Monday, July 17, 2017

a monday matinee...


80,82,69,0,B

44 comments:

John Wells said...

Tested out one of many reasons I bought the DJI Mavic Pro - the ability to check my road conditions after it rains. Shot this all from the dry comfort of my front porch. Got just over an inch total from two storms over the past two days and it looks like there are only a couple of bad spots and one near washout. Will probably need 2 sunny days with no rain for it to firm up enough for my truck to make it out. The Mavic's 2.5 mile trip to the highway took 8 minutes. The video is sped up 290%. Had full signal to and from the drone except for the very end went it dropped from 5 to 4 bars (the maximum range is claimed to be 4.3 miles). Camera settings were on auto with an 8 ND (3 stop) filter on the lens. Flew in regular mode with a max speed of 20 mph. News Theme by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...) Artist: http://incompetech.com/ Black Vortex - Scoring Action by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300037
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Lin Weichold said...

With dearth of citizenry for tax rolls, how is road up keep financed? Suppose I can look that up for myself, but that was my immediate thought. Is there state money that supplements? If so, that poses a conundrum.

Zole said...

That thing is a lifesaver. It's perfect to check out all of your property while sipping on a cold one! I definitely want one!

remmij said...

cool flight - nice use of the tool, that must be a 'trip' flying that with the goggles - disorienting at all? — save some wear & tear on the Toyota
looks like some serious damage @ ~0:59 in… what about flying it outside the line of sight… isn't that a FAA thingy?
anyway, already a skilled pilot flight and impressive range - Ben needs an aviators scarf for the flybys… have you done any night flights or are they an FAA taboo too?
a full moon flight might be scenic… even a tip to the dark night sky…
Where in the flight does it pass your accident site? Is it possible to go straight up to an altitude that you can see the highway from?
"Although, many commercial drones provide live video feeds of their flights, the FAA generally requires operators to fly their drones within eyesight. But the commercial drone industry is actively preparing for a day this requirement is lifted."
hard to do with the goggles…
…was the X-wing flying high cover for your Mavic or just in chance hot pursuit as you exited your drive? the wonders seen at tfl…
tfl x-wing starfighter

Yoda on Wells
… could he know Margery Bills? might she be Lola? ;-P
Yoda speak
swampy around his house too…
"Weird Al" - Yoda
seagulls

Road said...

Yeah...very cool, very handy. My Mavic just showed up about an hour ago and I'm looking forward to using it in my wanderings. Learning some things watching you learn yours.

Ronald Mahan said...

Remmij asked about road maintenance? Because no one else answered your question - I will try to provide an answer.

All Terlingua Ranch roads are private roads - with some limited exceptions. And the ranch has about 1100 miles of private roads to maintain. Don't know where you got the false idea that the State of Texas contributes state funds to do any of the road maintenance on these private roads. The only roads Texas maintains are a few of the old state roads that are located within Terlingua Ranch. One example of a road the state maintains - is the state road that connects Highway 118 with Highway 385. And strangely - this road was never given an official road number - maybe because it fails to meet minimum state requirements for a state highway?

The Terlingua Ranch property owners pay for the road maintenance done on most of these roads. This is done by the the property owners paying an annual fee - called the MAINTENANCE FEE. This fee was illegally adopted in 2005 - when the POATRI Board claimed the Members in Good Standing approved the new Flat Fee - despite the well known fact - THAT THE FLAT FEE GOT LESS THAN THE REQUIRED MAJORITY OF VOTES. Currently less than one half of property owners now pay the MAINTENANCE FEE. Many property owners do not believe the current FLAT FEE is fair for the smaller property owners. The fee system charges an owner of a 20 acre tract - the same fee as the owner of one hundred 20 acre tracts or a 2000 acre tract. Needless to say the large landowners and all real estate companies - love this FLAT FEE system - as they are now still paying less than they did prior to 2005. Some property owners are still protesting this screwing by maintaining a large sign (on their private property - that informs all - NO SAY - NO PAY! They still want a legal vote on the issue of Maintenance Fees!

Ronald Mahan said...

Remmij did not ask the question about funding of road maintenance. My error - Lin Weichold was the gentleman who asked about funding of road maintenance.

remmij said...

remmij knows there are some cans of worms best left unopened… but it adds to the character of the area, thanks for the explanation Mr. Mahan.
not to be confused with a kettle of fish
said kettle
& der schwarze kessel
… of crab, snakes & beams:
"3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone;
10 or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent?"

Walter White knocks…

Larry G said...

re: private roads... well that explains why there is a flock of mailboxes down on Tx 118, eh?

How much is the "fee"? When folks bought their land were the promised roads without fees? What are the property owners guaranteed from the land company? What are the property owners responsibilities?

Nothing is ever simple! ;0-)

The USPS won't normally "deliver" on private roads... In Virginia.. Schools buses often won't use private roads... The problem is a lack of standards for design .. construction and maintenance... and that ends up with a conundrum about liability if bad stuff results.

There's also an issue with utilities like electricity and telephone.. normally.. there needs to be a right-of-way - a guaranteed corridor for poles and stuff...

Apparently UPS, FedEx and John's telephone company have different rules than USPS ... etc.

John Wells said...

It makes no sense to think that the post office would consider delivering to every household on 1,100 miles of private dirt roads - hence mailboxes along major routes. I think the yearly fee from the POA is about $170 per year now but I don't pay it because the fees have been raised over the years without a proper vote of the landowners. Some sort of fee has been in place since the inception of Terlingua Ranch. The POA is only responsible for road maintenance. If you waste your money on a title insurance policy when you buy land out here, all you learn is that road access is not guaranteed because these are all private roads. Title insurance is no longer of any use because it is so easy to check titles online. Utilities used to be subsidized for remote areas but that is no longer the case. Big Bend Telephone does what they can to accommodate all their customers.

Patricia said...

Nice...would have been very handy to find Benita when she was missing...poor girl.

J said...

Looks like the drone was money well spent!

Ronald Mahan said...

John - you made the statement - that: "Some sort of fee has been in place since the inception of Terlingua Ranch. "

My father was one of the early purchasers of Terlingua Ranch property. In the early days - the only access to your property was the original ranch roads - which were few and far between. And there were no Fees for their maintenance nor anything!

In order to increase their land sales - the Ranch Development Firm began to build more roads. And with the great increase in road mileage of mostly dirt roads scraped out by bulldozers, road maintenance became a costly expense for the Land Development Firm and they asked for "voluntary donations". Many owners were so happy with the some sort of road to access their property - donations worked for a while. Then the development firm pulled out - and POATRI was established. And the requirement of maintenance fees was established and made mandatory. But the early fees was very low and was based on the premise that the more property you owned - the more fees you were accessed. I.E. this was similar to State property taxes - which are largely acreage based. And all was well until 2005 - when POATRI illegally changed to the FLAT FEE - as I earlier commented on.

Lin Weichold said...

No. I didn't have the idea that the state contributed to county road maintenance. I was wondering, based on population of county and size of county. I found county website, browsed a bit in the county check registry. That is truly financial transparency in action. Found the county roads and bridges three year maintenance plan. Very specific, by presinct. Down to cattail removal. Knew there was something outta kilter due to obvious missing mileage in the plan. Your answer as to private property assessment filled in my knowledge gap. Your description of the inequity of the application of govt involvement strikes to the heart of the problem mankind has faced since we decided we would live in social groups. Whoever has the most often controls those who have less. On the other hand, that's how consultants developed. To unfurl the spread sheets and tell us the truly equitable way to do things.

Lin Weichold said...

What does poatri stand for?

Lin Weichold said...

And do any of the smaller property landowners have legal challenges pending re flat fee?

Margery Bills said...

Oh, I forgot to post my original comment. Anyway good going. I enjoyed reading all the comments.

Mike D said...

you
suck
Dan it took me 30 min to ppst this

Larry G said...

Interesting - the DRONE VIDEO was GOOD! So GOOD that the footage helped to precipitate the road discussion.

In general.. for rural areas - infrastructure and services are often essentially subsidized whether it's USPS or the telephone company or even UPS or Fed Ex. It's considered a cost of doing business. in rural areas the "fees" seldom cover the costs so those costs are recovered from overall revenues.

The same thing also occurs with State-maintained roads. It's unlikely that fuel taxes just from the folks that actually use 118 cover the original construction and maintenance/operating costs...

as seen on the private roads - "drainage" is a big hairy deal - AND expensive.. and 118 has it's share of expensive culverts and other drainage infrastructure to protect the roadbed and the macadam on top.

One could make the case that the land on either side of 118 is "valuable" .. ONLY because 118 is there and that the farther you get away from 118 the more problematical access can be especially when it rains.

Most all of us drive down state roads never paying much attention to their "stuff" but roads are expensive... even minimal "cheap" ones like 118 can cost a million a mile... and that's just the road bed and surface and basic drainage, not additional bridges and culverts ... which can cost 10-20 times per foot (reinforced concrete) what a basic road costs.

But I AM.. looking forward to more Drone's eye views of John's Field Lab world!

Lin Weichold said...

Government up front and personal. Most basic need in society. Roads and how to pay for them. Rest of us in more population dense areas dont have to think about this issue. Take it for granted there is going to be a road when we need it, someone else will build it, maintain it, and only grumble about net paycheck size.

Ronald Mahan said...

Lin Weichold" asked:

1. What does POATRI stand for?"

The answer:

P - Property
O -Owners
A - Association
T - Teringua
R - Ranch
I - Incorporated

2. "And do any of the smaller property landowners have legal challenges pending re flat fee?"

The answer:

Property owners have sued POATRI twice on the illegal approval of our POATRI fees!

The first lawsuit failed because the plaintiffs ran out of funds to continue the expensive litigation involved. To be more specific - our pro-bono lawyer decided to side with POARI - so we had to fire him - and to non-suit our first legal challenge.

The second lawsuit failed because the Brewster County Judge ruled the property owner plaintiff did not "Have Proper Legal Standing" - to sue POATRI. Currently there are no lawsuits pending.

We would welcome help to sue the POATRI Board - that takes care of their wealthy friends (i.e real estate companies) by shifting the road maintenance fee burden onto the backs of the smaller property owners. POATRI is well aware that they may be subject to future lawsuits on the legality of their FEES - and has quit trying to take property because of failure to pay the illegal fee. They know what that NO SAY - NO PAY sign means.

WhyR said...

No taxation without representation- boy, that goes back a long way.
How do people get appointed, or elected, to POATRI? Is there any turnover (regular elections, etc)? Can smaller landowners, who must exist in greater numbers, unite to install more favorable representation?

Mage said...

Wonderful use of that drone. I was fascinated by the washes and the spots of runoff.

John Wells said...

WhyR: POATRI is a lost cause and best left to just being ignored. The local real estate interests pretty much control who runs for and gets elected to the board of directors. Funny thing is - every couple of years, someone gets their panties in a knot and there is a coup at the ranch resulting in the ousting of the manager and any number of employees. A bunch of amateurs vying for control of a useless organization.

Me Notu said...

Hi John,
Nice video and it's nice to get a perspective of the road in after the rain. I own the property .5 mile south of you below Sal's property and hadn't made it out there since April, so this was nice to see. If you ever get a chance to run your drone down the Lavaca Rd, I'd sure love to see the video. What do you think the odds are of Big Bend Telephone running a phone line to my property?

Dale said...

Trump can help by making them all toll roads lol

Larry G said...

I dunno about tolls but folks should recognize that every foot of Tx 118 used to be private property and the State forced them to sell it .. so others would have a road they could use.

All our public roads were obtained that way - i.e. taking private property from others - whether they wanted to sell or not..

Private roads are basically some agreement between the owner and the users of it...

typically if there is no agreement - then no right to use what others own - unless folks
go running to the govt to make them...

we all take for granted our use of public roads... we assume it is a "right"... and it is but few of us recognize that that "right" was provided to us by the govt taking land from others so we would have that right.

Jon P said...

Great Video John!
I like how Ben looked up when he heard the drone of the drone. Awesome view of everything and big time distance range. You could probably fly it over and check out my place.
Well Done My Friend!

Dale said...

Most roads have to meet minimal standards of the state or county before they will accept the right of way. Things like a proper elevation, dome, cliche and drainage. The graded paths out there would not qualify but are better than nothing at all.

Larry G said...

for new construction - the state determines where the road will go..they determine what terrain conditions are acceptable- first and then takes the land (with "just" compensation).


for existing roads (which may not meet state standards) to be accepted into the state system - they typically require the current owner to bring it up to state standards at their cost. first and usually don't pay for it, just accept it.

In some States the state might help by matching the owners costs.

but again - most all of us benefit from the State doing this- even those that live "off-grid"! We just take them for granted. Just imagine if folks could choose not to pay fuel taxes!




Ronald Mahan said...

John's drone film also vividly shows the great number of detours made in this relatively short section of road.

POATRI policy is to simply cut in a fresh bypass road - when the existing road becomes non repairable or a part of the land drainage system. The latter problem happens quite often - because the graders keep making the roadbed lower than the surrounding terrain - creating new dry creek beds - when it rains and they flood. Also notice that the original road went straight over the large hill near - near Highway 118 - which was abandoned and a new bypass road was constructed around this hill. This hill has a lot of Bentonite clay which proved to be unmaintainable - and extremely slick to drive on. When wet - there was no traction trying to go uphill - nor any braking - when going downhill.

And because of the standing water on the roads - it should be obvious that POATRI does not utilize roadside drainage ditches nor road culverts to keep roads from flooding.

Like John Wells warns all - it is best to stay off these roads until they dry out a few days. I once stuck my 4x4 diesel pickup truck - and it took many miles of walking just to find a telephone to call for help. Then it eventually took two wreckers to do the job - and a great many dollars. These are not all weather roads - they are traps for your car or truck - WHEN IT RAINS!

Dale said...

At a cost of 2-3 mil for 1 mile of 2 lane road it is safe to say what you have is all you ever will have. Unless you can convince the DOD or Homeland Sec to put an installation at the far end of it. Then you will get the finest road money can buy.

John Wells said...

I am actually quite happy with my road as is - if it was all weather, there would be more neighbors out here. The current grader operator actually does a pretty good job on the roads.

John Wells said...

Me Notu: Big Bend Telephone will only provide service if you have a permanent structure and grid power or an alternative in place. The alternative energy system must operable full time and be able to handle a standard commercial grade 110 volt, 15 amp AC circuit at the service location . The alternative power must be installed in such a manner as to meet all applicable federal,state, and local codes for installations of the specific equipment type. If you have line of sight to the tower on 9 Point Mesa or the new tower at the highway, they will not run the line to you but will provide you with a dish to get phone and internet. If installation requires them to run a hard line it will take at least 3 months once you get on the waiting list before they begin the work.

Me Notu said...

I've found that when you get caught in the rain on this road it's best to to either get through as soon was and safely as possible or stop at a flat area and wait for it to pass. It's like driving on ice when it's pouring and within minutes after the rain stops it's muddy, but passable. Of course, the best option is plan ahead so you're not caught in it and the have to test up the road. That's my very limited experience with these roads.

Me Notu said...

Thanks John. I'll plan accordingly.

JudithK said...

Wow I wish I'd had a drone when I had 2 miles of pasture road between me and the hard pavement. Very very cool. Not to mention the wonderful views you've got there.

Lin Weichold said...

Very in depth information. Thank you. I flashed on the meaning later last night. And thought, of course, owners association, probably the most nefarious "government" body/ form alive today. I wish you and your like minded peers success. No doubt it will be hard won.

John Wells said...

Me Notu: Here is my 10 year "experience with these roads". The one thing I really hate the most out here is tourists tearing up the road when they have no business being out here in the rain. It's all fun and games for those coming and going, plowing through in their 4WD vehicles - but I live here full time and have to put up with the aftermath. When you come out to your property, keep an eye on the weather and have respect for it and me. FYI - I have been swamped in for as long as six days after a storm - rain out here can be devastating to the road. Here is a subtle warning...If you ever get stuck out here unprepared, I won't be very inclined to lend assistance when having been warned, you should have known better.

Margery Bills said...

That would be eminent domain Larry.

James Beach said...

I second John's comment on the roads. I've made peace with it and have even come to appreciate my big nasty hill and swampy road - means less people unlike other areas of the ranch.

Margery Bills said...

Lin, maybe. With ours here in TX, a different one, a lady in charge stole $89,000 before being caught. But right after that she had a car crash and died.

Margery Bills said...

John, thanks for the warnings. When it snow, I will stick to 118 or not visit.

Larry G said...

I guess I'm a little surprised that the Land company would repair any road that serves those who won't pay for it..

Those gaping holes .. are going to require an expensive piece of equipment and some paid operators to fix... If I were the land company .. I'd show up and say: "it's going to cost a few hundred dollars to get a backhoe and an operator out here for a few hours.. how about helping to pay for it"?

Someone in the land company is paying to send the equipment and operators out there.. right?