The weekend before last Jonny and I took an unplanned last minute trip down to the Southwest part of the state to check out Dolores, Cortez and Mancos. I'd been down a month ago but this was his first time and my first chance to see the area in greater detail. When I went down with my friend last month we only spent a half day in the area because our trip got cut short by an incoming snowstorm. This time we had 2 full days.
We had the dogs with us which limited our choices of places to stay but I found a cool little 'Casita' in Mancos on VRBO for a reasonable price. It turned out to be awesome, everything was brand new, we were only the third group of people to stay there. We had a beautiful view of Mesa Verde National Park from our deck.
Was so awesome waking up to that every morning. The Casita was on 10 acres so it was very peaceful and private. There was a main house and a little bit of issue having to navigate the owners' dogs at first but it worked out fine in the end. We even had a friendly cat come visit us at night. I miss having a cat but it's too hard to keep the dogs from snacking out of a litter box and that grosses me out to no end. And OMG the stars at night!!! So spectacular.
Hanging out in the Casita
Mancos, Dolores and Cortez are about 15-20 minutes from each other and form a triangle of sorts around a rural piece of land, some of it flat, some of it hilly. I had my eye on a 35 acre piece of land with a 'cabin' and the 2 parcels of 35 acres on either side for sale as a whole if you want. Imagine having 100 acres all to yourself! And for significantly cheaper than I can sell my Boulder shack. But the drive to get there had a short but steep hill on a dirt road and some twisty bits. Just a 10-15 minute drive from the main highway and mostly not too bad but still not something we want to have to do on a daily basis, especially in winter. Plus the ugly power lines at the boundary of the property. Lots of other possibilities in the area though. And while driving around the dirt roads I spotted this:
And there was a sign up at the fairgrounds saying there was an agility trial that weekend put on by Vision Agility. Some internet searching reveals that this is a commercial operation but unfortunately for me it's NADAC style/distance handling. Not my cup of tea. But nice to know there are fellow agility enthusiasts in them thar hills.
We checked out some houses that were for sale to get an idea of what we could afford and there were plenty of options, the biggest issue being the size of the places. So huge. Like this:
And 7 acres of land with water rights. Plus super nice on the inside. But sheesh, so big, 2400 square feet. The thought of heating such a monstrosity and taking care of it is overwhelming, our current house is about 1100 square feet. But so tempting with views like this:
And only 10 minutes from the grocery store, 20 minutes from trails at Boggy Draw, 6 minutes to Phil's World which is an amazing mountain bike mecca of awesomeness. All easy driving. Plus a pond on the property for dog swimming and a reservoir just down the road.
I know, what am I still doing here in Boulder? The woman I traveled with last month went back to Durango with her husband 2 weeks ago and came home with a house. Jonny and I joked that we had to resist the temptation to do the same. But we need to work out the financials of how we'll survive there first and it seems real estate prices are continuing to rise here in Boulder and fall over there so it makes sense to wait things out a bit.
And there are concerns - oil and drilling/fracking in the area and water rights are my main concerns. I talked to a friend who lives near Durango and she stressed the importance of hiring a real estate lawyer who's also an expert in water and mineral rights. There's a downturn in oil at the moment (which is probably why real estate prices are falling over there) and a contraction in oil operations for now but who knows what the future holds and the BLM is trying to open up almost all our public land to drilling/fracking and this includes areas next to Mesa Verde National Park and Phil's World. So there are concerns and I want to see how these issues play out in the next year.
Abandoned Sinclair station on Hwy 160 between Mesa Verde and Mancos.
On the other hand, Weld County which is next to Boulder County has by far the most amount of fracking and drilling in the whole state and Boulder has its own brown cloud so whatever is going on over there is probably not nearly as bad as here.
I've got a bunch more photos from Mesa Verde and Canyon of the Ancients but I'll do another post for those.