Early last Friday morning, a group of SWC Corvettes left the coast of California for the wide open spaces of Arizona and the dirt streets of Tombstone. After picking up members who started earlier and further from the rest, the saddle sore cowpokes drove for many hours to relax in the Best Western bunkhouse at Green Valley, AZ.
Our wagon master, Jerry Foreman, put together an entertaining weekend of site seeing and optional side tours. I was interested in the Green Valley historical and declassified Titan II missile site that was close by. My navigator, Karen, was looking forward to revisiting Tombstone and getting her boots dusty. The itinerary was to visit the missile site Saturday morning and Tombstone in the afternoon.
An excerpt from the Titan Missile Museum web site:
"The Titan Missile Museum is the only remaining Titan II site open to the public, allowing you to relive a time when the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union was a reality.
The Titan II was capable of launching from its underground silo in 58 seconds and could deliver a nine megaton thermonuclear warhead to its target more than 6300 miles (10,000 km) away in less than thirty minutes. For more than two decades, 54 Titan II missile complexes across the United States stood "on alert" 24 hours a day, seven days a week, heightening the threat of nuclear war or preventing Armageddon, depending upon your point of view."
The three acre missile site was "fascinating" as Mr. Spock would say. Our docent led tour above and below ground visiting the launch control center and the silo in which the demonstration missile was in position. Through out the tour, the docent stressed the designed in safety and security procedures that prevented an unauthorized launch. Safety, security and readiness were paramount at the cold war deterrent missile site.
After the tour, the gift shop was buzzing with SWC members purchasing souvenirs for their garage "fall out shelters".
We drove our high powered horses several miles to Tombstone, "The town that wouldn't die." This past raucous mining town burnt down twice in two years but survived the fires and other calamities. FYI, the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral with Wyatt Earp and his brothers and the Clanton gang of evildoers was over in thirty seconds on Freemont Street, not an eight minute protracted gun battle at a horse corral.
We walked the town and visited shops selling everything you would want to buy to remember your old west visit. We even toured the town in a horseless carriage trolley! The driver explained historical points and people that Tombstoneians dealt with in the late 1800s.
Sunday morning some of our club members went onto visit near by relatives, some started the long drive homeward and some went on to visit the Pima Air Museum and Old Tucson movie site in Tucson.
We visited Old Tucson, a large 350 acre back lot movie/television site. Hundreds of famous and forgettable movies and television shows were filmed there since 1939! Throughout the day various demonstrations of life in the old west were presented for our entertainment and enjoyment. There was even a staged gun battle between the "good guys" and "bad guys". The place was "Fascinating, pard'ner", as Sheriff Spock would say.