Urban refugees from crowded city streets, pandemic-based fears, and racially charged violence give in to the temptation to “leave it all behind” and move to more rural states. Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana are favorite destinations for the exodus. And why not?  The cost of living is lower –$350,000 buys a house – an actual house with a yard and several bedrooms, just right for those in-home offices. Homes typically are located within a 20-minute drive to groceries, pharmacies, doctors, schools, and coffee shops. Skyscrapers don’t block big skies – in fact, you can actually see the stars! Free movement without COVID-19 constraints allows access to a plethora of outdoor activities: hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and hunting, to name just a few.  

Your realtor shows you a few houses, maybe even virtually, and tries to match you with the home that has the amenities you’re seeking.  You find “the perfect” home – a couple of acres, a good internet connection, a gravel driveway, and a quirky road that is never used crossing the corner of “your spread.” 

About that quirky road . . . You saw it when you first looked at the place with your cousin, who’d moved “to the sticks” years ago, and your realtor.  You’d laughed at your cousin back then for leaving the urban amenities, calling her your “country mouse” cousin.  Looking over the place with her and your realtor made you glad you’d called on her to be your not so native guide to rural living.  Your realtor reassured you that quirky road was leftover from when your new home was part of the farm back in the ‘40’s, but “nobody uses it now.”  Your country mouse cousin had a different take, something about “access” and “landlocked neighbors.”  Your realtor is the professional, thought, so you accept his input about that rutted track in the back at face value, and envision that location as the perfect place for your garden or play area or chicken coop or dog run.   Perfect, right?  You ignore your cousin’s rural guidance (and that niggling voice in your own brain).  

What could go wrong?