“I bet that you want to drive the train,” Bob says as he welcomes me to the Benson Visitor Center, “all the kids do.” Nailed it, Bob – a chance to drive the train is exactly my reason for stopping in. This is my first stop of several touristy visits I plan in the area today. Like everyone still here in Southern Arizona, I am whittling down my sightseeing list before I leave town.
Engineer Sunny Rides the Rails - Thanks to Bob and Kathryn at the Visitor Center for a great experience!
Sunny Goes to Train School
RVers wintering in Benson see many, many trains traveling through town. Usually I see them while I am sitting at a crossing hoping that the endless line of railcars before me will finally clear town before I die of old age. Also each night an assortment of train whistles serenade restless sleepers as a multitude of locomotives approach crossings headed out of town. But today I just want to learn to be a train engineer.
Surprisingly, I already possess most of the skills needed for this job. Turns out that running a train is similar to driving a Class A RV except you don’t have to steer! The braking is similar and a throttle is a throttle. Sure would like that sand button added to my RV so I could spread out sand along my path when I need more traction. I have an air horn on the RV already, but this lesson gives me a great idea for using it more productively.
Here Comes Sunny - Better Get out of the Way!
In fact I am thinking of using morse code for the letter “Q” on my air horn whenever I pull into an RV park or fuel stop. Bob tells me that trains use the letter “Q” signal as they approach a grade crossing to warn crossing traffic that a train will soon be barreling through. This practice dates back to England and the Queen’s yacht. Her crew originally used this horn signal as her ship sailed into a harbor. Since the boat had no brakes, this loud morse code warning told everyone that the Queen’s yacht was coming in. Other boats were well advised to get out of the way or get capsized. Yep, two long blasts, a short and another long one should be enough to warn other big rig drivers that Sunny is coming in – get out of her way!
Other Sights on Day Tour
While out and about this day, I take the tram ride up Sabino Canyon Road. After I get parked I learn that the Bear Canyon Section is closed today. Since that is where the waterfalls are located, I am disappointed. Next time I will check for section closings before I visit this place.
I also join a group of my friends for a trip to the nearby Mescal Movie set. This was the filming location for many westerns including Tombstone and the Quick and the Dead. Strange that they filmed Tombstone here when the actual town of Tombstone is nearby and could have played itself in the movie. We certainly get the feel for the old west while on the set as it is very windy, hot and dry. Volunteer actors perform skits at various buildings along the tour making it an informative and entertaining adventure.
8 Replies to “Bye Bye Benson”
Storm’s Shell Aviation hat brings back fond memories of the big white tent at Oshkosh. And, that I need for spurge this year for at least one day in that tent, to get this year’s hat! How I miss the Hickory Oak Campground.
I hope you are headed back this ay one of these days. What’s your plan Stan?
N. Clement Weathers
You should splurge for a tent day. Cleaning out the RV last week, I found several more “Shell Aviation” items. Could not let them go, they all bring back too many smiles. I am working on a plan to try to get to Oshkosh next summer. If things shape up I will make a reservation for HIckory Oaks as soon as they open them up for the airshow in 2023. I will definitely have a space for you!
Hey Sunny, it’s been a while since I saw any of your ramblings, so I welcome the travelog again. Have a large time out there in AZ before heading off to cooler temps soon. Like Bob sez, come this way one day… just wait til pine pollen season is over or you’ll think you never left the desert.
ha. hugs. je
Hahaha – I will definitely wait for pollen to pass, it is bad enough out here. I am trying to work out a plan for next year that would include returning to see everyone in NC this fall and possibly meeting up with friends in Oshkosh next summer. Sure would love to do the airshow one more time. Hugs right back!
One crazy girl. ;>) You are having just too much fun. Charlie would have had a blast running that train and would not want to leave that place for a while. Thanks for sharing, yesterday,Easter. was nice and warm and today it is going to get up to at least 50 degrees and be rainy all day. Enjoy the sunshine. Love ya kid. GOD BLESS
Jim & Sandy
He sure would have! I think of you often especially when I am playing music. I hope to have a mandolin in about a month. Taking mandolin lessons now and loving it.
Great job Engineer Deb. How fun. Sounds like you had a good winter. Where to for the summer? Coming back to Benson next winter?
I am headed to Oregon via several stops to visit friends out west. Great winter – lots of music and dancing! Hope to be back in Benson by the middle of October.