Seeing H and L in Benson

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!

One of the many roadside gift shops


They have lots of cool stuff in them


See poor Joe’s arms are about to fall off.

Welcome Cactus Jess

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!

When he lays on my lap for long stretches it is uncomfortable. This is much better.


Lee likes it too!


And he can see better out the window when he sits up.


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.

The fish was flavorful but the rest was pretty bland.


The only decent thing out of this stop was we saw this carrier on the front of a truck exactly like ours. Kind of a cool idea.

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.

Arrival at the park


Our site. I liked the mature trees at every site.


They were tight though and Lee was at a full 90 degree angle when he backed in.


Howard and Linda’s rig right across the street.

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.

Jack getting used to it. It take a little time for him to settle in.


I had never seen this treating of a dog park before but I guess they do it every day. I’m a fan.


On our way back from the dog park we saw two streets full of permanent housing.


And a couple of them had really nice large sites.

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.

From Left: Linda, Howard, and Lee


Cori gave us this puppy play place she doesn’t need anymore and it allows us to keep Jack outside but not worry about his lead getting tangled. I’m a big fan, not sure Jack is.

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.

We had garlic Parmesan chicken wings made in the Instant pot of course. Linda is the Instant pot queen! We talked about the benefits of Air Fryer versus Instant Pot and Linda said they have a new Ninja combination device that does both!! I think I talked her into getting it before they go to Alaska and trying it out so she can tell us all if it is worth it. Since they are in a small Class C a combination device would be a huge space saver.


Baked beans


And some amazing oriental slaw that we both loved. It’s Linda’s creation.

The best part was the box of Teddy Grahams she bought Lee to try for desert. She felt that what he was missing in his low cal deserts was some crunch and she was absolutely right!! He can eat 23 of these little guys for 110 calories and they are perfect to sprinkle on low fat pudding. Cookie problem solved. Thanks Linda!!


Jack was skittish around the puppy


Who was absolutely adorable. The owner said they always had Australian shepherds in their house and since they went full time wanted a small one. The puppy was nine months old and shouldn’t get bigger than this.


Finally they had a nose to nose meeting

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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Quartzsite Redux

Our last day before leaving Kartchner was a busy one.  Greg finished his install, Cori/Kelly and I went looking for sand hill cranes (no luck there) and Lee and Bill had a great time at the Pima Air and Space museum.  Lee took lots of pics and may do a supplemental blog post later.  The last night I made a meatloaf dinner for everyone and then we went to see an observatory that Kelly found on trip adviser.  This small observatory holds about 17 people, but has a huge telescope and a rotating roof.  It’s free if you stay at the Butterfield RV Resort and only $2 a person if you aren’t staying there.  You need to call first thing in the morning though, and make a reservation, and I absolutely recommend you do it if you are in the area.  Lee said “This is the coolest thing we have done since being on the road,” when we finished, and those that follow our travels know that is no small statement.  The work kamper, a retired chiropractor and amateur astronomy enthusiast, was very knowledgeable and entertaining.  More importantly instead of seeing the stars on a screen we all got to step up to the telescope and look in the eyepiece.  Everyone took a turn seeing two stars in the Orion constellation, the Orion nebula, the seven sisters (my favorite), the moon, and Jupiter.  Obviously their was some down time between turns, but it went quicker than you would think and there was a lot of interesting information while you were waiting.  Although I wouldn’t say it was the coolest thing we have done, but I definitely would recommend it one evening if you are in the Benson area.

We may not have found any birds but I did buy a bag of locally grown pinto beans for $4.50!

We may not have found any birds but I did buy a bag of locally grown pinto beans for $4.50!

The observatory

The observatory.  Sorry for the quality, night shot with phone, not great

Pretty big telescope inside for the room's size

Pretty big telescope  for the room’s size

Beautiful full moon in Kartchner

Beautiful full moon in Kartchner

It was only a 5 hour drive to Quartzsite the next day, so we decided to all go separately and then make sure someone met Kelly and Bill at the front when they arrived.  Normally we would not have come back to the same area so quickly, but we wanted to be with Kelly and Bill when they experienced Quartzsite for the first time. And we had left some things undone, believe it or not, despite being in Q for a month.  We ended up driving on HWY 8 and bypassing Phoenix and I really recommend that route.  It goes right through a beautiful section of nationally protected Sonoran Desert and there wasn’t much traffic on it compared to HWY 10.  Cori and Greg took the straighter route, plus Greg drives faster, and they got to Q around 2:30.  We got there at 3pm and had just finished dumping and filling with water when Kelly and Bill arrived.   Our old spots were open again, so back we went and getting settled in was much faster the second time around.  Pam was nice enough to organize a hot dog dinner and had a huge turnout of folks for Kelly and Bill to meet which was very nice.

Travel day potluck

Travel day potluck

Harry and Vicky

Rick (in hat), Dino, Harry, Vicki, and Steve

The number 1 thing I wanted to do when we got back to Q was go on a hike with Jim and Barb.  I absolutely love their blog Jim and Barb’s RV Adventureand although we have gotten to know them better in a group setting, we really wanted to do something with just the four of us.  We had planned this hike, but other group activities kept getting in the way, so we were all committed to making this happen.  And boy am I glad we did.  Several people have hiked the Palm Canyon in the Kofa Wilderness area, but the pictures really don’t do it justice.  That’s not a slam on the photography, by the way, it’s just one of those places that’s tough to capture but takes your breath away.  Because the hike is very steep and goes through some narrow crevices these pictures were taken by me, Lee, or Jim.  The good news about this hike, which was the toughest we have done from a footing perspective, is you can drive the 8 miles right up to the canyon, then park and walk as much or as little as you want to. All the pieces of it were beautiful to me and even though touching the palms was cool and all, the views were more amazing. 

The desert leading up to the canyon was very green in late February

The desert leading up to the canyon was very green in late February



Loved that the ocotillo's had leaves now

Loved that the ocotillo’s had leaves

Still lots of thorns in there though

Still lots of thorns in there though. Hope we get to see the flowers before we leave the desert


The canyon

The canyon with the little windy road at the base

The view from the end of the road back to the desert

The view from the end of the road back the way we came in





The canyon was cool in the shade and had tons of greenery

Barb previously climbed up to this ridge and saw lots of relatively fresh bighorn sheep dung

Barb previously climbed up to this ridge and saw lots of relatively fresh bighorn sheep dung

Finally we got to the spot where we could see the palms. These are the only indigenous palm trees in Arizona and many people stop at this point and turn back

Finally we got to the spot where we could see the palms (in the center crevice). These are the only indigenous palm trees in Arizona and many people stop at this point of the trail and turn back

We kept going and the views got more spectacular

We kept going and the views got more spectacular

Barb initially found this way to the palms, you have to climb up on the right hand side.

Barb initially found this way to the palms, you have to climb up on the right hand side.

Lee was great keeping up with her. I took a little longer

Lee was great keeping up with her. I took a little longer


Finally made it

Finally made it

And a little bit farther to touch the palms, which were very big

And a little bit farther to touch the palms, which were very big.  I was breathing a sigh of relief

Thanks Barb and Jim, no way we could have done this without you guys

Thanks Barb and Jim, no way we could have done this without you guys

The way down for me was actually worse

The way down for me was actually worse

Lee once again did great

Lee once again did great


I held my breath a lot and scootched on my butt in several places

I held my breath and scooched on my butt in several places

The views were once again spectacular but I really wished I had my poles for the way down

The views were once again spectacular but I really wished I had my poles for the way down

Look in the bottom middle of the pic and you can see a person down there. It was a long way up, but very glad we did it

Look in the bottom middle of the pic and you can see a person down there. It was a long way up, but very glad we did it

And if that wasn’t enough dare devil activity for one day, a bunch of us went to Silly Al’s for pizza and karaoke and I actually got up and sang.  I dedicated my one karaoke song “Honey I’m Home” by Shania Twain to Red and Pam and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I may not sing very well, but I am sassy which works very good for that song 🙂  Plus I got to sit at the end of the table with Harry and Vicki and I really enjoyed getting to know them better.  They have a great story.  Harry worked a corporate job and when they retired they went on the road.  Vicki works in quality assurance for an IT department so could work out her few remaining years on the road and she works and Harry takes care of everything else.  He plans their routes, cooks dinners, and has done work kamping stints, including one at Amazon!! I really love what they are doing and like them very much as a couple so it was great to learn more about them.  They have a blog, and although Harry doesn’t post a ton, I really like his writing style.

So we have definitely hit Q running.  Looking forward to Jo and Ben getting here this weekend to hang out as well and a big Margarita/dance party  on Saturday.  Stay tuned!!

The gang at Silly Al's

The gang at Silly Al’s

Red and Pam dancing!

Red and Pam dancing!

Me getting my karaoke on

Me getting my karaoke on



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