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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Planning move/buy land - where to stay while looking?
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ICC
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# Posted: 16 Oct 2018 21:02
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OK. I like seasonal change but not in either extreme. I have some snow but not too much and warm summers but it is seldom over 90 and then only for a couple hours.

Even where I am in sorta poor NM, forested land is almost never less than 10K an acre even when looking at very large tracts.


As for not wanting to have to deal with rules and fees, many places that may not have building permit fees may still have a state level building code that, officially, must be followed. My NM county can be rather lax in enforcing code compliance, but if push comes to shove every habitable building must be built to the 2015 IRC and the 2009 energy codes. But there are many homes and cabins around here that had no permits and are maybe iffy on some code areas. However, septic codes are strictly enforced, and I believe, rightly so. Potable water can be a precious commodity here and in many other places.

So I am curious to know just what rules or fees you are mainly trying to avoid and what you would see as reasonable.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 17 Oct 2018 00:25
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Well to be honest with you the main reason I want to avoid having to pull permits is because I'm not experienced in building, it's something I want to learn as I go. Reading about all the little details of when you have to have things inspected and and the waiting periods and fees make it seem unrealistic for 1 man to build himself a cabin, if it has to comply with regular residential housing standards.

On a side note, Vermont is looking pretty cool. I'm gonna have to keep doing some searching on it but It seems like a beautiful place to live.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 17 Oct 2018 01:33
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Well, some folks will disagree, but many if not most of the rules or methods that are laid out in the building codes are related to safety. Safety as in the walls, floors or roofs are constructed to be strong enough to sustain the typical weather and the typical uses of typical people. Safety as in stairs that are easily negotiated by people of all ages. Safety in that window and door openings are constructed so as to not weaken the structure. Safety as in securing the roof structure so high winds will be less likely to rip the roof off. The list goes on. The codes are not all evil.

Yes, there are a lot of details that need to be done right. If time is taken to research and understand well before construction is started I believe a reasonably intelligent person can build their own home. It is important, IMO, to have good plans drawn on paper or produced in digital form and printed for reference. Rushing ahead is almost always certain to cause waste, extra expense and consume extra time and maybe result in an inferior result. There are time-proven methods that work to produce a home that can be expected to have a long life. No need to reinvent how to build a house.

Some places even allow and have guidelines for using materials such as straw bale or pumicecrete for walls. People I know here have built with those materials as well as traditional SW adobe. An old friend built his entire 1200 sq ft home basically alone, with little prior knowledge of construction, using non-conventional materials. It has been 5 years and it is not yet complete but it is legal. But he's getting there and because it was permitted he has been able to obtain insurance and knows that if he needs to sell it someday he has all the proper paperwork and official records.

Just my opinion.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 17 Oct 2018 23:37
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So I've been looking into Vermont and I'm still confused. If I buy land that is not zoned what all do I need permission for? Just a well and septic? I tried calling a towns only planning dept. and the lady on the phone wasn't sure what a permit was needed for, said someone else might call me tomorrow morning.
Any clarification would be nice, thanks.

frankpaige
Member
# Posted: 18 Oct 2018 01:39
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Borrego.
" Really? Done with this thread"
Your are SO right!Agh

deercula
Member
# Posted: 18 Oct 2018 03:33
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Quoting: turkeyboyslim
it seem unrealistic for 1 man to build himself a cabin,


You must watch this........
https://youtu.be/WmYCUljsrDg

See, it only takes a few minutes!

Malamute
Member
# Posted: 20 Oct 2018 19:28 - Edited by: Malamute
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Building to code isnt too difficult, at the very least it makes the place more valuable if you decide to move on at some point. Most of the things that probably seem daunting isnt too bad once you learn a bit, and here and other online sources can help you fill in the blanks. Many people have come here knowing next to nothing and were able to build livable cabins. One step at a time.

A guy I know from another forum started in Az several years ago and lived in his truck and in a tent until he had a small frame cabin dried in. Not enough trees to build with, but nice cover with the size trees there, and Az has a wide variety of climates. He goes by dads2vette. He may have posted here some, I think i suggested he ask questions here. He posted about his build on the bushcraftusa forum. Theres a number of build threads by various people on this forum also, lot of info. Try google searches using a search term, and "site:small-cabin.com" and it will only give results here.

Ive built several houses and xabins in the rockies, the codes and inspection is lax, but they inspect the main electric hookup, and septic. You can do your own electric and plumbing work on your own house if you live in it two years. They require a permit, but its basically what other said, they want to be sure itas not too close to property lines, and want to know what size it is so they can tax it appropriately. Otherwise, not very intrusive. theres much of the rural west and probably many other places thats similar.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 22 Oct 2018 02:28
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Thanks for the input Malamute, I hear what your saying. Fortunately I did talk to the Permit Specialist of Vermont and he told me what I wanted to hear. Land that is unzoned only has to adhere to state code which only requires permits for Septic, and sewage and a driveway if its more than 1 acre lol. Compost toilets are allowed and I'm not required to hookup to electric or water. I believe grey water treatment is allowed as apposed to having a sewer system. For anyone else looking to build in VT it's go a lot going for it.
Looking forward to talking a trip after sometime during or after December.

Source: https://dec.vermont.gov/ps-montpelier

Princelake
Member
# Posted: 22 Oct 2018 07:03
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I live in Ontario and what lots consider "northern ontario" there is lots of up here in unorganized townships for decent prices if they aren't on water. I do suggest coming up in May and stay as long as you can. Hope you love it enough to stick out the harsh winter weather for 6 months. We get 6ft of snow and lots of deep freezes. Find a place close to a border town and go back to the states when you have to. I live in Sault ste.marie right on the border of Michigan. I highly suggest if you come between now and may stay in an apartment or dorm like place. The Sault is a collage town and there's lots of Rooms that can be rented for a cheaper price.also go luck with the winter driving up here it's a whole other beast.
I'm definitely not going to talk you out of it and envy your ambitious mood and idea.
Basically look at northern Ontario the same as if you were to move to Alaska for climate.

Malamute
Member
# Posted: 22 Oct 2018 10:46 - Edited by: Malamute
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On the topic of where to stay while looking or building, a pickup with shell on the back or an SUV thats long enough to sleep in the back of with the seats folded down or removed makes it pretty simple, but it can get cramped for longer periods. Still, pretty handy for travel, and shorter term stays. Most walmarts allow camping overnight in their lots, which many folks take advantage of. I planned one cross country trip in a motorhome based on walmart locations across the Northern Plains states.

I spent several pretty happy years nomadding around N Az and up through the Rockies several times off the back of my motorcycle at first, then out of the back of my truck the rest of the time, with a couple years off and on in a tipi. I slept out under the stars on the ground much of the time as weather allowed, which was some of my favorite parts of that experience. Very fun times for a younger person, a life of adventure. I'm not as keen on the idea at this point in life, but I'm glad Ive done it and know I could again if life took a turn that required it, even if temporarily.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 22 Oct 2018 11:59
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Well my travels are taking me to Vermont since I'm state-bound and don't have the prerequisites required to immigrate to Canada.
My plan is to drive to VT late December and rent a cheap place for 6 months or less If it's an option. That way I can experience a few months of winter see how I feel, and I want to look at properties as spring or "mud season" is approaching and see how accessibility will be and how water drains or pools in different areas.

Do you think It's a good idea to look at properties in the winter or will it not make a difference?
Also my car is a RWD compact with all-season tires do I need to look for putting my car up for trade/sale or could that still work? I consider myself a decent drive but I don't have any experience driving in the snow. Thanks.

Princelake
Member
# Posted: 22 Oct 2018 15:18
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I bought my property in November and didn't actually know what I even had as a building surface. Thankfully it ended up being all exposed bedrock where I plan to build.
It's probably better just to stay put keep saving up and go when spring hits. There will probably be more for sale at that time to and you can see exactly what you have.
Also your compact is fine on snow if you stick to country roads. If your going more remote up fire service roads and logging roads your just asking for trouble.

Malamute
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 11:15
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Id suggest a quality set of chains or cables for deeper snow or icy conditions. They arent difficult to put on if you know a couple things. Rear wheel drive isnt as good as front wheel drive on snow and ice, and neither is as good all around as 4 wheel drive, but you can make do with what you have if you dont get in a hurry. Just remember it takes more planning to stop on snow and ice, and gentle use of the brakes works best, same for cornering. Some youtube vids on the subject may help you understand it better.

If it gets spooky when you get there, see if you can have a tire shop sipe your tires. Thats cutting very fine grooves across the treads, it can help on snow and ice.

If you dont have it, ask your insurance company about roadside or towing insurance. I thought it was a boondogle, the $14 a year or whatever it was at the time, but the first $135 tow bill I got (in the 80s), they paid it without a problem, as they have several other times I needed it. Its more than paid for itself many times over. All they ask is "did you have it towed the the closest place you could have it repaired?" if yes, they hand you a check. Once or twice thew towing company said they can bill the insurance company direct. Great peace of mind for possible breakdowns, or sliding off into a ditch etc. Did I mention I absolutely hate working on vehicles on the side of the road, especially when marooned 50 miles out of town.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 13:13
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Haha, thats some great advice. I didn't know roadside insurance was so cheap I will definitely look into it! Thanks for the info.

I am currently in the stage of making contact for 6 month rentals in the north-east Vermont region, If all goes smooth I my be ready to head up in the next few weeks.

Princelake I heard you mentioned there are more properties available when spring hits, why is that?

Malamute
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 13:28 - Edited by: Malamute
Reply 


Mine is through my car insurance company. Its basically towing insurance. I pay the tow bill most of the time, they repay me when I take the bill into the office. I see people talking about AAA and other types, but have no experience other than my towing insurance through my car insurance. No idea what it costs today, but tis been the best investment in insurance in my lifetime, having used it a half dozen or so times in the past 25 or so years. One tow bill was $360. They paid, no problem.

mojo
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 14:43
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I live in NH and make frequent trips to VT, and will be building my own cabin in northern NH next year very close to the VT border.

I think you will absolutely benefit from seeing prospective lots without snow cover. There's ledge, seasonal streams, vernal pools, wetlands, and topographic features that you just can't see when buried beneath feet of snow....those things will affect your ability to build.

A lot could look perfect when the ground is frozen solid, the vegetation dead, and blanketed by snow. Then come spring and summer you find out you purchased a boggy wetland that you wouldn't be permitted to build on (wetlands will be covered by state and federal laws, not town), or have a small wetland that you need to cross to access your build site that you couldn't get permitted to disturb with a driveway.

Regarding car....much of central and northeastern VT (i.e. the cheaper areas away from the postcard towns, Burlington and Boston $$$, and the ski areas) are traversed by dirt roads. Those roads turn to muck in the spring, with very deep ruts and steep grades. 4x4 with good ground clearance is a must on those roads at times.....I had a lot of fun scouting lots this past mud season in my Jeep. I wouldn't even think of taking those roads with a rear wheel drive car.

You should be fine on paved roads assuming you have experience driving in snow...and be honest about that part. It's not hard, but I see lots of cars on the side of the road with Southern plates every winter.

Also, nobody uses chains in New England....that seems like a western thing where the mountains are bigger and the people only drive in snow a weekend or two each year, if ever. People who don't have four wheel or all wheel drive tend to run snow tires in the winter.

ColdFlame
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 17:06
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I'd highly recommend a set of winter tires, ideally studded. The difference that winter tires make vs "All Seasons" (which should called "3 Season") is astounding. Given you have a RWD car, I think it's particularly important.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 18:05
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Quoting: ColdFlame
The difference that winter tires make vs "All Seasons"


Yeah I think you're right, even the realtor I spoke too told me I better get my tires changed when I get up here haha. Look's like i'll be getting a set when I go up there. Do you guys like to also get a set of cheap rims for the winter tires to make changing them yourself easy?

Princelake
Member
# Posted: 25 Oct 2018 22:52
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In my area real estate flat lines. There isn't much for homes and property. Nobody likes moving in the dead of winter. Properties are to hard to get to and look at. As soon as the snow is gone signs go up everywhere and there's a spring boom.
And most ppl in my area buy cheap black steel rims for their winter tires to make It easy and quick change over. Studs do a world of difference.

mojo
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 09:24
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Quoting: turkeyboyslim
Do you guys like to also get a set of cheap rims for the winter tires to make changing them yourself easy?



That's exactly what most people do here.

One other thing I would recommend...hang around at least through June if you can so you get to "appreciate" what black fly season is.

It only runs about a month, but it can be miserable depending on where you end up. If your prospective property is close to a clean running stream, expect to get swarmed between Mother's Day and Father's Day....which is exactly when you'd probably be chomping at the bit to start building.

Also...another thing you won't "appreciate" in winter are ticks. Be very mindful of deer ticks and Lyme disease come spring. They are way worse in the southern half of the state, but nightly tick checks should become part of your daily routine.

frankpaige
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 10:32
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""One other thing I would recommend...hang around at least through June if you can so you get to "appreciate" what black fly season is""
Flies, gnats, mosquitoes, humidity.....
LOL, I know some places are great to visit, but thank you all for keeping your critters corralled at home.
Know I am blessed when I discovered the property had no skeeters.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 11:40 - Edited by: turkeyboyslim
Reply 


Quoting: mojo
hang around at least through June if you can so you get to "appreciate" what black fly season is.


Yeah I've heard talk about this "black fly" phenomenon haha. I know we get em in Florida and this spring while i was jogging at a local nature park with my shirt off they made sure to harass me thoroughly. I would swear the same one would follow me for over 400 feet haha. But I know it must be 100x worse up north since people love to mention it. I'll try to make sure I understand what black fly season is before making a purchase.

Quoting: mojo
Also...another thing you won't "appreciate" in winter are ticks.


Yeah I recently looked at a tick population and also a lyme disease chart covering the USA and I had no idea that the north-east coast was the pocket with the most tick population and highest Lyme disease by far! That really shocked me. source:
https://i.pinimg.com/474x/ff/5e/5f/ff5e5fb010cd8def76825e4942f5b00f--high-risk-lyme-d isease.jpg

So with all that being said, how does one that lives there take steps to live harmoniously with their environment? What can you do to better protect yourself from ticks? I'm guessing with blackflys you'll want some mosquito mesh for your face and wear gloves and long shirt/pants. Quite honestly blackfly season sounds annoying but it's short not potentially life-threatening like the potential of lyme disease would be.
Another question, do ticks only present a problem when your walking through the woods or living in the woods? Or if your living downtown in an apartment do they like to get inside like other pests might?

I know this thread is all over the place but the reply's and recommendations really help me and I hope they help other people reading this in a similar position (or lack of position I should say.)

mojo
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 12:16 - Edited by: mojo
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I think you might be describing deer flies down in FL...we have those too, but they are different than black flies.

Deer flies follow you around and bounce off the back of your head looking to bite, and the bite hurts because it's a puncture. They are like a small horse fly and fast fliers.

Black flies are much smaller, like a big gnat, that scrapes the surface of your skin and sucks blood as it pools. The bites don't generally hurt, but they do itch like the dickens. Personally, I've found that I develop some tolerance to the bites, and after the first few my body stops reacting too bad.

So all that said, we have bugs in the Northeast, but it's not at all intolerable. I've only been driven out of the woods by black flies in the Canadian Maritimes...never in New England.

Black fly season is only a few weeks, and highly variable depending on location. You may not notice them at all in some places, others they will swarm. They breed in clean, cool running streams, and are actually a sign of excellent water quality. Deet doesn't do anything to them, so a bug net is best if they are really bad. You'll find a local bug dope sold at most general stores that seems to work better than nothing, but not perfect. I think it has cedar oil in it, so the smell is quite nice. They aren't strong fliers so a good breeze will keep them at bay as well.

Ticks....well that's just part of living in the woods here. Developing trails on your property clear of vegetation (that you would brush up against) will help you steer clear of them. Otherwise I just do a tick check each day. They are only really bad in early spring, and then again in the fall. If the summers are warm and dry, you might not find one from June-August.

We have two types of ticks:
Dog ticks - bigger, don't carry lyme. They are typically found in open fields and edge habitats - i.e. ankle to waist high brush.

Deer Ticks - smaller, carry lyme. They are typically found on the undergrowth of forests..particularly disturbed forests where there is some plant under-story that they can use to grab onto hosts. You won't find them in older growth forests where the canopy prevents smaller shrubs, vines, and bushes from growing.

You won't find ticks are all in urban areas, and generally not on mowed lawns or landscaped areas (you will on edges of them though). Best prevention is to remove their habitat, and keep hosts like white-footed mice and deer away.

I hike and hunt all over NH, and used to hunt NE VT, and I almost never find ticks or poison ivy in the White Mountains or north of Montpelier. Higher elevations = colder temps too and harsher winters that keep them at bay as well.

Skeeters....Each species has a different life cycle, so sometimes their numbers are boom or bust depending on the time of year and the conditions. Most summer days I can sit on my deck and never worry about them. Dusk and dawn they can be bad, and in really thick dark woods.

One thing I love on my house, and plan on building into my cabin is a simple screened in porch. Worth every penny to me.

mojo
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 12:49 - Edited by: mojo
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Bottom line of my post above - You will find bugs in VT, but don't let it dissuade you. Aside from ticks, the bugs are probably worse in Florida and they don't go away in the winter.

I'd take ticks and skeeters and black flies (and maple syrup, amazing craft beer, fine cheese, beautiful scenery, and good honest people) any day over the heat, humidity, and suburban sprawl of Florida.

turkeyboyslim
Member
# Posted: 26 Oct 2018 14:53
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Quoting: mojo
I'd take ticks and skeeters and black flies (and maple syrup, amazing craft beer, fine cheese, beautiful scenery, and good honest people) any day over the heat, humidity, and suburban sprawl of Florida.


True that, I feel the same. I have not lived there to know what it's like but In my heart, for the past few years i've had a calling. Moving out of Florida and owning land up north is a passion that's only grew stronger over the years.
I can't wait to head up to VT and see what it's all about but i'm torn between going up soon or waiting till were deeper into winter so more of my 6 month lease will fall under spring. I know the sensible thing to do is to wait around longer but I've waited to so long and it seems like whenever I make a compromise and wait till the right time, the right time never comes. Hope I can find a part-time job if I do end up going up there soon, help offset the rent and allow my time to not feel wasted. Oh well, it's a personal decision and I suppose, i'll see how things fall into place.

Malamute
Member
# Posted: 28 Oct 2018 20:23 - Edited by: Malamute
Reply 


Quoting: mojo
Also, nobody uses chains in New England....that seems like a western thing where the mountains are bigger and the people only drive in snow a weekend or two each year, if ever. People who don't have four wheel or all wheel drive tend to run snow tires in the winter.


AR AR AR! Humor! Excellent!

Chains are what make the difference between spinning your wheels, all 4 of them, in 4wd, in a foot or more of snow and hanging up on your axles and frame. Chain up and you can move. Ice is similar, you can actually go, or steer, or stop. They help in bad mud. Snow season in mountains can be late sept to late april, with leftover snow hanging around into june in many places. Some roads they stop plowing in late oct and try to get them plowed open by memorial day weekend, and they are sometimes snowed shut again a couple times before that stops for a few months.

There are times and places that chain laws go into effect and nobody is allowed on certain roads without them. Some states have two tiers of chain law, 4wd can be excepted, but not always.

Anyways, chains can make a huge difference in being able to move in snow and ice, particularly a 2wd.

May 30th
May 30th drive
May 30th drive


silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 28 Oct 2018 22:39
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When I drove a semi chains were required to be in the truck certain months. I'm not sure when, I forgot.

The weigh stations in the western states would do spot checks to make sure drivers had them in the chain box.

We had a rule. If the roads were so bad as to require chains we parked it.

For those unfamiliar.
Out west there are chain up areas right off the road before you accend then after you descend a mountain pass.
Drivers have been killed in these chain up areas by inept drivers.
So there was that danger than this, if there is ice under that snow chains are not going to help with traction.

A few times we sat it out for a few days until the chain laws were lifted.
Some drivers continued on. Most sat it out.
Maybe those drivers did not know or just let the dollar drive their decision to continue up the road.
It is illegal for a trucking company to tell you that you must drive when the weather conditions are unsafe.

mojo
Member
# Posted: 29 Oct 2018 11:28 - Edited by: mojo
Reply 


Quoting: Malamute
AR AR AR! Humor! Excellent!



I think you missed my point...

On the east coast we don't have massive mountains or steep mountain passes like you do out west....we don't deal with the snowfall amounts they get on the high elevation roads in the high Sierras, Cascades, or Rockies where I would agree chains are completely needed.

But I've also driven through "mandatory chain zones" in the Tahoe area that I laughed at because it would just qualify as a normal winter day in New England...but I understand the need for chains because most of the folks driving through Donner Pass were coming from the Bay or Valley and would be playing bumper cars if they didn't make chains mandatory even in such little snow.

Unlike out west, If you live in the Northeast, you're driving in snow for 4+ months of the year no matter where you live. We don't have people driving up to the mountains from L.A. or San Fran or Seattle who don't drive in snow on a daily basis and have little idea how to deal with it when they venture off the coast.

So it cuts both ways. We routinely get storms with multiple feet of snow in New England and virtually nobody here uses chains, but even our worst winters simply don't compare to those high elevation areas out west that would be impassable to even the most experienced winter drivers.

fitzpatt
Member
# Posted: 1 Nov 2018 14:21 - Edited by: fitzpatt
Reply 


Quoting: mojo
Unlike out west, If you live in the Northeast, you're driving in snow for 4+ months of the year no matter where you live. We don't have people driving up to the mountains from L.A. or San Fran or Seattle who don't drive in snow on a daily basis and have little idea how to deal with it when they venture off the coast.

So it cuts both ways. We routinely get storms with multiple feet of snow in New England and virtually nobody here uses chains, but even our worst winters simply don't compare to those high elevation areas out west that would be impassable to even the most experienced winter drivers.



Agreed. Having grown up in northern New Brunswick, where snow falls in feet and not inches, and having lived in Nova Scotia, where winters bring out such ice on roads that some people have a difficult time walking, I can say that no one uses chains in the maritimes. People are just use to it. Winter tires are your best bet. In Qu├ębec from December 15 to March 15 , all passenger vehicles, must be equipped with winter tires by law.

Sheeterdan
Member
# Posted: 5 Nov 2018 09:58
Reply 


Have checked out Adams county ohio, I recently purchased a parcel of land recently.and no building permits, you build what you like it's very rural wooded hilly to very steep. They call it the foot hills of Appalachian, there a amish community there

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