In the morning, as I drew back the thick, luscious curtains, I saw immediately that I was in Arizona 'proper'. Ahead of me was a spectacular mountain, embedded with cacti. It looked exactly like a Roadrunner cartoon. With the day shaping up to be 'scorchio' (that's over 40 on my barometer) I threw open the roof of the Stang, and made for the air-conditioned bliss of the PIMA Air and Space Museum.
At the museum, I was (very kindly) given a tour by the museum's Director of Marketing and Visitor Services, Mary Emich, a woman with a vision for this non-government funded museum. With the enthusiasm and passion I so love to see in aviation, Mary showed me around the main hangar, introducing me to some of the volunteers who form the backbone of the museum, as guides, tour operators and restorers.
where we visited every aircraft outside the museum by open-top bus. After the tour, I revelled in the aviation themed cafe before touring WWII hangars, the nose art and the Space Center.
Of course, everyone knows the highlight of a visit to PIMA is the tour of the boneyard: the military controlled ground where over 4,000 aircraft go to die. I cannot express my awe (and sense of sadness) in seeing rows upon rows of defunct aircraft, groaning in the sun and rotting to death. However, our tour guide, one of the many fabulous military men with moustaches, pointed out that many of the aircraft are donors, there to provide parts to allied countries who are still flying some of the fabulous ancient birds. It reminded me very much of Ishiguru's story of the orphans who are cloned for their organs, until I was made to remember that these aircraft had had full and exotic lives.
With that, I visited the gift shop, threw back the roof of the Stang again, and went to admire the boneyard from the road. With the sun setting on rows and rows and rows of C130s, backdropped by the cactus-y mountain, I felt perfectly content. And very much ready to eat a whole plate of Quesadillas.