Monday, April 4

On to Tucson

Another early departure to try to avoid bumpy air, but mostly so the men have plenty of time to spend at the Pima Air and Space Museum. Skies are clear and blue. The land around Midland is flat and only scrub brush grows on it. For awhile the terrain stays like that, but soon the ground has bumps on it, sort of like skin eruptions, then it changes to billowy hills and ravines. The tops of these hills are flat as are the mountains on the horizon. This is really desolation. There are very few roads and the ones we see seem to go on and on to nowhere. There are even fewer signs of habitation. The whole world down there is yellow ochre and brown. Every once in a great while there are signs of irrigation and there will be a startling rectangle of kelly green. Sometimes these fields are round, which brings to mind the rotating irrigation bars I have seen that go on a circle.
As we near El Paso/Juarez everyone gets into the cockpit for our first real look at civilization. There is the Rio Grande, there is the fence on the border. We are right there on the border. There is a mountain range that seems to bisect El Paso, and the city looks much larger than I had imagined it to be.

Then there is more flat lands, salt flats, more mountains. At long last we see another city ahead, Tucson. Looking out, I am startled at the acres and acres of airplanes I see. I did not know that this is where airplanes go to die. Soon we are on the ground and find the weather pleasantly mild, but the wind is blowing a gale. We get a warm welcome by the ground crew and invite them aboard along with two men from a nearby jet. Hats are awarded to our admirers. We are also greeted by Eric Gorrell, son of Fred, nephew of David. He works at the airport and attends college here and saw us go over. What a surprise and how fun!!

We continue to have good attention and in no time have been transported to our hotel and then to the Pima Museum where we find a nice cafe to have lunch. They even serve beer. Peggy's brother lives in Tucson and has joined us at the museum. This is a very large and well done facility. There are lots of veterans around to help and give commentary if needed. There are many planes in hangers, some on stands to let smaller ones nestle under, some hanging from the ceilings. Then there are a lot of planes outside. It is pretty hot and dusty out there. And the wind at times gets rather fierce, blowing up a sandstorm. Nevertheless, the guys are all having a great time. We have gained two hours in time zone change so this seems to be a very long day where the clock will not move.

Peggy leaves with her brother for dinner and a visit with his family. The rest of us go back to the hotel where we meet for dinner and more flying stories. The hotel has given each of us two coupons for free drinks and these are enthusiastically cashed in. My second one and Peggy's are bartered. The food is good, as is the service. There will be no big rush tomorrow and so we are to meet for a ride to the airport at 9. Destination: L.A.

The photos seen here are our intrepid warriors shown by the planes they flew in the Viet Nam war.

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