When we were making our route to get to Phoenix we realized we would be going right past Howard and Linda who were staying in an RV Resort in Benson, AZ. That opportunity was too good to pass up, so we changed our route a liitle to stay in their park for two nights. The timing was perfect, because they were leaving on Friday to go to Quartzsite for their boondocking rally. Once again we had a short travel day scheduled and since we lost an additional hour we could really take our time. We decided that we would stop at some of those old gas station/gift shops along the way. You know the ones. They have the signs posted for miles saying to stop at a historic trading post. The main reason we wanted to stop is we were looking for a new cactus. Lee has had a cactus on his antenna for over 20 years, and about three years ago (while in Tombstone) we replaced Cactus Jack with Cactus Joe. Since we have only seen these in the southwest, and poor Joe was really beat up, we thought it was time to find a replacement. We ended up having to stop a couple of places, but ultimately found a new one!
Jack did well when we made the various stops, but likes to look out the window. I got an idea to take his dog bed and put it on the center console which is more comfortable for him and us. Lee didn’t mind when he was driving and actually could occasionally give a belly rub!
We also had a chance to stop at one of my favorite rest stops, Texas Canyon, when you cross into the Arizona border from New Mexico. This whole area is really cool, because the landscape goes from flat and pretty dull to these amazing rock formations almost instantly. It’s a pretty place to stop and although Jack still wouldn’t go to the bathroom, he did enjoy walking around a bit.
The only unpleasant part of the whole day was when we stopped for lunch. I have been obsessively looking at the Calorie King app to try to find a healthy lunch place, but all the fast food places seemed like a no-go. Don’t get me wrong, we usually eat in the RV on travel days, but once in a while we do like to stop. Since we often stop at Flying J’s and we had plenty of time I thought maybe we should give Denny’s a try. I knew they would have nutritional info on the menu and thought maybe they would have some healthier choices. It started off OK when I learned that you could now order Denny’s online for pickup (big time saver on a travel day) and we got a 15% discount with our AARP cards. I also knew they had a Senior menu and thought the smaller portions would be a good choice. Unfortunately the senior menu was pretty limited, and none of their low-calorie options were that appealing. They did have a build-a-burger section with calorie counts for every single item you added to the burger, and Lee decided to go that route. He hasn’t had red meat since the heart attack, and it seemed a reasonable choice, until I saw the burger that came out. It was huge, sloppy, and I winced as I saw him eat it. I’m not super proud of that. It’s not like one burger is going to cause another heart attack, but it was hard to watch.
The worst part was while he was eating the burger I decided to look up the sodium content. The menu only had calories listed and obviously they don’t tell the complete story. Long story short the burger was 100% of his daily sodium intake and once he realized that he said he would have made another menu choice. It’s not super practical to look up sodium levels while in the restaurant though, and we both realized we should have researched in advance. The entire experience frustrated me, not the least because what I ate. The 55+ Tilapia meal with broccoli and red mashed potatoes with no gravy really wasn’t satisfying at all. Plus at $10 not a bargain. All in all not a great experience and made us both wish we had just eaten in the RV. I’m not ready to give up though, I am going to keep researching.
After lunch it didn’t take long to arrive at the Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory and get settled in. One of the coolest things about this park is it has its own small observatory and several years ago we watched the stars there and we all really enjoyed it. We had never stayed in the park itself though and weren’t quite sure what to expect. This is one of those parks that have lots of seasonal folks and there are several permanent sites that people live in year round. Our site was right across from Howard and Linda and initially was a bit difficult to get into. There is always an audience when the sites are packed this tight and Lee hates when he has trouble backing in, in full view, but he totally rocked getting into the spot making it look a lot easier than it actually was.
Our new “dog-friendly” routine when we arrive at a place is as soon as Lee is parked, I take the dog for a walk. This park has by far the cleanest dog park I have ever seen and they were actually spraying it with a pet safe bleach compound while we were there. I liked that because these parks get a little smelly and liked even more that they has tiny gravel rocks in it and kitty litter scooper to pick up the poop.
Lee and I have talked about eventually moving into modular housing and after touring some of the newer models know we could definitely live in one. The problem is where to put it. If you own a piece of property, then you have the upkeep and possibly sense of isolation, but if you are in a community you generally lack personal space and there can be social problems with the wrong group of people. This particular group of people seemed very nice, and Howard and Linda had become popular members in a short period of time, but sometimes there are cliques and can be downright unpleasant. That’s one of the best parts of living in a home on wheels, just picking up and going, but I would love to be able to participate in activities in a good community. Linda and Howard said they have been busy since the minute they got there and all of the activities sounded very fun. We even saw one of the residents give Linda a bottle of wine on her last night to thank her for being such a great part of their community. That seems really great to me.
Speaking of Howard and Linda, they met up with us after we set up and we had a great time catching up with each other. They got to meet Jack, who took an instant liking to both of them and abandoned me to hang out on their side of the picnic table. Linda fixed a great dinner and their friends invited us to a campfire one night. It was great being with them and catching up with each other. We also kept a close eye on Jack because we didn’t want to have one of those barking dogs you hear in campgrounds. By hanging out across the street, we could hear when he was barking and made it a point to ask our neighbors how he was doing. We took lots of walks to the dog park and even met some other little dogs, which Jack is a little uncertain of. The cutest pup we met was a 9 month old toy Australian Shepherd, but Jack was such a chicken they didn’t really play.
It was a very nice couple of days and Lee even had a chance to wash the truck and RV. The park requires a $15 permit to wash (and they monitor it closely), but it was nice to have that option. Lee took it nice and slow and was pleased when he was able to finish with no physical issues.
I spent the day with Linda volunteering at a donkey rescue, which was such a great experience it deserves its own post. We loved seeing them and being with them and we were sorry when we had to leave. One more funny thing though before I end this post. Jack has discovered that he can get on the dining room table. Even if I leave the chairs squeezed in he can wriggle up. Unfortunately one night he wriggled up, but could not get back down and was stuck up there for a while while we were out at the bonfire. Coming home to this sight totally cracked me up. Honestly it’s like having a two-year old again!
Oh one last last thing. The RV park is near the railroad tracks and the train horn noises are loud. We had both the AC and a fan on at night and on occasion it still woke me up. It’s a shame because the train noise could be a deal breaker for some people and I wanted to be transparent about that.
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