Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Little Piece of Heaven?

My wife and I own a parcel of land in the middle of nowhere. It’s not really the middle of nowhere—it just has a remarkable resemblance to the middle of nowhere. And for years we have paid taxes on it.

Specifically, it is ten acres of sagebrush and dirt located in the Dun Glen Flat/Buena Vista Valley region, about halfway between Lovelock and Winnemucca.

The roots of this little piece of virtual nothingness can be traced back to the late 1960s, when my wife’s parents purchased this parcel—generously described as a “ranchero” in the promotional literature.

The original agreement for the sale of the land, located about a dozen miles south of Mill City, off State Route 400 (the road leading to the ghost town of Unionville), officially describes it as: “The E 1/2 of S1/2 of SW1/4 of NW 1/4 of Sec.27, R35E, T32N, MDBM, of Pershing County, Nevada, 10 acres. (13-E).”

In the early 1990s, my father-in-law turned over the title to the parcel to my wife, who later added me to the deed.

For many years, we’ve joked about our little plot in Pershing County. We’ve kidded each other about one day retiring to our hunk of undeveloped dirt that has no water, electricity, or other improvements.

So, one day we decided to check out our humble estate. My wife had actually been out to look over the lot many years ago but I had never had to pleasure of viewing it.

We headed east of Reno on the interstate, traveling about 93 miles to Lovelock (where we stopped for ice cream). We continued east on I-80 for another 42 miles to the Mill City exit. There, we headed south on SR 400.

A crude map in our files indicated that the parcel was about 12 miles south of Mill City, apparently some unknown distance from the highway.

Despite having the helpful and detailed deed description (you know—“The E 1/2 of S 1/2 etc.”), we quickly realized that other than two or three fairly large ranches, there wasn’t much to differentiate one parcel from another in the Dun Glen Flat or adjacent Buena Vista Valley.

In fact, we had a hard time finding our little ten acres tucked in the middle of the tens of thousands of barren, vacant acreage out there.

At one point, a local rancher came along in his truck as we stood by the side of the road scanning the vast open space for some clue as to the site of our land (I guess we were expecting a big sign or a neon arrow or something . . .)and asked if we needed help.

We told him about our quest to locate our land and described what we were looking for. He scratched his head thinking about it for a moment and then remembered that the only ten-acre lots were a few miles north, near what one of our road atlases called the Star Creek Ranch.

He said nearly all the rest of the lots in the valley that weren’t part of larger ranches were a minimum of 20 acres.

We drove back to the spot he had indicated and looked out over the desert. Just beyond a barbed wire fence we could see a series of either power-line or telephone poles stretching north to south, seemingly forever.

All of the land around us was cracked and dry, with the general flatness broken by occasional gray-green mounds of scruffy sagebrush. Here and there, you could see rocks peeking through the thin, yellow-brown grass that barely covered the ground.

In the distance, we could see a large patch of green—apparently the Star Creek Ranch grew alfalfa.

Unable to determine exactly which vacant acreage was our ten acres, we wandered into the desert for a little while—and imagined we were looking at our land.

I tried to envision where we would put the carport, the swimming pool and the satellite dish. A fishing pond might be nice.

In the end, I decided that it was enough just knowing that somewhere out there was ten acres of land that was all our's.

Even if I couldn’t tell exactly where.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was just reading your "A little Piece of Heaven?", Well it turns out we are buying a piece of property in the same section #27. We are having an adventure trying to find our 20 acres. The good news is when we find ours we will know where your piece is. We are really close, I can feel it.

Mike and Barbara