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Anyone ever visited the Very Large Array?


OldMan
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I never knew it existed until a few days ago (yes, I heard about "Contact" but not until Wednesday) but as a certified space nut dating all the way back to Yuri Gagarin, my heart leapt when I saw images of the array. I have GOT to see that for myself.

The trip will also include a visit to Quartzite and trout fishing near Show Low. But that Array - fires the imagination.

array1.jpg

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We did but it has been quite a few years ago, perhaps as much as 10 years. When we visited the tour was self-guided and the visitor center was unmanned. Even the gift shop was by the honor system. We spent several hours there and really enjoyed it. When we were there we saw only two other visitors, one leaving as we arrived and the second arrived while we were eating lunch before continuing on.  If you are traveling west from there you will pass through Pie Town, NM.   Looking through the VLA website, it seems that there is now a fee but also they have guided tours if you visit at the right time. I may have to go back again with all of the new features that they have. 

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Yes, a long time ago.  It was interesting for me but might be dull for some. Sounds like you intend to go west on Hwy 60 out of Socorro.  Depending on you rig an how much fuel you carry I would top off fuel in Socorro. A number of fuel stops there could be challenging for some. The Walmart has no fuel. There is a station on the west side of the street infront of what used to be a grocery store. It is north of Hwy 60 a little ways so if you are coming from the south you would have to double back a little to go west but not far. I don't remember about the parking situation at the Array and I was in a car so no issue for me. Might be good to check on that or maybe Kirk or another may know since it was nearly 20 years ago I went there.  I did the self guided and it was adequate for me but guided might be better.  There is fuel in Quemada but more expensive.  In Springerville there is a community museum in the old school on the left as you come into town. It is interesting a you can see it generally in a short time or longer. In the painting section they have something done by one of the old famous Italian painter. Not something you would have expected in Springerville.

 

Edited by bigjim
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3 hours ago, SWharton said:

If you go to VLRA make sure you drive over to Alamogordo. Well worth the visit for a space nut..............

Excellent suggestions. WRT to Pie Town? Oh MY MY, oh HELL YES!!! Way ahead of you, Kirk, it's on the list. Alamogordo on the list. Wasn't White Sands where the Manhattan Project was?

Edited by OldMan
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Call them and see when they offer a tour of the operation center. It's only once or twice a year. We did and really enjoyed it. The Manhattan Project was in Los Alamos, NM, not at White Sands. The Trinity Site where they tested their first BIG one was more to the north of WS. Several museums at Los Alamos about the Manhattan Project. Make sure you visit the old one.

The Space Shuttle Columbia landed one time at White Sands. I have a NASA photo of the landing with the Columbia being escorted in with 2 fighter jets. Bought it at a yard sale for 50 cents. God bless the crew of the Columbia.

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12 hours ago, OldMan said:

Da Vinci?

I believe it is a Rembrandt engraving.  The art center is in the Springerville Heritage Center ( an old school bldg.) I think someone has said that most of the Manhatten Project was at Los Alamos about an hour west of Santa Fe.  It was I believe acutually broken up at different locations. I believe one part was at Oakrigdge, TN.  The Trinity Site visit I believe is still 2 times a year in spring and Oct.

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We went to VLA last year.  It was the 20th anniversary of the 'Contact' movie that made them famous.  The tour was interesting.

Also, we stayed at the Datil Wells campground.  We liked it too.  It snowed overnight and looked beautiful in the morning.

Also went to Pie Town but we screwed that up.  We went and saw the pies but decided to go across the street and eat lunch first.  When we came back all the pies were gone.  We thought they were cooking pies and didn't realize what they had on display was all they had for the day.  Oh well, maybe we'll go back sometime.

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5 hours ago, Tex Bigfoot said:

just a word of warning .......pie town pie bar is closed between thanksgiving and Pie Day.............

3.14  so don't get your mouth set .

'Tis what phones and email are for. Find out for sure and schedule accordingly. I don't drink much, anyway.

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3 hours ago, oldbutspry said:

We went to VLA last year.  It was the 20th anniversary of the 'Contact' movie that made them famous.  The tour was interesting.

Also, we stayed at the Datil Wells campground.  We liked it too.  It snowed overnight and looked beautiful in the morning.

Also went to Pie Town but we screwed that up.  We went and saw the pies but decided to go across the street and eat lunch first.  When we came back all the pies were gone.  We thought they were cooking pies and didn't realize what they had on display was all they had for the day.  Oh well, maybe we'll go back sometime.

Oh, man, my pies will be ordered in advance as I need a "special needs," pie (sugar-free). :D

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