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.