Monday, September 29, 2008

Via Con Dios- We found You!

This morning we rolled out of bed still bummed over not being able to find the "perfect ranchero". We Googled a few real estate agents last night and found a few to look for. After breakfast we were able to watch a few hot air balloons fly over I-25, something about seeing a hot air balloon float through the sky is relaxing to watch, and we headed south to Los Lunas to begin yet another adventure.
The first agent we talked to was very friendly and helpful. After listening to our land requirements the first thing out of his mouth was "I think that the Tierra Grande subdivision is just what you are looking for". We looked at each other, sorta rolled our eyes and informed him that we had driven out there yesterday and was not impressed, he looked surprised. We explained what we had seen and what we had against the area we had seen and he was sure we had not seen the Tierra Grande, but another area.

He printed us a listing of lots for sale there and detailed directions on how to get there, so we take off driving again.... He was right, we had not seen this area. After driving the 6 miles back toward the mountains from the highway (on dirt roads again, but not nearly as bad as yesterday's) we found the area where the properties are located. There are 3 20 acre lots available in this section and we really did like them. You have views of the Manzano mountains in almost 3 directions and then in the distance another mountain or large hill. Very nice views.

After discussing the pros and cons we are pretty sure that we have found the property we would like to retire to. Since the lots were not marked very well, we are waiting for a clearer plot plan to be sent to us to make sure that we put an offer on the right piece of property. We are hoping to make an offer on this property by the end of the week. Pretty sure that Tonya will sleep better once an offer has been placed and accepted.

We head out earlier tomorrow to go back to Denver and should be home tomorrow evening. We'll talk to you all later.

Lessons Learned: It appears that it really paid off to talk to a professional and good things come to those who wait.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Land Quest - Day 2

This morning on our way out of Albuquerque, we saw many hot air balloons hovering over the city in the cool morning air. We have found out that the annual balloon festival is next week so we imagine that they were getting ready for the big event.

Today we headed south past Socorro to the subdivision of Antelope Hills. The access to this subdivision was horrid at best. The gravel/ dirt roads were washed out in many places and it was 14 miles of torture for Tonya. The lot we looked at was beautiful with fantastic views but we had to take it off the list since it is soooo far out and power is not available there.

So we headed back to the freeway and up to the town of Magdalena, which is west of Socorro. We headed out north of town to Pinon Springs, which was a 14 mile drive and we found three lots that looked promising. Two were 20 acres and one was 30 acres. All were well within our price range. They all had great views and had power and telephone available. We put these on the "short list" for now.

Next stop was lunch in Socorro and then on to Tierra Grande. What a big disappointment!. Tierra Grande sits out in the middle of nowhere and there is absolutely nothing there. It is no wonder that you can but 20 acres for next to nothing, because there is nothing there!! So we drove on to Mountainaire and proceeded north to Tajique. We wanted to look at Shiraz Ranch which has several 10 acre lots for sale. We found it easy enough, but the roads were so so and none of the lots were marked. We found several areas that were interesting with decent views, but it was had to tell if it was a lot for sale or not.

This was the end of the list of Internet finds, so we headed back to Albuquerque, tired and disappointed. We estimate that we drove over 400 miles, 50+ on dirt roads (really bad at times) and all we have to show is tired achey bodies and slim prospects for our dream retirement land (and a rental car that will never be the same).

We are not ready to give up yet. Tomorrow we seek professional help. We are going to contact a real estate agent in Los Lunas to try to find the dream hacienda.

Lessons Learned: Admitting you need professional help is not a bad thing...

And there are really big grasshoppers in New Mexico!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Property in Rio Grande Ranchos (S.Colorado)

We started out early today, guess we were excited to see if you could actually trust property purchased sight unseen on eBay. We spent last night in Denver and started out on our new adventure this morning after grabbing a bite of breakfast at the hotel. We headed south through Colorado Springs. The weather this morning was beautiful and we had wonderful views of Pike's Peak and the Rocky Mountains. When we headed up over La Vita Pass the aspen trees were beautiful shades of light green and bright yellow.

We crossed over the pass into Costilla County the home of our eBay purchase. We drove into the small village of San Luis which is the county seat of Costilla County. What an interesting and quaint little town. Very old with lots of character and Spanish architecture, of course we fell in love with the little town as we often do. Starving by this time we stopped for lunch in San Luis at the La Rosa Mistica Coffee House for a sandwich and ice tea. Food was fabulous, service terrific, atmosphere was in line with the character of the little village.

After lunch we drove through town, by the way San Luis is the oldest town in Colorado, where we found this interesting old General Store and Church.

Proceeding on to find Rancho Whitfield out in the boonies (and we do mean way, way out in the boonies). We relied mainly on Bill's memory (yes we forgot to bring the map,, hush!! no age comments) but we found it after traveling about 22 miles from San Luis (mostly dirt roads after the first 8 miles). On the way we drove through the wide spot in the road of Masita (here we thought it would be a village like San Luis, we were wrong!) Dilapidated buildings and Mexican Chihauhau guarding the road through town! Long story short we finally got to our property, and we were pleased (eBay did us good). The views are phenomenal, the ground is flat and covered with light grass and shrubs. Can't say enough about the views. We would definitely consider this 5 acres as our retirement location with the exception of being too far out in the boonies! We are seriously talking out in the sticks. We may possibly put a small vacation place there sometime in the future. It would definitely be a nice summer location, probably too cold in the winter since it sits at an elevation of 7000+ feet.
Jeremy & Christopher would not believe how close it is to where we used to camp back when they were younger. Probably only about 22 miles out of the town of Antonito. It sure brought back a lot of memories for Tonya as we drove through that little town, there were sure a lot of summers spent there back in the 1980s....

We got to Albuquerque around 5:00 pm (much further to Albuquerque from Denver than we really thought when we booked the trip). After supper at the Cracker Barrel, we did a Wal-Mart run (you can buy liquor in the grocery stores & Wal-Mart in NM, who knew???) and retired to our room (with a cocktail).

Tomorrow we continue our adventure, looking for that piece of property that we want to spend the rest of our lives together on. We will look south tomorrow in the community of Socorro. We have about 4 or 5 pieces of property in that area that we want to look at.
More tomorrow!

Lessons Learned: 1) eBay land purchases, sight unseen, can be a good thing; 2) Check a mileage chart for the distance between point A & point B (387 miles DEN to ABQ) before booking airfare. It would of been easier driving to have flown into ABQ and drove from there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike, Family & Other Adventures

This past week-end was truly an emotional rollercoaster for us. Jeremy and Christopher both live on the coast of Texas, Jeremy and Daesha live in League City, Christopher and Heather in Crosby. Friday was a long day for Tonya, spending most of her evening surfing between all the major news stations and then our satellite carrier began carrying KHOU's direct feed. Knowing how big this hurricane was and knowing that the boys were there in the middle of this mess was pretty stressful. Did we mention they both opted to NOT evacuate for this hurricane? Tonya finally went to bed around midnight but didn't really sleep much, then at 5:15 am Saturday morning our phone rang, it was Daesha, they had survived the storm. Had, what some would consider minor, damage to their house, but they were okay. Then about 1:00 pm Christopher called, they made it thru okay as well, not much damage to the house. Of course they were both without power but they felt sure they had made the necessary preparations. Whitney spent all week-end with us. It's always good to have her here, we really enjoy her.

Saturday afternoon after our 2nd refrigerator in as many weeks had been delivered we drove to Everett, our brother-in-law Steve wanted us to come up and go thru some more of Linda's belongings. This was hard, really hard. It's hard for us but it really hit Whitney hard. We know she's gone, we were all there holding her hand when she passed away, but it's still hard to see all of Linda's things being rummaged thru. I think what hurts the worst is that our brother-in-law has decided to move to Mexico and live for a while.

Sunday, we headed up to Mt Rainier for a day hike, it was such a gorgeous day for the Pacific Northwest! Nearly 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The mountain was truly beautiful, it was so peaceful. We all needed to be in the great out doors to air out our minds and our emotions, to spend some quality time with each other, and there is no place better place than the wildflower meadow or Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainer to do just that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our History..

When people ask us how we met, and we tell them, they look at us like, "you gotta be kidding me, seriously?" "No,,, really?" "Those don't actually work, do they?" And here it is, nearly 14 years later, and what started out as a dare has turned out to be what we believe is the most rewarding life either of us could have ever hoped to have.

It all started in October, 1994 in Amarillo, Texas. Tonya worked for the Girl Scout Council (not a good place to meet men) and Bill worked for a contractor at the Pantex Plant. Bill was new to Texas after living in Phoenix, AZ for the previous 10 years. Tonya was a single mom and Bill was new to town neither were into dating/going to bars (messy break-ups/divorces will sour one's outlook and we had both been there).

One night after several glasses of wine one of Tonya's friends "dared" her to run a personal ad in the local newspaper so she might meet someone that would be fun to hang out with, "it doesn't have to be a serious relationship, just someone you can go out to dinner or a movie with" (I think she was tired of babysitting me evening after evening). After some thought she decided what the heck, what have I got to lose and proceeded with posting the ad in the local newspaper. (Please keep in mind, this was in 1994 and people weren't hardly as crazy as they are these days) and Amarillo was a smaller town in the Bible Belt of Texas. She received several responses to her ad and began to enjoy meeting these new people.

Not being completely stupid after her personal safety (dinner & a movie is not that important), she never gave anyone her home address and would always insist on meeting them at a very public place, the mall or at Denny's for coffee. During the course she met several very nice guys that were fun visit with and then there were also the rather freaky guys, the ones you are looking for the closest exit so you can get the heck out of there, but all in all it was a good experience.

One day she checked her voice mail box and found a response from Bill, "WOW" she thought, there is something different about him. So she gave him a call and they talked for over an hour and agreed to meet for dinner. Then she broke her #1 personal safety rule and invited him to her place to come pick her up for dinner that week-end (yes sight unseen, never met the man, only spoke to him on the phone and she gives "this man" her home address...).

The first date (10/22/94) was a big success, talked like we'd know each other forever, and we knew it had to be love when we both pushed to tomatoes off to the side of our salad! We talked the next day on the phone for several hours and then we saw each other each day after that... One could say that since our first date we have been inseparable.

Knowing we had found our soul mate we were married on January 28, 1995. We thank the Lord each day that it was his will that put us both in Amarillo at the same time so we make the connection for a life together.

Prior to October 22,1994Bill had been married 2 times and had 3 children from those marriages. Brittany (1980), from his first marriage; Whitney (1987) and Billy (1989) from his second.

Tonya had been previously married for 18 years, a marriage that resulted in being blessed with 2 boys, Jeremy (1976) and Christopher (1979).

Others you will hear us mention from time to time
Our Children:
Jeremy married Daesha in 2000 and proud pet parents to Hannah the dog, Edgar the mean kitty and a new addition kitty that I'm not sure of it's name and they live in League City, Tx.
Christopher and Heather have been together for 2 years and are engaged. Heather had 2 children from a previous marriage, Sierra (age 10) and Hunter (age 7) both of which Christopher loves as if he were their biological father. They live in Crosby, Tx.
Brittany is single and lives in Southern California. She is a mechanical engineer and is going to school in the evenings to work towards a Master's in Mechanical Engineering.
Whitney is single and lives in Auburn, WA, she is a "scale operator" for a sand and gravel pit operation.
Billy is single and lives in Graham, WA and Cedar City, UT.

Our Siblings:
We lost Bill's sister Linda in June to breast cancer. We miss her so much.
Bill's brother Don and his wife Diane live in Phoenix, Az
Bill's sister Karen and her husband Ronny live in Ft. Worth, Tx.
Tonya's brother Waudell and his wife Pat live in Fritch, Tx.
Tonya's brother Ronney and his wife Marilyn live in Amarillo, Tx.

Tonya's mom, Evelyn will be 89 in January. She still lives on her own in Borger, Tx