The first possibility was a lot right here at Rainbow's End. There are many owned lots here within the park boundaries, and there are always some for sale. I thought it would be a great possibility until I looked at prices... Compared to the surrounding area, lots in the park are going for very high prices! My intention was to find a way to get on some land without going into debt, and the funds I had were too limited to allow me a space at Rainbow's End. Instead, I started looking in the paper and in real estate flyers, hoping to spot that perfect property.
Since I stopped traveling before I was completely broke, I still had a chunk of my original nest egg to work with. Ideally, I wanted to find property to buy, and be able to do it 'cash on the line'. I also hoped to have enough to be able to at least start to develop it. With this in mind, I set an arbitrary limit of $20K for the land. It quickly became apparent that I should be able to swing 5+ acres easily.
After spending a lot of time and energy looking on my own, I finally decided to go talk to some real estate agents. I had the good luck to hook up with Kimberly Butts at the local Remax office. She really worked hard for me and I spent several weekends driving all over the countryside before finally finding some property that looked ideal. It was a 7.5 acre lot, very heavily wooded, with lots of big hardwoods. Some clearing work had already been done and there was a temporary power pole on the site. No water or septic however, but it had great possibilities. Here's what I saw when I first inspected the land.
The road out into the area called Southland Plantation starts off paved, but turns into a county maintained dirt road about 1 mile in.
After the usual game of offer and counter offer, we settled on a price of $2200 an acre, and a couple of weeks later, I became a Texas land owner! When I went out to take down the for sale sign, I took some more pix of the cleared portion of the land and started planning how I would be laying things out.
Working from approximate design and dimensions, I did a drawing to scale in order to see how everything would fit together. Plans include a 3 car carport and a 10' X 20' workshop behind the house. I also wanted a large open area in the back to be able to hide things like utility trailers and junk. I measured the existing clearing and ran stakes to define the property line between the 2 halves. Using that line as a reference, I laid it out using a CAD program. Here's what I came up with.
Once the weekend was over, there was a lot of scorched earth, lots of debris, and a huge pile of brush to be burned. However, I now had my open areas in which to develop, and even thought up some new ideas while tromping around after it was all done.
In order to be able to deal with all this land stuff, and also because I've always wanted one anyway, I bought a tractor!! I picked up an older Japanese diesel 4WD tractor locally and fixed it up a bit, then bought a new Koyker loader for it. Also a trailer to haul it around. I have tracked down a box blade and some other implements as well. I'm dragging it off tomorrow to a local welder to get a ROPS built for it (that's a roll bar.. saves yer butt if the tractor rolls over) and then I will be starting the long slow task of cleaning out the roots and getting the whole area leveled out. Should be entertaining, and hopefully, not too difficult. I'm sure, by the time I have finished, that I may actually have this whole tractor thing figured out!
The next installment of my home base odyssey will be getting the land
ready to park the RV on, and the prep for the actual construction. Also,
I'll be making a trip out to California to get all my stuff. Getting it
back here and unloaded should be an interesting experience! Look for a
new installment after the first of the year. Until then, if you are in
East Texas, be sure to stop by and say hello!