Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitt Peak, Tucson, Arizona

Kitt Peak has been neener-neenering me every day from our campsite, so I headed over for a face-off. Kitt Peak won, but I got my licks in, too.

Both the mountain and its observatory are actually in the Tohono O'odham nation, not Tucson, and there is a treaty in place that allows the scientific station to exist on the peak. Turn your cell phones off. Think of this mountain as an airplane where the flight attendants will take you down.

More convenient when it's open.
I was there for the scenery, but had the good luck to happen in on the last guided tour of the day. In another stroke of luck for my wallet, I returned too late to shop in the visitor's center.

I should have pulled over to get this shot.

You can call me Flower if you want to.
Imma gonna have to because I don't know your name.

This made me think of Istanbul. Then it made me think of Constantinople, then Byzantium.
I've never been any of those places.

This cement donut weighs 16 tons and is 4 meters across. Art by Michael Chiago.

L to R: Bach Telescope, 4-Meter Telescope. Each tower is about 180 feet high.

Looking down from the 4-Meter Telescope
 This is the approximate view you'll see at about 2:15 from the live-ish webcam. This shot was taken from inside the viewing gallery.
McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope

4-Meter Telescope.

The giant donut stood in as a dummy for the actual lens. Scientists needed to be sure the weight and diameter of the lens could be safely supported before the real thing shipped in.

Solar Telescope again. 

Radio telescope

A cool hallway
There is no admission fee, but an affordable $2 donation is suggested.

Highway 386 takes you to the top, and provides many turnouts so you can stop and feel awe. Awe is also affordable, and I recommend it. Do you really have someplace better to be than awe?

While I was being awed at the edge of the mountain, a biker zipped down the 8% grade past me. We made eye contact and heard each other's thoughts:

Crazy SOB.

Lazy SOB.

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Brenda A. said...

Those are Mexican Poppies! It's the season for them, which sadly won't last long. Enjoy!

Love Kitt's Peak. Always wanted to do the night time star gazing thing. But the day trip was awesome anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

OK I have nothing to say except bloody good pictures and I've hurt myself laughing...good times all around.

Grace said...

It's been far too long since I've been there. Could you see your RV from the top? Guess you'll be turning your lights out at night now.
Grace (in Tucson)

The Good Luck Duck said...

LOL, Grace! Or at least closing the blinds.

Thanks, Nina!

Mexican poppies! Thanks, Brenda.

klbexplores said...

Amazing what you find! No light pollution there! I feel myself wanting to break out in song.... I better stop now, we don't want anyone to get hurt!

Kate said...

I'm more interested in the view of the ground than the view of the sky...though that'd no doubt change come nightfall.

Wondering why I'm not there too. Oh, yeah. No RV. YET.

Al Bossence said...

Your photos brought back memories of my drive to the top of Kitt Peak & my long walk from telescope to telescope. There was still a touch of snow in spots, air was crisply clear & I could see forever. A very memorable couple of hours for me & your photos brought back some of those great memories:))

Roxanne said...

I'm glad, Al. It's a remarkable place, and I'd gladly go back.

Kate, the view of the ground is no slouch. And, there were many gray days in New York State where blogs like Al's ↑↑ kept me going.

It's okay, Karen. We've all had a chance to find our protective headgear. Let 'er rip.

Suzanne said...

What a cool place that I have never even heard of before now....and now I want to go there!

I am LOL-ing about your "thought transference" with the biker! Too funny!

BeckyIO said...

Pretty! I was 10 years old last time I visited Kitt peak, definitely need to go back and actually pay attention to what all the adults say about it this time. :P

Gaelyn said...

Only ever saw it from the bottom so now another AZ place to add to my list. Awesome views. Going back after dark for some star gazing?

The Odd Essay said...

You were close to Baboquivari... a sacred peak that is a navigational landmark (to legals and illegals ;-) I love that area.. have to visit it again. Especially loved the photo of the lone tree.. or is it the lonely tree?

SwankieWheels said...

Wow... all that yellow. Looks like a very good outing. Wish I had been there. I can't venture far from Phoenix as I need to save as much gas money as possible for my northern trip. Glad you got to see all that. I'll put it on my list of things to do.

Karen and Al said...

What beautiful scenery. I am in awe. Was that flower a poppy?

Crazy SOB for sure.

Kimbopolo said...

That's quite a drive, ain't it? I gotta go back - the day I was there it was so foggy you couldn't see the sun. Even with a telescope.

Lisa said...

Kitt Peak was on my wish list, but we never made it there. Thanks for taking me there! Next time...

Steven said...

Change tactics. Don't try to beat it so much as just hold your own against it. This is how I overcame a lot of the places I took on. :-D

The Good Luck Duck said...

Steve, you're saying location conquest just isn't in my cards?

Lisa, you and Hans would have been the crazy SOBs on the downward part of your run. Yes, next time.

It was, Kim! At the first turn I got some palmsweat, but after that I felt fine. That would have been a weird sensation, to make those turns and see nothing out there.

Excellent, Karen. My work here is done. Yes, I'm told it is a poppy of sorts; maybe not officially, but in name, anyway. One person told me Mexican poppy, another Arizona poppy.

Swankie, next time you're in Tucson you'll enjoy it.

Sharon, that's an interesting tidbit about Baboquivari being a navigational landmark. The docent pointed it out and called it The Navel of... the World? the Earth?

Gaelyn, I would like to do that. I didn't run into information on going up at night, but I'll look at their outreach page.

Becky, paying attention to adults, unlike awe, is not recommended.

Suzanne, I had never heard of it before we arrived in Tucson. It's a good place to see, for sure.

longdog2 said...

What a neat visit and great pictures.

Linda Sand said...

Can a female be an SOB? Would she be a DOB?

Pam Wright said...

So excited to see your post. I use to read a short book on the Kitt Peak Observatory with one of my guided reading groups when I taught third grade. It was so interesting. I really want to see the solar telescope...the sun is my real interest. We were in Tucson for a month and didn't get up there...not a popular trip for my husband. Next time, we are going! It just looks like an amazing place. So glad you went and shared.

Once again, your photos are beautiful!

intrepid-decrepit-traveler said...

Ahaha, Roxanne! Jimmy and I drove past Kitt Peak on Monday(didn't stop this time - stopped last time), & we talked about riding our bikes down that, uh, hill. We were crazy enuf to ride down the mtn at Chiricahua, but I said I ain't totally bonkers and ain't gonna ride down from Kitt Peak.

Hell, yeah, you shoulda pulled over... oops!

We're in Organ Pipe Cactus Nat Mon now. It's nice and toasty today. C'mon over!

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

16 ton doughnut? That might cause a little heartburn... :cO

JO said...

Your pictures are fabulous! The last time I was up there we got kicked off because the other lady in the group got caught smoking. Yea that one.
Anyway it is a beautiful place for sure.
Love the thought that crossed between you and the cyclist haha

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Jo! I woulda held a grudge over that, I'm pretty sure. Could you have offered to toss her over the side in exchange for the rest of you staying?

Paul & Marti: Challenge Accepted!

So, Nickie, you're saying I wasn't looking at one of you two and thinking this. GOOD. That would have been awkward.

I [heart] Organ Pipe, and I bet it's starting to get beautifully sprouty, right?

Pam, you may have to put your foot down about Kitt Peak. Or take yourself. You notice there are no pictures of Annie here. You taught - cool! I guess I knew that, but didn't know what level.

Linda, I think any old SOB can be an SOB. It's how I live my life.

Thanks, LD2!

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love your humor!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thank you, Frances!

TravelBug-Susan said...

Re: Kitt Peak Tour...You're not called the GOOD LUCK duck for nothing. Happy you had a tour.

Kitt Peak is being added to my bucket list.

If you ever get to the Big Island of Hawaii, be sure to go on a Forest and Trail Company tour to Mauna Kea observatories. Awesome. You go up in the afternoon, have dinner, then the van takes you to the summit for sunset and to look at all the observatories. After sunset, you go back to the 8,000' level on the mountain to stargaze through large telescopes. Then they serve you hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. Great tour.

Love your humor, as usual. I still think you're a goofball. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Aw, man, I'm jealous. The Kitt Peak Observatory rules. Thanks, Susan—I'd wondered how to visit the observatories on Mauna Kea. (Driving the saddle road in a rental car is aggressively discouraged.)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Love your blog, and the photos are fabulous -- how do you get them to show up so large? Can't seem to do that on Wordpress. We just signed up to follow where you waddle. . . and we blog too, at ramblinon.wordpress.com, especially now that we're just 1 week from heading out full-time after several years of RVing mostly summers. Never boondocked, though -- your site will be helpful as we head to the woods. Really like your whimsy and insouciant approach. Thanks! Joe & Lisa

Roxanne said...

A goofball! Is that like insouciant? Those cookies sound excellent, oh and the tour.

Bleen, I thought of you while I was there, because your institution owns one of the telescopes. Couldn't you find a way to get attached to a band of astronomers who travel out here? An interdisciplinary cadre of scientists.

Hi Joe and Lisa! Thanks for following us. You're about to be full-timers - AWESOME. Are you more excited than you think you can stand?

I can't offer any picture sizing advice, because Blogger just lets me click a button. A pair of oft-boondockers who you probably already follow (WheelingIt.com) use Wordpress with great photos, and I'm sure Nina will be glad to tell you how she does it. She keeps most of hers smaller, but occasionally she'll offer up a large image.

I'm insouciant! No one has ever called me that to my face before! Yay!

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Bob Giddings said...

Yeah, you're cool. But you are NOT the coolest duck ever. That would be this one:


The Good Luck Duck said...

Hahaha Bob! Conceded.

Anonymous said...

FRIEND FROM THE WAY PAST!!! ANY flying rabbits out there?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Well, Anonymous, you oughta get on email and I'll tell you all about the flying rabbits here. chillyrodent at gmail dot com