Road Tripping Hoboes: The Neighbors Nobody Wants

Wet Mountain Valley Westcliffe, COThe snow has melted in Colorado and our search for Jerry’s property is in full swing. We left Texas, camped in Oklahoma for a few days just to say we had been there, and then moved north to Colorado as quickly as we could. It felt good to be back.

Western Colorado is really our favorite region, but sadly, their real estate prices are completely out of reach for us. So we are focusing our search on the central areas, West of Pueblo from affordable Westcliffe, on up to pricier Red Feather Lakes, just West of Fort Collins. Some of these areas we had briefly been to last year, and others we were familiar with through friends.

Lilla , Neil and their pack at Silver Cliff Heights propertyOur search began by heading out to Westcliffe, to meet our online friends Lilla and Neal, who own property there. It was so nice to finally meet this Louisiana couple who we suspected we had a lot in common with (i.e., fellow animal lovers, DINKs, free thinkers and dedicated to simple living).

We spent a great weekend together. Lilla and Neal introduced us to their weekend getaway town that they love, spoiled us rotten with their Cajun cooking, and entertained us with their dogs, Nadia, Captain and George. When the gang had to head back to Colorado Springs for the workweek, they graciously offered to let us stay on their property for as long as wanted. What great people!

Since then, we’ve toured three different counties, and have learned a few things about looking for our land:

I25 BLM RV Boondocking Walsenburg, COMuch of Colorado’s prettiest rural land is held within subdivisions, most of which have their own set of rules (“covenants”) that dictate what people can and can’t do on their land.

Some make sense for their locations, like, you can’t leave unattended horses on your property, or open a dairy farm.

Other covenants border on fascism, and require minimum square footage sizes for homes, along with architectural plan approvals, supposedly in the name of keeping up property values.

There are also many covenants that prohibit owners from living in their RVs on their own land, even if the subdivsion is mostly vacant, zoned rural and allows for livestock!

The county doesn’t want us to turn into a giant campground,” one realtor told us.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we want to do. Get some land, park our RV on it for the summer, build a garage so we can get our remaining stuff out of storage in California, and then head back to warmer climates in the wintertime. Maybe we would build a house on it eventually, maybe not. We want to keep our mobile lifestyle, but have a home base for a few months of the year.

Seems like a logical plan to us, but to a lot of uptight developers, they fear that we’d turn their tidy subdivision into Hooterville. We realize it’s a fine line between having a law of the land through covenants, and not allowing people who don’t respect their neighbors to move on in, but there’s got to be a happy compromise somewhere!

We got a good laugh when we realized that we, trailer living road trippers, are the property owners that a lot of people don’t want next door.

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22 Responses to “Road Tripping Hoboes: The Neighbors Nobody Wants”

  1. Hey, I saw you looked at a place in Badger Creek. Its a mixed place with more of the “covenants” types trying to busy body their way in, but has a lot of friendly people too. We’ve got some land there with lots of trees where we camp whenever we get the chance. You can’t beat being away from everything but having Buena Vista close enough to get anything you need. The view of the mountains as you head to Bunie is one of the best in Colorado. The land prices are pretty good too. Since its off the grid land sells slow and you can negotiate a bargain.

  2. A subdivisions in Arizona that we lived in the association actually came to our house to measure the height of our potted plants on the patio! They wanted to make sure we didn’t exceed the height limit for the community!

    While they were there I was told to remove a flag I had displayed because they felt it was unbecoming. I put the for sale sign in the yard the same day!

  3. Hey! I’ll figure this stuff out eventually. I guess this is where my Colorado comment goes. I missed it the first time. Anyway, we’ll be in Colorado soon. Hope yop’re still there.
    Love Ya

    Palin ’12

  4. We have been looking for land, cabins, etc. in the NC mountains and in TN. We never intended to look for property to buy but something got us looking. We haven’t found anything that has been perfect yet. And since we’re not really desperate, we aren’t buying unless something is perfect and for a good price. Funny thing is in the areas we’ve been looking, we wouldn’t have any problem putting our trailer on the lots – if the land was flat enough. I wonder why the eastern US is so much more forgiving of RVs?

    • It’s nice to know that you don’t “Have” to buy anything, it really gives you so much more freedom and mental clarity to know what is really important to you. The thing is, it seems like whenever you stop looking for something, you find it. So the minute you least expect it…expect to find that property!

  5. I marvel at the double-standards so many people have – on the one hand people clamour for a non-government that doesn’t interfere with the right to bear arms, say whatever comes into their head and burn flags and yet at the community dictate exactly what you can and can’t do with your own land for the sake of property values and community standards…

    Good luck with the continued search!

  6. I’ve never understood the point in buying land that you can’t actually USE as you see fit.

    I would much rather have a bunch of hoboes for neighbors than a bunch of uptight pricks with a stack of rules and regulations.

    Cheers!

    – Chris

    • I am so torn between that issue, Chris. We used to live next to a neighbor who had so many old cars in her driveway that there were vines and weeds growing up and around them. It got to the point where I hated to look out my front window. But we couldn’t do anything about it because we lived in the county, where it wasn’t illegal to have a junkyard in front of your house.

      I’ve always said I wanted to live somewhere where I could park my motorcycle on my lawn. But with that freedom comes the freedom for others to take advantage of that allowance. It’s definitely a fine line between doing what you want, and not disrespecting your neighbors. I wish I knew where a place like that existed here.

  7. Just Think How Green RV Living Is… If it was more widely accepted, more people could live within their means…Happy Trails…

    • That’s what I tried to convince people on the consumer’s dilemma website (search for RV), but I got shot down with rebuttals about fuel consumption and the RV industry. What they don’t understand is that those of us who live full time in an RV don’t also heat our home while our rig sits idle outside. Thanks for the comment!

  8. I can’t remember, did you guys look at the San Luis Valley? Beautiful area but very rural. Definitely NOT Durango or Pagosa but there is Ft Garland. I can’t remember, have you seen this blog http://www.hermitblog.com/Hermitage/Welcome.html ?
    My mind is like a steel …what is that word…

    • We did look last year, but thought the area was waaay too flat. I’ve also heard about the incredible severe weather patterns there, so we decided to nix it. We did find a great spot in the north SLV called Villa Grove, which is super nice, but didn’t find anything we were willing to buy there. Oh, and yeah, I do follow HermitBlog, thanks to your past suggestion!

  9. Hmmm… maybe you need to think about Alaska! Trailers are a big improvement to tarps, old vans, and other “temporary housing” solutions we have seen up that way!

  10. As I recall the proper terminology is “Trailer Trash”……. Just kidding

  11. Great post, and it took you less than a month, as you had originally predicted!

    We really enjoyed meeting up with you two and hope to do it again soon. Wish we had had more time to spend at The Ranch, but glad you got to hang out awhile. The group pic turned out really good, even if the pups were looking in different directions!

    Keep in mind, our NON-COVENANTED subdivision allows traveling hobos and we would love to have you as neighbors. It’s not western Colorado, but it is WESTcliffe!

    Happy Trails,
    Lilla

    • Lilla, we had such a great time with you guys. It’s so awesome to meet people that are even cooler in person than they are online. And you’re a lefty, and a veggie, to boot. You rock!

      Thanks again for the hospitality. Careful what you ask for, if we keep getting the boot, we just might be back that way!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fort Collins Loveland Colorado Real Estate Fixer Uppers | live. work. dream. - June 14, 2009

    […] When we left our stick home behind over two years ago in search of the next big thing, we had dreams of homesteading on one of those affordable 35-acre Colorado ranch parcels we kept seeing in the United Country magazine. Now we know most of those are in wide open flatland or covenanted communities that don’t want our type. […]

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