What do you do when your home is where you park and a world wide pandemic pops up?
We were in Lone Pine, California when things started to get weird. Restaurants closing, empty store shelves, friendly people suddenly unfriendly. An emergency room nurse telling us to find shelter. A social media post saying the local hospital was being overrun. Federal, State and local campgrounds closing, and finally the people we were planning to visit in Oregon recommending that we stay away. It was mighty creepy.
So I sent an email.
We will forever be grateful to John & Marcia Beland of Sierra Vista, AZ for having us.
Sierra Vista, which is Spanish for “Mountain View”, is a city in Cochise County, Arizona. It is located 75 miles southeast of Tucson and 15 miles from the Mexican border.
Sierra Vista is in an ‘out of the way’ part of the country. John & Marcia’s property is in an ‘out of the way’ part of Sierra Vista with no close neighbors. An ideal place to wait out a pandemic.
And then, this place has grown on us in such a way that we are seriously considering buying a lot here to winter on.
As we drank our coffee in the morning we were entertained by wildlife out our back window. There was a rose bush that seemed to attract creatures big and small. This was better then any TV show.
One morning I woke up to a pack of 8 javalina all milling around the rose bush. One was nibbling on the bush as two younglings suckled.
Another morning a Gambel’s quail ambled by with 20 tiny chicks all in line behind her, headed for the seeds that spilled from a bird feeder. John told me that once he was watching a similar scene when a road runner came around the corner and picked off the last chick.
Some of the creatures around the rose bush
Road Runners frequented the rose bush. Often one would walk by us with a small lizard dangling from it’s mouth.
A coyote came to catch an early morning meal. Quail and rabbits scurried to safety. Wiley coyote was unsuccessful and quickly ran off.
Another day I was sitting outside when I looked up and saw two snakes slithering across the gravel driveway on their way to the rose bush. Cactus wrens frantically and uselessly pecking away at their backs. The 5 foot snakes turned out to be nonvenomous gopher snakes. We followed them as they eventually made their way across the yard and lost themselves under a mesquite tree.
And speaking of snakes, Susie has a slithery tale to tell “I was sitting outside by myself, watching the evening sky when I heard some rustling sounds coming from the dried vegetation to my left. I thought it might be the kangaroo rat and thought nothing more of it. This happened a couple more times. Next thing I know, I am looking down at the ground between my legs and see a snake smoving slowly under my chair from left to right. I was hoping it wasn’t a rattle snake but figured it was calm so maybe it wouldn’t pose a threat. It meandered its way under my chair and then under the old lawn mower to my right. I am surprised I didn’t panic, but it really was so beautiful that I was more fascinated than anything else. I think it was a Common King Snake.”
Here is a slide show of some of the birds that frequented the rose bush.
Another morning ritual is we’d look to see if the blimp (Tethered Aerostat Radar System) was up. The blimp is used by the Border Patrol to monitor the US/Mexican border and does not fly if there is a substantial wind. We felt safe putting our awning down when it was up to help keep Shiny’s interior cooler. Blimp up, awning down. Blimp down, awning up.
At the Beland abode lunch is the big meal. So everyday we’d put our heads together to figure out what to make and who made what. Except for Thursdays. Thursdays was rib day, no exceptions!
John loves to grille and many a day he would cook a chicken or a roast along with garden vegetables. One day he made a pot of home made beans out by the grille. He added a Mexican spice called Epazote to the beans that local lore says prevents flatulence. It does not.
Here is a slide show of some of the plants around John & Marcia’s property.
John is known around the country for the onions, turnips, and garlic that he grows.
So what did we do to keep busy? John has a very large collection of old fiddle LP’s so digitizing some of them kept me busy. Here in pictures are other things we did.
Alas all good things must come to an end. In the desert it gets hot in the summer. Shiny handles the cold about as good as any RV out there. We’ve proved that. Shiny’s one air conditioner just doesn’t make the cut with heat however.
And hot it got!
So on May 7th we moved to Alpine, AZ. Elevation 8000 feet and a whole new story.