The Biggest Adventure of All
Moving to Silver City
October - December, 2020
We know well how fortunate we are that the pandemic neither threatened our livelihood nor forced us to work in unsafe conditions. It was neverthless life-changing. We spent the summer camping and hiking all over central New Mexico and northern Arizona. From the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains, the Manzano Mountains, El Malpais, San Franciscos and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, we dove deep into areas we'd only briefly visited in the past. We camped off-grid in relative safely, minimizing contact with other people by packing carefully and planning all our meals in advance.
It was fabulous! We loved the lush alpine meadows and the dense Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine forests. And most of all we love the freedom from Tucson's hottest-ever summer. In a normal year, Tucson experiences 39 days of tripe-digit temperatures. This year there were more than 100, and the monsoon never materialized. Meanwhile the Bighorn Fire tore through the Catalinas, closing nearly all hiking trails until late in the Fall. Lower-elevation trails were hopelessly crowded, with only a tiny minority of hikers willing to socially distance or wear masks. Little by little, we realized that everything we loved about living in Tucson was gone. One day in mid-September, we were rolling through Flagstaff after a particularly enjoyable week on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. And Dennis asked me, "Where would you rather live? Flagstaff or Silver City?"
And so it began. Although we loved the time we spent exploring all around the San Franciscos this summer, we quickly learned that houses there sell at California prices. And so our attention shifted back to Silver City, where we were shopping for a possible second home two years ago. But there's a strong demand for housing in Silver City, especially in the old part of town, and a full month of browsing the internet turned up very few prospects. There was one older home, a 1945 bungalow near the college, but we had some concerns about the neighborhood, plus it sold the first day on the market. In mid-October, while we were in town to check out a tumble-down A-frame on the edge of town, the bungalow suddenly reappeared on the market. We quickly drove and walked all aroumd the area, which we'd only seen online previously, and made an appointment to see the house that night. It appeared to be in good shape, with a standing seam metal roof, new windows, a new kitchen and an unusually large lot — big enough for our fleet of recreational vehicles! We made a full-price offer on the spot, but we had stiff competition. That night we camped at our usual spot on the Continental Divide Trail, using my iPad as an access point and VNC to pull financial documents off our computer and submit an application for a mortgage. When that didn't work, we made screen captures of all our accounts to demonstrate that we could pay cash if necessary. We were on our way to the Chiricahuas to rendezvous with our friend Dave Tamblyn when we got the call letting us know our offer had been accepted.