I must admit that when we started this journey, we were a bit naïve–at least I was. I thought not paying a mortgage, would give us plenty of money for travel. Wrong. We’ve discovered that upkeep, gas, and other expenses actually keep us broke. That’s, in fact, why we’re parked right now at an RV resort in Benson, Arizona, where a friend with a very nice space is giving us a good deal on rent. The plan is to save money and get traveling again in a month or two, hopefully to the coast of Texas.

In the meantime, we have occasion to get acquainted with neighbors and join activities. The beautiful clubhouse here at the resort is the perfect venue for exercise classes, holiday gatherings, and Bible studies. It’s where we do laundry—the nicest laundromat we’ve experienced on this trip—and where we have opportunity to meet many of the residents and others from surrounding areas as they come for activities. It also houses an exercise room and a big-screen TV.

One big excursion of late has been to Parker Canyon Lake near Elgin, Arizona which offers a 4.8 mile hiking loop. I met only one fisherman along the portion of trail I traversed, but saw a huge (and I mean huge) great blue heron who took to the air in beautiful flight as soon as I edged closer for a better picture.

Just yesterday, we drove to Green Valley 20 miles south of Tucson, a small city of 24,000 touted as one of the best places to retire in Arizona. With an elevation of 2900 feet, winter weather is pleasant with abundant sunshine. Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert and Santa Rita Mountains, it offers beauty and safety (Green Valley is safer than 61 percent of the cities and towns in the US of all population sizes according to NeighborhoodScout’s analysis of FBI crime statistics). This, even though it’s near the Mexican border, just 47 minutes from Nogales. Thom researched the real estate there and found it just slightly above the national average of $200,000.

Of the five Adventist churches in Tucson, one in Sierra Vista and one in Benson, I’ve attended three and have found the little church in Benson to be to my liking. The people are welcoming and, small as it is, have great music, teaching, and preaching. They also have a weekly potluck which I haven’t yet attended, but I did promise I would stay next time I’m there.

The little town of Benson has a multi-building historical museum full of artifacts, personal accounts and exhibits that make up the history of Benson and it surrounding areas. The day I visited, I was given my own private being the only visitor at the time. The cattle ranchers, farmers, explorers, railroad workers, business owners, store proprietors, politicians, judges, saloon keepers, hotel owners, café workers, preachers, school teachers, miners, doctors and many others who played a part in Benson’s growth are featured in this museum. One of my favorite collections was from artifacts and fauna found on the Curtis Flats Ranch in the 1920s. The rancher owner, walking around his ranch after a rainstorm, would find Hohokam pottery which he would carefully bring home to share with his grandchildren. What a great show-and-tell! Also found on his ranch was a mastodon (now at the Smithsonian) and glyptodons which look like a cross between an armadillo and a turtle. Its shell is not solid, but made up of octagonal pieces which, as a whole, weigh as much as 500 pounds.

Before I left, the tour guide shared information about The Amerind Museum, a museum of Native American archaeology in Dragoon, which houses one of the finest collections of Native American cultures and artifacts in the country.

I’ll save that one for another day.