Updated 3/19/06

The "Labor of Love", now for sale....

Eleven acres in La Cresta, Murrieta, California Click HERE to see the 280 degree view, and enlarge the image so you can see the labels.

The Early Years - 2002 - 2003

Grading - October 2004

Grading - Mid November 2004

December 2004-February 2005, more grading, rain.

2002 - We discover a piece of property in the exclusive, five-acre-minimum community of La Cresta, west of Murrieta, California, and eight miles from our present home. The For Sale sign was blown over, and the property was bare land with no improvements. It is eleven acres, and a flag lot (meaning there is a 40' wide part that goes out to the road.) I hike and later ride my horse up to the top, and truly think I've reached Paradise. The view is incredible.

May, 2004 After two years of planning and considering what needs to be done, we are finally ready to have the eleven acres rough graded. The plan involves moving approximately 18,000 cubic yards of rock and dirt. The driveway will be long with one large turn and five fire department turnouts, one every 150 feet or so.

August - Today I went up with a reel measure, some flourescent tape and the pooch and marked off the terrain that needs clearing before the grading can begin. I only got about halfway through. The second time I went up, I took Vincent van Goat, the pack goat and we finished marking the property. Here's a photograph showing where the hired help have cleared around the house location, partially finished.

The house pad is at the upper left of the photograph (note the tree), and I'm standing on a rise of land that comes from the road and before it turns right and starts climbing. The future driveway turn is out of the picture to the right.

August 2004. The land is cleared of brush now. We have the grading permit, have paid the surveyors to mark and keep ahead of the grading machinery, and now are waiting on the grading contractor to get back from vacation and fix a piece of equipment he needs for our land. He says it will happen on September 1.

September/October - the grading commenced September 26.

Ron and I have walked one-fourth of the way up the driveway and took this picture looking back toward the road and the section of the drive that goes out to the road. You can see Ron's car sitting on the rise of the driveway before it goes down to the road. Those two machines are doing all the work. They are a LOT bigger than they look in this picture.

We continue up the driveway to where the machines are working cutting keyways; we're about 1/3 the way up the driveway. The view is starting to look pretty good.

Panorama Here's a link to a panorama of the grading, looking both up and down the driveway from the turn, with labels.

This picture, below, is looking up the hill, where Ron is walking above the cut for the "key" that holds the dirt in place for the new driveway. Where Ron is walking is an old 4WD road. The new driveway will be lower than that, and curve out at 15 degrees. From this point you cannot see the house pad, which will be around on the front of the mountain overlooking the Santa Rosa Plateau. Absolutel privacy!

October 20. RAIN. (which equals MUD, and stoppage of grading for a few days). Little did we know that we were coming into an "El Nino" year, with over 48 inches of rain to fall on our land. Even with that much rain, all of the grading STAYED PUT. Amazing. Outstanding engineering.

October 22. The grading genius has put the culverts in; the lake is gone. Here's a picture of the driveway, after a few days without moisture.

November 1. I walked to the top and took a series of photos, and you can see a 48" wide panaorama of the 280 degree view from the house pad by clicking here. There are labels for landmarks we see on it, and also compass directions. This next picture (below) shows the view from the driveway turn, and how much more has happened since before the rain. One can even drive up to the switchback!

Above you can see the crane working on the driveway above, and the slope between the truck. My Dodge truck is parked where Ron's Honda was the last time. The truck in the middle of this panorama is the guy's in the crane.

Now I'm above the crane, looking down on the driveway, the surveyor fellow with the sticks, and the two five acre parcels with homes below the property. The view just gets more incredible as one goes higher.

If you have seen the long view from the house pad, you'll know why all of this is going on. I rode my horse up to the rough pad before we bought it, and just fell in love, with the thought that I'd gotten closer to Heaven here.

November 15, 2004 Yesterday Ron and I went up to see how the progress is going and took the following images....

This first image (below) is taken looking up the driveway from the spot where the crane was in the photo up higher on this page. that wonderful shadow on the road is from a native tree that is going to make it through the grading. We also have a beautiful 10' tall California coastal live oak next to the driveway lower down. We are salvaging as much of the native plants as the grading plan will allow us.

As I look off to the left from the same place on the edge of our driveway, and only about 2/3 up it, we see the nearest neighbor's house. The santana winds are blowing as evidenced by the palm tree on the right. Although late in the afternoon, it is still warm and clear. The cities of Murrieta and Temecula are off in the distance, and that is "No Name" mesa above the house roof, on the Santa Rosa Plateau.

In the photo below I'm standing off the edge of the house pad and looking back down the drive way, towards the northwest. The stake with the blueand red ribbon is marking the "daylight" edge of the pad when grading is finished. They'll be removing almost ten feet of dirt and rock to lower the pad. The reason they have to lower the pad is that was the only way the engineer could get a driveway up here and still meet the 15% grade required by the county. It will make the pad 2/3 bigger though, over 170 feet in diameter for the house area.

In this panorama for November, you can see the beginnings of the agriculture/guesthouse pad. I labeled it, and the driveway, too. Our second pad has better views than 3/4 of the properties in La Cresta!

November 22, 2004. We go to the land after the freak snowfall to see how the grading is going, and discover we can see the OCEAN from our property! The light was clear, the evening sun shown down and the clear blue of the horizon was apparent. With my binoculars, we could see the high rises in San Diego and the mountains of Baja California! Here's a picture, looking generally south. You can see the mountains of Baja California as the furthest rise on the left. Look at all that water!! This is from the house pad! Incredible!

December 2, 2004 - Ron and I drive the Honda all the way to the house pad, for the very first time since the grading began. They are double digging the pad for the certification for building.

Click on this smaller image below to go to the photo panorama of the house pad grading, which I took from up the already-graded slope above the future home site. This bigger image shows the piles of rock and debris that are being repacked and relocated down the driveway, and also shows the full view.

(click on picture)

The second pad (think barn or guest house) is almost finished, and in the photo below, you'll see a view from the house pad looking back. The driveway entrance to the housepad is on the far right, in front of Ron. There's an area about 55 feet wide that opens up to an area about 110 feet wide and that horse/guest house area is over 500' long.

The below image is from the opposite end of the second pad, looking back toward the still-being-graded house area.

If you click here you'll go to a panorama of the second pad, the driveway as it enters the house pad, and the entrance to the property.

December 16, 2004 - Today for the first time, I drove all the way up to the house pad in my Dodge diesel truck and camper. Incredible experience... coming up onto the pad just takes my breath away. It is so spectacular.

They are finishing the rough grading, and here's the look at the turn from a bit higher on the road.

I'm looking off to the northwest on the slope above the second pad (guest house or horses) in the image below, the house pad being to my right. At the widest point, this pad is about 110' wide, and is about 550 or more feet long. The view from this pad is better than most houses in La Cresta!

I've walked up the hill behind the house pad and taken the below image, which I put in Photoshop and superimposed some dimensions over it. Nice things of note: You can't see the nearest neighbor's roof below the pad at all. And you can see how big the pad is. I'm 122 feet above the pad here when I took this. At the widest point, the pad is 182 feet. It averages 175 feet in diameter, big enough for any house. That little blue thing off the lower right corner is my hooded blue jacket, hanging on a stake.

After looking at dozens of properties, we've come to the conclusion that the view from this property is incomparable to any in La Cresta. It has a passed perk test for septic, utilities are in the street, and it has a completely unblockable view for 280 degrees, sheltered by the mountain on which I am standing. The prevailing storms come in from behind this mountain, so the winds aren't as bad as those with 360 degree exposure. The parcel behind ours, we've been told by our grading contractor, cannot be built upon above our pad due to access issues. And our property goes up over the top quite a ways, far enough to prevent anyone from "breathing down our necks". We like privacy.

The only reason we decided to sell is because my husband wants a shorter drive to Cal State San Bernardino. Please email me if you have any questions. Email

All that needs finishing for the approval of the rough grading is the vee drainage ditches.