Saturday, May 2, 2009

Here in Benson for the Summer

We’re pretty much committed to staying in Benson for most of the summer. We still hope to get some short trips, and more importantly, the one to Nevada and California in late summer to visit our family.

The town is small for sure, but it has many opportunities. Last Sunday morning we went to the Eagles Club for their monthly Sunday breakfast. For $5, you get your choice of any or all: sausage patty, bacon, eggs as you like them, fried potatoes, and biscuits and sausage gravy! Coffee and good orange juice come with it as well. Two Sundays a month, the Lions Club holds a pancake breakfast: buttermilk or blueberry cakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee and an orange-flavored beverage like Tang.

On Tuesdays the Elks Club serves a hamburger plate; we haven’t tried that one yet. The Eagles have a monthly fish fry , with choice of cod, catfish, shrimp, chicken strips, even a combo plate. Add in baked potato, coleslaw, dessert and coffee and you have a great meal. Even the Knights of Columbus put on a pancake breakfast once in a while. Of course, we have the many good eating restaurants, two pizza delivery houses, and the standard fast food joints. You’ll not go hungry in Benson if you have a dollar!

What else is there? Last weekend was the annual Bluegrass in the Park festival. Next weekend is the Spring Festival at the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, just seven miles south. We’re only 27 miles from Tombstone, “the town too tough to die.” Even in this little community in the desert, there’s usually something to do.

Here in the SKP Co-Op Park, there are 297 leased sites like ours, and maybe 40 with shorter (6- or 12- month) leases. During the winter months, nearly every site is filled every night, and there may be as many as 13 to 15 boondockers as well. The official count today was 165 leaseholders in the park, plus 41 guests. Guests include the folks who have the shorter-term leases.

That means there are quite a few vacant sites these days, and the number will increase as the weather gets warmer.

Boondocking here is not too bad. For $5 a night, a traveling SKP member can pull in, dump the sewer holding tanks, fill with fresh water, and spend the night in a nice park. They have access to our club house, the book / DVD / VHS lending libraries, the very economical laundry room, and any events going on at the time. The only thing they don’t get is electricity, and a lot of travelers have generators or solar panels or both.

The folks who don’t stay here for the summer (and until now, we were among them) don’t get to see the park in bloom. It’s just starting now, and we want to share the beauty of the desert with you. Our own cactus garden won’t do much this year, since it is so very new, but our neighbors have some lovely plants, and the park itself has its own display in the many common areas. (Last minute update: one of the $1.99 cacti in our own garden is blooming!

This little guy is only 2-¼ inches across his main body, but he’s got 4 blooms and a bunch of “pups” getting ready to do their own thing next season!)

Here are some of the blooming beauties for your viewing pleasure.

Ocotillo with two Giant Saguaro, and closer view of the ocotillo blooms.

We don't know the name of this bush, but it has a gorgeous showy flower!

Claret cup cactus. Another variety produces a light pink bloom.

These century plant agaves are getting ready to bloom, go to seed and die! We think they look like giant asparagus spears.

I'm over 6 feet tall - how tall are the plants?

Red yucca near the park office.

There are several varieties of cholla in the park. They make yellow or orange buds which later develop into delicate blossoms.

Pad cactus abound in several forms and varieties.

We don't know the name of this succulent, but it is one more version of desert beauty.

And of course, there are the Gambel quail!
All the plants and animals here give great beauty to ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Beautiful flowers!!! I love the desert in bloom!

    Hope you two have been well!

  2. We always enjoy visiting the Benson Escapees Co-Op. And for those who have not seen the desert inbloom, it is a sight to be remembered. Simply beautful!

  3. Haven't seen the desert in bloom yet so the phots gave us a hint of what we are missing.

    Connie and Art

  4. Hi Jerry & Suzy,

    The cacti and desert flowers are beautiful. We are enjoying the ones at North Ranch right now, too, but we'll be leaving next week for Custer. They still have a little snow on the ground up there but we are ready to do some Walleye fishing. (-:

    Good luck on your doctors appointments and enjoy your Summer in Benson. Hope to see you somewhere down the road.

    Hugs........Pat and Mike

  5. WONDERFUL photos...thanks for sharing!!

  6. Nice going!!! You can follow along with us, I keep you up to snuff!!
    June is going to be a tough month for us, as you know that it was one year ago June 5th when we lost Scott, my son. June was also his birthday......(mine too!)

    Stay well.



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