I'd been back in the States for 6 weeks at this point. My kids and I were staying at my Uncles house in Cave Creek, Arizona while we were getting settled in, making plans, and wrapping up a big project for work that had me tied to a computer since the minute we landed. But with the major part of my project slowing down mid-September, I needed to make something happen.
Paying cash for an RV trailer at this point would eat too much into my budget and I had been searching online just about everyday for a rental or even a pricey Airbnb not too far from my property to no avail. My Hail Mary was to load up the SUV I just bought and head east, with the hope it would be easier to find a place to live while getting my land prepared with feet on the ground.
Besides not being 20 anymore and still needing to fit in some work, I had 2 young kids with me, so I didn't push too hard on the road. I split the 30 hour drive up into 3 days. Just before pulling into Mount Airy, North Carolina (the nearest large town near my property) in the early evening, there was still just enough light out and I couldn't help myself, so I launched Google Maps and plugged directions to my land. I needed to see it with my own eyes. At this point, it was still a fantasy that only existed in just a few pictures, satellite images, and a land deed.
That last 20 minutes cruising down the Blue Ridge Mountains, crossing from Virginia into North Carolina just 4 miles from my future homestead, was the most beautiful scenery I've ever witnessed. Nothing but farms sprinkled throughout these narrow country roads was right out of my dreams. Not long after, I turned down this dirt road and over a little bridge above the nearby river, and there it was. 7.2 acres of densely wooded forest, my forest.
The kids were restless, daylight was coming to an end, and we needed to find our way to town and get a hotel room. But before I left, I took note of a few things that just made my excitement grow exponentially. The creek running through my land was bigger than I thought. The creek itself seemed to actually be originating from a natural mountain spring on my property (which I found out later that I have several springs). The land, while creeping up a mountain, had more flat area than I gathered from the pictures I saw, and last but not least, there was already a power line running in front of the property.
Shortly after arriving in town, we ended up at the Comfort Inn for the night. The following morning is when the work begins. Little did I know, the next 3 weeks would be full of both roadblocks and miracles... and chickens.