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Arizona 2018: [Day 1 - Mesa] [Day 2 - Mesa] [Day 3 - Mesa] [Day 4 - Tucson] [Day 5 - Grand Canyon West] [Day 6 - Grand Canyon] [Day 7 - Prescott]

Wednesday, December 26, 2018: We checked out of our hotel early and picked up Debbie's dad, Bob, then fortified ourselves with McDonald's breakfast for the road.
We passed a Top Golf on Arizona Highway 202 and had to get a photo of it. No idea why. It's a sickness.
Arizona has lots of great designs on their highways, and this set of overpasses was no exception.
There was fog in the valley ahead of us, ...
... and it was on both sides of the highway.
Eventually, it was on the highway as well, and it was both spooky and cool to drive through.
We stopped at rest area, ...
... and got a little education on the Gadsden Purchase:

The Gila River north of this site marked the international border of the United States and Mexico from 1848 to 1854. James Gadsden negotiated to purchase 38,000 square miles of "wild country" for $15 million in gold. Amended to $10 million for 29,640 square miles, the Gadsden Purchase maintained southern railroad and wagon routes but preserved Mexico's link to Baja, California. Today, the Gadsden Purchase comprises 24 percent of Arizona's total land area.
We have no idea what this is or why it is in a field by the side of the road. We are very intrigued though.
Picacho Peak is a unique landmark on the horizon.
Here are some pecan trees.
Some cool lenticular clouds were forming on Newman Peak to the east.
Meanwhile, we were nearing Picacho Peak to the west.
Bob has been hiking here with his brother, Herb. It looks like a fun place to explore.
We passed Pinal Airpark, a commercial airplane boneyard, to the west.
There are lots of cotton fields around here.
As we got into the Tucson area, there was lots of highway art to admire.
Here's some more.
These magnificient F-22 Raptors mark the entrance of the Pima Air and Space Museum. Let's go there!
You immediately see an A-4 Skyhawk outside of the entrance, ...
... with a Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster on your right-hand side.
This WW I replica Sopwith Camel is in really good shape. The propeller was actually spinning.
Right inside the entrance, there are experimental commercial aircraft, WW I biplanes, helicopters, and modern jet fighters.
The Blue Angels flew the F-11 Tiger jet from 1957 to 1969.
They then transitioned to the F-4 Phantom. This is painted in Air Force colors rather than Navy colors.
This UH-1 Huey helicopter is painted with teeth around the chin, denoting that it is configured as a helicopter gunship.
A Canadair Sabre Mk.5, a variant of the F-86 Sabre, is hanging above a Grumman F-14A Tomcat.
Outside, there is a McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet, which is the current aircraft used by the Navy's Blue Angels and has been since 1986.
The displays outside are completely open. You are free to walk right up to the aircraft and touch them. This A-7E Corsair is in beautiful shape.
Here's a North American RA-5C Vigilante.
This is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in All Nippon Airways (ANA) livery.
Many of the aircraft had an "Experimental" designation.
This Douglas VC-118A was the last propeller-driven aircraft used as Air Force One. It was last used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson between 1961 to 1965, ...
... before being replaced by this Boeing VC-137B.
We had talked on the way down from Mesa about what Bob had hoped to see at the museum, and he said that it would be nice to see a Convair B-36 Peacemaker, but the only one he knew about was in Dayton, Ohio, at the National Museum of the Air Force.
You can imagine how shocked we were to see a B-36J on display, and even more delighted to see that it was on loan from the National Museum of the Air Force.
The B-36 was eventually replaced by ...
.. the mighty Boeing B-52. The museum has both the B-52D version that was operational until 1983, and ...
... the more modern B-52G, which flew until 1994.
This is a Sikorsky VH-34C Choctaw, which was used as a Presidental transport aircraft until 1964 when the responsibility for carrying the President by helicopter was transferred to the Marine Corps.
This Lockheed C-121A Constellation was a transport used by then General Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was the first of many aircraft that he named "Columbine" after the state flower of Colorado.
Here's an Avro AEW.2 Shackleton.
This Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker was used as a zero gravity trainer from 1963 until 2004. It was nicknamed the "Weightless Wonder V" which is a much more appealing name than the traditional "Vomit Comet."
This funny looking plane is the B-377SG Super Guppy belonging to NASA. It was used to transport oversized and oddly shaped large cargo, and was specifically manufactured to transport spacecraft components, such as the Gemini spacecraft and the Apollo command modules. This plane was retired in 1995.
This row contained many fighter planes from the former Soviet Union, including two MiG 15s, two MiG 17s, a MiG 21 Fishbed, and a MiG 29 Fulcrum.
Where else would you look for vending except under a Space Shuttle?
The Sikorsky CH-54A Skycrane has to be one of the funniest-looking helicopters ever made.
Okay, there are a lot of funny-looking helicopters, including (from right to left) Sikorsky HO3S-1 Dragonfly, the Sikorsky H-5G, an unknown probably Hughes or Hiller helicopter, the Piasecki HUP-3 Mule, the Piasecki H-21 Flying Banana, the Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican, and the Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard.
The Sikorsky SH-53M Pave Low helicopter is a huge beast.
There are several planes that have been decorated by various artists as part of the Firestone Galleries' exhibit named "The Bone Yard Project: Return Trip." This one is "Spy Tiger" by Andrew Schoultz.
The Soviet military's Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship is one of the toughest attack helicopters ever produced.
It is still in use by the Russian military.
This truck is a launch control center used for launching the ...
... General Dynamic BGM-109A, more commonly known as the Gryphon Cruise Missile, which was decommissioned in 1991 following the historic signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty by the United States and the Soviet Union.
Let's take a break from all of these airplanes and see some of the Space stuff in the Pima Air and Space Museum.
Even rovers on Mars like to take selfies.
Above us as we entered the building was a mockup of the record-breaking North American X-15 rocket plane. It set many world records for powered aircraft that are still unbroken today.
This case showed many lifting body designs that were investigated in the 1960s and 1970s, but if you ever watched the Six Million Dollar Man television series, you will probably recognize the model of the HL-10 in the bottom of this photo. That is the aircraft that Steve Austin wrecked in the opening sequence to become "better than he was. Better ... stronger ... faster."
You have to admit that the Space Shuttle was one of the best looking spacecraft ever made.
This display featured some of the many space-themed toys that have been for sale over the years.
Science fiction comic books from the 1950s included "Dan Dare," which was the British equivalent to the American "Buck Rogers." Debbie was especially happy to see this display because 43 years after buying a copy of Elton John's album, "Rock of the Westies," she finally understood what his song, "Dan Dare," was about. Kids, back in the 1970s, there was no such thing as the Internet, so if you didn't know something, you had to hope that a museum explained it to you one day in the future.
This model of the International Space Station included some elements that have been canceled and some that have yet to be launched. It's a great snapshot in time showing what was planned for the Space Station at the time the exhibit was installed.
They had a very nice display with a moon rock that was donated to the museum on behalf of NASA and Tuscon native Frank Borman, commander of Apollo 8. To commemorate the 35th anniversary of human exploration of the Moon, NASA created the Ambassador of Exploration Award in 2004. Recipients of the award include all astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. Each award recipient selects a museum or other educational institution where their awards are publicly displayed in their name to help inspire a new generation of explorers.
The plaque reads: "Ambassador of Exploration Lunar Sample Presented to Pima Air and Space Musuem [sic] on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Tucsonan Col. Frank Borman."
The sample reads: "This is a portion of a lunar sample returned by Apollo 16 Astronauts who traveled to the moon in April 1972."
This wall mural was made from thousands of K'NEX pieces. It depicts the very first landing of Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-1 at Edwards Air Force Base.
The lunar module landing simulator was very well done.
There was a letter from all of the astronauts in 1965 thanking the recipient for their support of the Apollo program. It is a very interesting letter in that it is dated six days before the first manned Gemini launch, and the signatures include the five astronauts that would later die in training accidents: Elliot See and Charles Bassett while training for Gemini 9, and Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee while training for Apollo 1.
They had a full size mockup of the Mars Phoenix Lander which was the basis of the recently landed Mars Insight Lander.
This Apollo Command Module was a mockup that had been built for Walter Cronkite to use as part of his broadcasts during the coverage of the Apollo 13 mission.
This is the first globe of Venus that we've ever seen.
Make sure you look up as well, because there may be a full size satellite over your head.
Leaving the museum, we noticed that there was a model of the solar system embedded in the concrete. Here are the Sun, with Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars shown orbiting around it.
The two larger rings are Jupiter and Saturn.
And that outer ring? It's Pluto!
Well done.
This shiny Republic F-105G was waiting for us back in the aerospace exhibit area.
We still had about 30 minutes to go before our Boneyard tour was scheduled to start, so we decided to head into the World War II exhibit.
Right inside the doors is a B-24J Liberator that was left behind in India by the Royal Air Force.
After gaining their independence from Great Britian, the Republic of India restored many of these aircraft and put them back into service.
This Hawker Mk. II Hurricane was the first monoplane used in combat by the Royal Air Force.
There were additional museum exhibits in hangars behind this one, but we were out of time.
There were two display cases showing pop culture items ...
... including this Spot-A-Plane Game from 1942. Identify the various enemy airplane silhouettes and move your gamepiece around the board.
The Northrop T-38 Talon is one of Tom's favorite aircraft ...
... as is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
We headed back to the entrance of the museum to board the bus to the Davis Monthan Boneyard tour. The tour guides checked our identification against the list of registered participants before allowing us to board the bus. We had to submit information for a security check weeks before the tour since we would be entering an Air Force base.
Our volunteer guide, David, was very knowledgeable about all of the aircraft on the tour.
Don't get too excited yet. This collection of aircraft isn't part of the boneyard, but is a collection of airplanes being demolished for scrap metal by a commercial company that is adjacent to the boneyard. They use every piece of these airplanes that they can.
The tour guide explained that the preservation process starts by coating the surfaces of the aircraft with a spray-on latex to provide additional weatherproofing. First, they spray a coat of black latex, and then a layer of white. The coating lasts about four years, and then it has to be peeled off and re-applied.
It was 11:35 by the time we made it through security and into 309 AMARG. We each had to exit the bus and have our names checked against a list of attendees.
309 AMARG is short for 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.
We started on Celebrity Row, the nickname given to the rows of individual aircraft lined up for display. First up on Celebrity Row is a Rockwell B-1 Lancer Bomber.
It was followed by this huge Lockheed C-5A Galaxy transport.
This Lockheed S-3B Viking and Beechcraft TC-12B Huron seem tiny by comparison.
Tom handled photography duties on the left side of the bus, ...
... while Debbie photographed everything on the right side.
This Fairchild T-46 Eaglet jet trainer was one of only three produced.
Can we just take this T-38 with us? You have so many and we only want one. Besides, it looks like it is already packaged up and ready to travel.
The Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, is an airborne command and control aircraft used to track the movement of ground vehicles in combat.
They didn't explain why this Cessna T-37 Tweet wasn't coated with latex like the other aircraft.
A Gulfstream C-20 VIP transport.
The C-145 Skytruck has a much more interesting nickname: the Combat Coyote.
It was nice to see this McDonnell Douglas C-9 belonging to NASA's fleet in the Boneyard. This aircraft was used as a zero gravity trainer, more commonly known as a "vomit comet."
The Navy's P-2 Neptune was a maritime antisubmarine patrol aircraft, which was superceded by the ...
... Lockheed P-3 Orion, which is still in active service.
Many of the aircraft had their noses removed, like this F-14 Tomcat. This was to remove their sensitive radar and sensor equipment prior to storage.
The F-117 Nighthawk Steath Fighter was preserved in a very unique way.
Here's an F-4C Phantom II.
This Fokker C-31A Troopship is one of the carrier aircraft for the US Army's Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.
The Navy used the versatile Douglas A-3 Skywarrior as a strategic bomber, electronic warfare platform, and aerial refueling tanker until it was retired in 1991.
The Grumman A-6 Intruder attack aircraft was used extensively by the United States Navy and Marine Corps during the Vietnam War.
This EC-24A, based on a Douglas DC-8 airframe, was an electronic warfare training platform used by the US Navy until 1998.
This is a ground attack version of the McDonnell Douglas F-15E, known as the Strike Eagle.
The Douglas A-4J Skyhawk was in service for nearly 50 years and saw service in the Vietnam War and the Falklands War.
Even covered in latex, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat looks fast and dangerous.
The Boeing NKC-135A, nicknamed the Big Crow, was a specially modified aircraft designed to be a target for an airborne laser system.
It's hard to see from this angle, but this Lockheed LC-130F Hercules was equipped with skis to support operations in Antarctica.
The Martin B-57 Canberra is a licensed version of the British Electric Canberra. It was used by the US Air Force from 1954 to 1983.
There were more than 4,500 F-16 Fighting Falcons produced.
This DC-130 was equipped to control remotely-piloted target aircraft. The bright color scheme is specially designed to make the aircraft more visible.
This F-18 Hornet was not covered with latex like the other aircraft, but was testing a new method of preservation that was supposed to be longer lasting.
The C-130 is such a versatile aircraft that it comes in many, many colors.
Our favorite is this US Forest Service C-130, outfitted as a tanker to fight wildfires.
The McDonnell F-101 Voodoo was a long-range supersonic bomber escort.
Another variant of the F-4E Phantom, this one has five stars painted on the engine inlet, denoting five air-to-air combat victories. It belonged to US Air Force fighter ace Captain Steven Ritchie.
This Convair QF-106 Delta Dart was modified to be a target drone.
This Republic F-105G Thunderchief was configured for the Wild Weasel role, which means that it was used for suppression of surface to air missiles.
This Short C-23C Sherpa is designed for a transporting cargo from very short and unimproved runways.
The TC-4C Academe started life as a Gulfstream I executive transport. The funny looking nose houses navigation and electronics for its role as a Naval training aircraft.
The Boeing YC-14 was one of two prototype aircraft built as part of a competition to replace the C-130. It wasn't successful and the C-130 is still flying today.
The North American T-2 Buckeye was a jet training aircraft that was retired in 2008.
The Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-borne early warning radar aircraft known as the "eyes of the fleet."
There are a variety of helicopters in storage here, such as these Bell AH-1 Cobra gunships.
The Cobras were next to a Bell UH-1 Huey, a Beoing Vertol H-46 Sea Knight, and a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion.
The North American T-39 Sabreliner was used to support combat operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
Next to the CH-53 are the Kaman SH-2 Seasprite and the Sikorsky H-3 Sea King.
As part of the 309th AMARG's role in providing spare parts for aircraft that are no longer in production, they store engines and other large parts for use by aircraft operators around the world.
The Grumman C-1 Trader was the mail truck of the US Navy fleet until 1988.
This shot of a SH-60F Sea Hawk with engines in the near background and a sea of C-130s in the far background give you a sense of the vast numbers of aircraft stored here.
One last shot of a S-3B Viking antisubmarine warfare plane as we turned off of Celebrity Row.
Hundreds of C-130 aircraft are stored here.
They are all in remarkably good shape after sitting in the desert for years and years.
There are containers filled with smaller parts that have been removed and are waiting to be shipped to customers.
There are rows and rows ...
.. and rows and rows ...
... of F-16s waiting to be recalled to service or to be converted to remotely piloted target drones.
When an aircraft arrives for storage, it has all of its fuel removed and is washed down to remove as much dirt and debris as possible before the latex is applied. They have several bays and can process many aircraft at the same time.
Sensitive equipment that cannot stand the heat of the Arizona summer are removed and stored in temperature controlled buildings like this one.
There are several rocket bodies and booster cores that are stored on site as well.
The smaller single engine craft are hard to see when compared to this field of C-5A Galaxy transports. Can't see 'em? Check out those little white bumps in front of the C-5As. Those are actual airplanes.
All of the aircraft are parked closely together to get as many aircraft as possible in as small a space as possible.
These B-1s have had part of their tail sections removed to be shipped off as replacement parts.
This field of P-3 Orions are distinguished by the long magnetometer booms protruding from their tail sections. The magnetometers are capable of detecting submerged submarines while the P-3 is on patrol.
Even more C-130s.
Based on the paint scheme, this former Boeing 707 belonged to NASA before being transferred here. It certainly looks funny with its rudder and vertical stabilizer removed.
These C-5s belong to the Tennessee Air National Guard.
These large helicopters are the Boeing C-47 Chinook.
The Boeing E-3 Sentry has a very distinctive shape with its raised rotating radar dome mounted on the rear of the fuselage.
There was much plywood in use as they removed landing gear and other structural supports from the aircraft.
You can really see the magentic anomaly detector or MAD booms from this angle. You can see why they are sometimes referred to as stingers.
There were rows of F-18 Hornets in various stages of preservation.
We departed the field 40 minutes after we entered, with hundreds of photos of airplanes.
This field of aircraft had been converted to be target drones, and then re-prepped for storage.
It's hard to fathom the scale of the operations necessary to keep this many aircraft in an almost servicable state.
We were back at the museum at 12:30, and we were ready for a quick lunch of burgers from the snack bar.
Then we had to bolt to our next destination on the other side of Tucson.
We passed the Tucson Airport and laughed at the appropriateness of the name of this luxury airplane business: Million Air.
This beautiful desert mirage of a building is Mission San Xavier del Bac.
It was 1:30 when we arrived at the Titan Missile Museum.
One of the first things you see is this VHF radio antenna. This antenna would have been used by the silo crews to communicate with Davis Monthan Air Force Base
Here's the entrance to the museum.
We kept our eyes open for rattlesnakes, even after we realized that it was December and likely too cold for rattlesnakes to be out.
We got tickets for the next available tour, which was an hour later, so we had lots of time to mill about in the gift shop ...
... and wander through the tiny museum.
They had very a informative display showing the history of the Cold War and the Titan II's part in that history.
Here it is.
There was an education room off to the side with some interesting stuff in it. This diagram depicts the Titan II silo layout: launch control center on the left, the access portal in the middle, and the missile silo on the right.
This diagram shows how the Titan I launch facilities were arranged: there were three launchers per complex, with three complexes comprising a squadron. Squadrons were located in Colorado, South Dakota, California, Washington, and Idaho.
They also had a diagram of an Atlas launch facility, which is more like the Titan II facility: one launcher per site, with each site widely dispersed. Sites for the Atlas were in Kansas (at Schilling AFB!), Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and New York.
Lastly, this shows a Minuteman III ICBM silo arrangement: a launch facility with a separate control center which can be operated by only two crewman. Launch sites are in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
We stepped outside for a bit just to sit while we waited. It was really chilly out but at least it wasn't raining like it was across the valley.
Beyond this fence is the launch complex. Before the museum was built, this would have been all there was to see above ground when you arrived at Missile Complex 571-7.
Soon it was time for our tour to start, so we took seats in the front row.
The tour guide for this portion of the tour told us a little about the facility and then we watched a video titled "Titan II: Peace Through Deterrence."
After the video ended, we went outside and met our tour guide for the facility portion of the tour. The access portal included a freight elevator for moving equipment in and out of the site.
There was an initial flight of stairs leading down to the first checkpoint, where you would use a telephone to notify the current crew of your arrival on site and for them to verify your access code.
Then it was five more flights of stairs down to the next checkpoint.
The next checkpoint was a steel blast door and ...
... another telephone. You would call the crew again to get them to open the blast door for you to gain access to the site.
After gaining entrance through the blast door, you entered the blast lock area. A short walk through an access tunnel led you ...
... past the hard hats of the tour guides ...
... to the launch control center.
The control center still contains the equipment that was used in the silo when it was decommissioned in 1984.
The launch control center was isolated from the surrounding ground with huge steel springs to dampen any tremors that would be felt if a nuclear weapon were to detonate nearby.
One of our fellow tourists was designated as the silo commander, and the tour guide walked us through a launch sequence from first alert through verification of the launch codes and prepping the missile to the synchronized turning of the launch keys with her deputy to launch the missile.
This room was used to suit up into the various protective gear that would be worn by the maintenance crews when working near the missile. In addition to the hazmat suits, there were what looked like Geiger counters, helmets, and life support backpacks.
The walk from the command center to the launch complex was through a tunnel named the cableway. You can see how it got its name from the cable runs packed with cables to Tom's left.
It's quite a long hallway. The giant cylinders on the left and right are shock absorbers isolating the cableway from the surrounding structure. The whole structure was designed to be able to survive the resulting earthquakes from a near-impact of a nuclear weapon.
Our tour guide explained to us the Strategic Air Command (SAC) two-man rule: no one was allowed to go anywhere in the missile silo by themselves. This was designed prevent accidental or malicious behavior of a single individual around nuclear weapons.
We gathered around the viewing ports to get a look at the Titan II.
The gratings around the missile can be folded down to access the missile at different heights. The black part at the top of the missile is the reentry vehicle that would contain the warhead.
The Titan II is 10 feet in diameter, which is larger than you realize until you are standing this close to it. It must have been a menacing sight when it was fully fueled and ready to launch.
If you were six feet tall or taller, you were required to wear a hard hat for the duration of the tour. Bob is six feet tall, but there were some shorter gentlemen who opted for hard hats as well.
Since we couldn't see the bottom of the silo, our tour guide showed us what it would look like if we were able to walk past the plexiglass and onto the work access platforms.
The black pointy thing on top is the warhead.
The fueling hoses are visibile in this shot, along with an extended work platform. Note the black rubber gasket between the work platform and the missile. This safety feature was added after a crewman in a silo in Damascus, Arkansas, dropped an 8 pound socket between the platform and the missile while working on the pressure system for the oxidizer tank. The socket fell 80 feet down the silo and punctured the first stage fuel tank, resulting in a leak of toxic fuel that ultimately exploded several hours later.
Let's go topside for a look at the silo grounds.
Most of us chose to climb the five flights of stairs, ...
... but taking an elevator up was also an option.
An hour after we started, we were aboveground.
At this point, we could take as much time as we wanted to wander around the area.
It doesn't look like much from here, but the silo cover is a steel and concrete structure that weighs more than 700 tons. Despite that, it can be opened for launch in under 30 seconds.
Besides the access hatch, the grounds contained an air shaft for ventilation, radio antennas, and intrusion detection sensors that alerted the crew to any unexpected visitors that might be on site.
It was never explained what this was, but we speculated that it was an airshaft vent of some sort. Your guess is as good as ours.
This concrete platform was used as the parking location for oxidizer trucks. This platform was about halfway around the silo from the fuel station to keep the fuel and oxidizer as far apart as possible. Like the rocket fuel, the oxidizer did not degrade over time and only needed to be replentished once every few years.
The deceptively small first stage engine generated 430,000 pounds of thrust, which is about the same as two 747s running at full power. The first stage operated for about 2 1/2 minutes before burning out and separating from the missile.
The second stage engine only had one nozzle which was much larger as it was tuned for operation at much higher altitudes where the air pressure was much less. The second stage was powered for approximately three minutes for it shut down and separated from the warhead.
The launch code that was entered during the arming process unlocked one of the four butterfly valves in the missile's fuel system which allowed fuel to flow to the first stage engine. Without the proper code, the valve would not open and the engine would not start.
Let's take a look down the silo, shall we?
That's a big missile. It is 103 feet down to the silver-colored ring at the base, and then there is another 50 feet below that that you cannot see. You can also see the hole in the side of the warhead to show that it has been rendered inert.
A nearby diagram details the construction of the silo itself and explains how the missile exhaust is vented during a launch.
This fueling truck was used to top off the propellent in the missile in preparation for launch. Unlike the earlier Atlas and Titan I missiles, the fuel used in the Titan II was stable at ambient air temperature and the missile could be kept fully fueled in the silo at all times.
These horn-looking devices are actually part of a Doppler radar system designed to detect intruders. There were many pairs of these scoop-shaped devices around the site.
The crew was not allowed to leave the silo once their shift had started, so security from nearby Davis Monthan would have had to drive out in a jeep like this one to investigate any intruders that would have tripped the sensors around the silo.
We were back on the road by 4:00 PM. The rain had moved on and it was beautiful out.
Here's more of that Tucson highway art.
And still more.
The rain cloud had moved on to Tucson, but the sun still shone on most of it.
We were seeing bits of fluff all over the road and puzzled over why we were only seeing it on our side of the road. As we caught up to this truck carrying rolls of cotton, we figured it out.
Bob told us that this unassuming area is the sight of the Battle of Picacho Pass, which was the westernmost battle site of the Civil War. For real.
There's another gorgeous Arizona sunset.
It was well after 6:00 when we returned Bob to his home in Mesa.
Then we took off in his minivan for the next three days of sightseeing in northern Arizona. We grabbed some dinner in Mesa because we had three hours of driving ahead of us.
We ate at McDonald's but we were in the land of In-n-Out Burger, so maybe we should've found one of those instead.
It was nearly 10:00 when we rolled into Kingman, Arizona.
Christmas lights welcomed us from high on a hill.
We passed this classic neon sign for El Trovatore Motel on Route 66 on our way ...
... to where we were staying, Ramblin' Rose Motel (also on Route 66).

Time to get our kicks! Just kidding. Time to catch some ZZZZZs because tomorrow is another busy day.

Day 5 >

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