After refueling at Blythe, CA., we resumed our trek Eastbound on I-10 into Arizona. One really odd thing here.......almost immediately upon crossing the Colorado river, you begin to see the big Saguaro cactuses. I have never seen one on the California side of the river, and it puzzles me. Weather has got to be almost exactly the same, so why do they only grow on the AZ side? They are magnificent......some growing to 20 or so feet in height.
Visibility in the desert is amazing. With the exception of smoggy Phoenix, Tucson, and El Paso, visibility is almost unlimited. You can easily see 100 miles in any direction.
We flew toward Phoenix, but upon reaching Buckeye, AZ., we take a shortcut Southeast to avoid the airspace around Phoenix International.
We put Casa Grande, AZ. in our sights. Before we get there, we overfly an airfield with a fairly long runway, out in the middle of nowhere, at
33 06 42.49N 112 16 10.06
Look closely at the parallel taxiway, and you'll see which organization thinks hot and high training is important.
A few minutes later, we fly over one of the biggest race tracks I have ever seen at coordinates:
32 56 37.48N 111 58 51.13W
This track, by my estimation, is 7-8 miles around, with banking like Talledega, Alabama. Several trips ago, my curiosity got the best of me and I flew low level past the sign out front.............Nissan.
In the image of the track, notice there are several test tracks inside the main track. You can also see the difference between the types of pictures Google Earth has available right now: Some images resolve with much more detail than others do. The fuzzy green looking terrain will not allow you to zoom in for as much detail as the more brown pictures will.
Continuing East, back toward I-10, my eye caught something strange at
32 57 16.60N 111 48 58.95W
Words and pictures don't do this feature justice. I estimate it is at least 400' deep......maybe more.
It's an old copper mine. The road you see cork-screwing it's way down into the funnel shape is big enough to accomodate a huge haul truck, so you get an idea how big this thing is.
My co-pilot, upon seeing it, simply said, "Oh My God!"
Now take a look at 32 30 33.33N 111 19 35.28W
This is Pima County airport, North of Tucson. I counted 20 Boeing 747's on the airfield. There are also DC-10's, L1011's, and various other huge airplanes there.
Will these airplanes ever fly again? I don't know. I assume the answer to that question depends on many factors, the economy being a big one.
We landed just South of Pima County at Marana, AZ for fuel. After taking off from Marana, we flew over the Military boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB at
32 10 04.40N 110 51 17.76W.
These airplanes, for the most part, are being cut up for scrap, so the scenery changes every time I fly by. Several years ago, the distinctive tails of many B-52's were VERY apparent.
Those airplanes were nowhere to be seen this time.
Shortly after we left Tucson, it got dark. We plodded along right over I-10 to Deming, N.M., where after getting my co-pilot current to fly his helicopter at night, we landed and called "The Grand Hotel".
Just for grins, take a look at the refueling ramp at Deming airport:
32 15 53.56N 107 43 27.45W
What do you see there?
I'll tell ya what I see, and we'll continue our trip tomorrow.
Hope this isn't boring you to tears!