The route this day took us from Gila Bend to Tombstone, via Saguaro National Park, a couple museums and a lot of virtual caches in Tucson. Another awesome day on the road!
Approximate time on road/out caching: 15 hours, 50 minutes
Total miles driven: 292.6 mi / 470,89 km
Total cahes found: 16
Total DNF: 1
States visited: Arizona
Famous places visited: Titan Missile Museum, Pima Air & Space Museum, Saguaro National Park
Most memorable cache: GC7928 Search and Rescue
Biggest surprise: The huge crack in the windshield
Weather: Sunny, light clouds
Highest temperature: 38,3°C / 101°F
Lowest temperature: 25°C / 77°F
Early up, again
Yes, we don’t waste time sleeping during our vacations! So we left the hotel around 6am. We had a lot of non-cache activities on the plan, and most of them had fixed opening hours. So we just had to start early.
The first stop of the day was kinda interesting, but the second brought us to a really strange place. GC4X60Q To The Dome’s took us to a place full of empty domes.
A very strange place… According to Atlas Obscura, this place was built to facilitate the manufacturing of computers back in the late 70’s early 80’s. The project was never completed. It has started falling apart now, and are scheduled to be demolished.
We also made sure to stop at GCX0KA Cache Across America – Arizona.
While driving on I-19 we noticed something unusual, metric signs! The interstate turned into a parking lot shortly after we took the picture below. We never understood quite why, since the accident that caused everything to stop was on the other side, in the opposite direction…
Titan Missile Museum
The traffic eventually started to flow again, and since we started so early, we still arrived (just) in time to join the first tour of the day at the Titan Missile Museum. We’ve never visited a place like this before, so this was a very interesting stop!
Heltinnen got to «launch» the missile
The missile has been decommissioned a long time ago, but they still run demonstrations on how it would have worked if they ever had to carry out the launch procedure. And Heltinnen got to be the commander for this tour 😀
The missile didn’t launch, but the control panel lit up and the alarm did sound. The whole process almost seemed too easy, but that was the point…
After the tour, we completely forgot to find the cache closest to the museum… So we drove to the next on our plan, GCKTTP San Xavier del Bac. Right before we exited the interstate, a huge boulder (okay, it was probably not that big) hit the windshield. A loud noise followed by a huge crack in glass. And it continued to grow!
Given the heat difference between the air outside and inside, and the remaining driving distance, we figured it was better to drive to the nearest Hertz to swap the car than to risk it getting too bad in the middle of nowhere. Luckily for us that was only a 5-10 minute detour to Tucson airport. Hertz gave us a new car, and we just had to move all of our stuff over to the new one. That is a lot of work after several weeks on the road 😛
The crack had doubled in size now, and was still growing. So we are confident that this was the right choice. One of the best rental vehicles we’ve ever driven, so it was not easy to leave it behind…
Pima Air and Space Museum
We decided to change the plan a bit, and did GC7928 Search and Rescue and the Pima Air and Space Museum as the next stop. The museum is huge, and we didn’t have nearly as much time as we should have had. So we tried to see as much as we could, with the time we had. Guess we have to come back!
The museum is very close to Davis-Monthan AFB, and «The Boneyard». A large area full of old airplanes and helicopters. We didn’t do the tour, but we did drive along the outside. It looks crazy on Google Maps, and even crazier in real life.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park was high on our list for this trip, and the East Rincon Mountain District of the park was the next stop. And the cache GC6A9E Teddy Bear Cache. We decided to do the Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive. The size of some of the saguaros is almost unbelievable.
After visiting the park, we spent the next hours finding some virtual caches in Tucson. Traffic was as expected, not pleasant, but it wasn’t too bad either. We managed to find all 5 virtuals on our plan 😀
Hardest webcam of the trip
The webcam GCGBMA Wilbur’s Wildcat Webcam turned out to be a lot harder than we had anticipated. It’s not even close to where the coordinates are. So after a lot of looking around, studying old logs, looking at maps and asking for help on Slack, we finally figured out where we needed to go. And we got the picture. About half a mile away from the given coordinates.
The end of a long day
It was starting to get late now, and time to head towards Tombstone. We only stopped at one other cache along the way, and still arrived rather late – almost 16 hours after we started. A long, but very interesting day!