By David G. Firestone
“It’s very nice to go trav’ling, To Paris, London and Rome, It’s oh, so nice to go trav’ling
But it’s so much nicer, Yes, it’s so much nicer to come home.” Frank Sinatra sang that, and I tend to agree. This last week, I spent the week in Tucson Arizona, with my family. It’s nice to get out of the deep freeze and snow of a Chicago winter, but I do love coming home, reuniting with my cats, and writing for my readers.
I hate flying, so I take Amtrak. Amtrak runs the Texas Eagle from Chicago to Los Angeles three times a week. The trip on Amtrak is a lot of fun. It takes 2 and a half days from start to finish. I boarded the trip to Tuscon at Union Station in Chicago, and we left. The weather on the trip was great, though there was some rain in New Mexico. We have a 4 hour delay in San Antonio when we change trains.
The trip home had an amazing incident. 5:45 in the morning, the San Antonio police were conducting standard interviews of the passengers, and the guy sitting behind me babbled incoherently, and couldn’t keep his story straight. He said he only had one bag, but was instantly proven wrong. The cops pull him out of the train, and pull all 3 of his bags out, had their dogs sniff them, and found 6 pounds of marijuana, a few pounds of hash, and one pound of heroin. Needless to say, he didn’t leave with the train, but rather with the cops.
One of the things I did was go to the Pima Air and Space Museum. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is located 5 miles outside of town. The Pima Air and Space Museum is located nearby. You can explore the third largest air and space museum in the US, and for an extra fee, take a tour of the Air Force Materiel Command’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the aircraft boneyard for all excess military and government aircraft. Some of my photos are below.
The AMARG houses the Boneyard, which is the storage space for United States Air Force aircraft that are not in use. Most of the aircraft stored at the facility are useable, just not needed, so they have a coating placed around openings, and are stored for as long as needed. For a fee, you can take a tour on a bus, some photos from the tour are below.
The Penske Racing Museum is located in Phoenix Arizona, in a group of Penske auto dealerships. It has an amazing collection of Indy 500 winning race cars, Stock cars, and some other gems. As a bonus, it has free admission. They have a massive collection of trophies as well, including a Harley Earl trophy, a Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship trophy, and several gold replicas of cars. One thing I did run into with the museum is the fact that I was not able to photograph “orange and white cars” which refer to Marlboro sponsorship, due to “legal reasons” so there are a number of photos that have been edited to reflect this.
It was an amazing experience, and as an added bonus, I got to check out the Ferarri Dealership next door, lots of good stuff over there too. I loved looking at the change of design of IndyCars over the years, and the design of stock cars that were on display. I was disappointed that the boutique was closed, but you can’t win them all. I could have spent much longer there than I did. If you are in Phoenix, and love racing, you have got to check out that museum!
Our last night, we had dinner at El Corral in Tuscon. Built in 1926 as the first restaurant east of Oracle Road. It’s a steakhouse that has great prime rib, and steaks cooked over wood fire, and they have some cowboy memorabilia on display, a Tom Mix worn suit,A Chill Wills hat, pair of boots, and other memorabilia,A pair of Monte Montana boots,
I think I’m forgetting something…oh yeah…The Sprint Unlimited is tonight.
The format for the Sprint Unlimited is as follows: A competition caution at lap 25 will separate the segments in the non-points event, The field of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will include 2014 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Sprint Unlimited race winners and Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2014, and all 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers from 2014. I’m looking forward to seeing this formant, and it’s always fun when NASCAR returns in the cold winter. I’m watching, and I hope you will too.