Today marks two years since we left our perfectly nice home in suburbia for the adventure of a lifetime. It may not sound like such a big deal to move to small town USA to build a custom solar home in the southern Colorado foothills, but it was for us at age 60!
We moved to Walsenburg on June 17th 2014, to sleep on the floor of this hundred-year-old rental, moving in the next day and staying there for 13 months…
…while our new home was forming far too SLOWLY 20 minutes west of town at 7,000 feet. Mike worked as the contractor and purchaser of all things when we found the builder was not taking competitive bids, but just hiring his local friends.
Then on July 30th, 2015 we moved into our new home, HOME AT LAST!
For weeks after that move we just sat and stared out the window, mesmerized with the awesome views out our front windows, too exhausted to do anything else. We finally made it to our goal after many, many challenges and so many days of absolute stress.
Why did we do it? Our trip to Pueblo yesterday answers that question quickly. Being in cities always ruins my day. We need to go there occasionally to buy certain things, but the stress, the heat, the traffic, the bad air and bad manners of other drivers always convinces us we will never live there again!
We have no patience with cities anymore, and why should we when we have a magnificent place where we can escape them?
Today we will drink a toast to surviving all these many changes and challenges, and also to never moving again! Instead we will try to get our patio finished this summer, enjoy the great wildflower displays everywhere, the cool mountain breezes each evening, and offer encouragement to others who have found their new home in this small slice of heaven.
Want to learn more about our experience of moving from the city to the country to live a quiet, relaxed life? Check it out here!
“Paradise is where I want to wake up every morning… where I can be the way I want to be.” — Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture
When we were certain we would not be able to work full-time again, Mike and I began considering our options back in 2013. Where would we find our own inexpensive paradise?
After a quick trip down to Cuenca Ecuador in September, we decided to take a closer look at southern Colorado. Mike had an idea that the Huerfano west of Walsenburg might be a good place to begin our search, so we came down here and camped at Lathrop State Park. As luck would have it, we drove right into our first Octoberfest that fall!
Between the fantastic mountains views, the friendly people, the mild climate, the dark skies at night, and the completely reasonable land prices, we decided to research Navajo Ranch further, and the more we learned, the more we liked this area. It had its own water district, electric and phone service already present, and lots priced between $10,000 and 15,000. We returned in December to look at specific lots.
We found it difficult to distinguish one lot from another and hard to tell which lots were for sale. But as luck would have it, the only one we got out to look at more closely was the one we ended up buying in January 2015!
Then all we had to do was go back to Fort Collins, sell our home, and say goodbye to our life of 20+ years up there, a task that turned out to be far more difficult than expected.
During the last snow storm, we had a talk with our builder/contractor. Costs were out of control, so Mike decided to take over the contractor part of our job.
Now that the snow has finally stopped for a while, Mike is busy lining up an excavator for the septic system, someone to wire our house, and someone to do our stucco in the future. This involves lining up a few possibilities, showing them the job, and then taking bids.
Originally Mike wasn’t certain he was up to this job because of health concerns, but circumstances are now requiring special attention to all details.
Please note: New home construction is so much more expensive today than EVER! Be sure you have more money than you expect to spend before you even begin. The excellent price we received for our former home in suburban Fort Collins will not come close to covering the costs for constructing a smaller solar home here.
The advantage, of course, will be seen in much reduced utility costs from now on.