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Thread: El Cajon, CA

  1. #1
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    El Cajon, CA

    Anyone here from, or used to be from, or know anything about El Cajon, CA?? Or San Diego? I'm graduating college soon and an ex-coworker told me he could probably get me a good job there. I live in Philly now and love it. My plan is to move to NYC but this job is also tempting. I'd probably be making pretty decent dollar bills but is cost of living rediculous? Worse than NYC? I don't think I can survive in a non-big city atmosphere so can I live in San Diego and commute to El Cajon? Do I need a car for this? Is there a good bike/music/bar scene?

    thanks
    adam

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    El Cajon is a 20-40 minute drive to downtown San Diego (depending on traffic). It gets hotter than hell in the El Cajon valley in the summer and nice and cool in the winter. San Diego is a good bike friendly town but if you live in San Diego (not El Cajon) you'll probably want a car for the commute.

    There are a few good bar scenes: Pacific Beach (PB), Gaslamp district (pricey), and cool neighboorhood bars in places like Kensington, Mission Hills, and North Park to name a few.

    Don't forget that the cost of living is pretty damn high in San Diego. Housing costs are still high and traffic is getting worse all the time. Still, the weather is near perfect year round and there are few places I'd rather live.

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    is there any sort of subway, rail line, bus to go to/from el cajon and san diego?

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    Born and raised El Cajon.

    No good public transportation from El Cajon to anywhere worth going.

    Cost of living is high, New York is obviously higher. El Cajon's cost of living is lower than most of the rest of San Diego county. I didn't like living in El Cajon. You can bike places... but it's a ride. Everywhere worth going requires a drive.

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    If you're a mountain biker, it's centrally located to give you access to some of the most unbelievable trail riding in - at most - 30 minutes in any direction.

    El Cajon an absolute cultural wasteland compared to a city like Philly (sorry El Cajon). It's flat, brown, stucco, and gross. San Diego is also a cultural wasteland, but more along the lines of 'sleepy beach town that really thinks it's a city', and the amazing weather makes up for the serious lack of cosmopolitan feel. It's sort-of big-city feel, but feels less 'dense' and less 'lively' than Philly.

    The fixed gear scene is rapidly improving. Lots of cool folks. The Critical Mass group is pretty ******** and unfocused, and does more damage than good, but there's a lot of other rides to go on and people to meet. We also have a velodrome in Balboa Park, if track is your thing.

    College bar scene... lots of hot bimbos, frat boys, bleached hair, shallow twits, military meatheads, and brainles surfers. The awesome people are a bit sparse in that realm. Better to meet folks somewhere else, unless one-night hook-ups based completely on bodyfat percentage are your thing.

    Expect a horrendous cost of living. The pay scale is about 20% less for the same job compared to San Francisco, and price of median houses is about the same.

    You cannot commute on a bike many places. It's fine certain neighborhoods, but they're often joined by large stretches of highway that are either impassable or incredibly dangerous.

    All my crankiness aside, I still love it here, and it's a great place to live.

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    if you are the type of person who wants to live in nyc, you will hate san diego.

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    Edit: you can go to NYC?

    Dude, if you can afford it, go there now while you can. It's the center of the universe.

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    I agree with everything Schnee said...

    I'm from San Diego and a bunch of my family lives in El Cajon (my cousin just started riding fixed! And he commutes by bike to Ocean Beach...I think, or some beach anyway, he's a lifeguard). If you have a choice, I'd move to NY...well, obviously, that's why I moved here from San Diego. El Cajon seriously sucks, but there are really amazing parts of San Diego (like, not PB) and you can't beat the weather.

    I wouldn't say cost of living is more than NY, housing is probably a bit cheaper, especially relative to the amount of space you get, but transportation is free in NY and San Diego sucks to get around in. There is no subway, a trolley that doesn't really go anywhere (although you can ride it for free if you're crafty) and the bus is super slow.

    There is a good music scene, good food, and lots of great people that I love dearly, but it's no big city. It sucks getting most places without a car and downtown is totally dead after like 6pm. There are lots of fun dance parties and a few good bars, but that's no joke about the bros!

    And the burritos rule!
    You're not punk, and I'm telling everyone.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeman
    if you are the type of person who wants to live in nyc, you will hate san diego.
    Hang on for a sec, buddy... I gave up NYC after five years to move back to SD and I don't regret a thing. Both cities are rad, just for different reasons.

  10. #10
    Schwinn is In beakgeek's Avatar
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    San Diego is unique in its own way. Lots of new bike trails, weather is great. It's getting more culture. El Cajon is close enough you can get where you need to go. The trolley is spreading out, but hell you can ride year round without a jacket.

    <-----native San Diego living in the great white north

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarboots
    Hang on for a sec, buddy... I gave up NYC after five years to move back to SD and I don't regret a thing. Both cities are rad, just for different reasons.
    i lived in s.d.
    its not a city.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I passed through El Cajon on a 400K down form Riverside - Temecula - Julian - I-8 - El Cajon and back north. Lots of nice roads up in the hills. I grew up outside of NYC and visited The City enough times. I preferred el Cajon for riding. Hot weather head for the hills or down on the coast. Wold be a purely economic decision for me.
    This space open

  13. #13
    Loves Your Bike joelv's Avatar
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    Compared to NYC, El Cajon will be positively cheap!

    Rent will be less than 1/2 of what you're probably paying now for something comparable. And San Diego housing prices have been going down in the last 6 months, first time in over 10 years afaik.

    There are nice parts, but it's mostly just OK. San Diego is a nice, quiet place to live though. I lived there for 5 years and I miss it. There are many, many different areas to choose from (SD county is fairly huge) from beach towns to rural "midwest" feeling places (Lakewood, Santee). You'll have to own a car and do some driving, but if you're making good money, you'll have lots of good choices for living.

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    NYC is a maybe for me. For what I want to do, NYC is the best place to be, and I have a good chance at getting the job I want there, but it might not happen. I can get a job in the same industry(acoustical engineering) for almost sure at a good firm in El Cajon because of a prior coworker's recommendation. I think I'll have to go out for an interview some time and get a taste for myself. NYC is pretty much everything I want in a place to live at this point in my life, so if dudeman is right SoCal may not be my best bet. This has been just the kind of input I needed. I'll probably post another similar question about connecticut soon too.

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    OK, living your 20's in San Diego...

    You're at a beach bonfire, eating home-made carne asada tacos cooked on a portable grill, hangin' with friends after a full day of riding bikes / swimming / whatever, feeling tingly from the sun, smelling the suntan lotion. You're all listening to some reggae, watching the sun go down and the sky turning an amazing wash of purple, gold, and deep navy blue. The noise of the waves is entrancing. You see the fins of a few dolphins break the surface of the water about fifty yards out, as they swoop in to steal the best waves of the set from the last surf before dark.

    After the sunset, maybe you'll roll over to Hennessy's for cheap beer, or maybe the Belly Up to hear Dave Wakeling again. Maybe you'll cruise home, you're still feeling the Vegas trip last week, and tomorrow you're leaving early to drive to the mountains to snowboard.

    It doesn't matter, you're smoking some amazing crip. As the third toke takes effect, you ruminate... man, Marley was a genius.

    San Diego for ya.

  16. #16
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    hahaha freakin hilarious

    i agree, if you're comin from philly and considering nyc, san diego isn't gonna have as much city as you might like. its not a big city. you can ride from downtown/uptown to el cajon- takes about 40 min on a FG- my friend does it every single day for work. i wouldn't recommend living in el cajon for all the reasons already mentioned- all the things you'd wanna do at night are gonna be closer to san diego proper.

    weather is amazing, food is good, people are cool, music is good, bike scene isn't huge, but decent. but for me, what keeps me here is surfing

    believe it or not, critical mass is actually WAY better than it had become in the last couple years (over 200 people showed up at the last group ride, electric warriors, 2 weeks ago?!) CM should be the same turnout tonight. SD people, COME CHECK IT OUT! balboa park fountain, 7pm tonight!

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    Do people still cork streets when there are maybe three riders following behind?

    When the sawed-off punks swerve in front of oncoming traffic for fun, are they uniformly yelled at?

    Does the ride still do roundabouts at traffic lights while counterculture types join in a chorus of '**** THE RICH'?

    That stuff seriously turned me off on Electric Warriors.

  18. #18
    Strange As Angels Fixxxie's Avatar
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    Lets see
    Early AM - Surfing
    Mid AM - Bike ride
    afternoon - snowboarding
    Sounds goood to me. and downtown San Diego is actually pretty damn cool but not a real big city
    $0.02
    Quote Originally Posted by sefb222 View Post
    a good reason to form a demolition derby, for fixed gear bikes and the fools who love them.

  19. #19
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    If you get into MTB or already in it, the best trails in SD are about 20 minutes up the road. There's lots of lakes for fishing in the area, never road my bike in that Area though, so I don' know how the bike lanes are. But if you park anywhere near the beach, or mor urban SD, there's bike lanes everywhere. You can ride up to LA and and back if you want as well. El Cajon is prolly 20-30 minutes from the closest beach an downtown. I'm sure the weather here in SD is better yr round then NYC.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnee
    El Cajon an absolute cultural wasteland compared to a city like Philly (sorry El Cajon). .
    Agreed. El Cajon sucks.

    San Diego is also a cultural wasteland, but more along the lines of 'sleepy beach town that really thinks it's a city', and the amazing weather makes up for the serious lack of cosmopolitan feel. It's sort-of big-city feel, but feels less 'dense' and less 'lively' than Philly..
    It doesn't have the San Francisco feel, to be sure.


    The fixed gear scene is rapidly improving. Lots of cool folks. The Critical Mass group is pretty ******** and unfocused, and does more damage than good, but there's a lot of other rides to go on and people to meet..
    CM is on an upswing. Much better February ride than any others I had done about two years ago.


    College bar scene... lots of hot bimbos, frat boys, bleached hair, shallow twits, military meatheads, and brainles surfers..
    So everyone is that way?

    You cannot commute on a bike many places. It's fine certain neighborhoods, but they're often joined by large stretches of highway that are either impassable or incredibly dangerous.
    Aside from perhaps Carlsbad or Santee, everything is connected pretty well if you just work at it. I come from Spring Valley/Rancho San Diego with out problems. I can hit El Cajon in 1 hour from down town SD, and I'm slow on a fixed. I've made it to Kearny Mesa, El Cajon (east El Cajon) and out to Chula Vista in a 4 hour stretch, all from down town. It looks bad on a map, but if you play with it, you can get anywhere with out a freeway, you'd just have to climb some hills.
    Regards,
    William
    For the SD Crowd

    sdbikecommuter.com

    View from the handle bars:
    sdcyclist.blogspot.com

  21. #21
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    grew up in el cajon. I really enjoyed road riding around east county. some good hills to the east. beaches to the west. There are good things about san diego, and i definitely miss it. public transit kind of sucks and it's too spread out. i feel like it's going to turn into LA part 2 in about 20 years.

    although, it has the best burritos in the world.

  22. #22
    Stinky McStinkface exfreewheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnee
    College bar scene... lots of hot bimbos, frat boys, bleached hair, shallow twits, military meatheads, and brainles surfers. The awesome people are a bit sparse in that realm. Better to meet folks somewhere else, unless one-night hook-ups based completely on bodyfat percentage are your thing.
    Wow! San Diego hasn't changed much since I was a "military meathead" there in the 1970's... that's amazing!
    Because, yeah... uh huh! Umm, yeah!

  23. #23
    Stinky McStinkface exfreewheeler's Avatar
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    Adam, are you sure you want to goto NYC? It's not as great as it was a long time ago.

    And everything is a "terrorist situation" over there... Military people every where. That's one of the things I like about Philly. You don't feel like some rookie cop or gung-ho soldier is going to make a terrible mistake while you are just walking through.
    Because, yeah... uh huh! Umm, yeah!

  24. #24
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    ooo, thread is alive again. I'm trying to get an interview over my spring break at the firm in El Cajon.

    and exfreewheeler, I really do love Philly and am considering staying here, but the reason for moving is more career motivated than city motivated. NYC just happens to be the center of the universe so the best firms are there. I also just kinda need a change of pace.

  25. #25
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    i think the trolley goes from el cajon -> downtown.

    that said, i'd not live in el cajon (or most parts of SD county for that matter) under any circumstances, totally not my cup of tea. i wouldn't take a job out there either. the commute would be a complete ***** -- bike, car trolley -- doesn't matter.

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