Thursday, March 7, 2013

San Xavier Mission, Titan Missile Museum & Tubac

This was an early to rise and hit the road kind of day with a number of places to visit on the last full day of Barb & Henry's visit to Tucson.  We planned on visiting Madera Canyon also but ran out of time and energy.

The first stop of the day was the San Xavier del Bac Mission just south of Tucson.  The Mission is a very popular tourist attraction and is a very interesting place.  We managed to snare a parking place near the entrance to the Mission and I guarded the car while they toured.  

 A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. 

The current church dates from the late 1700's, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. In 1783, Franciscan missionary Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain was able to begin contruction on the present structure using money borrowed from a Sonoran rancher. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O'odham to create the present church.

Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. The last resident Franciscan of the 19th Century departed in 1837. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the Mission joined the United States. In 1859 San Xavier became part of the Diocese of Santa Fe. In 1866 Tucson became an incipient diocese and regular services were held at the Mission once again. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent.

The Franciscans returned to the Mission in 1913. Recently, Mission San Xavier became a seperate nonprofit entity. It remains a testament to the endurance of culture throughout our history.

The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church's interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space.

The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners.

Dummy missile in silo
Just a short drive down I-19 is the Titan Missile Museum which was a Cold War missile site in service from 1963 to 1982.  When they deactivated the 54 missile sites in the U.S. they left this one intact.  The silo doors remain open and a dummy warhead is on top of the missile engine.  The controls and silo are just like they were when it was closed down with all the original equipment left in place.  This was one of the first tourist places Gerry and I visited when we first came out here for the winter and we enjoyed the 1 hour tour very much.
Barbara & Henry took the tour today and I had to stay behind due to the steps down into the control room.  Barb did manage to sit at the launch table and it made everyone nervous.  She did resist launching the missile and the world is a safer place for that gesture.  Thanks Barb!
Hello Stephanie, guess where I am.

Antenna array built to withstand bomb blast

Nice shady spot to wait

Check out the sign.

Barb & Henry taking the tour
Our next stop was Tubac a few miles down I-19 for the girls to do some shopping.  We grabbed a couple sandwiches at a local deli and was surprised how good they were.

Henry & Gerry at deli counter

The girls decided to spend the remaining time in the shops and Henry and I found a nice table to sit at outside the deli.  We sat there for a long time and it started to get chilly with the strong wind blowing through the patio.  That is when we retreated to the car and waited there for the shoppers to return.  Both came back with little packages which meant jewelry and no questions were asked.

We drove around town so they could see the sites and stopped by this pottery shop for them to look for some more bargains.  Everything was too large to take back with them so Henry lucked out on this stop.

 By then they were shopped out and we were tuckered out so we headed back toward the motorhome with a stop at a local Italian restaurant called Argenziano's.  We managed to snag a table very fast and ordered our meals.  The meals were huge and we took doggy bags with us for the leftovers.  The meals were great and I recommend the place if you are in the Corona de Tucson area.

I thought we were done, but there were 3 Dairy Queen freaks in the car and I was out voted once again.  They still have the buy one, get one for $.99 and I ordered my usual.  It took it's place in the freezer next to the other two that I haven't eaten.

Then, it was time to head back to the motorhome.  Whew, I was tired out.

That was our day, how was yours?


1 comment:

  1. I just thought I was tired on a couple of those days...yesterday we decided we wanted to see one of the orginal Vegas Shows...yes topless show girls! It was a great show and we really enjoyed it but because they were topless it didn't start till 10:30pm and ended at Midnight...then the walk to the car and ride home in traffic! We were in bed at 1am but since the time changed that means 2am and since we are east coast people that means 5am! Oh did I add that we got up at 7am to go to the Nascar race? Tons of fun all week but I will be glad when this vacation is over and I can go back to my normal sleeping habits...9pm to 5am.