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Old 04-12-06, 12:20 PM   #1
FarHorizon
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Where to move to?

Since my home town is practically unlivable now due to a population that instantly increased by 40% post hurricane Katrina, my wife is on me to move out of state. Being self-employed with clients nationwide, this is an available option.

Since I'm a "home boy" and haven't traveled much, I'm not familiar with too many other places.

Features we seek in a new home location include:

Year-round bicycling weather (taking into account the new, warmer winters)
Good medical quality and availability
Functioning public transportation system
Away from tornado-alley
Away from earthquake-prone areas
Away from hurricane-prone coasts

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 04-12-06, 12:32 PM   #2
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I'll suggest Austin, TX.

Bike friendly (even before Lance moved here). Reasonable housing costs, and Austin is large enough to have good services available.

I moved here last December, after living here for a couple of years in the mid-80s. It's a lot larger than it was then, but the essential character is the same.
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Old 04-12-06, 12:35 PM   #3
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+1 to Austin, and a plug for San Diego, even though we hardly need more residents. It's got everything you described above, Bicycling magazine appropriately named us the best city in the country for cycling, but there are two drawbacks: the price of housing is in the stratosphere (although there are outlying communities a bit more affordable) and yes, the possibilty of an earthquake exists, although I rarely think about it.
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Old 04-12-06, 12:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
...yes, the possibilty of an earthquake exists, although I rarely think about it.
Since I'm a safety engineer whose specialty is disaster prevention, "rarely thinking about it" isn't a good enough option. I've friends in CA who are after us to move there, but I doubt that it'll happen. Natural disasters are possible anywhere, but good site selection can minimize the probabilities.

Risk consists of two components - severity & likelihood. The flood of New Orleans (or a bad earthquake in California) represents one end of the spectrum: high severity + low likelihood. I'd much rather have the other end of the spectrum with a mild freeze but every winter (low severity + high likelihood).

I'll check out Austin. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 04-12-06, 02:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Since I'm a safety engineer whose specialty is disaster prevention, "rarely thinking about it" isn't a good enough option. I've friends in CA who are after us to move there, but I doubt that it'll happen. Natural disasters are possible anywhere, but good site selection can minimize the probabilities.

Risk consists of two components - severity & likelihood. The flood of New Orleans (or a bad earthquake in California) represents one end of the spectrum: high severity + low likelihood. I'd much rather have the other end of the spectrum with a mild freeze but every winter (low severity + high likelihood).

I'll check out Austin. Thanks for the suggestion!
Find your area geographically and then look for a house halfway up a big hill- then you can start or end your rides with the hill in the right direction.
Have to admit that Natural disasters are not the norm over here- but they still arrive- If its not the Hurricane- that is not going to come- of 87- Its the floods or even this week with the blocked roads due to Trees coming down with the weight of snow that fell overnight. Then we have the Drought or the embankments collapsing due to being washed away(Depends where you live) or some other disaster that is man made.

We may not have the volatile climate that you have in the US. but even we have our problems
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Old 04-12-06, 02:33 PM   #6
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You might consider the somewhere near my area, Charlottesville, VA. Some surveys say it's the best place in the country to live. http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifesty...ies-main_x.htm


The nearby Shenandoah valley is great cycling country and not as expensive.
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Old 04-12-06, 02:43 PM   #7
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FH
I'm from Houston, lived for a long time in Seattle, now a long time in Oregon, I have family all over the west (Tx, Az, Ca, Or, Wa,) I'd cast my vote for 3 places: Portland, OR if you need a big city. Voted best bicycling city in America (http://tinyurl.com/em7ct) sorry, Gary. Mild weather year-round, little damp in the winter, tho--unlike Seattle where it's just wet. Good public transportation and very bike friendly.

Next choice is Eugene, OR. Smaller than Portland (about 150,000 including the surrounding area), very bike friendly. College town, hippiedom still lives, but very modern--arts, entertainment, sports. I live an hour south of Eugene and absolutely love it (we actually have better weather than Eugene).

Third choice is Chico, CA. College town, very bike friendly. Weather runs from hotter'n heck in summer like BR, but hotter. Winters are very mild, although this year the rain has swollen rivers to dangerous levels--Gov Terminator has recently declared an emergency in the area. Not a big city by any means but a couple of hours will put you in one (Sacramento, Bay Area).

All of these can be expensive places to live although compared to San Diego, they're pretty reasonable. If you don't have to live directly in the cities, a thirty minute drive can save a ton of money. My home in Portland would go for $300K, ($600k in SandyEggo), $250K in Eugene--Chico is really pricey. I'm putting mine on the market for $190k this summer. New homes are more, there's a lot of selection in the 100K-200K range, fixers cheaper. Too, there are a number of cities between these (I-5 corridor) that may appeal to you as well.

I tend to favor Oregon, no sales tax, reasonable income tax, reasonable car registrations --like $50 for 2 years regardless of age or newness--and we can't even pump our own gas. The total population for the entire state is only about 3 million and most live on the I-5 corridor. Eastern Oregon can be beautiful Bend, Hood River, The Dalles, OR; might be worth looking at. No major earthquakes in years although we do have a volcano or two.

I did the search for the best place to move about 15 years ago (just too much mold in Seattle for my oldest kid)--then traveled to visit the places we had picked; and really had a blast doing it. Have fun!

John in Oregon
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Old 04-12-06, 03:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
+1 to Austin, and a plug for San Diego, even though we hardly need more residents.
That's a real interesting comment. I've two friends who have just moved to the Gulf Coast area. They reason there are fewer people there now and the conditions are ripe to have a real impact on things as the area rebuilds. I wonder what the population density will be like and how that will impact on the riding conditions?
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Old 04-12-06, 04:04 PM   #9
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I vote for southwest Texas, I will be there when I talk my wife into it (fat chance).
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Old 04-12-06, 04:29 PM   #10
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Fort Collins Colorado, or Parker where I live.

Great trails, I rode every week this winter, very outdoors oriented. No major earthquake faults, winters are getting milder every year, lovely mountains nearby, etc. Our only natural disasters are hail storms, which though damaging, never kill anyone, and an occasional very small tornado. We had one in our neighborhood - blew down one fence, took off one roof.

Year-round sunshine.

Housing prices are stable and actually decreasing right now.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old99
...Portland, OR ...Eugene, OR...Chico, CA...
Thanks, John - I'm speaking at a conference in Seattle this summer, so while I'm in the NW area of the country, I'll look these over.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Fort Collins Colorado, or Parker...
Thanks for the suggestions, Dnvr. I've been to Denver, CO for a conference before and done some work for clients in the Durango area. I also stayed in the 4-corners area of New Mexico - Farmington, to be exact, and liked the area just fine. Fort Collins/Parker, I'm not familiar with, but will check out.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:10 PM   #13
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Follow your friends and neighbors to Arkansas.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:10 PM   #14
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We are still part time residents of the San Diego area. Love it's climate. I could not stand the deep south. I despise hot temperatures. I certainly would not bike there about two months of the year. Almost prefer the frigid temperatures of the north. I get pretty miserable to live with when it gets over like 87 and humid. Ask my wife. Coastal California is my choice.
But about earthquakes. Is it chamber of commerce hype. I guess it is. San Diego reports said San Diego is far enough away from the big fault lines, the shaking would be minimized in San Diego county? Is it true. Talked to scientists in our old town. They said they moved there because it's bedrock is granite?
The faults off of coastal San Diego were reported to create faults no greater than like 4-5 range. Anyone know for sure. I wanted to believe it.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
+1 to Austin, and a plug for San Diego, even though we hardly need more residents. It's got everything you described above, Bicycling magazine appropriately named us the best city in the country for cycling, but there are two drawbacks: the price of housing is in the stratosphere (although there are outlying communities a bit more affordable) and yes, the possibilty of an earthquake exists, although I rarely think about it.
San Diego is the least likely city in California to be hurt by an earthquake. The San Andreas goes along near the San Diego/Imperial County line on the Imperial side.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:18 PM   #16
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San Diego is great if you are a millionaire (or more)!

One of the things that seems to be happening is significant climate changes.

This year on the Eastern Plains of Colorado we have had tremendous winds - much more than in the past. I have no clue whether or not this will continue, but as in New Orleans and other places, past climate may not be too good at predicting the future. Or, it may all just be an anomaly!
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Old 04-12-06, 05:22 PM   #17
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A better question would be, “What two cities in each state are the most attractive as a future destinations”? The reason for two cities in each state is to allow for two major degrees of freedom. For example, a coastal state should have one seaboard city and one inland city. Landlocked states often have some other type of geographic diversity (i.e. mountain/plain, river/non-river, or even upstate/downstate as is the case with New York and Maine). To make it even more interesting, you should only nominate cities in states you do not live in. This prevents people from always saying their home city is the best in breed and minimizes the natural bias towards large cities because most people already live there.

Two I like (in states I do not live in) are Mars Hill, NC and Madison, GA. One thing I like about Mars Hill is that, not only is it a neat city, it is within 300 miles of many places I really like to go.

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Old 04-12-06, 05:49 PM   #18
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In New Hampshire there is no State Income Tax nor a Sales Tax. You can pick your own tax amount based on the value of the house and the town you chose to live in. Maine, on the other hand, has the highest taxation rate in the country. NH Traffic is generally very "bike friendly." BUT--- regularing riding outside between late November and the end of March cannot be counted upon (but I am considering studded bike tires next winter).
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Old 04-12-06, 05:57 PM   #19
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BUT--- regularing riding outside between late November and the end of March cannot be counted upon (but I am considering studded bike tires next winter).
I lived in NH for a few years--near Peterborough. Beautiful country, but as I recall, there were two seasons: Winter and July. (Only kidding, sort of).
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Old 04-12-06, 06:03 PM   #20
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Tucson, AZ 360+, days of sunshine, very little rain (average 11" annually), warmer winters (had a touch of snow 3 times in 28 years), very warm summers with extremely low humidity; 400+ miles of bike lanes; great cycling clubs; varied terrain from 2200 to 9,000+ ft. with the nation's most southern snowskiing only 30 miles away (all uphill). Home prices in the 200K+ to multi million $$.
Eugene, OR is great, but quite a bit of rain.
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Old 04-12-06, 06:22 PM   #21
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Yet another option might be to keep a "summer home" in a northern state (Michigan on Lake Erie?) and a "winter home" in a southern state (Texas?). Moving between them would provide variety and year-round temperate climate. If I got a duplex in both locations, I could have the unused property supervised in my absence. Renting half of each duplex would defray costs and assist with taxes...
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Old 04-12-06, 06:24 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry
I lived in NH for a few years--near Peterborough. Beautiful country, but as I recall, there were two seasons: Winter and July. (Only kidding, sort of).
No, there's 4 seasons:
  • Almost Winter
  • Winter
  • Still Winter
  • Black Fly
That's why I moved down to Austin
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Old 04-12-06, 07:44 PM   #23
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Eugene, OR is great, but quite a bit of rain.

Well, compared to Tucson. It's only 36 inches, about the same as Houston, Austin, Seattle, Baton Rouge.

John in Oregon
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Old 04-12-06, 08:32 PM   #24
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Many places will do, look at total cost of living as well as weather. Here's a thumbnail of some areas I am familar with:

WA, Puget sound-- cold, overcast, few sunny days, lots of moisture. No natural disasters.
WA, eastern-- cold winters, warm warm summers, dry, distances from family is potential issue. No natural disasters.
CA, bay area-- overpriced property, heavy pollution, heavy congestion, poor education system, impatient drivers, high earthquake risk
CA, sacramento to modesto--high property, good biking interest, moderate congestion [it's spotty],
temps get in 100's in summer. Moderate flood risk, just avoid the flood plains.
CA, N. Valley, chico to Redding-- Chico is college town. Redding is somewhat of a retirement town. As the rest of the valley, temps will be in 100's in summer. Winters are mild. Palm trees grow well in Redding. Once every 20 years, there may be a inch of two of snow for a day, but usually it's just rain in the winter. No natural disasters in area.
Iowa-- can drop to -20 in winter. snows tend to stick around year round. Limited room for bikes and quite hilly.
Illinois-- some chicago burbs are nice. It'll be cold in winter. Slight risk of tornados.
Indiana-- fort wayne is a nice sleeper town. very reasonable. Open roadways, good stoplight system. Naturally cold in winter, very slight risk of tornados.
Colorado-- eastern, dry, windy in winter. busy farmers. not ideal for biking.
Colorado-- Springs to Denver to Ft Collins, great weather, few non biking days, over 300+ days of sunshine a day. High risk of lightning in the rainy season, but it doesn't last long. Lots of bikers, althought many are pseudo road racers. Stay away from boulder as property is overpriced and congestion is high in spots. Oh, also increase risk of skin cancer because of combo of high sun days and high altitude.

Guess that's all I can help with. Have fun.
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Old 04-12-06, 08:35 PM   #25
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Very nice year 'round riding in Gainesville, FL, and hurricanes hardly ever happen around here. Of course being from LSU territory you might not like living in Gator central.
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