Monday, March 4, 2013

Seeing the Sights in Amado, Tubac, Green Valley, AZ

We've moved a little South of Tucson for a week. We are staying at De Anza RV Resort in Amado because it seemed to be central to a number of interesting sights outside of the Tucson metro area.

The Titan Missile Museum is just a few miles North of our RV park in Green Valley. This Titan II missile site is all that remains of the 54 sites that were on alert from 1963 to 1987 in several locations in the US, providing protection during the Cold War in the event of a nuclear strike. The museum provides an excellent docent-lead tour of the underground facility; afterwards you are free to tour the grounds to view the missile from overhead and other components of the facility.

The museum participates in the Tucson Attractions Passport as a 2-for-1 deal.

Hans running the control room.

Suits worn while working with the highly dangerous fuel used in the missile.

View of the deactivated missile from the top.

One of the second stage rocket engines.

Just South of our RV park is the artsy town of Tubac. Lots of galleries and shops selling fun and colorful decorative household items. Since we live in a tiny house on wheels, we don't have much use for those things! But the town is also a place of historical significance and home of the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum.

Let me digress for a moment...Before we visited the museum we wanted a bit of exercise. We had been told of a four mile trail that goes from the Tubac Presidio to the Mission in Tumacacori. This is the Juan Batista de Anza National Historic Trail and it follows the above ground portion of the Santa Cruz River flowing in this area.

Historically, the Santa Cruz River has been extremely important to this area because water in a desert is where people settle. Originally it supported the native peoples and eventually became the path followed by explorers and their efforts to take over new territory. This river is the only river in the US that flows South into Mexico and then turns North and returns to the US.

Today the river is extremely polluted with trash. On our walk we saw thousands of empty plastic bottles as well as other man-made flotsam. Much of it seems to be items dropped by the undocumented migrants that flow through this area which is just North of the border, as well as trash picked up by flood waters. I found an article dated January 2012 where on a clean-up day 120 volunteers collected 5 tons of trash!

Following this disturbing look at the social issues affecting this region today, we toured the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum. This is an excellent museum describing the history of the area. The Presidio itself was built in 1752 and some of the original adobe structure is visible in an underground excavation exhibit. We really enjoyed seeing a demonstration of the 1859 printing press used to print Arizona's first newspaper. Lots of good history in the museum here, despite my lack of photos!

This museum is included in the Tucson Attractions Passport and is well worth the $5 entry fee.

This student looks a little grizzled around the edges.
An old adobe building on site.

We've got a few more days in this area so we're going to hit the trails next...


  1. Sounds like you're having fun in your new home. That student should be in the corner with a dunce cap...haha!

    Too bad about the river! Those plastic water bottles are a problem every where.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay!

  2. I am glad you found the great area down south of Tucson. When I was a kid there was really only Green Vally and the mines. We would take the rails down to the desert for great adventures but now the area has grown so much over the years there is much more to do. Hope you find more great place to share.