Benson, Birds, Bisbee and Buddies

BensonWhitewater-15BensonWhitewater-80Our next stop was Benson, in the Southern Arizona desert, not too far from Tucson and also near lots of great places to explore. We stayed in the Saguaro SKP park, an Escapee Co-op, where we stayed a couple of years ago. It’s a very nice park, and as a bonus our friends Paul and Nina were staying there as well.

The park has a first-come first-served policy, but it has an overflow area where RVers can stay while they wait for a full hookup site. We lucked out and got the one spot in the overflow area that had full hookup. Which was great since it was starting to get hot and we needed to run the A/C.BensonWhitewater-79

BensonWhitewater-2BensonWhitewater-4BensonWhitewater-5We had to wait two nights for our regular campsite, and when it was time to move and Hector turned on the engine in Island Girl, the dashboard lights and gauges went haywire. We were able to move to our campsite without any problem, but now we had another mechanical issue to tackle.

Meanwhile, we got together several times with Nina and Paul. They were getting a major upgrade to their solar panels and electrical systems and were going to stay in the park for several more days along with Paul’s dad Armando and stepmother, Ana.

We knew they were going to head north and east next and we would likely not see them again in at least a year if not more. So it was great to catch up with them one last time before their grand tour.

Nina and Paul introduced us to their friends Jill and Tom, and Marvin from Precision RV who was installing their new systems, and his wife Ellen. We had a lovely get together with new friends.BensonWhitewater-1

Jill then invited us to join a small group in an outing to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area. This is an “important bird area” and a major roost site for sandhill cranes. Hector was in sunrise mode again, so Hector, Angel and I actually drove out on our own ahead of the group so that we could be there by sunrise.

BensonWhitewater-8BensonWhitewater-11But we missed sunrise by about ten minutes and many of the sandhill cranes had flown out to feed. There were a few left and the light was still quite beautiful so Hector captured some nice photos of the remaining birds.BensonWhitewater-9BensonWhitewater-13BensonWhitewater-12BensonWhitewater-16

BensonWhitewater-10The rest of the group was going to join us in the late morning just prior to the anticipated return of the sandhill cranes, so we also had a chance to take several walks on the trails.

BensonWhitewater-14That is when we spotted a Northern harrier, and then another one.BensonWhitewater-28

BensonWhitewater-21We have not seen many Northern harriers, so Hector was quite excited about photographing them. And we got some very close views as one and then the other hovered and hunted in the field.BensonWhitewater-26



BensonWhitewater-30By this point Angel was pretty hot so we returned to the parking area so she could rest for a bit and cool off. And the rest of our group arrived: Jill, Tom, Armando, Ana and Ellen.

Everyone walked over to the viewing area to watch the cranes begin to return to the water.BensonWhitewater-37


BensonWhitewater-32BensonWhitewater-50We saw qute a few other birds in the Wildlife Area, including a lesser yellowlegs, a Western Meadowlark, and an American Avocet, Northern Shovelers and other ducks and Ross geese.

BensonWhitewater-43And we were all fascinated by the sandhill cranes flying back from the fields in droves.Thousands of them filled the sky as far as you could see.BensonWhitewater-44

After a while we had lunch at the picnic area and Jill and her group headed back. Hector and I stayed behind for a bit, then headed back the long way. Quite the spectacle.

BensonWhitewater-68BensonWhitewater-60We stopped at Bisbee, a funky little town that we visited for the first time last year. Bisbee is built atop hills and is full of twisting turns and narrow streets. It also has lots of interesting murals, cute shops and restaurants.

BensonWhitewater-63BensonWhitewater-65As we drove through the town, we spotted a really cool “Hillary mobile”. We chased it down and met up with the owner, Gretchen, the founder of the Paint Your Town non-profit.

Hillary rode with Gretchen in the Hillary mobile the last time that she ran for president.


BensonWhitewater-58BensonWhitewater-52We also stopped in what is left of Lowell, once a sizable mining town but now just a few abandoned buildings with lots of vintage stuff scattered about. Including quite a few vintage cars parked along the street.


Hector loves old buildings and cars so he explored the “town” and discovered Star Chevrolet, a spot where a group of people make metal art and restore old signs.

BensonWhitewater-77BensonWhitewater-73We continued our drive back to Benson and made a quick stop in Tombstone, site of the “OK Corral”.

Even though it is considered a tourist trap, our visit last year was quite fun. 


We had planned to cut our visit short to take Island Girl to the shop to have the electrical issue worked on. Then Paul and Armando offered to come over to try to help figure out the cause of the problem.

UncleGrandpaMysteryNoiseDoctorRvRepairCartoon_400x400Electrical gremlins can be really hard to solve but after testing a bunch of things and crawling all around they figured it out! It was a loose connection under the dash and they fixed it. Yay!  So nice to have smart friends.

Then it was time to say bon voyage to our friends and head to Tucson.

Wishing safe travels to all.

~ Brenda


17 thoughts on “Benson, Birds, Bisbee and Buddies

  1. It was so great to finally meet the two of you….I had heard so much about you from Nina and Paul and of course had seen lots of Hector’s photos….I had to meet you…

    • We were really looking forward to meeting you as well Jill. Thanks for the hospitality, a shame our visit was so brief. Looking forward to the next time! H

    • It was wonderful to meet the two of you as well, hope we can connect sometime when you are back in the Southwest.

    • Yes, it was grand. So funny that you met Gretchen too, we will have to check out her gallery next time.

  2. Did you happen to do the copper mine tour or visit the John Slaughter Ranch?

    • neither unfortunately. we did walk into the copper mine tour building to check it out but we didn’t have the time for the tour. that is one heck of a hole in the ground! just gonna have to go back i guess 🙂 H

  3. Nice way to spend some time. And I know you LOVE the birds!!!
    How wonderful to keep meeting such great folks along the way. I was in Tombstone in the 1960s and it still looks the same!!! LOL
    Glad the electrical gremlins were easy to chase away.

    • We do love the birds. That is funny about Tombstone, frozen in time for the tourists. We got lucky having an electrical engineer nearby 🙂

  4. Loved the birdie photos!! Amazing!

    Enjoy Tucson! I’m headed there in a month to visit my stepmom and sister. It should be nice and warm by then. : )

    Sending a big hug!

    • We just left, it will be VERY warm in a month, but I think the desert flowers will be even more lovely.

  5. We love Bisbee and seem to find our way back there every couple of years for a week or more. Such a colorful town — and so much fun to photograph! Cute photo of you with the Hillary mobile — we met Gretchen at a gallery opening where she was wearing butterfly wings. We also enjoy visiting Whitewater Draw — your photos of the harrier are stunning!!

    • This is so funny, you are the second commenter who met Gretchen, she is a standout. We watched the harriers for a long, long time, one or the other would fly off and the other would come to the area near us, back and forth. They were beautiful in that golden light.

    • We had lots of fun with you guys and we need Paul again – electrical is acting up! Anyway, we’ll be ok I’m sure. We always enjoy the birds, glad you mentioned that wildlife area – we had somehow overlooked it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *