John & Marcia Beland’s House
We made a 1900 mile dash last February to John and Marcia Beland’s house in Sierra Vista, AZ from our sweet little campground in Beech Island, SC. We overnighted at a noisy public rest area, several nice Boondockers Welcome locations and lastly at a private campground in El Paso where we could empty our holding tanks and catch up on laundry before we arrived at the Beland’s.
We averaged about 320 miles per day, almost all on Interstate 20. This is not our style of travel let me tell you. But Texas was in distress with the big ice storm of 2021 and as you can see from the map we had to drive right straight across it. We had no trouble finding gasoline but propane was impossible to find. Plus, we did not want to hang out with lots of people until we both received our Covid vaccination which we planned to do in Sierra Vista, not having any luck with that in South Carolina.
It was not a pretty trip but we were able to get vaccinated very quickly in Sierra Vista.
And then there was the problem with my eyes. The eye doc in South Carolina had changed the eye drops I use to treat glaucoma. On the drive across the country I started having a bad reaction to, as it turned out, both eye drops. It was bad, my eyes turned bright red, got irritatingly dry, my vision got blurry, and extremely sensitive to sunlight. I was using lubricant eye drops constantly to try to get some relief.
It took me 2 months to get an appointment with the glaucoma specialist in Sierra Vista. During that time I refused to put that poison in my eyes. My eyes cleared up but of course I was not treating the glaucoma which made Susan and me very anxious. The doc back in SC would do nothing for me. So yes, during that frustrating time there is a extremely slight possibility that I might have become crabby!
It took 3 months to get that straighten out. But I now have a new eye doc in Sierra Vista whom I like very much.
John and Marica Beland, what else can we say about them. We pretty much survived Covid thanks to these two wonderfully kind and gracious people.
This time around we pestered them for 3 months while I got my eye problems taken care of. They always welcome us with open arms. They’re little piece of paradise is secluded, 10 miles from town with mountain views all around. Susan and I just love it there.
This year we moved to the east side of the garage to get out of the heat of the late afternoon sun. It turned out to be much cooler but I had to use every inch of our 60 feet of power cord to reach John’s 30 amp receptacle.
We kept ourselves busy somehow. John has a huge collection of old time music recordings and books. I spent a great deal of time perusing that. I digitized quite a number of his old fiddle LP’s. We went for walks. I helped John trim some mesquites and we watched lots of wildlife pass through the Beland oasis.
Here is a slideshow we made of pictures from around the Beland Compound.
I even had a few chances to get some tunes in! John & Marcia have a small (4 person) Irish jam on Tuesday nights that I filled in for when the flutist was unable to attend. The picture below was when a friend of John & Marcia’s stopped in for a visit.
We had a very close call thanks to my inattention. Once every 10 days we had to hook up Shiny and go into town to empty the holding tanks. One time when we returned I cut the corner too sharp and scraped up against Johns trailer. Susan saw it in time and yelled for me to stop. Thank our lucky stars that she was paying attention as I am sure I would have ripped a gash right through Shiny’s aluminum side. As it was, I put a pretty good scratch in poor Shiny. 🙁
Because of Covid, rallies sponsored by Airstream clubs pretty much dried up. Susan and I enjoy the Camaraderie of these small rallies. We’ve learned so much from the local people out here in the south west attending these rallies and we have made some good long lasting friendships.
So we were delighted when the 4 Corners Unit Airstream Club, of which we are are affiliate members, started organizing rallies again. We signed up for one of the first ones at Apache-Trout Campground in Big Lake near Alpine, Arizona. Nearly 300 miles from Seirra Vista. It was in the middle of May and at an elevation of 9000 feet. It was also dry camping, no hookups. The weather was cool but wonderful except for one day when we had sleet and rain. We love hiding out in Shiny in foul weather, so cozy!
What fun it was to see friends from past rallies and make new ones. The campground was nice, especially the group site that we were in. But it is a busy place. There are an unlimited number of dispersed camping sites throughout the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest which Apache-Trout is part of and you can bet that Susan and I will explore those someday soon, yessiree.
I’d like to introduce our new grille. It’s a littler bigger then we need but the last one, which fell apart in SC, was a little smaller then we needed. There didn’t seem to be anything in between. I’m fast becoming “one with it”. Inside the aluminum foil are sliced potatoes with brie cheese, and a liberal amount of John’s garlic. We got this recipe from John Beland himself. It’s a very, very good one.
After the Rally it was Back To The Beland’s
And speaking of John’s garlic. John grows the most amazing onions and garlic. I’ve lost track of all the different varieties of each he grows. He was just starting to harvest them when we left for Apache-Trout and we were able to carry copious amounts of both to the rally.
Isn’t that harvest just beauteous!
Have I ever mentioned the pack rat battle that goes on continuously in the Arizona desert? The little critters get into anything mechanical it seems. They love the insulation on electrical wiring and have caused much grief. Cars, tractors, rotor tillers, anything with wiring. John says he has never found any deterrent that works 100%. He has tried them all. I personally, knock on wood, have never had a problem but John & Marcia sure have. The pests have caused relatively minor damage to one vehicle and made a nest in another.
We did not get a good picture of the big lone javelina that pestered John. The peccary ate just about everything that John planted including his beloved hollyhocks. John spent a ton of time reinforcing his gardens from the beast. I wished I had gotten a movie of John chasing that fiend down his driveway.
Here are some beautiful pictures that Susan took while at Johns. That gopher snake I nearly stepped on before I saw it. Good thing it was not a rattler!
And then there was the battle with the bull. A bull somehow escaped his pasture and decided that the Beland property was much greener. It broke John’s expensive bird bath trying to get a drink of water. John was so mad I thought for sure we’d be having rocky mountain oysters for lunch the next day but, luckily for the bull, his owner finally came and took him away. For good we hope!
Can you see Susan in this picture?
She borrowed John’s bird blind to try to get some nice bird pictures. Here are the results of her patience. I just love her photography, such a good eye.
Another of John’s hobbies is baking. He has a small bakery in his garage and came up with some great concoctions.
I guess that is all for now. We are working on a couple more blog posts to get us caught up, including another rare Streamin-In-Shiny Gem!
I’ll leave you with this last fond memory of the Beland’s. John made a fruit cake, wrapped it up in cheese cloth and then soaked it in some Mexican brandy for a coupled months. It’s was good and mighty potent!
Hey, we recognized our Airstream by the dent! Great bird photos. We’re still stationary but plan to take off for a bit Aug- Sept. ’til we meet again! Judy
Glad you will be able to hit the road soon. Happy Trails!
Thanks for the trip. Great stuff.
You’re welcome! Fun to have you along.
Miss you guys in Nine Mile!!
Hi Sheryl, We sure had a fun time there at the Ranch. Thank you for all the Petroglyph tips you gave us. I’m working on a blog about Nine Mile Canyon and of course Nine Mile Ranch. Hint: it is a rare Stream-in-Shiny Gem! 🙂
We miss you both! Hopefully our paths will cross again.