New Plan

I’m back from my trip to the mountainous wilds.
(click all pix to make bigger).

My plan for this trip didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped. When I’d been out to the property before, I’d thought I could get my truck all the way up to where the electrical meter and well pump were located, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so because the “driveway” was blocked in several areas.

I did go out to the electric company and talk to them. She said it would be a good idea to have one of their people come out and look over the lines, transformer, etc that feed the property and make sure everything is OK before trying to start service. Unfortunately, no one was available for that trip, so after I get my next trip scheduled, I need to set up an appointment with them so someone can meet me out there. If that all checks out, then I should only need a “reconnect inspection” to get the meter turned on.

One good thing I did discover is that the meter panel that’s out there already has a 200 amp master breaker, a 20 amp double pole breaker and three more open spots, so it doesn’t look like I’ll have to replace that panel after all. When I saw it before, I didn’t open it up and I’d thought it was just a meter panel. I’m glad I was wrong about that.

But that’s as far as I got with the electric this time.

I drove over to the across the road neighbor and introduced myself. Nice guy. We had a good conversation and he told me some of the history of the property from his perspective.

The existing meter and well pump are at the level on the property where the most recent resident had his trailer.

The trailer was on the left, the well pump house is on the right, you can see the shed and power pole in the distance. At some point someone started trying to build a small cabin on a section of the area where the trailer was. They only got a couple of rows of logs down before giving up, but that’s what that mess is beside the firewood shelter. There’s also a bunch of wood and junk laying around from who knows what.

Anyway, what the neighbor told me is that after the trailer was brought down from there, the owner was having problems with people coming out to the property to party (hence where the huge amount of beer bottles and such scattered hither and yon came from). To bring that to a stop, he rented a bobcat and pushed dirt up in the driveway in places to create berms to prevent vehicles from getting up there. He also drove some rebar poles into the ground and piled scrap wood and such from the burned down house in the way. I hadn’t realized how inaccessible he’d made it when I was out there before. As soon as I tried to get my truck up there, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

So, next time I go out, I’m going to rent a bobcat and undo all the stuff he did and thereby make the “top” area where the trailer was accessible again. Once that’s done, that will become my camping area and work on the well pump and electric can begin in earnest.

So this trip I spent mainly doing some brush clearing including using the winch on my truck to yank a couple of small pine trees that had grown up in the “driveway” out so I wouldn’t have to worry about that later.

I also did some more exploring, and took the opportunity to set up my chronograph and test some .45-70 loads I’d been working on.

I do think we’re going to get a camper if I can find a used one relatively cheap. After we get a fence and gates along the road, we may just leave it there so we don’t have to haul it back and forth. I’ve always enjoyed tent camping, but I tend to only camp once or twice a year. I have a feeling that doing it once a month for several years is going to get old quick. Plus the temps were getting down into the 20’s at night…the tent got pretty chilly and every morning I was waking up to frost on everything. Makes getting the morning coffee on that much more important.

Anyway, that’s the update. Until next time…


4 thoughts on “New Plan

  1. Welcome back.
    RE: Bobcat – make a list of tasks to do with it. There are a bunch of accessories for Bobcats beside the usual front bucket – post hole diggers, flail mowers, trenchers, bushhog mowers, tillers, etc. all driven by the on-board hydraulics. Those can be rented with the Bobcat. FYI, Bobcats with the rubber treads tend to work better than the 4-wheel versions. Harder to learn to drive and they won’t turn quite as tightly but they chew up less and go places wheeled ones won’t.

    Check with the local fire department; if it’s a volunteer dept they’ll be amenable to a donation check in exchange for “supervising a burn.” My county limited open burns to Nov 15 – Mar 15 and required a permit but a $100 check and 3 cases of beer got the old barn and pile of trees torched in June (that was 20 years ago, might take $200 now, but that’s still cheap).

    Pile everything burnable up with the Bobcat, fire up the grill and beer cooler, invite the FD folks over for a “burn ‘n’ burgers.” Good way to get to know them as well. (Side notes – some of them may be hunters, giving them written permission to hunt when you’re not there may provide some level of “remote supervision” on the property. And, the FD guys will know about businesses local and near-local….such as a pressure treating plant. And, the PT folks will know about local and near-local sawmill(s) who/where rough cut boards for fencing (2X6) can be had cheap). When you’re clearing with the Bobcat don’t forget a “lane” for the range. It’ll be private for you only so a 4 ft wide 300M long lane will work for rifles, with a somewhat wider area for 0-25 yd pistol work.

    RE: fencing – find a PT plant and see what PT “short lengths” of utility pole can be had for. 10-12″ diameter PT poles set 4-5 ft deep and 4.5 feet above grade make excellent vehicle barrier fence posts on 6 ft centers (leaves 5 ft between posts – cutting the horizontal boards allows ATVs and motorcycles in but will stop pickups, and if you’ve got the $$ and time, put posts on 5 ft centers and use 10 ft horizontal boards). Don’t forget terrain can be used to bar vehicles. Where I am now buried rocks are everywhere and every build winds up with a bunch, I’ve seen utility pole fences with posts on 8-10 ft centers with a 1200 – 2000 lb rock placed in a man-made depression right behind the center of the horizontal boards. Saves trying to haul the rocks elsewhere and Cletus’s 4WD Chevy won’t budge it. You can’t prevent every single intrusion – there’s still the Ankle Express – but people are lazy and can be easily “funneled” to where you can exercise “400 meter control.” (a border of rip-rap – 6-8″ rock – along a fenceline does a good job of stopping smaller wheeled vehicles and if “buffered” with gravel offers the convenience of not having to mow 2 ft either side of the fence line). A wide band of larger rip-rap (8-12″) makes a decent “ankle-breaker” barrier, hard to walk or run across, and is very good at erosion control. Put a strand of barbed wire between the horizontal fence boards – it can be cut but it’s one more thing to deal with and prevents ducking under or between the horizontals. 4-board fences are the way to go but a 3-board and barbed wire saves some money.

    Look for a used single-wide, it may be cheaper than a travel trailer. A friend put one on his lot (32 acres) while he was building the house, sold it after 2 years for exactly what he paid for it. Pro Tip: use a small cheap padlock that’s easy to break, it’ll keep the honest people out and allow the baddies a less destructive way in. Leave nothing of any value in it – a large box of plates, cups, coffee maker, bed linens, couple 40 lb propane tanks, etc. becomes the “travel stuff” for each trip (no furniture is best – take folding chairs and cots with you each time) so it’s empty and there’s nothing but a small cheap fridge to steal. You’ll be working from before dawn to after dusk so other than a bottle or two of good booze, some ibuprofen and Ben-Gay and a way to have a hot shower (check out Zodi units for that) is all the entertainment you’ll need.

    • Bob, you are a wealth of knowledge! My little #2 pencil is about to catch fire as I’m writing all these tips down. I have no doubt the Chief will appreciate them. Happy New Year good sir!

  2. Oh, you’ll make mistakes and plenty of them. A few will be expensive. All of them will make you question your intelligence (“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot what was I thinking/why didn’t I think of that sooner/etc.”). Welcome to Planet Earth, that’s what happens here.

    Eisenhower said something about “plans are worthless but planning is everything” and he was right. Think first, plan second, maintain maximum flexibility third, fear not revision of the plan if the revision makes sense. “Improvise, adapt, overcome” isn’t just a motto, it’s a way of life, embrace it. Pro Tip: Every day is an opportunity to learn something, even what appears to be trivial; life is not a spectator sport, extra points for paying attention and participating.

    You’re embarking on an adventure, enjoy it no matter how steep the trail becomes or how deep the mud gets.

    Glad I can help, I guess turning my ass into shredded wheat – and watching others perform the task, too – so many times over the years wasn’t wasted.

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