

Sandra Merrikin said...

Glad to see the Mission is no longer under construction. Both times we were there it was.

Donna W. said...

very interesting about the silos. churches are beautiful. isnt it nice to find repair shop that is honest