Expenses, Taxes, Work, Worries

We haven’t had enough to worry about for a few years. Our property taxes are for two depreciating assets, so they go down each year. We are lucky to avoid unusual expenses overall. We’ve stayed on budget, year to year. No worries, no problems so far.

Two weeks ago we mentioned we were in the hunt for a place. Since before Thanksgiving, we’ve visited a pretty spot in Ashe County, high up in the northwest corner of NC. Week after week, we found ourselves hiking on it and sometimes sitting against a tree, listening and watching. The afternoon sun shines through the leafless branches and warms us a little. All is quiet but the trees talking to the wind.

The NW county of NC

The NW county of NC

Finally this week we bought that very pretty wooded acreage. It has road frontage along part of two sides. No buildings, no development, just a nice large wooded parcel. We learned at closing it has been part of their family farm for over 150 years. We’ve met two members of the family, both really nice guys. We apparently are the second family of outsiders to be allowed in the cove.


A value of full timing, we’ve always thought, is the freedom to search the continent for the best place to live. We’ve enjoyed exploring almost all of North America and have often asked each other, “Could this be the place?” Many places could, and we’ve met many of you in these places. A few come to mind immediately like Durango, Bozeman, Madison, Port Angeles, Bend.

Two things no other state has are the Appalachian Mountains and our families. Each time we return to NC we always feel at home. We love the beaches, pulled pork barbecue, the Great Smokey Mountains and our state’s history. North Carolina is where we’re from. We like being close to family. The NC mountains tick all the boxes for us.

A friend showed us around Ashe County last September and introduced us to a great group of local folks at a diner he frequents. One thing led to another and we found ourselves working with a wonderful realtor, Scott Cronk at Real Living Carolina Property. He was consistently helpful, patient, and responsive, never pushy.

Scott knows the area well and offered helpful insights on land he showed us. Several places ended up on our short list, and any would have been great. Scott said of this one, it is all usable, something definitely not true for any of the others. We enjoy working with him and would gladly recommend Scott to anyone interested in buying in this area.

Often we will post our thoughts about looking at house designs. We long perused the designs in the newspaper and in books, pointing out how we’d change this or remove that. It’s fun to dream about how our house could be, if ever we built another.

Almost four years ago we posted about picking the perfect house, but not knowing where to put it. Very sadly, we learned yesterday we won’t be ordering an iHouse — they’ve pulled it from the market. There are other great modular designs including Marmol-Radziner, BLU, Method and Green Pod. We weren’t ready yet anyhow, but we’ll miss the iHouse.

Shady Cove drive2

We aren’t looking to build yet. But we we have found the place we want someday to do it. We’ll determine where we would build a house. We hope to figure out an attractive and serviceable driveway and parking area this year. We’d love to pull our Airstream in and enjoy for a week sometimes the quiet solitude of the NC mountains on our own little piece of paradise.

We paid this year’s taxes at the closing already, the most property tax we’ve paid in over six years. Our annual taxes won’t be reducing anymore. We’ll have work to do every time we visit. Hopefully we haven’t added any worries to our bag, although our heads are spinning with all the possibilities for using this beautiful land.

Full timing appeals to us now as much as it did when we started over six years ago. The rumors are false. We have no plans to stop living on the road. Our plan originally was to full time RV for between three and twenty years. We’re still on that plan, seven years later. We love what we’re doing. So little time, so much still to see!

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie
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12 responses to “Expenses, Taxes, Work, Worries

  1. Congratulations on the land purchase in NC. Susan and I were also intrigued with the iHouse. It seemed like a great 21st century modular housing concept that had the potential to bring Clayton Homes a new customer. I wonder if their marketing and sales people didn’t understand how to reach the type of customer who would buy this type of structure.

  2. Chuck,
    We met the iHouse brand manager, he hosted us to Maryville TN for a tour of one of their several iHouse assembly plants and to Alcoa TN to tour the first iHouse produced. We also visited the plant and sales location in Albuquerque NM, and toured their sales sites in various other states. (WA, NC, AZ)

    Only one of the sales sites seemed to have very knowledgeable or motivated sales folks for the iHouse, the one in Mesa AZ. She had actually sold one for delivery to California, I think. The next year, though, an iHouse was no longer on display at that Mesa location Clayton dealer.

    The iHouse was a niche product from the largest mobile (or is that modular) home manufacturer in the world. The niche perhaps wasn’t big enough to really hold Clayton’s attention. The dealers complained the iHouses generated lots of attention and no sales.

    Method has one they named SML, and the “L” is very like the iHouse. We really like the BLU Element most; great floor plan, innovative construction and delivery, but so pricey at around $300/sf. The GreenPod Bainbridge is less and almost as nice a floor plan.

    The iHouse would work perfectly for our lot, suits us pretty much to a tee, and pricing was very good. We’ll just wait and see who else comes to market by the time we’re ready.

  3. Jim and Debbie,
    Congratulations on your property choice. Ashe county is the origin of my father. The Hunt family hails from the Laurel Springs area. You won’t be far from Deep Gap in Watauga County and Hwy 421. I know the area well. Close by, Appalachian University in Boone provides cultural opportunities. When you build, can you include courtesy parking in your plans? We are looking forward to seeing you at AlumaFlamingo.

  4. Yep Richard, we are in Deep Gap area just south of Fleetwood. We looked in Laurel Springs, off to the east and north of us. Saw so many great places. My little sister lives in Boone. We are equidistant from Boone and West Jefferson, and same driving time to No Wilkesboro ‘tho 2X mileage. 100 miles to Kannapolis, 120 miles to Charlotte. For us, it seems just amazing location. Courtesy parking but no hookups for a year or three — we’re hoping so.

  5. I am a draftsman and use Revit a lot. Send me a sketch I’ll send you some drawings…

  6. DJ
    We’ll talk, great offer! First, we hope you and Lisa get happily and safely moved into your Safari. How soon are you headed south?

  7. If you’re asking me how Lisa is and when I am headed south you have the wrong DJ lol, I am still single :-( and head north not south Feb 15….

  8. George and Margie

    GREAT! We look forward to seeing you both in Ashe County.

  9. Congratulations on finding such a great place. I’ve been all over the world and keep coming back to NC as well… just on the other side of the state :)

    • Jesse,
      That’s us too. We love the entire state. High school in Charlotte, then attended Chapel Hill, worked in Chapel Hill, Sylva, Asheville, Greensboro, Concord, and Charlotte. We’ve backpacked all over the mountains, been to many of the lakes, crawled the beaches along almost all the coastline, played golf across the entire state, bicycled on great sections of Blue Ridge Parkway, and on the Roan Groan up and over Roan Mtn, and bicycled four times with National MS Society all the way to the beach. There just isn’t another state like NC for us.

      • Richard Hunt

        Jim, you’re making me homesick! We are so happy for you both. (You are welcome to come and do some winterin’ at Travelers Rest.

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