A sojurn in the canyons outside of El Lay, a trip to the Coast and a Big Surprise.
Fish Taco Escapade
On a day trip over to the beaches at Ventura we stop in Fillmore for some outrageously great fish tacos at El Pescadero on State Route 126 from Santa Clarita. As we wait in the parking lot for our order a guy comes up to the driver’s side of the car. He is on foot, a bit disheveled and has an almost empty bottle of tequila in his hand and a glass in the other. He says in a very loud and friendly voice would you like some tequila? Uh, no, thanks, sir. (Bums everywhere and how dare they!) Another car has just pulled up beside us and he scurries over to offer them some tequila, too, in Spanish this time. What a wack job! Relentless! Oddly, the woman in the driver’s seat takes some tequila and I almost take a picture of this transaction but I can’t get a good shot. The guy’s back is to me and besides what if they object and get nasty? They leave and he comes back over to Marty. Are we sure? No, tequila? Yes, thank you we are sure. No tequila. Like all good drunks he keeps talking to Marty about kind of random things and won’t go away. I’m successfully staying out of it. Pretty soon the waitress comes out with our fish tacos. All of a sudden it dawns on me that maybe he’s somehow affiliated with the restaurant. You would think that the waitress would shoo a drunk away but she doesn’t. So, I lean over and say to the waitress who is that guy? She says Oh, that’s the owner. He’s just being sociable.
Here Today, Gone to Texas
I’m almost embarrassed to admit this. After all the build up to our decision to move out of California, only to change our mind at the last minute to stay, seemed unbelievably quixote. Now, guess what? We’re flipping back to the original plan. Say, what? Yes, indeedy. We are going to Texas after all.
I blame it on Marty. From the beginning of our travels we were determined to leave California. We were tired of the high cost of living and we wanted to live within our means in a beautiful place where there are horses. We didn’t want to continue to work into our 70s because we didn’t have meaningful work that paid and Covid showed us how easily things can go south. We needed to get going and get going fast before it was too late! Our dream was to live the way we wanted to live and it seemed that California would box us into having to make an income. We wanted out. So, we looked all over the western U.S. but didn’t find the perfect place.
Then we needed to come back to CA and Oregon to do some errands. We did them. When that was finished, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Marty starts making noises about looking at some land he found over by Paso Robles and Tehachapi. What’s going on I said. I just want to rule them out he said. You have to be kidding me and why I said. He said I don’t want to deal with moving all my stuff across state lines. (a back hoe, a box truck filled to bursting, a horse, a horse trailer filled to bursting, a pick-up truck and a sedan filled to bursting). He said I have to see how much it would cost to stay versus the cost of leaving.
I was very perplexed. I thought but didn’t say, “This is fruitless.” Being a real estate agent showed me what housing costs are in CA but knowing that Marty would not give up until he was satisfied I had to go along with it. The bare land he found was affordable, all-rightey, and he wanted to see if the whole out-the-door cost would be something we could do. Long story short: it isn’t. No way, no how. The professionals we talked to recommended that we budget $50,000 for the well (without the pump, mind you) and $195.00 a square foot for building (without permits and all that jazz). You get 3 acres of land for $18,000 and that’s the least of it.
Well, there’s your answer.
California is good for young people, rich people, people with really good incomes (2), people who paid off their mortgage or people who got land passed down through the family. It’s the age-old “we sold our property and now we can’t afford to buy anything here”.
So, we’re back to looking at properties in Texas and we are headed there in the next few days. Shoot, you can get a house on 12 acres with outbuildings and mature trees near Abilene for $175,000.
I said it’s not a small thing to have peace of mind because we won’t have a mortgage! There are ways to see the kids back in California or they can come visit us! We can make new friends like we did it at the Northern California ranch. We can do it again. It will be an adventure.
So, there you go.