To the Northeast of my place, there's a very large lake. It has spectacular views and the lake winds through the mountains. There are several big marinas there, and a town that is pure tourist. Lots of shops, restaurants, and all the nice things that the tourists want. My wife likes it very much.
I'm giving some thought to a different way of living that might satisfy both myself and my wife. Some years back, I went out to Lake Shasta with my brothers, and we rented a houseboat. Not one of these mega luxury things you see on the Travel Channel. Just a nice, comfortable and practical boat. It had a nice kitchen, a living room , two bedrooms and two baths.
You'd think something like that would be unobtainable price wise, but the marina where we rented the boat was selling their current stock and upgrading. The boat we were on for a week, which was perfectly comfortable, was listed at $37,000.
There was plenty of room, the particular boat we were on was configured to sleep eight. It wasn't like a camper, with a lot of folding things out and folding things up. More like a regular house, where you just walked down a central passageway from room to room.
The kitchen had a propane refrigerator, a propane freezer, and twin sinks. The water was hot and cold, and the range and oven worked off propane as well.
The bathrooms (there are two in this model) have a nice sink, a toilet, and a shower. You can always have hot water, because if your diesel engine is running it powers the water heater, while when it's not the little propane auxilary generator does the work.
As long as the diesel engine was running, you had AC power. If you shut the engine down, you could run the lights and just about everything else for around 8 hours off the batteries. However, the boat was equipped with a propane powered generator. The design was very efficient, and in a week of constantly meandering around Shasta we never had to buy more propane or diesel. We did have to go in a couple of times to off load "grey water". There was a system for simply pumping it into the lake but obviously no one wanted to do that.
We brought along my youngest brothers fishing boat. It was a life saver. The Marina had a massive grocery store, but we stayed at the far end of the lake where most people didn't go. With the smaller boat, they were constantly making supply runs (mostly for beer, which my brothers consume in astounding quantities.)
It also came in handy for exploring inlets. The shores had lots of little inlets that would wind and twist back off the main bank. With the skiff, we could find good places to pull in for the night without wasting a lot of time slowly maneuvering the house boat into these cul de sacs.
The type of houseboat we were on drew almost no water. The major limitation was the prop, which you had to be careful not to hit on rocks. Otherwise, you could get way in off the lake, into a secure little place to go ashore, build a fire, and set up for the night. It would have been possible to just drift out on the lake, but we saw too many imbeciles flying around in high powered speed boats in the dark and decided not to risk getting rammed in the middle of the night.
We usually built a fire on the shoreline, put out camp chairs and a camp table, and ate the evening meal around a fire. The boat had lots of living space, but it was still nice to get off and wander around a bit.
To be honest, the house boat we we rented was very comfortable, and even if you didn't have a retreat in the forest some hours away, you could still live out on a large body of water for a very long time with one of these. They have massive storage capacity.
All the beds and benches have storage compartments under them. Every wall has lockers and cabinets. The upper deck of the boat is wide and flat, and has been stressed to hold heavy loads. You cold store a lot of boxes and crates up there under tarps.
That vent looking contraption is part of the air conditioning system. This very basic house boat came complete with air and heat, both of which operated at very little cost in propane. All of that flat space is storage for whatever you need . Because the center of gravity of the houseboat is low, and the upper deck was designed for people to use as a recreation space, you don't have to worry about capsizing from overload if you use some common sense.
The point of all this is that I am trying to think of a way to keep the place on the mountain as a family retreat, and still do something new and interesting to enhance our lives after my wife retires. We can still go to Palm Coast for a week or so when we want to, and by not living there full time we would avoid all the pitfalls discussed and commented on in the last post. It's just a thought for now, but it does offer a way out of our dilemma. If we took one vehicle to the lake, and left it at the marina, I could scoot over to the mountain ever so often and stay a day or two if need be. That wouldn't solve all the issues, I'd still have to keep the place up. But life is full of choices and options.