First stop, Saguaro National Park, established in 1933 by President Hoover as a National Monument and then transferred to the National Parks that same year by President Roosevelt.
We drove the eight mile loop, stopping at all informational placards and unique street signs.
Then we drove an hour southwest to the Titan Missile Museum, per my friend Denise's suggestion.
It was awesome.
This was the location of the the largest nuclear weapon in the United States, used to deter a nuclear war during the Cold War. "Peace Through Deterrence" was their motto. If the Soviets knew that we could blow them up they wouldn't blow us up.
We noticed this broadband discone antenna from the parking lot, as well as the ham radio operators attached, so we went over to chat with them. Apparently, if you are an amateur radio operator you can borrow the key from the museum and hook up to this military grade antenna. The group that we were talking with were listening to Morse code between a Bulgarian and a Spaniard.
(Don't worry, Phil, Eric already has plans to take you here for your birthday.)
Due to demand they were running the hour long tours on the half hour.
We are about to go into the underground silo...
These four foot walls protected the military on duty, and the nuclear weapon, from a nuclear attack.
The only place in the entire silo that you could be by yourself was the kitchen.
Don't be alarmed, I am just at the control center about to turn the key to launch a nine megaton thermonuclear warhead.
Kidding. It wasn't that easy. The two people in the control center had to have received a message to go into the safe, opened the safe with a secret code, entered that into a number lock and then turn the key. As you can see, there is just one of me and this was a two person job. And, the bomb has since been removed... Russia actually insisted that the museum be opened to be sure that it isn't really an active nuclear bomb site.
The bomb was programmed for three different undisclosed locations. The people charged with turning the key, would have no clue where the bomb was destined to land thirty minutes later. They just new it was going to location one, two or three.
This is the nuclear warhead replica. This military site was active for two decades. The monthly electric bill for enough air conditioning to keep the liquid propellant for the missile cool enough in the desert was one million dollars.
If you are taller than six foot you had to wear special safety gear.
I wish I was a little bit taller...
We made it to New Mexico!
My first time!
At a rest stop just before the Rio Grande we found this great roadrunner statue made entirely out of garbage.
You just never know what you are going to find!