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Author Topic: West Coast - best place to LIVE?  (Read 15165 times)
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2009, 10:36:37 AM »
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QUOTE (blansky @ Apr 7 2009, 06:41 PM)
For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great.

+1 on that, I grew up there. Cost of living and traffic can be problems.

I live there, and can certainly confirm that the traffic is bad and the cost of living is ludicrous (can you afford $800,000 for a condo?), but it is a lovely area close to many good things, with near-perfect weather.  One thing the poster above didn't note is that the people here are generally considerably less courteous than in many areas; I've visited Oregon a couple of times (not Portland, but the southern coast area) and was pleasantly surprised by how extremely nice everybody was compared with what I'm used to in the bay area.  Sometimes I dream of moving to Oregon...

Lisa
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tsjanik
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2009, 01:55:15 PM »
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Hi Jack:

One option that you might consider as opposed to a specific location is to become a campground host at State Parks. I've encounterd a number of retired couples who serve as hosts in state campgrounds.  They somewhat oversee a campground for an extended period (e.g. 3 months); in exchange they have a free campsite.  One advantage of this is you can change where you live: summer in OR, winter in AZ. However the real appeal is that you will be in a location long enough to learn a little about it and have an opportunity to wait for the right light; not often the case when traveling.  Your "real house” could then be anywhere.  I don't have any details but I have encountered such hosts up and down the west.

Have fun,

Tom
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Lust4Life
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2009, 06:50:33 AM »
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Hi Tom,

Thanks for the suggestion.  I've met many folks that enjoy doing just what you suggested.  

When I retired back in 1994, we had a 40' diesel bus built, towed a 4x4 Jeep behind it, sold our house in Atlanta and traveled full time for just short of 3 years.
It was great!  Met many fine folks and just enjoyed the Gypsy lifestyle.

Bought another bus about 1.5 years ago and plan was to travel in it 4-6 weeks but keep home.  We got to Naples, FL where we used to winter in the 90's and never left, but to sell the home back in Atlanta.

My opinion today is that these big beautiful buses are Dinosaurs, especially if you consider the prospect of diesel rising back into the $4-$5/gal range.  At best they pull 8 MPG and depreciate like a rock thrown into a Black Hole.  Beautiful, yes.  Fun, yes. Practical at this point in life - probably not.

But I must admit mentioning the idea of getting another to the wife just yesterday!  I'm a slow learner. :-)

Jack

PS:  No, personally I don't like 5th Wheels and Pickups.



Quote from: tsjanik
Hi Jack:

One option that you might consider as opposed to a specific location is to become a campground host at State Parks. I've encounterd a number of retired couples who serve as hosts in state campgrounds.  They somewhat oversee a campground for an extended period (e.g. 3 months); in exchange they have a free campsite.  One advantage of this is you can change where you live: summer in OR, winter in AZ. However the real appeal is that you will be in a location long enough to learn a little about it and have an opportunity to wait for the right light; not often the case when traveling.  Your "real house” could then be anywhere.  I don't have any details but I have encountered such hosts up and down the west.

Have fun,

Tom
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enlightphoto
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« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2009, 03:40:37 AM »
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I can't imagine anyplace better to live on the West Coast that where I am in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.


What's the consideration? Centralize Departure Location.

Hwys 1, 101, and 5 to run N / S, and 80 & 50 to head East.



From my doorstep:


Within 30 minutes I ccan be in the Napa Valley, downtown San Francisco, or high up on Mt. Diablo.

Within 3 hours I can be on the Big Sur Coast, at the far end of Point Reyes or up on the Sonoma Coast, or paying my entry fee at Yosemite NP, or coming down the hill into the Lake Tahoe basin.

Within 6 hours, I can be in the Redwood Forests north of Eureka / Arcata, at Mono Lake or East of Reno,  NV., or in downtown Los Angeles.

Within 8 hours, I can be on the southern Oregon coast, Crater Lake, San Diego, or in the Southern Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.

In 12 hours I can be in Portland, Salt Lake City, Zion NP, or on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

(FWIW - These last ones are pretty serious drives but can be done in those times, although maybe not by most, but certainly by a motivated landscape photographer.)


Time and time again, that idea of the centralized departure point has proved this to be a remarkable place to live, not to mention you're sitting in the world-class environs of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hope that helps with your decision.
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OwlsEye
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« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2009, 08:44:39 AM »
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Check out Eureka California.
Eureka is in the Redwoods and is a very nice small "city."
Eureka is a progressive place with a lot of work and living potential. Photographically you have the the North California Pacific Coast, Redwoods, access to Oregon, and access to the California interior which includes the rarely visited Lassen National Park.

Eureka is about 3 hours North of San Fransisco... far enough to be away, close enough for a weekend visit.

Now I think I'm ready to move there... I wonder if they have any jobs available for a Biology Teacher  

cheers,
bruce
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« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2009, 09:30:27 AM »
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Quote from: OwlsEye
Eureka is about 3 hours North of San Fransisco... far enough to be away, close enough for a weekend visit.

Now I think I'm ready to move there... I wonder if they have any jobs available for a Biology Teacher  

cheers,
bruce


To correct; I went to Humboldt State for 5 years in Arcata (7 mi. north of Eureka)
The fastest I ever made it to or from the the SF BAY was 5 hours.


The 'average' driver stopping for food or gas will take about 6 hours.



Mind you, making the trip in 3 hours is possible....


...with a plane.  



If anyone wants to see the area, I have a brand new gallery of photos of the North Coast.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 09:35:55 AM by enlightphoto » Logged

Gary Crabbe
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NEW PORTFOLIOS:
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186,000 miles/sec: Not just a good idea, it's the LAW!


IMAGINE THAT:
Every sixty minutes, the universe expands by one billion miles in all directions.
Lust4Life
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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2009, 01:03:08 PM »
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Hi Gary,

Your logic reflects my own on this topic.

From a Micro viewpoint, ideal is to have activities in your immediate area that you enjoy on a daily basis -- jogging, fishing, swimming, community of like minded people, shopping, etc.
From a Macro viewpoint, ideal is to have varied topography and points of interest within a days drive.

Your right about the east bay area of SF - I've been looking there but can be a bit deterred by some of the areas crime rates.  
I've also been looking in the area east of Sacramento - Cameron Park, Folsom, etc.  Give up quick access to the sea, but the cost of housing is not unreasonable.

There is one serious drawback to the SF region, and that is the geologic threats that exist.  Of course, this is only an issue if a serious earthquake occurs.  But if and when it does, sure could screw up a nice lifestyle!

In short, with all this pondering the old axiom is proving valid.  There is no one place that is ideal, all require compromise.

Thus for the Bay Area; high risk of earthquake devistation the area (may or may not happen in the next 20 years but the learned geologist sure are convinced).
 
For CA as a whole; high CA State Income Tax of 10.3% on every dollar earned; sales tax generally at 8.75%; property taxes that run in the 1.17-1.27% of purchase price and many of the new communities have infrastructure taxes levied on the homes that amount to another $200/month in COL; States broke; etc.

In short, dang, comprises are a-plenty!

But as I sit here in FL typing this, you could have driven into SF, had a great pizza for lunch, then headed up to Muir Woods for a hike on Fern Creek Trail, and then off to China Town for a great dinner and return home!!   :-)

My luck is that I'd stay domiciled here in FL, take a vacation to your area and be killed in the earthquake that would occur while I'm there!!!

OK, I agree, I need an attitude adjustment!
Jack

Quote from: enlightphoto
To correct; I went to Humboldt State for 5 years in Arcata (7 mi. north of Eureka)
The fastest I ever made it to or from the the SF BAY was 5 hours.


The 'average' driver stopping for food or gas will take about 6 hours.



Mind you, making the trip in 3 hours is possible....


...with a plane.  



If anyone wants to see the area, I have a brand new gallery of photos of the North Coast.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 01:08:22 PM by Lust4Life » Logged

Paul Sumi
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« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2009, 03:39:00 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
Thus for the Bay Area; high risk of earthquake devistation the area (may or may not happen in the next 20 years but the learned geologist sure are convinced).

The fact is, the entire west coast is tectonically active.  It's one of the reasons we have beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, Mt Rainier, etc, but unfortunately earthquakes and volcanoes, too.  If you're looking for someplace geo-physically stable, well, there are the Appalachians.   (Not trying to diss the Appalachians, which have a beauty of their own).  

ANYwhere has its hazards - it's a matter of whether you can accept the risk trade-offs.  And yes, I hope that you don't have the misfortune of experiencing The Big One while you're visiting the west coast!  

Paul
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 03:44:01 PM by PaulS » Logged

schrodingerscat
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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2009, 03:43:48 PM »
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Quote from: Lust4Life
Talked with a buddy last night who lives in Long Beach - after that chat I've ruled out anything south of Carpinteria, California.
Now looking at:
Carpinteria, California
Santa Barbara
San Luis Obispo/Morrow Bay
Monterey
Santa Rosa - was there in 80's and liked it.

Also Sequim and Port Townsend in WA/Olympic Penn.  But the more realistic I become, the less I think I can handle the months of gray weather and drizzle.

Though I love Carmel, it seems to become nothing but a tourist trap in the Spring-Fall and the traffic becomes a nightmare on 101 (last visit there was 2 years ago).

I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
That would mean giving up the beach access but I'm finding beach access may have to be traded off for other attributes.

Jack


On this list, I'd vote for SLO. Nice college town fairly close to the Pacific. Puts you in good striking range of the Sierras as well as LaLA and SF, but gets bloody hot in the summer. One of the epicenters of the craft beer movement.

As you had stated a desire to spend time swimming in the ocean, the further north you go, the colder the water, the higher the bluffs to get down to the beach, and the rockier the beaches. The surf gets more treacherous the further north you go as well.   Another good beach town is Santa Cruz. Would consider that over the greater Monterey area.  Another thing to consider is that from Monterey north, most of the summer is fogged in on the coast. People die in Frisco if the temperature goes above 80 F.

If a vibrant cultural scene is important, that pretty much leaves The Bay Area or LA. College towns are usually Ok, but on a much smaller scale. The BA is the only place in California with a real mass transit system that will actually let you get around without a car. If considering the East Bay, check out Alameda as well as the Berkeley/ Piedmont/ Hayward hills areas. Try and stay on the west side of the hills.

I'd stay out of the valley. 100+ for weeks at a time and colder in the winter than the coast. The central valley now has the worst air quality in California, thanks in part to suburban sprawl and just too many vehicles, as well as geography.  Both the I5 and 101 corridors have turned into bedroom communities with the attending rush hour gridlock. A couple of years ago it took me an hour to get through Santa Rosa.

If your goal is to be within easy striking distance to mountains while living on the coast, you are pretty much restricted to Pismo on north. SoCal will place you closer to the deserts and the South West. Death Valley is still one of my favorites. In California, nowhere on the coast is really convenient to most of what is considered to be classic landscape territory(Big Sur/Pt Reyes excepted), tho there are little gems hidden away everywhere. A spendy little beach town that is often not thought of is Malibu. Besides the famous beaches, it's surrounded by coastal parkland and far enough from LA  to avoid the smog. Must be a reason the Hollywood types live there. I'd stay out of the canyons as they go up in flames just about every summer.

If the beach thing is not set in stone there are quite a few nice little towns along Hwy 49 in the Gold Country, about two hours from SF unless it takes four, depending on route and time. Several are on Yosemite's door step. Another below-the radar area is the Anderson Valley. Close to the coast and the redwoods, and an up and coming wine region. About the same distance from the BA as Santa Rosa, but much less crowded and nicer climate.

Probably the best way to check things out is to start in San Diego and head north on the Pacific Coast Highway sometime in July/August, this will give you a feel of what weather and traffic conditions are like most of the time. Same for the valley and foothills. When I lived in Laguna, you either got out of town by Friday afternoon, or planned on spending the weekend home. In any case, it's best to spend some time in the areas rather than relying on internet searches and peoples experiences from years ago. Things have been rapidly changing throughout the state.

Cheers

My experience with California - A 6th generation Californian, I was born in LA, grew up in the Bay Area, then went to school in SoCal and got stuck for twenty years(pleasantly so). Since high school, I've lived in Monrovia, Glendora, Glendale, Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Placerville, Alameda, Paradise, and currently reside in Sacramento. The ocean still beckons and I still miss the SoCal beaches and  cutural scenes. I try and get to 10,000' in the Sierras at least once a year.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2009, 03:50:01 PM »
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Quote from: schrodingerscat
A 6th generation Californian...

Just 3rd generation for me, am also an Angeleno... my grandparents came to America and California simultaneously in the early days of the 20th century.

Paul
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 03:51:54 PM by PaulS » Logged

schrodingerscat
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2009, 09:27:28 PM »
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Quote from: nniko
I live there, and can certainly confirm that the traffic is bad and the cost of living is ludicrous (can you afford $800,000 for a condo?), but it is a lovely area close to many good things, with near-perfect weather.  One thing the poster above didn't note is that the people here are generally considerably less courteous than in many areas; I've visited Oregon a couple of times (not Portland, but the southern coast area) and was pleasantly surprised by how extremely nice everybody was compared with what I'm used to in the bay area.  Sometimes I dream of moving to Oregon...

Lisa

Just don't mention you're from California. Been thru Oregon and Washington many times.

Old bumper sticker - Don't Californicate Oregon.

Of all the places I've lived, the ones with the friendliest folks were in SoCal.

If you can handle the weather, my favorite city in the Western Hemisphere is Vancouver BC. The scenery in the area is a bit of allright as well
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2009, 09:32:51 PM »
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Quote from: PaulS
The fact is, the entire west coast is tectonically active.  It's one of the reasons we have beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, Mt Rainier, etc, but unfortunately earthquakes and volcanoes, too.  If you're looking for someplace geo-physically stable, well, there are the Appalachians.   (Not trying to diss the Appalachians, which have a beauty of their own).  

ANYwhere has its hazards - it's a matter of whether you can accept the risk trade-offs.  And yes, I hope that you don't have the misfortune of experiencing The Big One while you're visiting the west coast!  

Paul

I'll take the chance of an earthquake(been thru 2) any day over the certainty of hurricanes and tornados.  Or blizzards and floods, for that matter.
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Philmar
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« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2009, 03:45:47 PM »
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2 words:



Bandon, Oregon
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dalethorn
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2009, 10:40:37 AM »
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I like to be outdoors photographing things. All sorts of things. Being in Southern California means losing *far* fewer days from rain, cold, and other hazards than most other parts of the country. You could get an equivalent number of good days in some of the desert locations of course, if you don't mind being 100 miles or more from the nearest 7-11.
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