A Taste of Tahoe at Sea Ranch

After much haggling back and forth over the meaning of “turn key” and, of course, price, we closed on the Smiling Fox Retreat on July 31, 25 days after first seeing it. That is pretty fast given we had two separate pest inspections, an HOA inspection and a building inspection done in that time as well. Of course we thought we had lost the deal several times due to a quite volatile seller and some rather inept seller’s realtors, and all of this occurred after we swore to ourselves we simply were not going to look at Sea Ranch houses this year. Goes to show you how well we can predict our fates doesn’t it? So now this is our ocean view. We are “tree people” living in surroundings that feel more like Tahoe than the ocean due to the big trees.

A spot of morning. Do you think I should “dig here”?

We have been living in near chaos since buying. First we had our only deluge of guests arrive this summer during the week of closing. Kris Castleman was up for a week. Karlin (my niece), Krista and Amalie came for the weekend, and our realtor Chris Hutchins, and her husband Jamie came to turn over keys and escape the Sacramento heat. As it turned out Chris and Jamie were the first occupants of the new house since we were out of beds in our rental on Masthead Reach when they arrived. Jerry and I got two nights in the new house before relinquishing it to the contracting process.


The deal is we got good contractor referrals from Chris who works out of Sacramento. She could get us reliable workers fast so we can hopefully get the house back on the rental market before we leave here in September. Of course the downside is these contractors “move in” while they are working, but it is a good way to test the house’s readiness for guests.

We bought it turn-key so it is furnished quite well, but it is amazing how fast the “little things” add up as we try to give the house some character and ready it for special guest stays. Our plan is to put it back on the rental market before leaving here (no abalone divers and wild partiers please!). We have made no plans yet on the Tucson property, but one idea is that we may downsize there by moving up here during the staging and selling. That is not a decision we can make from here.

The people who have visited the Smiling Fox thus far say it seems very peaceful. We had trepidations about buying a place in the woods thinking it would be too dark, but the house gets great light and the woods have their own intrigue. We are about a mile from the ocean and out of tsunami danger as Chris quickly noted. One of our new neighbors says he finds the ocean “boring” and far prefers the woods. I don’t know if I would ever go so far as calling the ocean boring, but hope to enjoy the forest at this same level of enthusiasm.

The road to the Smiling Fox Retreat. Pongo leads the way.

So we have not been to the gym or on any hikes lately and it shows. I think Yuma has even slowed his vole hunting since he does not have our full attention in this project. On the other hand he presented me with this very charming specimen one morning recently and surprised us all with a small rat as an unexpected gift (always alive of course).

Do you suppose they get dirt in their ears when they dig their tunnels?

On one of our past Saturday hikes we were accompanied by a native flute player. How new-agey is that to be piped through the redwoods? It was really quite magical hearing the sound filter through the trees when you could not see the piper. We are hopeful we can get out to at least one hike this week in between shifts of workers we are anticipating.

It works as well for hikers as it does for rats.

Sorry this has taken so long to get out. I can’t promise to be better in the future but it could happen.

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