Someone Paved Our Driveway – Sort Of

It’s that time of the year again – when the snow melts and the ground doesn’t. As a result, billions of gallons of mountain snow turns to water within the space of three weeks and heads in our direction.

The layer of permafrost won’t let it in except for the topmost couple of inches; just enough to make sludge. The road is worse. It should have been regraded and graveled a couple of years ago but that would require the neighbors to agree on something.

In the past it was bad enough that the easement doubled as a creek but this year we have three times the traffic.  Wheels turn into large beaters and the weight of the vehicles leave behind ruts as deep as the Grand Canyon.

The destruction extends to the main road. Recently, the postal service stopped delivering until we fixed the area in front of our boxes. Luckily, someone came forward and dumped a load of rocks in the well that had developed, restoring our service.

The trek has become so intimidating, if we don’t need something critical like milk or gas – we stay home.

Yesterday, however, we needed cat food so we steeled ourselves for the passage and piled in the four-wheel drive. As we inched our way to the top of the worst part of the easement – a steeply graded slope – we noticed someone laid pavement at the bottom.

More accurately, someone lobbed chunks and fragments of broken pavement all over the road. Some slabs were two feet in diameter, corners jutting up threateningly. Smaller shards haphazardly filled the shallowest of points through the sinkhole. In places, they lay stacked as much as three deep.

It had our uppermost neighbor’s signature all over it. A true “hold my beer” job if I ever saw one.

Whatever vehicle they drove left the deepest ruts we’ve ever seen, which they missed with the asphalt. It was almost impassable. I told my husband to hold on while I jumped out and proceeded to redistribute the minefield in some logical fashion. I took the pictures after I rearranged the pieces.

I  jumped back in to safety and we crawled, squished and fell into the hollows as far to the right as we could. We inched past, on the verge of losing our grip and rolling down the slope away from the road.

Now we had to make it past Cowhead Guy’s house (explanation here).

The adventure continues.

The Long Long Long Driveway

7/10’s of a mile of hell.

It is a buffer between us and anyone who isn’t hell bent on visiting us.

The postal service won’t drive up after that one time they dared and left us a note saying “never again”.

The UPS driver delivers but only in summer. The first few times he drove up the easement, we could hear the overhanging branches scraping along the sheet metal shell of the box truck. He finally asked us to cut the trees back but we still know he’s coming before we see him because of the rivet-busting potholes.

The route is dusty in the summer, clogged with heavy snow and slush in the winter and becomes a bog in the spring. It hasn’t been graded and graveled in God knows how long and has a very steep incline towards the end.

It is our driveway – seven-tenths of a mile of natural disaster area. It is our only way in and out and it is the bane of my existence. We have been within eyesight of our front door and had to abandon the vehicle with our groceries to go get the shovels and salt.

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When the thick layer of snow and ice begin to melt and the ground is still frozen, crevasses open up and torrents of water with no place to go converge to form streams in the ruts. When the ground thaws, driving through the mud displaces giant slabs of Play Doh-like ooze. On subsequent passes, we drive on the tops of those and squish them down until the road is finally flat and dry again. We lay down rocks in the worst places.

We had the gauntlet to ourselves until the neighbors moved in. One of them drives a little sedan that isn’t suited for the terrain. I occasionally see them make a run for the last portion of road – speed helps. I can hear the wrenching sounds of the suspension as they lurch along, bouncing violently over the uneven ground. The scraping of oil pan against bedrock sends shivers down my spine as the car careens up the last fifty feet of hill to safety.

A couple of weeks ago we spotted what is still left of it abandoned halfway up the grade, with it’s wheels frozen solid in knee-deep mud. I don’t know how they got it out.

The sheriff once drove all the way up over an issue about a dog. We found part of a bumper near the gate the next day. The Washington State Patrol once stopped us because chunks of our driveway were calving off the underside of our car onto the freeway.

Someday we will have our little slice of heaven repaired. Until then, I shut my eyes tight and pray every time we back out of our parking spot.

Someone Has Big Plans For Our Property

We were the last ones to know.

Last week, our new neighbor of one whole month approached me out of the blue and asked me if wanted to cut down our trees on the edge of our property or have him do it so he could move the cul-de-sac we share thirty-feet over and onto our property.

He was very casual about it – like it was a matter of an overhanging branch that needed to come down or something. It felt more like a shock-and-awe maneuver as this was the first I’d been clued into his plans.

I told him I would need to talk to my husband about the matter and I practically sprinted to the RV with the bad news. My husband was just as floored as me. We felt so blind-sided we couldn’t think straight.

Were we over-reacting or should we be wary of this person?

We scheduled a legal consultation and here’s what happened: Our neighbor had done his own survey and discovered the existing easement road was fifteen feet to the side of where it is shown on the survey so he decided he was going to move it – without consulting with us first.  The road, however, has been in it’s current location for decades and would most likely be considered an implied easement and remain in place.

To add to the confusion, the easement is also described as being the existing road in other parts of the same legal documents which would make it legally in the right spot. The contradiction might warrant another look by the attorneys to be sure.

We were advised that the proposed change would be to our detriment and the neighbor’s benefit. We would be the only ones out of the three property owners who shared the easement road who stood to lose acreage if it was relocated. A judge might take that into consideration if this ever goes to court.

The attorneys told us that it would save everyone a lot of money to negotiate rather than go through litigation. We could even propose a sum for the use of our property as an option.

Armed with this basic real-estate legal knowledge, we’ve decided to just watch and wait and hope the neighbor doesn’t push for this after we leave him a note informing him of our stance.

I could live without a freeway in my front yard.

 

 

Jackasses of the Year-Major Rework

Reworked to tell the FULL story better.

Our neighbors are jackasses. I’m not mentioning any names but a jackass is a jackass is a jackass.

We were working with a non-profit that wanted to build a home for a veteran with a child (I’m a veteran) but when we found out it would cost 22,000.00 to run utilities up our driveway, we were forced to call the project off as it had now become an unviable endeavor. The only work-around was an easement on the Jackasses property that would have been a fraction of the cost and the Jackasses knew it. It would have been located underground and well away from the part of their property they actively used.

When I told her the project was off, the Jackette told me “I have lots of friends who live in trailers and they do just fine”. She also told us to stop relying on handouts (we would pay off the home as part of the agreement with the non-nonprofit).

This actually happened. And it gets better: they started to build a monstrous shop and garage right within sight of our trailer as this was happening. We got to watch them build their behemoth from our 20′ abode on wheels.

We understand they’re not obligated to provide access for an easement but they’re still jackasses because it wouldn’t have affected them in the least.

BTW, these people had plans on putting a fence up and forcing us to pay for half. A phone call to an attorney clarified that we are under no legal obligation to pay for half a property line fence. So sorry Mr. and Mrs. Jackass.  I let them know we’d be happy to pay for half a fence in exchange for the utility easement. Haven’t heard from them since.

An example of what to do even when you don’t get along: We accidentally got a neighbor’s paycheck in our mail box and rather than send it back to the post office, we immediately brought their mail to them because people depend on their paychecks arriving in a timely manner. We don’t get along with those  neighbors either but that’s what you do. It’s a matter of honor in my opinion.

We don’t hate all of our neighbors. We just got the lucky role of the die. We have a full understanding that we have to live with these people for god knows how long. We’re not dumb, but if you knew about the dogs on one neighbors side, and the trucks revving at all hours of the day …..we’ve gone out of our way to just let it slide and get along. No drama. But some things you simply can’t ignore; like when they almost shoot you.

We hadn’t been here but a month or so when me and my husband were standing outside when someone from up on a hill began to shoot. That happens around here but then my husband heard a bullet ricochet off of one our trees. He said so and I hit the ground and yelled “there are people down here!” at the top of my lungs. The shots ceased and we heard a truck start up at the neighbor’s property and roar off. We didn’t call the sheriff as we believed they got the point.

I’m a little disappointed we don’t get along better. Generally we always have had good relationships with our neighbors in the past. We’ve had neighbors who are still very dear friends. I’ve considered maybe it’s somehow our fault but no, we really had to put up personal boundaries on both sides.

I just wish the nice older couple that lived on the hill when we moved here hadn’t sold. They were awesome and nice, and quiet.

 

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Jackasses of the Year

Trying to avoid drama but sometimes you just can’t.

Our neighbors are jackasses. I’m not mentioning any names but a jackass is a jackass is a jackass.

We were working with the help of a non-profit that wanted to build a home for a veteran with a child (I’m a veteran) but when we found out it would cost 22,000.00 to run utilities up our driveway, we were forced to call the project off as it had now become an unviable endeavor. The only work-around was an easement on the Jackasses property that would have been a fraction of the cost and the Jackasses knew it. It would have been located underground and well away from the part of their property they actively used.

When I told her the project was off, the Jackette told me “I have lots of friends who live in trailers and they do just fine”. She also told us to stop relying on handouts (we would pay off the home as part of the agreement with the non-nonprofit).

This actually happened. And it gets better: they started to build a monstrous shop and garage right within sight of our trailer as this was happening. We got to watch them build their behemoth from our 20′ abode on wheels.

We understand they’re not obligated to provide access for an easement but they’re still jackasses because it wouldn’t have affected them in the least.

BTW, these people had plans on putting a fence up and forcing us to pay for half. A phone call to an attorney clarified that we are under no legal obligation to pay for half a property line fence. So sorry Mr. and Mrs. Jackass.  I let them know we’d be happy to pay for half a fence in exchange for the utility easement. Haven’t heard from them since.

An example of what to do even when you don’t get along: We accidentally got a neighbor’s paycheck in our mail box and rather than send it back to the post office, we immediately brought their mail to them because people depend on their paychecks arriving in a timely manner. We don’t get along with those  neighbors either but that’s what you do. It’s a matter of honor in my opinion.

We don’t hate all of our neighbors. We just got the lucky role of the die. We have a full understanding that we have to live with these people for god knows how long. We’re not dumb, but if you knew about the dogs on one neighbors side, and the trucks revving at all hours of the day …..we’ve gone out of our way to just let it slide and get along. No drama. But some things you simply can’t ignore; like when they almost shoot you.

We hadn’t been here but a month or so when me and my husband were standing outside when someone from up on a hill began to shoot. That happens around here but then my husband heard a bullet ricochet off of one our trees. He said so and I hit the ground and yelled “there are people down here!” at the top of my lungs. The shots ceased and we heard a truck start up at the neighbor’s property and roar off. We didn’t call the sheriff as we believed they got the point.

Our basic philosophy is to let it slide if you can. Pick your battles. I make a point of realizing everyone has their side of the story. The neighbors with the dogs (all 100 of them it seems who bark at all hours of the day) and the other side (no easement).

I’m a little disappointed we don’t get along better. Generally we always have had good relationships with our neighbors in the past. We’ve had neighbors who are still very dear friends. I’ve considered maybe it’s somehow our fault but no, we really had to put up personal boundaries on both sides.

I just wish the nice older couple that lived on the hill when we moved here hadn’t sold. They were awesome and nice, and quiet.

 

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