Exploring the Area

The past several days have been much the same and there was little point of separate triplog entries.

The mornings alternated between early workouts and sleeping late.  After getting our act together, we usually headed out to explore the area with an eye on possible places to live.

One day we traveled east through the small towns of Huntsville and Harrison and one day we headed north into Missouri through the small towns of Pineville, Cassville and Neosho.  Overall, the region seems to have all the attributes we are looking for — mild weather, outdoor activities, affordability and emergency services if they are needed.  This is an A list area, but we need to do some more looking before making a decision.

The side trips included some noteworthy events.  Some State Fund friends of Jeanne’s, Anne and AD, live near the small town of Neosho, Missouri.  We stopped by for a quick visit and were happy to find they were doing as well as could be expected.  Within the past two years, Anne retired and moved from Oxnard, California to southern Missouri to be close to family.  Due to the recent retirement and move, her perspective was interesting.  They seem to have made a home for themselves in Missouri and became involved with the community.

We saw some properties for sale and got an idea of values.  As with most things, the property here is more affordable than California.  A house with two acres of land is laughably cheap and is less than a down payment on a house in Van Nuys.

Close to the campground was a sign advertising 26 acres with lake access.  Off we went down a narrow rocky road cut into the hillside.  The road became steep and we decided to head for the exit before getting stuck.  The only place to turn around was one of the switch-backs and to complete the maneuver, we had to back partway down the road.  The Jeep started to slide backwards down the hill while I stood on the brakes.  Mercifully, we stopped before sliding off the road and into the lake fifty feet below.  All four wheels scratched to get us out.  Needless to say, if this was the driveway, we didn’t need this particular piece of property.  On another property (this time in Missouri), the road to the house was washed out and we used the 4WD low range to crawl out.  Of the 105 acres, there were only 20 that were usable; the rest was hillside suitable for mountain goats.  That property is also off the list.  Good thing we had the Jeep.

One thing about the area is clear to us, the region is undergoing explosive growth and is experiencing all the associated problems.  What will the area be like in 10 to 15 years?  It is something worth considering — if we pick an area for a particular lifestyle, we don’t want to unexpectedly end up with something else.

The weather warmed up a little and we spent some time around the campground pool.  The cold, clear water comes directly from the well and is refreshing after a long day of winding country roads and 4-wheeling out of danger.

One evening we had dinner with Don and some of his visiting family.  As usual, the meal Don prepared was excellent but the overall experience was something from the Twilight Zone.  It was as if we passed through time and space to find ourselves at the old-folks home in south Florida.  Any further depiction of the evening would be impolite to our host, Don, who did his best under the circumstances.  Readers curious about details can call us for a verbal report.  We left as early as good manners would allow and wished Don well.

During the week, we rented some movies and finally got the opportunity to view the Passion of Christ.  Not really knowing what to expect, we were somewhat underwhelmed and came away wondering what all the controversy was about.  It was certainly a well crafted movie that was a huge commercial success, but it wasn’t all thatgood.  I recall the haunting words of my Marketing 101 teacher, Mr. Munson: “Give the people what they want.”

Faye will be returning from a business trip this weekend.  With our time here growing short, the next few days are planned so Jeanne and Faye can spend some time together.