One of the only photos of all 11 of us, November 2016.

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Answered Prayer and A Dream Come True

Well the last time I added a blog was our 2015 travel trailer adventure to Arizona. But let me catch you up on our life journey since the 2013 boondocking trip to Alaska. A lot has happened in those 4 years and don't think for a minute that we've stayed home all that time. So, the important things first: 5 grandkiddos! Yep, 3 from Zach and Katie and 2 from Maegan and Jose. Please check out my Facebook for photos of those wonderful bundles of joy.
Next…Trips: Roatan, Honduras; two trips to Liberia to visit Zach's family and our first grandbaby, James; Armenia, Columbia for Maegan's first daughter's birth; and Jerusalem, Israel to see Maegan's family and the birth of her second daughter, Sky. Then many trips to Chicago for grandbaby fixes 😉
So, the main reason for resurrecting my Aloha Journeys blog is that we have sold our Colorado Springs condo and purchased the perfect 2013 Jayco Jay Feather Ultra-Lite 👏🏻 to live in during the winter when we are not at our mountain property or at our Chicago condo.
JOIN US on our new journey that will start the end of September! Be sure to FOLLOW us on this blog, if you're interested.

Titan II Missile Site Tour

We arrived at 9:00am on Tuesday morning for the 2+ hour Crew Tour of the massive concrete and steel Titan II Missile site. Our tour guide was a retired crewmember that had spent several years on assignment here back in the 1960’s. There were 54 Titan II missiles in the day, this is the only site open to the public.

This is the underground missile silo, Command Center and the passageways we would be exploring. Titan II helped protect the USA for 25 years. Titan II was the largest and most powerful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ever built by the US.        IMG_3099         IMG_3098

A model of the actual missile we would see. It was a DETERRENT weapon. Of course, to show credible deterrence, it must be a credible threat. This meant the missile had to be able to sustain an attack and still function, hence the underground location.

There are several security points through which the Crew had to pass. This is the 2nd one, which was a phone call to the crew inside to obtain an entry code. The slip of paper with your secret code then had to be burned and placed in this tin can. The entire underground facility had a “SAC 2 man policy” which did not allow any single individual to wander the rooms without a buddy. The doors weighed 6,000 pounds.

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The passageway to the Command Center was 250 feet long.

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The entire underground structure had stabilizers (big shock absorbers) in case of a launch, or quake.

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The actual Command Center where the crew spent most of their days. It was fascinating to see the old 1960 computers and what technology they had to work with back then. One of the clocks was set to Moscow time.

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There were 2 crewmembers that each had a synchronized clock and a KEY for launch. He said the Air Force had to replace many officers that decided they could not “turn the key” after over a year of training and work at the site. Our guide selected Jim and I to man the 2 stations. We got a little card that said we “turned the key”. Although I’m sure I would have been one of the officers that would not have been able to perform that function.

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The phone that connected to the White House.

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The information for the final launch sequence was kept in a 3 ring binder at the desk. There were many binders marked “Top Secret”.

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When we arrived at the Titan II missile, there was a small military team in training within the missile silo casing.

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The top portion of the missile. They had ½ of the launch doors locked open to prove the site is no longer operational.

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The missile had glass around the viewing section they had open to the tour – so the reflection did not allow for good photos.

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This photo is from outside – from the top looking down the 150+ foot shaft.

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The silo door half opened.

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For those who LIKE to read plaques, here are some specifics. It could “deliver its target” more than 6,000 miles away in 35 minutes and would devastate an area up to 900 square miles.

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Outside the underground site, were many components on display. This was the Stage 1 engine. It produces about the same power as a 747 running at full throttle.

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The security police.

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We would highly recommend this destination. It was very well done and informative. After the tour, the guide met with us in a room and answered everyone’s questions. The one underlying thought I walked away with is the amazing amount of effort that is put into keeping our country safe. The average person goes along in their day and never contemplates this.

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Saguaro National Park

One of our favorite places to explore is the Saguaro National Park. It is about 5 miles from our abode at the Western Way RV park. We got out there early this morning to catch a sunrise. It was pretty – but really doesn’t compare to the sunsets here.

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Driving into the park are shades of browns and greens. This is a picnic shelter.

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IMG_3020 I love these gentle giants.

 

They stand like sentinels along the roads.  IMG_2948

 

Now tell me this doesn’t look like Larry the Cucumber 🙂  IMG_2954

 

IMG_0389     We ventured off on one of the many trails and stopped for a selfie.

 

Here is a saguaro that has met its demise.  IMG_3078

 

IMG_3080  These are Teddy Bear Cholla cactus – I love that name J

 

Our usual end of the day walk on a trail next to the RV park.  IMG_0401

Tucson – downtown walking tour

The walking tour of downtown Tucson is very well done. It is called the Turquoise Trail and they have a thick painted line along the sidewalk to follow. There are plaques along the way with interesting historical information (yes, Zach, I read every single one 🙂

This domed mosaic building is the Pima County Courthouse.

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Fox Theater has been showing movies since 1930 and it is still open.

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The Congress Hotel is where they caught Dillinger because of an accidental fire in 1934.

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Many avenues have lovely murals as well as this cute Mexican Restaurant.

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This 8434 pound azurite in quartz and several other minerals is from Morenci, Arizona. It was beautiful.

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A good end to a full day – freshly picked oranges and a magnificent sunset back at our RV park.

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Postal History Foundation

Our time in Tucson has been great! There are so many interesting things to see and places to visit (and a lot of them are free :).

We spent a couple of delightful hours at the Postal History Foundation Museum with a kind man named Paul. They have over 100 volunteers that sort, remove, catalog and then sell postage stamps from all over the world. My dad used to collect stamps and I have my own stamp collection and book packed away back in Colorado. I haven’t looked at it for…oh, probably 35 years. I plan to revisit the hobby of stamp collecting this summer and dig out what treasures I may have. If nothing else, I will ship my findings to them so they can be utilized.

Several volunteers were hard at work this morning.

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Here is an original post office structure from the border town of Naco, AZ dating from 1895 and in use for over 30 years. This was a kit the postmaster built and set it up in a Wells Fargo office building. This structure would have been one of only a few post offices that served to exchange mail between the United States and Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900’s.

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We were also able to see a hand operated cancellation machine from the old mining town of Tyrone, New Mexico used from 1917 – 1921. This might be the only intact and functioning one remaining. Most went into the scrap drives during WWII.

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There were postal memorabilia items and old stamps. The museum staff also works with schools and home schooling organizations to help students with a visual history recorded by stamps from around the world. They integrate postage stamps into all disciplines, from history and geography to math and art. They have lesson plans that they donate upon request with worksheets and stamps, which allow each student to touch, investigate and learn as they complete the projects. Every stamp supplied to teachers can be kept. What a creative idea! I wish I had known about this when I home schooled 🙂

Tucson

IMG_2948 Our first evening in Tucson we drove into the Seguaro National Park to catch the sunset. I was amazed with the seguaro cacti – they looked like people…

IMG_2957…sentinels actually. The clouds promised a magnificent sunset.

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IMG_2960 We were not disappointed. When we stopped to take this, there was a coyote howling in the distance. I expected to see a cowboy ride up 🙂