Big Move, Day 1 (San Diego to Holbrook)

It begins!

shadow of truck and trailerThat’s my truck(‘s shadow).

Miles Driven: 521

Gas Mileage: 16 (!) — kind of ridiculous. It’s the same mileage I got on the cross-country road trip, only this time I got the bed of the truck full to the gills and am pulling 2,000 lbs. worth of crap in a U-Haul trailer that’s older than I am. Next time I take a 22,000-mile road trip, I gotta make sure the tires are inflated I guess.

Best Song: Johnny Cash’s “Man In Black” seemed really good when it came on. I think Johnny Cash probably just sounds good on road trips though.

Best Stretch of Road: Hwy 260 from Payson, Ariz. to Heber, Ariz. Awesome roadscape, kind of reminded me of the area around Flagstaff (I guess that kind of makes sense). Mountains, tall trees, reddish rocks, surprising road-side lakes — really pretty drive.  Couple pics (cell phone while driving):

Highway 260 in Arizona

From Payson to Heber, ArizonaThere was construction.

Best Thing Consumed: The Del Taco in Yuma was a little disappointing, but then the Indian reservation convenience store in Mesa had Code Red on tap and, man, I’d forgotten how good fountain Code Red was.

What My Rig Looks Like:

Full Truck and TrailerAlso sort of what my brother’s driveway looks like.

Next Up!: I dunno. I’m thinking I’ll go ahead and add an hour to the trip (taking it from 38 hours driving to 39) and head up into Kansas instead of running through Amarillo and Oklahoma-OK again. Haven’t driven through much of Kansas (I’m sure it’s fascinating). Maybe Salina tomorrow night? Couldn’t find any blown fuses this morning that would explain why the running lights on the trailer don’t work, so I’m trying not to drive in the dark, which is kind of constraining.

And I might change my mind in the morning and just try to make it to OKC. Mal sehen.

bkd

More B-52 Photos, By Request (Plus a Couple Pics of AMARG)

And because, let’s face it, I’m never actually going to get around to putting anything on Flickr.

 

Bomber Row at Pima — B-47 in front of three B-52s

B-52 with x-plane spar

Tail Gun on B-52 at Pima Air & Space Museum at Davis-Monthan AFB

b-52 at the pima air & space museum, close-up

And because the last set didn’t include any actual photos taken from the boneyard at Davis-Monthan (AMARG — Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group), here are a few. The bus, as mentioned last post, made it tough to get good photos. For me. Maybe DLF got something better.

c-130s and mountains at Davis-Monthan AMARG

The above C-130s are in the “could be re-used” wing of the boneyard.

B-1 bomber with C-130 at Davis-Monthan boneyard

There were a handful of B-1s scattered around also. And for some reason the right side of the bus didn’t seem to get the best visuals. If you ever go there, try and get a left-side window. And start trying to peel off the tint some time before it leaves the parking lot…

boneyard airplanes used for scrap

And then these poor guys are on the cannibalization side of the street.

But the view from Google’s satellite maps are, IMHO, the most interesting (zoom in and scroll around for best effect).


View Larger Map

Enjoy. Or, “have enjoyed”, I guess.

bkd

 

Pima Air and Space Museum and the Davis-Monthan Boneyard

Went out to Tucson last weekend ahead of some business meetings I had in Tempe on Tuesday. Primary purpose: visit the AMARG, the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base airplane boneyard (I think “boneyard” sounds less ominous than “graveyard”, although I suppose maybe it shouldn’t). Tours of the boneyard are facilitated by the Pima Air and Space Museum, located around the corner from the base. The museum and the boneyard were both cool.

b-52 at the pima air & space museum in tucson

The B-52 above was one that dropped several of the x-planes — you can see the spar on the right wing where the planes were carried pre-drop.

A-10 flying at Davis-Monthan AFB

Above is an A-10 Warthog banking hard over the top of Davis-Monthan AFB as seen between the prop blades of the DC-6 that used to be John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One.

c-133b cargomaster and the pima air & space museum yard

Above is a Douglas C-133B and the view from the far end of the museum’s 75 acres of airplanes.

Highlights:

  • 75 acres of airplanes is a lot of airplanes.
  • There aren’t many ropes keeping you away from the aircraft. If you want to get down on your belly and see what the underside of a B-52 looks like, you’re welcome to do so.
  • Oh — right, so on the Sunday we were there, the air force base was doing practices for the spring and summer air show season, including having civil pilots get qualified to join air force pilots for “heritage flights” (in which a couple of old planes, piloted by civilians, fly in formation with a couple of current air force planes). This meant we got treated to an air show with aerobatic maneuvers from an F-22, F-15, A-10 (I’m an A-10 fan), F-4 Phantom, P-51, and P-40.
  • Actually those last three didn’t do anything aerobatic, but the first three did a lot to make up for it.
  • Like, for instance, the F-22 stopping and hovering mid-air. Pretty trippy.
  • They actually have three B-52s there — that’s an imposing-looking, ominous airframe. IMHO.
  • They also had a nice collection of WWII bombers — a B17, a B24, and a B29. Again, with full belly-based viewing privileges.
  • The docents were all pretty old and friendly.
  • They had a couple of Lockheed Constellations and a Sud Aviation Caravelle — I’d never seen either of those up close before.
  • Included pretty much every American jet fighter up through the F-15.
  • Also included a bunch of huge ol’ cargo planes.
  • It’s just a lot of airplanes and a lot of access to those planes.

Other notes:

  • It’s at least a one-full-day museum. If you go see the boneyard, which we did, it’s at least a day and a half.
  • It was pretty cool seeing how different the aircraft designs have been throughout the Air Force’s history. In a world where every commercial aircraft built in the last 50 years still looks like a 707, it’s nice that *someone’s* trying.
  • You have to make reservations to take the tour of the boneyard itself. Those tours only run on weekdays.
  • You’re only allowed to see the boneyard from the tour bus.
  • It’s kind of hard to get good pictures through the windows of the bus — all the photos above were taken at the museum.
  • It was weird to see so many recent airframes among the retirees at the boneyard (including B-1 bombers). Also strange that we’re still building new C-130s when there are apparently hundreds that have already been retired. I can only hope that someone’s done a cost-benefit analysis on some of this stuff.

Anyway: cool trip. Many planes. Nice weather. Recommended.

bkd