OUR LIFE ON WHEELS - Vol. II travel blog

This is the office of the SKP Saguaro Park in Benson, AZ,...

Site 299 is our home for a while.

Toasting our new winter home with champagne on the veranda.

Making it ours by hanging our name.

We face the open desert from our site.

The sun is going down the first evening we are here. (It's...

As the sun goes down, the Dragoon Mountains to the east take...

What a great view we have of those Dragoon Mountains from our...

The park has a great club house.

A nice clean and well-equipped laundry room. We are supposed to use...

There is an extensive library.

Comfortable seating is available in the library.

There is a pool room for those who enjoy the game. Looks...

This big kitchen can serve a lot of meals -- and individual...

This is called "Neiman Marcus." You can donate articles you don't need,...

This is what we found in the main activity room on Thanksgiving...

We had signed up for Table 7. Each group had a long...

Suzy and Mollie began to dress the serving table for our group.

Barbara and Suzy laid the place settings for our two couples.

Doesn't it look elegant?

We estimate that 150 people joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.

And we have so much to be thankful for.

This row of sites is just across from the club house. All...

The park has specific guidelines about the size and placement of casitas....

But the leaseholder has a lot of leeway over design of the...

This one has upper and lower level seating areas.

We really like the design of this one. It complements the desert...

Another in a Spanish style, but not as impressive. However, the stained...

This one must have been inspired by an old west ghost town.

Many leaseholders have decorated with native plants that require little moisture.

Although you may have a very comfortable casita, because this is an...

I've been inside this casita. It is very homey, with a full...

Can't get enough of those Dragoon Mountains!

As we have said before, the desert can be beautiful.

A wonderful way for the desert to say Goodnight.


More about Cactus Wrens later. You may recall, back in May when we were in Utah, we reported that we had finally gotten our leased site in Benson, Arizona. We're on that site now, been here a week. We signed up for the site "site-unseen" and didn't know what a gem we had selected. They told us there was a "shed" with some problems we'd have to fix when we got here. Many of the sites here have a "casita," a building that may have electricity, plumbing, separate bathroom and/or laundry facilities. Ours was a "shed" with electrical problems.

Folks, lemme tell ya, our shed is great! Yes, we have a few problems to correct, but we have plans to convert this shed into a "cabin" or a "lodge" with just a little upgrading. We'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Now about those Cactus Wrens. They are, of course, birds that make their homes in and around cactus. But Cactus Wrens are also the leaseholders here at the SKP Saguaro RV Park in Benson. By virtue of taking up our lease we became Cactus Wrens, with all the benefits and obligations appurtenant thereto. That means we can vote on decisions about the park and its facilities, we can go to the meetings. It also means we can contribute to fund drives and work parties on the grounds. There are 22 committees we can join (and we are mostly obligated to take part in at least one or two).

Our first event here was Thanksgiving dinner. There were signup sheets, one per table, with space for someone to sign up as "host" for the table. We managed to get onto table #7 that had no host, so Suzy became kind of a default table leader. Since we didn't have a real host, one of the volunteers provided the turkey for our group, and everyone else brought a dish (as decided in a meeting that happened before we got here). We brought an old family recipe, sweet and sour green beans (for those who have our family cookbook, the recipe is in Section 12, page 1).

Thanksgiving dinner was at 2:00 Thursday, and leftovers were on tap for Friday from noon to 4:00pm. Besides leftovers, the Cactus Wrens made turkey soup from the carcasses, and asked for dollar donations from everyone to contribute to the good of the group.

Speaking of food, we have heard for so long that we should "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper." We're working to rearrange our eating along those lines. Saturday we had coffee and a donut with other Cactus Wrens (at 7:00am yet!), then came back and made a sausage / egg / English muffin breakfast sandwich. Lunch at the Chinese Buffet was large enough for dinner, so supper ended up being half a PBO with a glass of milk. What's a PBO? The finest sandwich ever made: two slices of high-fiber bread, one spread with mayonnaise, the other with peanut butter, and large slices of sweet onion between, with just a light sprinkle of salt. It must be accompanied by a glass of milk, or it doesn't count.

Today, Sunday, we are celebrating our own "at home" Thanksgiving. We made our traditional apple burritos for breakfast, and we're roasting a 9-pound turkey - that's the largest our little microwave / convection oven will take. We have a new recipe for "baked sweet potatoes with apricots and bourbon," and Suzy will make her special dressing with sausage, mushrooms, onions, celery, apples and dried cranberries. After that, we'll try to publish this entry on the website.

We've taken pictures around the park so you can see what a great place we have. The clubhouse has a large main room where we had dinner. Entertainment is held there regularly, as well as craft and exercise classes. We have an extensive library, a poolroom, and a modern up-to-date laundry room. We also have splendid views of the Sonoran desert and the Arizona sunrises and sunsets.

Our site in on the north edge of the park, with a direct view of the open desert. Consequently we have the morning sun on our open side, and the neighbor's vehicle blocks the afternoon sun. We have a regular run of quail and an occasional rabbit, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other wildlife as we sit quietly under the porch roof of our shed/cabin/lodge.

What about the weather here in Benson? At 3750 feet elevation, we won't get nearly as hot in the summer as Phoenix or even Tucson, nor as cold in the winter as Flagstaff. This week our highs have been in the high 70s, low 80s, and the early morning lows have been in the low 30's. When we were here four years ago, we got below freezing a few times in January / February. This past fall, there was significant rain, so the desert should be glorious in spring.

We expect to be here off and on until at least March. We'll take some side trips, and even just move into other RV parks locally because of a site-rental program here that can benefit us financially. Stick around, and please follow along on ... Our Life on Wheels.



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