Saturday, 6 June 2015

07:24 – Happy birthday to me. I turn 3E today. Only two more years until I hit the Big Four-Oh.

Barbara has some yard stuff to do this weekend and we have the usual weekend chores, but we’ll spend most of the weekend on kit stuff and prepping.

16:08 – I didn’t mention it for obvious reasons, but our prepping work today included a trip up to West Jefferson. We left at 0821 and got back around 1510. The net mileage on Barbara’s trip odometer was about 240. That 85 miles up, 85 miles back, and about 70 miles of driving around looking at different areas. Driving time is about 100 minutes each way.

Colin rode with us and was a very good dog the whole time. He did throw up, but only after we got up to West Jefferson and let him out of the car. He rode along with us the whole time we were looking at different areas. The upshot is that it looks like we won’t have any problem finding a place we like and can afford. We both love the area, and in more than three hours of driving around it looking at neighborhoods we didn’t spot a single underclass person.

Chicken farms aren’t going to be a problem. Ashe County used to produce something like 800 trillion chickens a year, but last year the total was down to almost nothing. Like most mountain towns, or indeed most towns anywhere, the economy is not great, but neither is it even remotely moribund. Barbara found out that she can even continue getting the Winston-Salem paper delivered to our door every morning. Internet service is better there than it is here. Fiber is everywhere. Home prices seem pretty reasonable. There are many areas where nice 3,000 SF homes sell for $500,000 and up, but that usually because their property has magnificent mountain views. There are many other areas where equally nice homes sell for $200,000 and under. Neither Barbara nor I are willing to pay extra for the views.

Before we started driving around, Sherman (the agent/broker) told us not to be surprised when people waved at us. Indeed, there was a lot of that. We were driving Barbara’s car, so it couldn’t have been that people were recognizing Sherman’s. They’re just naturally friendly up there.

Some of the roads in areas we visited weren’t immediately obvious as roads. I thought a couple of them were someone’s driveway. There are a lot of very nice homes up in the hills surrounding the town itself, and many of them are on narrow, twisting roads, some of which are gravel. I mentioned to Sherman that when we spoke with Amy, his colleague, she mentioned that getting in and out could sometimes be problem, and that I’d told her that we wouldn’t need to get in or out when the weather was bad. We’d just stay home and since we’d have at least a year’s supply of food and other stuff in the basement we wouldn’t have any need of leaving home unless we wanted to. He didn’t even blink. I suspect he’s sold a lot of homes to preppers. He also said we’d fit in just fine. The culture in mountain towns is much more self-reliant.

After our first trip, I’d say that Barbara and I were about 95% sure we wanted to move to the West Jefferson area. I think today’s trip bumped that up to 100%. Now it’s just a question of getting it done.

And, to top off a good day, we got home early enough to process orders and get a couple of science kits ready to be picked up.