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Old 02-24-2013, 03:44 PM   #46
PirateJohn OP
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Thanks Adam!

I noticed there were some guys advertising in the Del Rio Craigslist that they did brush clearing and so forth. I sent them a message to get some idea of what kind of money they would want.

Hiring this stuff is probably going to be the logical way to go.

Do you think that a small backhoe like a skid steer has the power to dig trenches in the hard desert soil?

And what size excavator are you talking about? One of the large tracked ones that are about 10' wide?


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Old 02-24-2013, 04:10 PM   #47
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Thanks Adam!

I noticed there were some guys advertising in the Del Rio Craigslist that they did brush clearing and so forth. I sent them a message to get some idea of what kind of money they would want.

Hiring this stuff is probably going to be the logical way to go.

Do you think that a small backhoe like a skid steer has the power to dig trenches in the hard desert soil?

And what size excavator are you talking about? One of the large tracked ones that are about 10' wide?


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I'm not the biggest fan of skid steers. They are limited by their weight and traction.

If you went with a backhoe I'd be looking at Deere 410 or larger. I run a 710 at work and it's a beast.

The excavator I owned weighed roughly 28,000 pounds- so yes it was a larger one, but not really all that large. The little ones that bobcat makes (12,000 and less is considered "mini" and I think they might go up to 18,000 pounds) are actually quite impressive for their size, but obviously take more time to move material. If you look into a modern Deere excavator I'm a big fan of anything between an 80 and 120 (mine was a little bigger than a 120, and I occasionally run a 120 at work).

In terms of digging in hard desert stuff- I can't really say much because I've never done it.

You're semi-retired, right? I'd encourage you to price out a rental and take it on yourself. Running an excavator has a pretty steep learning curve for the basics. As long as you're not in any steep terrain or tight spots you should be fine. Edit- if nothing else try out a Bobcat for a weekend. If you can run a little one you can run a big one.

Edit #2:
Here in New Hampshire I found that contractors running 120 sized machines (same as a Cat 312 FWIW) get at LEAST $100 an hour. My guy shoots for $140 on small jobs, $100 on larger jobs or returning customers.

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #48
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Thanks Mon! Good info!


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Old 02-24-2013, 05:43 PM   #49
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Just wanted to add that our favorite mod coined the phrase Independence, TX. For anyone seriously interested this is NOT near the town of Independence.

I started looking at property in a little hamlet between Laredo and Zapata a year or two ago. It's still available so you never know.

Right now I am concentrating on the town of Eagle Pass.

Stay tuned.


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Old 02-24-2013, 05:56 PM   #50
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This is an intriguing concept....

It won't happen in the immediate future for me, but one of my goals is to be able to spend the winter close to the border and take trips into Mexico at will. To this end I've set up a non-location dependent business that I can run from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Its taking off slowly, but once I have a sufficient client list I'll load up the bike and migrate south each winter.

For business purposes I need to primarily base myself in the US so I've been looking at Gulf Coast Texas (Port A, etc), but your idea would work well for people like me. I'm very interested to see how this progresses.

Slightly off topic, but I was in Eagle Pass late 2011 and your advice on crossing into Mexico was invaluable, so thanks again PJ!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:35 PM   #51
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This is an intriguing concept....

It won't happen in the immediate future for me, but one of my goals is to be able to spend the winter close to the border and take trips into Mexico at will. To this end I've set up a non-location dependent business that I can run from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Its taking off slowly, but once I have a sufficient client list I'll load up the bike and migrate south each winter.

For business purposes I need to primarily base myself in the US so I've been looking at Gulf Coast Texas (Port A, etc), but your idea would work well for people like me. I'm very interested to see how this progresses.

Slightly off topic, but I was in Eagle Pass late 2011 and your advice on crossing into Mexico was invaluable, so thanks again PJ!

Thank you Amigo! Always here to help.

Yeah ... If I can get this going it might be a few years although if I jump into the original proposal the down payment is maybe 2 months away.

Honestly, some of the people trolling me were belly aching that I was a Commie because I wanted to give this away, but as far as I am concerned if I can ride and travel and have a place to hang then I would love it if a few dozen of my pals are hanging and cooking meat over mesquite.

Maybe when I return someone will have a cold beer waiting. I would be happy ;)

Incidentally, I have that business location/theoretical residency thang going on too. Still a resident of Florida and my attorney is sticking to that statement ;)

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Old 02-24-2013, 06:50 PM   #52
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Just FYI the timeline is "down the road"

When I get back to work (arghhhh!) I have a month's worth of bills but could put the down payment together in a week. So it's not a big deal.

Have been bugging a friend in the Hill Country about using her property for a summer resort (it's 20 degrees cooler there than in Eagle Pass in the summer) and she is about 5 years from retirement. But she is interested and wants to move forward.

A major reason why I am pushing this is that I need the space for a construction project that I see in 3 years.

My Lovely Lady retires in 5 years.

I am 57. Both my father and grandfather died of sudden and unrelated ailments at 59.

Ideally I will spend a good chunk of next year riding. Just in case.

But with all of this said I am pushing to get ahead ASAP. In a few months I expect to look at more properties in the area. Might even commit on something that I have seen. Thought that I had a deal there on one property but I think that we got outbid.

Like I always say, stay tuned.


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Old 02-25-2013, 10:02 AM   #53
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This was one of the 20 acre lots that I am considering. Found these squatters on the property -

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Old 02-25-2013, 11:31 AM   #54
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Was reading an article on RV park design. Kinda long and more geared to a commercial facility than to a private place with a handful of RV hookups like I have in mind, but they raise some good points. Like providing quality WiFi! http://www.rversonline.org/RVParkAnalysis.html


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Old 02-25-2013, 12:04 PM   #55
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Hey PJ,

Have you checked out this place...not too far from you...I know it's not what you have in mind exactly, but could give some insight into the community structure of this kind of thing...

http://elcosmico.com/
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:12 PM   #56
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Interesting! Thanks!

Marfa is in the general Big Bend area. I haven't gotten there yet but some friends of mine that live there really love and promote the area.

Lots of eclectic and, in some cases, eccentric folks out there. Supposed to be good riding in that area, too.

Wonder what their occupancy rate is like with restored old timey trailers and $125/night rates? ;)


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Old 02-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #57
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I'm watching your idea from the standpoint of "up north" riders coming down and using the place as a jumping off point for excursions into Mexico...especially for winter get aways. You might have something here PJ...
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:44 PM   #58
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but I figure that I might need something to clear brush and dig trenches unless I can find someone to do the work on the cheap ;)
Caveat: No slamming of anyone intended.

I would think, that being that close to the border, there are usually small independents that would do the work for less than it'd cost you to do it yourself (when allowing for the cost of equipment and equipment maintenance). That they might be borrowing their employer's equipment for some Saturday/Sunday word might need to be expected.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #59
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I'm watching your idea from the standpoint of "up north" riders coming down and using the place as a jumping off point for excursions into Mexico...especially for winter get aways. You might have something here PJ...
I have helped several people find places to park their trucks - in fact, one of the inmates from here just contacted me today about getting back together maybe 5 years after I took care of his truck and he's taking another trip to Guatemala.

That, and I think that some people would be more comfortable on their first Mexican trips if they had a few hours with a rider familiar with riding in Mexico. The locations that I am looking at would make that possible.

Thanks for your interest Amigo!




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Old 02-25-2013, 03:46 PM   #60
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Caveat: No slamming of anyone intended.

I would think, that being that close to the border, there are usually small independents that would do the work for less than it'd cost you to do it yourself (when allowing for the cost of equipment and equipment maintenance). That they might be borrowing their employer's equipment for some Saturday/Sunday word might need to be expected.

I think that's probably the reality here.

I saw one of the pipeline companies bring in a piece of equipment to clear brush. It took this thing 20 minutes to clear what would have taken me 2 years using a chain saw. And then there is that issue of things like rattlesnakes ...

Of course, they also hit a piece of fence made out of drill pipe. I was lucky this machine didn't sling a piece of pipe through my RV like a javelin through a loaf of bread, but that's another story.

I am kinda wondering if something like a skid steer tractor might come in handy for lighter stuff. Those prices don't look that amazing for used equipment.

Clearing brush. Running lines for utilities. Perhaps using something as a crane to erect pole building structures. There is a wide variety of tasks if I/we try to civilize a piece of desert property.


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