Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is The Grass Greener Here Or There Or Yonder Or In Our Backyard?

I have to go back a ways to get up to where we are now.

As some of you know I've talked about Leon's and my desire to purchase a campground, something that's always been outside our financial ability. We've looked at properties we could actually afford, only to discover that it would take a small fortune to get them fully operational. Anyway, that's not exactly where I'm going with this, except to relate that in our search we Googled up a listing for a campground in New Mexico.

Leon has always felt drawn to New Mexico, Santa Fe area, much like I am drawn to the ocean and beaches, especially to Cape Cod in the summer. So we had been looking at properties in New Mexico.

The listing for Mountain Valley Lodge and RV Park showed a small property with spaces for six RVs and four cabins or casitas that are all beautifully appointed and spotlessly clean. Absolutely charming. I said to Leon, I could do that. I could really see myself doing that. We were thinking it was somewhere near Santa Fe of course, because that's where we wanted it to be.

Nothing could be further away and still be in New Mexico. Not only that, but the one acre property is surrounded by other properties that are not what we think of when we say "campground". Looking on Google maps, satellite view we saw the place hemmed in by a garage and two roads and residences in the back. The whole town proper, not counting the open land is maybe 50 acres tops along the side of the main road. And is surrounded by nothing as far as you can see. It is in the precise middle of nowhere, New Mexico.

So we pretty much gave up on that idea. But we kept looking for properties in the Santa Fe area on Sunday mornings over coffee. Then it snowed and snowed and froze and got colder and the cold didn't let up. We had no January thaw. We were stir-crazy with cabin fever, if that's not an improper double cliché.

So in the midst of my recent depression, we decided to throw caution to the wind and buy airline tickets to Albuquerque. We flew out on Thursday the 20th, rented a car, spent one night in Albuquerque, and on Friday morning headed to Rodeo, NM on our way to Tucson to visit some friends from back east. Why we didn't fly into Tucson and save ourselves good six hours or more of driving, is beyond me. I guess we weren't thinking outside the box of New Mexico.

We spent an hour or two in Rodeo, met DiAnn, the owner of the Mt. Valley Lodge and RV Park. She was a very interesting lady. She runs the place by herself. She was so happy to show us around. The casita/rooms are lovely. She'd had them all remodeled/refurbished since she got the place ten years ago. She should be an interior designer. We asked DiAnn all kinds of questions as prospective buyers and she told us everything. We asked about how the townsfolk might react to a gay couple running the place. She thought we wouldn't have a problem and said she knew of two other gay guys in town.
Mt Valley
We were quite impressed with the place and told her that we would be back on Sunday to spend a night before heading to Santa Fe and gave her my phone number. Before we even got to our friends' house, Ron, one of DiAnn's friends called and introduced himself.

The CowboyCasita
We made plans to meet DiAnn and Ron on Sunday after spending Friday and Saturday night in Tucson.

Got back into Rodeo on Sunday, met up with DiAnn and Ron and Matt, his visitor from LA. Ron, an immensely outgoing and interesting fellow who works at the National Forest visitor center, gave us a grand tour of the area, some interesting homes, including his which is completely self-sufficient for electricity and water and a partial tour of the Coronado National Forest.

The Arizona/New Mexico state line pretty much runs down the middle of the main road so we were back and forth in time all day Sunday.
Matt, Ron, DiAnn, Me at Ron's Place
Ron's Place
We all had a great meal at the Portal (AZ) Restaurant and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Leon was quite taken with the place, the landscape, the people. As much as I enjoyed all of the aforementioned, I can't quite see myself living in such a remote, desolate area. Leon is the social one of the two of us; I can do without a lot of human contact, social or otherwise; but I do need a grocery store closer than 50 miles from home. It might be nice to have a doctor nearby as well. They said something about being flown to somewhere for a rattlesnake bite, that is, if the local pilot is available. The thought of living there fills me with anxiety.

On Monday we headed to Santa Fe. We stopped in Silver City and drove the scenic route through the mountains. Today we met with a realtor and viewed some homes in Cochiti Lake and in Santa Fe. We thought we might get on the HGTV House Hunters show, but there were no camera crews in sight.
Needed Lots of Work

Here Leon would need a full time job or have to restart his business; I would probably need at least a part time job, if I could find one. Cost of living here is lower for taxes and such, but probably higher for food and goods. Real estate is at a low but turning around. Still, selling our little house back in Connecticut would barely get us a house in Santa Fe - the ones we saw were in need of repair or if turnkey, were very small - smaller than our little house in Connecticut - and with very tiny yards, tiny lots.

With all the land around, you'd think they'd have at least one-acre lots. People just like to live on top of one another. I don't get it.

Maybe the grass is greener in Connecticut after all.

Even if there is still snow on the ground.


  1. Do what feels right guys, you're the ones who have to live with your decision the rest of your lives - but me, I'm clicking my ruby slippers and saying, "There's no place like home . . ."

  2. I have a love/hate with Santa Fe.
    I love the town and the people and the views, but, like you, I need to be near an ocean.
    I have lived my entire life within an hour of the sea and, sadly, Santa Fe didn't have that.
    Still, I love it there.

  3. We were looking at places in Cochiti Lake - the only real body of water near here - and nothing like our favorite lake - Harriman in Vermont, both reservoirs, but Cochiti Lake is barren of trees. And I heard the "beach" is not kind on bare feet.

    Give me Cape Cod in the summer any day.



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