Four Desert Dreams and a Nightmare
Enjoy some silliness and beauty, and go face-to-face with a nuclear nightmare, as we visit White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, and the Titan Missile Museum, Tucson, Omar’s Highway Chef at the TTT Truck stop, and the Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Plus, another great free night of camping at a winery with Harvest Hosts!
Dream: Driving west from Texas our first stop was White Sands National Monument. It looks like mountains of white snow, as far as the eyes can see. Except that the temperature is almost 90 degrees! These white sands are actually gypsum that has eroded over thousands of years from the nearby mountains. There’s nothing else anything like it.
Nightmare: After a nice stop for a free night of camping with Harvest Hosts, we made our way to the Titan Missile Museum, which is located in an actual missile silo that housed Titan Missiles with nuclear warheads during the cold war. Not only did we see a decommissioned Titan Missile, we got to tour the underground command and control facilities, led by a missile technician who served there during the cold war. Kathy was chosen to sit in the actual command chair at the missile control panel, and turned the key in a simulated launch. It looked like she was having fun while it was happening, but afterward she had some very emotional moments thinking about what could have been, thanking God that these horrible weapons were never launched, and praying that such devastating force will never need to be used in the future.
Dream: On a lighter note, Tucson is a great walking town, and walk we did, following the Turquoise Trail. It’s actually a turquoise line painted on the sidewalk that leads you to many of Tucson’s most interesting and beautiful sites. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, but be sure to bring water. Or, just stop for coffee!
Dream: Jeff got to relive one of his favorite memories when we visited the TTT Truck Stop just outside of Tucson. It was there that Jeff drank his first-ever cup of coffee while taking a college class on Desert Ecology. More importantly, it’s where he had what he’s consistently described as the “best deep-dish apple pie I’ve ever had!” He’s always dreamed of returning, and you should have heard him when we happened to pass the mythical restaurant as we were driving down the highway! Of course, we had to stop. Did it measure up to his memories? You’ll have to watch the video to see! (Hint: He ate the whole thing.)
Dream: The desert is alive and beautiful. Along the roadway we saw mountains painted yellow and orange by blooming desert flowers. And visiting the Saguaro National Park to see the majestic Saguaro cactuses is a highlight that no-one visiting Tucson should miss. Although we didn’t go there on this visit, we also highly recommend the Tucson Desert Museum which has very well designed exhibits that explain the complicated interdependence of the many plants and animals that live in the desert.