OUR VISIT BACK TO THE 80 ACRES: The Mad Owners’ Wild Ride!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 | Filed under Musings

As I left off previously, we are in the process of purchasing 80 acres and a small, new house in Paso Robles, CA.  If you missed the initial adventure, click here.

Fast forward a few days… we found out on Thursday that they had accepted our offer.  We also were told that the owners wanted to meet us ASAP…

Hmmmmm.  Hadn’t they already accepted our offer?  Why did they want to meet us immediately.

We did find out that they lived next door so we’d be neighbors (they own the fabulous equestrian spread just next door) so maybe they wanted to meet us to decide if they wanted to exercise their contingency or three-day exit clause?  Hmmmmm, again.  But, hey, why not?  We wanted to meet our neighbors, too.

We had no idea what to expect but we were game.  We told them we’d be there Saturday.

They accepted our offer!



On the drive down, Hubby and I were a bit giddy and silly.  We kept trying to one-up each other on what we might learn upon our meeting that afternoon.

Hubby had the impression that the owners would be an elderly couple who just wanted to meet the new people who would be their neighbors.  His mind conjured us sitting in their parlor, listening to a religious radio station as they quizzed us on our lineage and associations…  Or, perhaps walk through an Ol’Boys Game room with poor animal heads mounted and Pappy talking about shotgunning all the ground squirrels.

He mused that they might ask us to join their cult.

I, on the other hand, had done some deep Internet searches – not only had I done searches on the owners but every neighbor and news story within a 30 block radius.  I had Google Earth’d all the boundaries and perimeter neighbors (a vineyard with a tasting room is off the front right corner and a few hundred acres over – yay!) as well as done a Property Records search on all the surrounding addresses.  (Yup.  That’s me.  I don’t take these things lightly.)

Anyway, my perception was that the owners were younger than ‘old’ and that they wanted to size us up so they could use a contingency if they didn’t like us.

I’m pretty sure I was right.

Why did they want to meet us? How would they perceive us? Would we scare them?



While driving down, we learned that we were to meet the owners at the property.  So, that kinda removed the ‘sitting in the parlor’ scenario.

Upon arrival, our sweet but not-good-with-a-stick-shift realtor was creating a new trench in the driveway as she attempted to move up the hill after stopping to enter the gate code.  We were behind her and I kept telling Hubby to ‘give her room!’ since I knew our grill in her rearview mirror was adding to her frustration.

As we climbed up to the residence, we saw no one else there.  Ahhhhhh – we breathed in the air and the view.  Then, suddenly, in the distance, we heard the distinct clattering hum of a 4-wheeler bounding through the distance.  We looked.  I caught my breath.  I swear to gawd the visual looked like something out of a Roger Rabbit movie.  Hands were flying and clinging to the rails as this thing bumped along the dirt road only catching a tire every 20 feet or so.  I was spellbound.  I could hear the screams and chatter coming from the vehicle but wasn’t sure if it was fear or fun compelling them.

Squinting, Hubby, Realtor and I were silent as we watched the approach.  I considered taking cover in a nearby bush…

As the cartoony vehicle got closer, I could tell that three people were jammed in the front.  A blonde woman who seemed just fine with it all, a terrified Real Estate agent who looked like she would be more comfortable showing lofts in SoHo and the maniacal driver who was coiffed like a supermodel.

The device lurched to a sudden halt before us.  The blonde and the driver jumped out as they had done a zillion times before.  The SoHo realtor ungripped her fingers slowly and gingerly moved her frozen backside closer to the exit and then made her dismount as gracefully as one can when they’ve lost all of their composure.

They had arrived.


They came bounding down the road, only one wheel touching the ground at any given time...



Hubby, Realtor and I watched with probably gaping mouths, not sure.  But, in their defense, no dust blew over us and no toes were crushed, so we were had to acknowledge his expert maneuvering.

Out came a very friendly and strong handshake from the male supermodel.  The blonde was equally as friendly.  The SOHO realtor was recovering but extended her hand out of habit.

First impression was good.  Phew.


Allen and Shannon were almost cut out of a Gorsuch catalog.  (If you don’t know what it is, click here… I get the catalog because I used to ski in Aspen all the time – which is a hint.)

Suddenly, Hubby and I felt like Shabbypants in our Grass Valley clothes.  I distinctly felt the ‘haves and have nots’ thing going on.  I’m not sure what they had that we didn’t, but I’m sure they did.

I, like an idiot, made a joke about coveting their 4-wheeler which he didn’t find it funny.  Oy.  Then we went inside as the realtors bustled about with their paperwork.  The four of us started chatting and I mentioned how I was uncomfortable with the gate where it is positioned and hoped to rectify that (my trailer would hang out in traffic).  He didn’t see my issue – at all.  Oy, another ding.  I wasn’t doing so well here.

Supermodel Guy, now known as Allen, suggested we look around the property on his 4-wheeler.  Hubby and I gave each other a wink and said, “Sure!”.

It was on.

Them and Us. (That isn't really them... I took the image from the Gorsuch catalog)



OMGOMGOMG!  I started giggling immediately to hide my intense fear of heights, speed and impending death by rollover.  Hubby was giggling with glee.

I wondered if maybe they had decided to dispense with the contingencies and just do away with us via Kabota.  Suddenly, I felt a kinship with the SoHo realtor…

Allen said he was showing us the back of the property but I really think he was showing us his INDYCAR skills or perhaps auditioning for Extreme Homeowner.  Don’t know but I didn’t learn much about the back of the property except how not to navigate it.

Hubby thought it was great!  (Except the one time he thought we might roll and perhaps re-injure his neck…)

Anyway, we do now know all the boundaries on the back 55 and from what I can recall (when I had my eyes open), the land would be fun to ride and was very diverse back there.

I made several jokes while bounding around and Allen said that he liked me.  I wasn’t sure.

This is all I could picture in my head as we wheeled around the property



Next we rode up to the front acres which were much less challenging of a ride.  Allen did reveal to me that he had no such fear of edges and ledges as we teetered on all of them…

At one point, we gathered next to the edge of the property that faces a small organic vineyard.  Allen reassured us about all the neighbors and told us little stories on each.  I, again, unfortunately quipped about how I knew this already from my Google searches.  In fact, I knew who owned the front property and it wasn’t the fireman who lived there but actually the Garrisons who run the cattle ranch for the Heart Corp (Hearst Castle and newspaper).

Oops.  I shudda kept my trap shut…  Allen looked at me dumbstruck.  I tried to back pedal but the seed was planted.  Hubby laughed and said that I was good at homework…  Allen looked at me as if I was some nerdy computer spy weirdo from Grass Valley.

Maybe I am.

Am I some weird computer spy savant? I think I scared him a bit.



As Hubby and I waved goodbye to our Gorsuch neighbors, we mused about it all.

Allen and Shannon had told us that they had their home on the market as well and were probably going to move onto a new property (to reinvent) shortly.  So, we are guessing that they won’t be there much longer.  Hmmmm.  Why had they wanted to meet us?  And, who would provide us with our thrills if they moved?

We felt happy with the property and happy with the neighbors and neighborhood in general.

The house was still too small.  And, we still had a TON or work to do to get it horse ready… and then years of tweaking, for sure.  But, we couldn’t deny the investment opportunity and potential.  ’80 Acres in California wine country’ is our mantra.

The vineyard next door.



Yup.  I’m scared and excited in the same breath.

I’ve never moved to a property when I didn’t have a job and a steady, fairly substantial cash flow.

This is the first time I will have to put up ‘temporary’ stuff to fix later when I have the means.   My biggest fear is that I won’t get a job fast enough and that the neighbors will think we are the reason the neighborhood property values have gone downhill.  AAArgh.

I resolve that that won’t happen.  So, look for future posts where I poll all of you on the best (and least expensive) ways to do things around here until I get my feet underneath me.

As far as our meeting with the owners… I don’t know if we passed but we’ll never, ever forget that wild ride, for sure!  What a symbolic reference for our new wild ride adventure in real estate!

We will use this as our 'before' photo... A house and land but nothing else.




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7 comments have been posted...

  1. Ritambhara Tyson

    Maybe you should hold out for their other house, the equestrian center. Just kidding. Congratulations!

  2. R.M

    I can’t express how over-the-Moon I am for you and Hubby – they’re not making any new land and 80 acres is EIGHTY ACRES!!! Wahoo! As I’ve shared with you previously, the house was meh but it was ON 17+ acres, and in our local area that is HUGE. Learned from others’ mistakes about barn placement and fencing choices. We’re doing what we can do and last weekend we FINALLY got the bed out of the Living Room and into a bedroom! Baby steps, it’s all baby steps. When we pull into the drive at night I have to pinch myself – I’m living at my own dude ranch on the park! Living the dream! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    (Hint: place the barn as close as possible to the house; we’re getting older and weaker every single day and don’t need a long walk to feed or visit the horses.)

  3. Mary

    OMG!!! THAT was funny. Wild ride is an understatement. I am really looking forward to reading how this will all work out. It really looks like a wonderful place to plant your roots and make it your own. Fun stuff!

  4. Joanie

    Thanks for another great laugh…being a realtor myself I can relate as well! Lovely getting 80 acres!!! That is wonderful! And, your house looks great too! I am sure you are super excited! Congratulations!!!!

  5. sue tyrkus

    LOVED the choice of pics/cartoons! LMAO :D
    You could always set up a trail riding/wine tasting business with the vineyard close by!

  6. Kitty Bo

    I started my day out with a good laugh and giggle. Wonderful writing!

  7. Michael

    Nice. Even in the picture it looks peaceful. How many miles is the closest neighbor Doesn’t matter, all that freedom to roam.


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