...And I left promptly.
I'll get back to that.
My landlord and friend gave me a great deal on an RV trailer. While I'd prefer some kind of concrete structure, this is far cheaper and actually helps enable building further down the road, giving a temporary shelter. The trailer is a bit run down and dirty, but it should work. Pretty large, maybe 28 feet?
So, we went to retrieve the trailer a bit later than planned. It was over by Lake Medina at a hunting property. A very rocky, at times steep, road led to the trailer and back. We first noticed that the trailer wiring connector had been severed off. We MacGyvered mostly working lights from random tools and sacrificing lamps for wire. From there, we drove off up the hill.
My friend is a fantastic driver, but his 2WD truck was simply not able to pull it up the biggest hill. We made three attempts, despite the brakes barely even able to hold the trailer on the hill at all. The next day, he went out with a friend and another 4WD truck. Couldn't pull it out. He went door to door and found a couple more trucks that could not get it.
Finally, he called a tow truck and they were able to get it out quite smoothly. He brought it back to the house, we redid the wiring again, and I loaded up quite a bit of my stuff into the trailer, including a small dual sport motorcycle.
We finally departed at... 5pm? For a 410~ mile journey with a 7,000lb (I'm really not sure) trailer. It was slow going, 55-60 most of the way. I've never pulled a trailer before. Fortunately, my friend did most of the driving. With about a hundred miles to go, we switched off. About ten miles to go, he went on with his fiance and their dog in another vehicle. I was left alone for the final trek and finding the property.
I was exhausted. I was already tired before we left on the trip. I think it was 2AM when I left solo. I drove on, found the exit, and it almost immediately turned into a dirt road -- as expected. My next turn was blocked off with a barbed wire gate, held in place by tension. I took it down, drove through, and put it back up. No tire tracks in sight, only animal tracks.
About a mile down the road, I realized I had turned onto the wrong road. This was a moderately rough dirt road. On either side of me were lumpy red dirt dunes with thorn bushes. I almost tried to cut across a half mile of this land when luck had it that the road continued less than a hundred feet ahead. Which is quite fortunate as I could easily get stuck with the trailer on board.
I had some doubts about Google Map's accuracy, but confirmed with my coordinates and another app. It was spot on. I had some cell service, so switched to the satellite view which showed the "roads" much better. The street view did not have nearly as many roads marked out as you could clearly see from the overhead picture view. I followed that and made it to the South-West corner of the property. It was like the rest of the area -- desolate, had ample thorn bushes, yellow-to-red soil, and the occasional rabbit.
I found a path with minimal thorn bush evasion and lucked out to find a flat and open space, but not extremely close to the "road" I came off of.
I parked, eyed the area, and started to unload so I could uncover the bed. I had to take out the motorcycle alone (it was pretty light, and easier going down than up), along with the rolled up awning which broke off on our first attempt to fetch the trailer.
It was not extremely cold or windy. I would guess, maybe 40 degrees. It was very dark and I-10 was very visible and audible, though it could have been a whole mile away. I felt extremely alone, as I was, but also worried that someone might notice me and come my way, following the lights. I don't know anyone in this area and I've heard of how protective country folk can be over their land. And if someone just wanted to rob me, they would have no difficulties shooting me and running off with whatever they wanted.
The little wind just served to make unexpected noises from the doors on the trailer moving slightly. I checked outside often with my flashlight, rather panicked.
When I parked, it was about 3 in the morning. I think the tiredness, being so alone, and in a new place is what made it so scary for me. It was probably one of the scariest times in my life -- I can't even describe why it would be like that. I guess, if someone comes along you just see a light, or a few. And while it's very difficult and slow moving terrain to navigate, all you can do is wait until they come to you. Most likely, they can see you before you can see them, and by that point you're blinded in their lights and can see nothing at all in that direction. You don't even know what they are by that point. Bandits, drug runners, police, or just otherwise ordinary people.
I made a quick call to a friend whom I'd promised I would talk to, and finally left with everything as is. Quite a few valuables in my trailer.
I decided to drive to the Days Inn in the city of Van Horn, about 15 miles away. So I took the road that satellite view said was correct. Turned out that the road disappeared. I drove forward through and between the dunes and thorn bushes, but it was too much. I turned around and went the awkward way that I came in. Those roads were adequate -- going right through nature was not a long term solution.
So I made it to my hotel, booked two nights. I haven't had breakfast yet and it's 12:49 as I type this. I got to bed at 5 in the morning.
My trailer has a lot of valuables in it, but I think I was right to leave it behind. I didn't have to stay out there and I felt miserable doing so given the circumstances. And if it is unsafe, it's better to come back the next day and find I've been robbed, than risk my life staying there overnight.
So my priorities are breakfast, finding a lock for the trailer and a lock for my motorcycle, then heading back out to scout around. I'll take some pictures if I still have my camera.
One of my biggest concerns is access. Even the unsigned barbed wire fence made me feel that someone may think this property is theirs, or their neighbors may think so. Though I say that -- I saw no buildings or artificial objects out there. My other is the thorns. They are rampant and if I have to go off the road much, I can easily see getting a few flats from them. Especially if I have to drive over them, like I've had to. Once the trail is made it shouldn't be so bad, but getting to that point has me pretty concerned.
I'm hoping that the more direct road has an obvious and clear path to the property, preferably without a cheesy gate in front of it.
So I haven't started a country. I've just ventured on my land and have been scared off in the dark.
I would not want to do this alone ever again. This, being explore and planning on sleeping at a new property that I had just bought. It's one thing if you're in a national forest, but another if you have land in the middle of nowhere, but not quite nowhere. Especially not on a hill, where you can't see everything that's around you.
I now see why people have such deep fondness of lights, like the jeeps and motorcycles covered with them. In my perfect world, I'd have bright lights all around the trailer. Maybe even cameras, or motion sensors. I'll probably just get over it and settle for a few lights, but not being able to see what may be coming has me a bit worried. And the visibility is low either way, with it not being on a hill in dune-y terrain. More lights on the truck would have been nice, too.
West Texas requires tires that are both grippy and tough. You can get tires that have more durable carcasses that should do better with the thorns. But don't underestimate it. I still haven't checked this morning if any of the tires went flat.
Knowing your neighbors is important. If I knew one person who lived out there and they weren't completely crazy, I'd feel much better about it. The unknown is almost always worse than the known. Especially in the dark, a long way from home.
I think that's all for now. I'll post up an album if I can.
PS: I find it interesting being back in Van Horn as I included it as a location in the book I'm writing. If you would like, I would greatly appreciate help editing it: https://voat.co/v/writing/1500636
I'll probably go to the diner that I talked about pretty soon. I hope they're open on Christmas Eve.
Update: I went back and I'm 99% certain nothing was stolen. I can't immediately find my camera, but I think that was just me.
Place is much nicer during the day. With the sun out, it's very nice and warm. I found some cows near my property and filmed them on my phone. Terrible quality, but gives you an idea of what the area looks like.