It's day two and I'm not in a VW. Apologies, but the Sprinter is faster, and much more luxurious - which satisifies the sensibilities of my fellow travellers.
We leave Phoenix and head straight to Tuscon. We left at a reasonable hour, and todays leg to El Paso is somewhat short, so we decide to stop at David-Monthan Air Force Base, home of the Aircraft Boneyard. It's located here and is best seen using satellite view.
Short Description: Metal weakens (as we know) and plane metal weakens faster under stresses. These planes go through lots of stress, so when they reach the end of their serviceable life, they bring them here, prep them for storage, and then either use them for parts, or make unmanned drones that the navy practices shooting with lasers and other items.
You begin by getting on to a bus that takes you on a military base. After a proper ID check, we are driven around the base with acres and acres of this:
The white stuff covering them is a paint/protectant that can be peeled off. It both protects the cockpits from sun damage, and keeps the kangaroo rats from entering the plane.
There is a lot of cold war history here, along with tons of damn cool planes. I have a particular fondness for military humor.
All the pics of the yard and the museum are here in a set.
We continue down the road and start seeing the signs for the infamous "thing". "What is it?" Sopt and see the "Thing!" Its an infamous tourist trap, but when you are in the middle of nowhere, you have to ask yourself, why not? An likely, you need to fill up anyway.
We pull over, and pay the dollar.
Spoiler alerts ahead!
-There are three quonset huts filled with... stuff? I have no idea where he collected this junk, but part of what is inside is a bunch of paper mache' models of torture techniques. Some strange cars. A limo that claims that Hitler once rode it it.
And then of course, there is the Thing, which they tried really hard to put under glass that was difficult to take pictures, but my beat up Canon has modes. :)
The thing is nothing more than a dessicated corpse. According the the interwebs, she, was found a while ago had been on display for years as an indian woman. I suspect that there are worse places to have your body resting (just ask Elmer McCurdy).
We got our one dollars worth of curiosity satisfied, and went on our merry.
El Paso was.... El Paso. I have political thoughts about that town, but I'll save them for the campfire. It was a curious place.
Cheap hotel, poor sleep. We were happy to leave the next morning, even if it did mean driving through West Texas.
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