Our visit coincided with a period when I was undertaking some consultancy work on a lunar observatory for Saudi Arabia so I took the opportunity to call in on EOS Technologies in Tucson to discuss telescopes and enclosures that might be suitable for the project. We met Robert Meeks, Director of Advanced Programs, and Rob Brunswick, the Manager for Observatory Systems.
EOS Technologies built the outrigger telescopes for the Keck interferometer and we were able to see one of them in the factory and discuss its suitability for the lunar observatory. It was also a welcome opportunity for me to be involved in the kind of telescopes I was used to before starting Green Witch. Robert and Rob were most helpful and the equipment that EOS are producing appears excellent.
After leaving EOS we drove to the Sky Village where Gene Turner had arranged for us to stay at the house belonging to Roy and Elise Furman. He'd also arranged the loan of a hot tub which was waiting for us on the deck, filled with hot water and ready to go. We made good use of it and enjoyed soaking in the tub in the open air, watching the Sun go down over the Chiricahuas and the stars come out.
First sight of the New House
The main purpose of the visit was to inspect the new house. We'd selected the plan after visiting the Cavco factory where we had seen examples of similar houses, but this was the first time we had seen mine. It had been delivered to site in two halves. By the time we arrived the two halves had been joined together and set on metal stands on a concrete foundation. Most of the services had been connected and a small amount of internal finishing remained to be done.
Inside the House
The bathrooms and kitchen had been fitted out in the factory and we were pleased to note that they had travelled well. There was no indication that they had travelled all the way from Phoenix. We took many pictures of the inside so that we could decide what furniture we needed. Our plan was to visit American Home in Tucson with Janet Collum to choose the furniture. Janet is an interior designer and she undertook to furnish the house based on our visit to American Home, but not necessarily sourcing all the goods there. As we found out on our next visit when the house was fully furnished she did a splendid job.
Gene Turner took us to see Norrick Peak, a nearby mountain that had become available as an observatory site for ASV owners. It is about the same height as the world-famous observatory at Kitt Peak but enjoys much darker skies. The road up the mountain had just been blasted and was very rough. It reaches almost to the top but we had to scramble the last few hundred feet. The picture shows Norrick Peak from a vantage point higher in the Chiricahuas.
Another potential development that will benefit the village is a 'health and wellness centre' that may be built around Ted Troller's barn. The barn is a delightful building and the idea is to maintain its current appearance and remodel the interior. At present it houses a range of agricultural equipment covering many decades. Ted lives near Paradise in a house that has two garages, one labelled 'Hers', the other labelled 'Ours'.
Paradise is a small hamlet not far from Portal. And when it came around to the time we had to leave to come home, this sign said it all.
Neil Parker March 2007 - it took a long time to get around to writing this report