• How we made our escape from the city and changed our lives

    by  • March 7, 2012 • Home Building, Moving from the city • 4 Comments

    Our adventure

    We had a dream to move out of Southern California away from the congestion and stress and switch from the daily commute to living in paradise in the Sierra foothills. Here is how we made the big move!

    Sunset on the lake

    Sunset on the lake

    Our Move:

    From Fullerton, CA to the foothills just south of Yosemite in 2005

    Our former life was spent in this small house in Fullerton where the kids were raised

    Our former life was spent in this small house in Fullerton where the kids were raised

    Old life:

    Businesses in the city, him, motorcycle media, me, wedding photography and raising teens.

    New Life:

    Him, Semi-retired.  Me, gardener, photographer, blogger
    In the five years we had before we moved we really had no idea how we’d do it.  We were true ‘flatlanders.’

    The view that grabbed our attention and began our dream. Could we imagine 'living' here?!

    The view that grabbed our attention and began our dream. Could we imagine ‘living’ here?!

     

    When we decided:

    When the real estate agent showed us a view property and our friends here said they’d help us do it. After dreaming of moving anywhere away from suburbia, we ‘tried on’ many towns and areas before settling on the resort area of Oakhurst/North Fork, two miles away from our old vacation spot at Bass Lake. Forest access nearby was important and the very active community was attractive, featuring special events nearly every weekend.

     

    Bass Lake Antique and Wooden Boat Show at the Pines Resort

    Bass Lake Antique and Wooden Boat Show at the Pines Resort

     

    Looking down our driveway

    Looking down our driveway

     

    Parking on the driveway, getting ready to walk the property for the first time.

    Parking on the driveway, getting ready to walk the property for the first time.

    One weekend, we looked for a property with one to three acres, but found this one on the side of a ridge with seven acres in a natural area snugged up against the Sierra national Forest. We put in an offer that same weekend. It was 2000, stocks were way down and land was a better place to stash funds for a down payment….we took a year to pay it off.

    This shows part of the 'circle drive' roughly bulldozed to show where a house could be planned.

    This shows part of the ‘circle drive’ roughly bulldozed to show where a house could be planned.

     

    The area just in front of where the house could be built,...this was the clearest area on the place.

    The area just in front of where the house could be built,…this was the clearest area on the place.

     

    The center section of the land

    The center section of the land

     

    The High Country

    The High Country

    We love driving the back roads and this location set us up near a network of roads between Oakhurst and Sacramento where two of our five kids live.

     

    What we gave up:

    Five minutes to a Target or grocery store.  Being close to the family still in Orange County.

    Bass Lake from above

    Bass Lake from above

     

    What we gained:

    A fresh clean, beautiful environment, good motorcycling friends nearby, little traffic through forest lined roads to town plus our dream house, casual and camp-like that we were able to help design at a very reasonable price.

    Road 200

    Road 200

    The diary entry – October 2000-The adventure begins…we buy property

    Next: How we found a home builder

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    4 Responses to How we made our escape from the city and changed our lives

    1. Desiree
      March 8, 2012 at 12:47 am

      A dream that you both tackled head-on and look at what your determination and staying power has achieved! You are now the envy of us all! We, too, have been ‘dreaming’ of a property large enough to give our five dogs plenty of carefree, safe space in which to run, play and explore and where we could build a small, easy little cottage to escape to, until we retire. We’ve been looking, but so far nothing ideal has knocked on our door. If it looks good, the price is way beyond our reach. If the price is attractive, the place is grotty.

      I had to laugh at your son’s comment. My daughter would have had the same viewpoint, I’m sure. I never think of things like that. I’m just immediately attracted by the beauty and silence of places off the beaten track.

      You have created a perfect Eden all of your own, Sue and, as I’ve said before, a legacy of love. Even across the vast distances between us, I can feel the peaceful feeling that emanates from your garden. I said once before, it’s the kind of place I’d wish to have my ashes scattered 😉

      Big hug

      Des xoxo

      • March 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

        Thanks so much, Des….I thought I’d post a bit on how the house was built and what we did to make it home for us. Maybe it will inspire someone else to take on and enjoy a similar project. Do you have ‘baby boomers’ in South Africa? Well, many will be retiring soon here in the States and may soon be in our situation. I hope you find a dream spot someday, too, although the house and garden you have now is dreamy enough for anyone, I think!

    2. Kate
      March 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!

      • March 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

        Same story as so many in our area! Lots I’ve talked to come from LA or SF areas. Livin’ the dream… 🙂

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