08 June 2006 Thursday

It’s raining this morning.  It started last night, just a light all day drizzle.  We drove around Durango and visited the United Country office there.  We got info on the area, but we’re not sure if it’s anything we want.  We drove thru a couple of subdivisions, Forest Lake and Aspen Trails, outside Durango.  While looking at these 1 acre lots, we may decide to increase our acreage request.  Many of these houses were nearly as big as the 1 acre lot they were on.  We found out about High Country News, an environmental newspaper based in Paonia, focusing on Southwest issues.  We’ll have to check it out.  

We continued our land search into Chama, NM in the rain.  We drove thru downtown first and then to the realty office.  We noticed that there were several businesses in downtown that were closed up and out of business.  The United Country office in Chama is beautiful, too beautiful for it’s surroundings.  The agent we spoke with struck us as a fast talking salesman.  He never showed us an MLS listing, instead rattled off facts and numbers he had in his head (hummm… only HIS properties!).  He took us out in his Hummer (?!) to one property that was about 1/2 mile from downtown and on the edge of an elk viewing wilderness area.  It was a very narrow, 4 acre lot adjacent to horses and what our agent quoted as $600,000.00 houses.  However, the other side of the property was adjacent to what looked like low income housing.  Many of the houses in the area were boarded up and/or falling in.  Some of these run down places were obviously still inhabited!  Hummm… we need time to think.

We found a local place with cheap cabins and we went out to dinner to check things out further.  The restaurant that was recommended was busy and the service was painfully slow.  We had plenty of time to watch the locals.  The food was good, better than we expected for a town of 1,200 people.  Later that night, we looked at city-data.com and looked up Chama, NM and found that this area was over 75% Hispanic!  The folks we saw at the restaurant we not noticeably Hispanic, or maybe the majority of the population can not afford to go out to eat (that would explain the rundown homes).  Also, we found out that the population has fallen 2% up to 2004.  The only industry in town is a tourist railroad tour.  This looks like a dying town, hanging on by a rail.  

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