On December 2nd Jeannie and I closed on a house located in Ouray County CO up on Log Hill Mesa. One gets to the point of feeling like you're always moving but going nowhere. We've been looking for some 6 months which took us travelling 7K miles in the bus from west coast to east coast and some 20k miles in the van. All of which was devoted to looking for that special place. So many disappointments befell our search which led to anxiety and the feelings of what we were looking for just wasn't out there. In a desperate mindset, it's scary just how close we came to buying the wrong property in the wrong place. Hats off to Jeannie's intuition about what felt wrong. Looking back, she was spot on which saved us from making a terribly wrong purchase to include the challenges of making something work that never felt right to begin with. At this stage in the game who wants to live a "force fit" lifestyle?
Our new digs on 6.3 acres.
Some things on our must have list are below:
2) Rural quiet surroundings
3) Near reasonably robust town services (groceries, shopping, medical, etc)
4) Complete privacy from neighbors
5) 5+ acre lot size that lays nicely
6) Lots of sunlight falling on lot
7) A place to park and hookup the bus
8) Detached garage big enough for a shop
9) Small house with good infrastructure
10) Able to expand/improve existing buildings as required
11) No unreasonable deed restrictions
12) No HOA dues, fees or extra charges
13) Easy driveway access in/out
14) Easy routine maintenance if required at all
15) 12 month occupancy (no real hot Summers or real cold Winters)
16) Close to all the outdoor recreation we enjoy
17) Conservative local community we can become part of
18) Available local part time work opportunities
19) Surrounding area(s) not mobbed with crowds
20) Well maintained public roads
21) Easy access to town services (15-20 minutes tops, minimal traffic lights, etc)
22) Good views of horizon
23) Lots of open public lands/forests
24) Good satellite reception
25) Good Verizon cell phone service
26) Reasonable access to airport
Anyway we finally scored a place that we're happy with. This has been a very tough year for both of us. We're glad to see the tail end of it culminate in us realizing some important lifestyle changes. People here are very nice and have their heads screwed on straight. Especially the sellers as they were delightful to work with. I've gotten hired by two local businesses to help them with machinery upgrades/repair and CAD/CAM work. It's just part time work but perfect for me to get back to doing something productive again. Also the 3 4-month Summer seasons we spent at Centennial RV Park got us familiar with this area and allowed us to make some friends. I guess no amount of diligence and planning can replace dumb luck.
The place is in pristine condition but needs TLC to make it a personal home setting. Jeannie has been busy adding those little extra touches to the house and I'm working on the getting the garage set up. The bus got parked and fully hooked up. The previous owner had the foresight to install an RV sewer connection so we have our own personal camp site. I had to install a 50A outside receptacle on the garage and build another 25' of heated water hose. Also needed to do some minor grading to level a spot.
The area we're in has city water and natural gas. The house has 200A electrical service run in. It's heated with gas fired forced hot air. Both the garage and house have 6" insulation throughout. It looks like electricity will run between $280-$350 per month during the cold months. That includes both house and bus. The house heats water via electricity and we're heating the bus with electric heaters. Annual taxes run around $590. So the setup is affordable.
Similar properties back in rural PA had tax rates between 4 and 8 times what we're paying here. Plus the rural areas of PA were much more crowded than we expected. Most of the good stand alone land that lays nicely has already been taken. So the value just wasn't there for us. I believe PA has been receiving a migration of people from New Jersey seeking relief. That's fine as everyone needs to find their own workable digs. Something that's going to involve personal choices and a lot of variations on the housing theme. Both Jeannie and I are very glad to have found a crib that works for us. Lots of projects to work on now. But we can work on them at our leisure in a comfortable/stable setting.
Complete slide show HERE
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