|275 miles to be exact with the going nice and easy, Tucson being the only major city we encountered! The landscape is getting greener and we welcome the addition of the multi-limbed Saguaro cacti waving from the side. I have the laptop fired up, with camera by my side and soon find I am fascinated by road signs and truck art. I am easily amused!
The City of Benson, with a population of approx. 4000, is located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Arizona SR 90 about 50 miles east of Tucson. At an elevation of 3600 ft. our highs were mid-80s with the afternoons offering an occasional shower, absolutely perfect for the weekend we plan to stay.
We stay at the SKP (Escapees) park in Benson, one of the many member co-op parks across the country. Their headquarters are located in Livingston, TX. which, among many other amenities to full-time RVers, provides our mail forwarding service. Other parks in the system are Coarsegold, CA, where we put our names on a list for a lot when one becomes available, Sutherlin, OR., and Chimacum, WA., all of which we visited this summer.
We have a beautiful site with an unobstructed view of the Dragoon Mountains to the east and we quickly set up table and chairs and just sit and watch the cloud formations and colors change with the movement of the sun (I know it's the earth that's moving). We need a couple of days to clear out the road dust and do some laundry.
Our good friends, Rodger & Sharon from MN, are leaseholders of a lot just down the street from where we are currently parked. They’re not here now but we will be meeting up with them in New Mexico in about a week as they now pack up after a four and a half month stay near Minneapolis, spending time with their family.
There is much to see and do around this area and we have thoroughly enjoyed exploring these parts on many visits in the past. A great loop drive takes you south on SR 80 from Benson where you can make stops at Tombstone, further south to Bisbee, west to Coronado National Monument and north on SR 90 to Sierra Vista, Kartchner Caverns, and back to Benson! Or east a short distance to Willcox and south to the Chiracahua National Monument. North of Willcox is Roper Lake State Park near the town of Safford, one of our favorite parks with great hiking, natural hot springs and scenic byways best explored by jeep in four-wheel drive!
Kept secret since its discovery in 1974,Kartchner Caverns, 12 miles south of Benson, was announced to the world in 1988. Still virtually pristine, this massive limestone cave has 13,000 feet of passages and two rooms as long as football fields. Finally opened as a state park November 12, 1999, this underground wilderness remains protected while offering visitors a rare tour through multi-colored cave formations. The temperature inside the caverns averages 68°F year round, with the humidity at 99%. We took the tour a couple of years ago and these caves are incredibly beautiful.
And then there is Tombstone, "The Town Too Tough To Die", south of Benson off SR 80. Tombstone is world renowned for its mining history and the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" in 1881, between the Earp brothers -- Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil -- and the Clantons, Frank and Tom McLowery. To the delight of the many visitors, this gun fight is re-enacted several times a day!
Benson will definitely be revisited on our return trip west!