It was a quick 80 miles here from Willcox. We are staying on the Davis-Monthan AFB at the Agave Gulch FamCamp. This is one of the largest FamCamps in the system and has earned the best FamCamp West of the Mississippi for the last four years. It is a very nice park and well managed by friendly, knowledgeable hosts. We have 50 amps full hookup with great WiFi, concrete porches, very strong Verizon coverage, and satellite was also easy. We spent Monday afternoon on a visit to the commissary and also to Walmart and Lowe's to pick up a few things.
Tuesday we went to Tombstone which is a 65 mile ride from the base. It was an all day experience and quite a bit of fun. The scenery was unremarkable to and from but Tombstone itself was much the way it was in the late 1800s. The town has done a good job of keeping the atmosphere and the Western feeling alive throughout all of the stores and attractions. We also watched a re-enactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral and it was very very entertaining. Just outside of town was Boothill which was also well preserved and presented for our viewing.
Wednesday we hit the Saguaro National Park east of Tuscon. We watched a 15 minute slide show which was very good but we lucked into a presentation given by one of the park volunteers, Tom Greene. He talked at length about the desert habitat and then we went on a short guided tour around the visitor center where he explained how the different parts of the desert interact to survive. It was very good. He also explained how the Saguaro is a succulent with the outer few inches containing the normal cactus layer that is mostly water, but that the center was made of wood just like a tree. It takes it about 50 years to grow six feet high so these huge ones in our pictures are most likely well over a hundred years old. They live to between 150 to 200 years. The Saguaro cactus is only found in the Sonora Desert in Southwest Arizona, Southern California and Northwestern Mexico. The Sonora is also the only desert in the world that has two rainfall events (winter and late summer). All other deserts in the world only have one. One little side note: when we went to the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument we were at the point where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Sonora Desert.
We then went on a couple of hikes. The first was out into the desert. It was in late morning so the only wildlife seen was a couple of lizards. Many of the cacti are in bloom this time of year and were very pretty. The second hike was to Signal Hill which is an area where petroglyphs have been found that were carved in prehistoric times. That hike had an area through rattlesnake country but it was hot enough we knew they would be under rocks or somewhere else cool, not out to mess with us.
Today, Thursday, we took the Mothership into La Mesa RV (the local Tiffin Dealer) to have the slide repaired. While they were working on it, we went to the Pima Air and Space Museum to catch the boneyard tour. The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARG) keeps old aircraft that are not currently needed by our armed forces at the Davis-Monthan AFB. Two main reasons why this has occurred. First, the ground in the desert is almost as hard as concrete so no paving is necessary for aircraft to be parked on the ground. Second, of course, is the weather. This is the desert and the humidity is a minus 1000%. Nothing rusts in this climate, even if you leave it outside. I am not sure of the exact number but there are hundreds and hundreds of aircraft. I would estimate at least 600. These are aircraft that are still useful in some way. Some could be flown with minimal work and others can serve as parts when needed for aircraft that are still being flown. Afterwards we had lunch and then still had to wait about two hours to get the Mothership back but we did get her back and she is whole again with the exception of needing to have a steel wheel replaced with an aluminum one.
Tomorrow we head for Phoenix and a visit with my brother Lonnie and his wife, Mickey.