Fine for Wisconsin

December 1, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Posted By Kent McMillan on 11/30/2008 at 11:57 PM

I just got back from a combination business trip and Thanksgiving holiday in a part of Texas about 400 miles West of Austin. Unfortunately, due to a confidentiality agreement, I can't divulge many of the details of the business end except to say that it was to drive around a ranch with a prospective client.

I can however mention that this particular client is a musician who has made enough of a pile of money off the degenerate lifestyles of Louisiana and Mississippi to afford a pretty big ranch in West Texas. However, her name will have to remain undisclosed in this account seeing as how I'm sworn to secrecy.

I can tell you that Thanksgiving in Fort Davis was great as always, the weather sunny and beautiful.

On Friday, I met this client in a town about twenty miles South of Fort Davis and we drove out to look at a ranch that she was seriously thinking about buying. "Cool truck!" she said as I held the door open. I figured that it didn't hurt a bit either that I had a couple of her albums in the console, but as we got rolling down the highway, she went for one of the John Coltrane.

"Say," she asked, "mind if I play this?"

"Just eject what's in there now," I said as one of her CD's slid out of the player.

"So, you listenin' to me and Coltrane, huh?"

I suppose I could have mentioned the Joan Osborne album that was also toward the back of the CD box, but I knew from experience that it was probably better to let the client do the talking.

"Yeah," I said.

It turned out that she knew quite a bit about John Coltrane, certainly a heckuva lot more than I would have bet. I kept the truck pointed down the highway to the ranch as she fired into a freeform monologue that wound through his life and times.

The ranch she had in mind was actually a pretty nice place. It was (subject to determination by survey) twenty sections of what looked like fairly decent pasture.

The fences were old, but I'd seen much worse and I told her so. She didn't care that much about them."I can always get them fences fixed, can't I?" she asked.

As we drove around the ranch, I was careful to remind her that the fences may or may not be on the line, that the fence looked old, but that was no guarantee of anything. She seemed to be interested a little bit in how the early surveys had been run, so as we approached one corner of the ranch, I suggested that we stop and take a look to see whether the original patent corner was looking at us.

About 12 ft. off the fence corner, there was in fact an old rock mound with a marked stone.

I was pretty sure that I knew what it was, but I was also pretty sure that there was a more engaging explanation.

"Hmmm," I said. "It looks as if that corner isn't known." It's a good thing that you're planning on having a survey made to see exactly what you may be buying before you fork over the cash.

Fortunately, she really liked the old ranch headquarters buildings and that pushed the "Unknown" corner off the board for the time being.

On the way back, it was pretty clear that she'd convinced herself to buy the ranch, so I was just working on closing the sale on the surveying services, in particular laying it on fairly thick about how the fact that the land was fenced didn't really guarantee much of anything, or something along those lines.

As always, I mentioned how fences were considered to be synonymous with boundaries in some other states and what a mess that tended to lead to. As if on cue, just a perfect example showed up on the side of the road, a specimen so good that I had to stop the truck so that I could point it out and get a photo.

There plain as day was an old standard Texas Highway Department Type I concrete right-of-way marker in nearly perfect condition on the West line of a State highway right-of-way.

But less than eight feet away from the actual right-of-way marker was a sign reading "BOUNDARY LINE" hanging from the top strand of wire of a wire fence.

"See," I said, "it looks like the landowner thought that by hanging a "BOUNDARY LINE" sign on that fence every couple hundred feet that it wouldn't matter where the boundary of the land the State owns really is. "That's fine for Wisconsin," I continued, "but who'd want to buy a ranch in Wisconsin?"

"You got that right," she fired back. "When can you start?"

Best regards,
Kent McMillan, RPLS Austin TX

To read the rest of this thread go to

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to POB

Recent Articles by Kent McMillan

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

HxGN Live

More than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries attended HxGN Live, the annual Hexagon AB user conference, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on June 3-6. About 450 keynotes and panel discussions were held, and several companies from around the world exhibited their geospatial products. Here are a few snapshots from the event.


POB January 2015 Cover

2015 January

In this January 2015 issue of POB, we take a look at integrated technologies that provide real-time 3D measurements of a Brisbane construction site.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

With the unmanned aerial system (UAS) presence growing in surveying, you will in 2015:
View Results Poll Archive

Point of Beginning Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\POB\epubsite\Statues-pic-large.gif
Surveyor Statues

The perfect gift or award for any special occasion.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook logo Twitter logo  LinkedIn logo  YouTube logoRPLS small logo

Google +

Geo Locator

Buyers Guide

The #1 buyers' guide for land surveyors and geomatics professionals. Search listings for software and equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers and professional services. CLICK HERE to view GeoLocator.