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 Post subject: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 14th, 2012, 8:39 am 
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Me, too! I was fortunate enough to live for a few months at the Southwestern Research Station there, many years ago, and though I've visited many times I've yearned to return on a more permanent basis ever since. I reckon a lot of us who have experienced the Chiricahuas at one time or another ended up carrying away with us such a dream...

And here's an opportunity to make that dream come true! Better still, it's not just a residence but also a diverse business opportunity. As it stands right now, the Sky Gypsy Complex built by software developer John McAfee in Rodeo, NM includes not only a four-bedroom home but also a small cafe and theater, RV Park, big state-of-the-art greenhouse and four hangars surrounding a small private airstrip. McAfee had it in mind for this to be an airpark for the wealthy and adventurous seeking the out-of-way. Given both the property's location and the current state of the economy, though, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up struggling a bit just to get the $100,000 opening bid they'll be seeking when they auction it on June 25th, and I can't imagine that it's ultimately going to sell for more than a fraction of what it's really worth. Viewing opportunities still exist on June 15th and 22nd. (Sorry about the late notice, but I just found out about all of this myself.) An adjacent three-bedroom home and hangar will be auctioned off separately at the same time. Check everything out at:

http://www.williamsauction.com/campaign ... ationRodeo

I don't wonder why the rich and powerful didn't flock to Rodeo as McAfee hoped they would. It's truly out in the middle of nowhere, after all, and even though he originally sunk a reported $4 million into the complex (if that's true then he must have overpaid by quite a bit, in my opinion!) he wasn't exactly offering his guests a posh experience there for their reportedly up to $250,000 per visit. But that doesn't mean many other people wouldn't be delighted to pay a reasonable amount (I daresay rather less than $250,000 :lol: ) to base their vacations there, including herpers, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts who want to wander the Chiricahuas. (For those who don't know, Rodeo is just 10 miles from Portal, AZ at the entrance to the Chiricahuas' northeast side). I feel certain it could indeed draw some attention as a particularly exotic airpark for folk of more ordinary means, too. With creativity and hard work the complex could be remade in a number of ways, as well. That greenhouse could be used for a major herp (and/or bird, etc.) breeding enterprise, for example.

It's obviously a pretty big project for one person/family to take on, but with that much smaller adjacent property also being up for auction the combination seems ideally suited for two people/families to do so. My wife and I happen to be looking for a new way of life just now, and I could envision us splitting the costs and profits of the whole shebang with another like-minded family as close to 50:50 as possible. For my part I'd be happy to take lead on the airpark side of things (I've actually been shopping for a plane for a little while now, anyway ;) ), too, and have whomever take lead on some other (e.g. more herpetologically oriented) side. We could talk things over and divvy them up as suits everyone, with the understanding that everyone shares in the work whether they're lead on something in particular or not.

Yes, I'm serious! PM me if you want to discuss things. Maybe we can at least arrange to meet out there and look things over on June 22nd, and if nothing else get in some herping on the trip. :beer:

Or if someone here has an interest and ability to pursue this alone, well, now you know about it, too! :)

Gerry

P.S. I know that this isn't a field herping report, and I hope I didn't upset anyone by placing it here where I figured the most people would see it the soonest - but it most certainly does relate to some pretty serious field herping (or you have no imagination whatsoever!) and so I thought it would also be of most interest to the folks on this message board.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of floating over the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 12:23 pm 
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Posts: 374
... Greetings Gerry, wow .. so what a concept ... and what a small world ... i was attracted to this area long ago by the herps (& hunting whitetails & moctezuma quail ...) but more recently by my interest in airborne trikes, and was corresponding w/ a BAlvarius down there via trikepilot.com the whole mcaffee trainwreck there is quite a story, then i had a friend who had a different nexus into all mcaffee & his sky gypsies.. so it all is pretty intrsting to me, and now to see its on auction ... 100 k opening bid ... damn ... and theres prolly a trike still sitting in one of those hangers ... :p
..hope this finds you and the lot ... doing as well as can be, despite the great recession ... : {
...these great posts are proof some of us are doing very well indeed!

cheers rxr


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 2:42 pm 
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Joined: February 6th, 2012, 7:24 pm
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I heard the bids are already over $500,000 at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 4:49 pm 
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John, the idea of being your neighbor definitely sweetens the deal! Being your partner in bringing the Sky Gypsy Complex back to life would sweeten it even more, of course, if you have any interest... :beer:

An air trike sounds awfully exciting, but if I can swing it I have something with a bit more body around my body in mind. 8-) Indeed, to make a go of SGC as an airpark, I'd really open it up and vigorously invite as many kinds of light sport aircraft and light aircraft as possible to make use of it. The open-air, extreme adventure crowd would certainly still be welcome, but so would anyone else with wings capable of landing and taking off there. So far as the gang here is concerned, it could become the world's first fly-in herping excursion!

No, I'm afraid my little family has indeed gotten caught up in the current economic upheaval - that's why we're seriously considering various kinds of new lifestyles, while we still have the financial resources on hand to pursue them - but I'm determined to seize it as an opportunity rather than succumb to it as a setback. I've never exactly been risk averse, anyway - big rewards require big risks! - and after living in a tent and working in the Guatemalan rainforest for almost three straight years, there's scarcely anything that looks to pose too much hardship. ;)

scottriv wrote:
I heard the bids are already over $500,000 at this point.

Where did you hear that? Per the website I linked, the auction doesn't actually begin until "11am MDT Monday June 25."

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 5:00 pm 
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Buddy lives in Portal and is all over this thing.

He says it is already priced out of his affordability range.

I guess they have 2 "prebids" over $500K at the moment.

I would give them $150K max 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 5:32 pm 
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Hmmm, if true, that's certainly out of my affordability range, too - if I were trying to go solo on this, that is. I was thinking it'd probably hit $1/3 million and maybe a bit more, anyway; that's another reason why I figured a partnership is the way to go.

I'd love to get connected to your buddy, to get the straight dope on all this if nothing else. Maybe we should take this to PM...?

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 15th, 2012, 9:39 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
What an awesome concept. Good luck!!


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 18th, 2012, 12:04 pm 
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... It would be a tremendous experience & i'd bet wee'd make a go of it, but alas, not this lifetime, ive got too much momentum in anudda set of "life vectors" right now : }
I do wish the best for you and the many other good folks who have been so disproportionately impacted by our country's recent crazy policies; the endless wars & war toys where price is not mentioned ... and a society that willnot provide basic healthcare & dental care to its own; disgraceful. Better than most (unfortunately for the most), but hell bent to perpetually take 2 steps forward, 1 step back ... : { ... & mebbe why the urge to climb or soar above it all seems so rational ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqUvSzdgAn8 ... for some fine visuals & music ...


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 18th, 2012, 12:30 pm 
I heard Chad is one of the $500K bids.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 18th, 2012, 12:40 pm 
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regalringneck wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqUvSzdgAn8 ... for some fine visuals & music ...

Very cool video, Amigo! I've always wanted to participate in Burning Man, and now I want it even more (and definitely as a pilot ;) ). Were you there?

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 18th, 2012, 3:17 pm 
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I wonder what sort of plans Chad has for the property?

Eco tourism maybe?

Maybe a new stadium for an additional NFL team? :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 19th, 2012, 4:29 am 
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Joined: May 29th, 2012, 3:56 pm
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Was there in 81. Beautiful.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 25th, 2012, 6:03 pm 
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I suppose that some of the usual folks will use this as another opportunity for ridicule, but I thought some others might actually like to know what happened with this auction.

I drove out to Rodeo, NM last week to look things over. I thoroughly checked out both parcels to be auctioned, the larger as a possible residence and (multifaceted) business venture, the smaller just as a possible residence. There were, as is unfortunately virtually always the case, real mixes of positives and negatives in both instances. (Why can't anything ever be "Well, of course we should/shouldn't do this! We'd be fools to do otherwise!"? :? ) And there remained too many unknowns to get very excited about either; this problem could have been greatly helped had a realtor shown up to answer questions at the public viewing I attended, instead of just a greeter and a security guard who were both instructed not to answer viewers' questions even if they felt they could. Many telephone conversations with my wife (who couldn't make the trip) ensued as she and I obtained new bits of information from various sources, aided by the fact that I stayed at the Mountain Valley Lodge, apparently the only lodging place in Rodeo (or Portal?) where one's cell phone will work (if one happens to have Verizon service, as I do). I'd never stayed there before as I've always camped while visiting the Chiricahuas, but I definitely recommend this place. Anyway, thinking about what we could afford and would be willing to bid for either property given our ambivalence about them, we both thought it very likely that our bids wouldn't satisfy whatever unspecified reserves there might be even if ours were the highest bids. So I didn't stay for today's auction.

A realtor associated with the auction called me this afternoon, and apparently my wife and I nailed it. The high bid received for the larger parcel - supposedly a $4 million investment by McAfee, remember - was only $180,000 (so much for "2 'prebids' over $500K"...), and the realtor sounded confident that the seller would not accept it. Likewise, the $75,000 high bid for the smaller parcel was deemed unacceptably low. I asked the realtor to keep me on the list of people to be notified if/when the seller decides to lower expectations for these properties. ;)

I'm afraid I got very little chance to herp while I was out there, and what chance I got was quite unsuccessful. They were having the kind of tough weather that one expects there at this time of year, very hot and dry, but I had nonetheless had higher hopes. Especially after checking into my lodging and finding a live whiptail having a drink and swim in the toilet bowl when I went to use the bathroom, which I figured might be a good-if-somewhat-strange omen. (Don't ask me how it got in there, as I haven't a clue!) But in the little bit of road cruising that I got to do on my first night all I turned up was a freshly roadkilled juvenile Mojave rattler, I was too busy during daylight hours the next day to do any herping, and in the little bit of road cruising that I got to do on that second night all I turned up was a longnosed snake that was still writhing from being hit by another vehicle shortly before I got to it. And then I left. Oh well, the quick trip inspired all kinds of great nostalgia from many past visits there... :)

I'll tell you, though, our nation's wars on terror and drugs are certainly changing things. On the drive out there from here in Texas I sat for about 15 minutes in line with absolutely everyone else on the road somewhere just east of Las Cruces, NM, waiting for one uniformed fellow to ask me whether I was a U.S. citizen while another fellow brought over a dog to sniff my vehicle. On the drive back I and everyone else waited in line a solid half hour at a similar checkpoint a bit east of El Paso, TX so that a uniformed fellow could just stare at me sullenly while another fellow again brought over a dog to sniff my vehicle. And in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona these days, if one goes for a leisurely drive at night, one is sure to encounter many, many, MANY border patrol agents while doing so. They'll be driving by in both directions in constant parades, they'll be parked off the sides of the road with bright lights shining in your face, they'll be parked off the sides of the road in the utter dark, evident only from the glow of their cigarettes as they smoke, chat with one another and stare at the stars. They're no less ubiquitous during the day. I encountered them at the ranger's station by Portal (where they thought maybe illegal immigrants would stop by to pick up some brochures?) and when I drove over the mountains and made a quick stop at Barfoot, I encountered not one, not two but three vehicles full of them driving away from that high, lonely spot (maybe they thought the illegal immigrants would hoof it up there for a picnic, or a quick look for twin-spotted rattlers on their way through the mountains?). I must say, they didn't make me feel safer in any way, not for my personal safety, not for our country's economic well-being, not no how. All of that law enforcement was at best just a tremendous waste of our country's resources, and at worst - the occasions when I and all of those other people had to wait in line to be sniffed and maybe questioned - a big waste of my time as well. There are clearly much better ways to solve whatever real problems exist, and from the boredom on all of their faces it's evident that they know this, too.

Anyway, that's my update.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 25th, 2012, 8:40 pm 
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Location: Ohio, then Arizona, now South Australia
Well, sounds like your dream may still be alive! Wishing you the best, as I've spent a fair amount of time camping and hiking in that paradise called the Chiricahua Mountains. As for all of the political BS currently going on, whether it be necessary* or unnecessary, I simply feel blessed to have missed that period in the region - most all of my time was spent in the mid '70's into the early '90's in that area. In all of that time I ran into one, count it, one F&G agent and NO border patrol. And that entailed a lot of miles on the major highway out of Rodeo. Back then the only problems were the 18 wheelers smashing everything on the pavement. At any rate, good luck with future possibilities on those two land parcels! :beer:

* I don't want to start anything political/ethnic/otherwise, but you gotta admit that SOMETHING has to be done regarding the drug smuggling/illegal immigration stuff... Remember Robert Krentz?!


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 25th, 2012, 9:11 pm 
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Thanks for the good wishes, John! We'll see what happens...

Yeah, my introduction to the Chiricahuas was in the mid-1980s. Back then, all of those pepper trucks on the main road (but only the main road) were an issue at certain times of year, but otherwise the night belonged to the herper who was lucky enough to be there, and s/he shared it only with nocturnal wildlife and the stars.

I agree we don't need a political debate here. We all have and are entitled to our own opinions, anyway. (Me, I'm one of those who believe that an awful lot of our "problems" would be much smaller if we were to legalize and regulate whatever behavior we're trying to forbid.) I was just remarking on the (to me unhappy) change that's occurring; my trip left me thinking that a day will truly come to America, and perhaps in the not-too-distant future at that, when all of us will routinely be queried and obliged to comply with the request for "Your papers?..." just to travel much of anywhere within our own country. It's certainly happened in various other places at other times, I just never expected it to happen here...

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 26th, 2012, 7:55 am 
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... thnx for the update Gerry and im glad you went & checked it out w/ eyes wide open ... i think you made a wise choice too.
I also share your dismay at whats happening to our country along the frontier, as well as the continual e-surveillance of us all everywhere else; optical character recognition devices on patrol vehicles, cellphones/google/facebook / uuuugghhh ... orwell must truly be one of the great visionaries of modern times : {
Students of history will no doubt recognize the cycle of stagnation & eventual re-creation, our dawns are increasingly becoming filled w/ red skies, many of our young people troubled by what theyre realizing we're rapidly becoming, old folks losing what they thought they'd earned ... ubiquitous and everywhere; there the man w/ a gun over there...

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Have you often dreamed of relocating to the Chiricahuas?
PostPosted: June 27th, 2012, 7:00 am 
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I appreciate your being so supportive, John! This might not (quite) have been the right opportunity for us, but it feels good to be taking a more proactive approach to our future. I feel confident that we'll be ready when the right opportunity does appear.

Your snake-on-the-chandelier picture prompts the same question as the appearance of that whiptail I mentioned in the toilet bowl: How the heck did it get there?!? A few of the more trivial mysteries of life, I reckon... :lol:

Gerry


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