in It's a Sign, On the road, The State We're In, Things we do

Nine megatons of nuclear power once rested beneath your feet. But hey, watch for rattlesnakes.

Not kidding about that. Under the glass? An old ICBM. Rattlesnakes? Not my first concern! (OK, so the missile was never fueled and can never be launched. Still. The irony.)

Not kidding about that.
Under the glass? An old ICBM.
Rattlesnakes? Not my first concern!
(OK, so the missile was never fueled and can never be launched. Still. The irony.)

Our final day in Tucson included four stops:

The Titan II Missile Museum, lunch in Green Valley with Aunt Jo & Uncle Jim, and quick visits to Mission San Xavier and Sentinel Peak. Once again, my old Frostburg friend, Mark, served as our tour guide. He knows all the great places!

Today, which happens to be Pearl Harbor Day, we visited a monument to a different war: the Titan II Missile Museum just south of Tucson.

Today happens to be Pearl Harbor Day, but we visited a monument to a different war.

The missile silo, 8 stories deep, is under the tan metal covering on the left. Fueling truck on the right, communications and surveillance antennae surrounding.

The missile silo, 8 stories deep, is under the tan metal covering on the left. Fueling truck on the right, communications and surveillance antennae surrounding.

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Inside the control room, the following items, now considered relics, helped keep the world from nuclear disaster: grease pencils, rotary phones, analog clocks, slide rules, printed manuals, and ASCII tape. Quaint.

Inside the control room, a few items we now consider relics helped keep the world from nuclear disaster: grease pencils, rotary phones, analog clocks, slide rules, printed manuals, and ASCII tape.
Quaint.

The launch clock: kept on Zulu time, wound weekly. The Cold War world was also an analog world.

The launch clock: kept on Zulu time, wound weekly. By hand.
The Cold War world was also an analog world.

Nope. No worries if you press the wrong button. Launching a missile involved turning keys. Again, quaint.

Nope. No worries if you press the wrong button. Launching a missile involved turning keys. Again, quaint.

I peered behind a partition and found yet another relic!

I peered behind a partition and found yet another relic!

Not kidding. Damn good hydraulics on that thing. The tour guide explained the how and why, but all I could think was "lots of WD-40, man."

I really did! Damn good hydraulics on that thing. The tour guide explained the how and why, but all I could think was “lots of WD-40, man.”

This is the 3-ton blast door. I moved it!

This is the 3-ton blast door, and I moved it!

The passageway from control room to silo

The passageway from control room to silo

10 feet in diameter, 103 feet long, 9 megatons of nuclear power

Titan II: 10 feet in diameter, 103 feet long, 9 megatons of nuclear power

Model of the missile silo. Our tour took us only on the 3rd from the top.

Model of the missile silo. Our tour was contained to the 3rd level down.

The fear was real.

The fear was real…

Humor in the gift shop

… but now we laugh. A little.

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We stood inside the only remaining silo of the original 54 (18 sites each in AZ, AR, and KS).

The museum occupies the only remaining silo of the original 54 (18 sites each in AZ, AR, and KS).

It's also a bit of an analog world at Aunt Jo & Uncle Jim's place. This is how they find a restaurant for lunch. Still works, and lunch was great!

It’s also a bit of an analog world at Aunt Jo & Uncle Jim’s place. This is how they find a restaurant for lunch. Their methodology is sound, and lunch was great!

Mission San Xavier, with we(e) two in front

After lunch: Mission San Xavier, with we(e) two in front

Inside Mission San Xavier, the choir was rehearsing for a Christmas concert.

Inside the mission, the choir was rehearsing for a Christmas concert.

Tomorrow we roll. Farewell, Tucson!

From atop Sentinel Peak, we say “Farewell, Tucson!”

And thanks for being such a great tour guide, Mark!

And thanks for being such a great tour guide, Mark!

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