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Moving to CA!!!
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David T
(DaveT) - F
nonsense. on 08/03/2012 17:22:57 MDT Print View

I'd just say to Jeremy to ignore the nonsense dumped out here, and come experience things for yourself.

Edited by DaveT on 08/04/2012 18:51:12 MDT.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Sacramento defender on 08/03/2012 17:30:41 MDT Print View

I want to chime in here to say that I think Sacramento is a wonderful place if you stay out of the suburbs. Midtown is a treasure. Yes it is tremendously hot in the summer, but it also has more trees per capita than any city in the world. The river is also easily accessible. If you have to live in a more suburban neighborhood, then all of the area's charms will be lost.

Midtown Sac

Good coffee, good beer, a bit of culture, pretty river, and easy access to Tahoe, Desolation, Pt Reyes, Yosemite, etc.

Disclaimer: I no longer live in Sacramento but still visit family and friends.

Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Dave T on 08/03/2012 17:31:41 MDT Print View

+1 Dave T

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
nah, just not california dreaming on 08/03/2012 17:38:45 MDT Print View

no hijacking, just alternate view of something that is far too easy to think is one thing, California is many things, and all have up sides and down sides. Dave gives the sort of fear and television based suburban view of the big urban areas nicely, that's why I don't live out there, not the kind of world I want to live in, nor the mindset I want to be around. The Berkeley / Hippy stereotype is amusing, and true in parts, but far more interesting than the alternatives, ie, bland corporate consumerism. Most of the hippies don't live there anymore though, it's actually kind of boringly upper middle class now mostly, with some really good stores and good food. The serious ones are all hard at work providing for the needs of the states largest agricultural industry, or top 2 or 3, depending on the year.

I never said the East Bay was a nice place to live, although it has its moments in parts, it's certainly far too long geographically speaking to really say it's one thing (it goes from richmond to fremont), although it's all connected now I think in one continuous urban strip, it goes from serious hardcore heavy duty wild west crime areas to the most boring suburbs to some of the nicest places to live in the entire country. And in the central areas, it's certainly way better if you don't use a car, that's for sure. You know, the environment, global warming, and all that stuff. I'm basically giving the North Coast view, Dave gives the valley view, and SoCal is not really in the picture since that's another thing altogether. Now this is going offtopic I will admit.

Ken, all I can say is, I grew up in the valley, and left the second I could, there's something about suburban tract housing/malls/drive everywhere I find tragically soulless, to put a word on it. Was impressed by the way that Sacto actually had a center now that didn't totally suck, that is an improvement. Good to hear that pollution controls are working, they also worked in LA, doesn't change the air or heat, but it does help.

I'll leave it at that, we'll see what the OP reports, he will find a very big cultural change from the east to the west coast though, much larger than you realize from the superficial aspects.

Ok, sorry, don't want to offend more valley types, obviously people like it out there or they wouldn't be there. And that's a good thing.

Edited by hhope on 08/03/2012 17:42:53 MDT.

rowan !

Locale: SF Bay Area
The Loin on 08/03/2012 18:55:29 MDT Print View

Dave T says: "Wanna live in SF? Live in Twin Peaks and Pac Heights, don't live in the Tenderloin."

The Loin is really not as bad as people think. I lived there for 3 years and rather miss it. And unlike many parts of SF, you can actually afford to live there!

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Moving to CA!!! on 08/03/2012 19:36:28 MDT Print View

It sounds like the North Bay would be a good place for you. Either San Rafael or Santa Rosa up in wine country. Not super urban, and not rural. It's right in between where there is plenty of landscaping, lots of businesses and parks. Large but wide cities with mostly single and double story buildings. I work for my fathers landscaping business and there is a lot of landscaping and a lot of landscaping companies around here. Towns in the north bay have a lot of room to physically expand as well. New wineries always need someone to help design new landscaping.

The weather usually doesn't get that hot in the summer compared to other places in the state. And you don't get the foggy and cold days that plague the bay area in the spring and fall. Loads of state parks that are actually out in the country, not crammed in between huge cities.

Edited by justin_baker on 08/03/2012 19:40:06 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
broad brush. on 08/03/2012 20:52:49 MDT Print View

I'm sure there are acceptable parts of the Tenderloin, and of COURSE no one here can afford to live in Pac Heights or Twin Peaks. That was kinda my point. Just go check stuff out on your own (in addition to getting non-broad brush info from haters), and form your own opinion! Anyway... didn't the poor OP ask about bear canisters and rain-gear?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Moving to CA!!! on 08/03/2012 21:04:03 MDT Print View

Jeremy, I used to live 2000 miles from California, and I didn't like the lack of a decent outdoor environment there, so I started to scout around. I went off on a 5000 mile auto tour to sample some of the good spots between there and California. One California work colleage showed me a hint of how some Californians spend free time. I hit some national parks and then headed back home. Once back home, I thought about it to make sure that I wasn't simply reacting, and then I decided to make the move to the Left Coast. That was 35 years ago, and I haven't looked back.

If you are a snow person, you may find out that California snow is quite different from other snow. It is much wetter than Colorado snow, for example.

Some people like it when they can go snow skiing at Squaw Valley in the morning, and then go surfing at Santa Cruz in the evening.


Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
thanks for the email BPL on 08/04/2012 19:08:05 MDT Print View

The email notification system that your thread has new posts has been lacking in frequency lately. Anyways, thank you everyone very much for the where to live debate. It is nice to see people very passionate about where they live and won't live. I have spent 4 of the last 5 years in NYC and love the city. My biggest decision now is do I want to get as close to replicating NYC as possible and move the San Fran or do I want to go be the bearded mountain man. I probably won't land in Sacramento, I looked at that possibility last year about this time and didn't really think it had what I was looking for. For now though rent on my moms couch is cheap and it is centrally located between most of the areas I am considering living in.

As far as snow goes Bob no snow is as wet at VT snow, but I am very excited to spend time in the high region this winter when the snow gets deep. That is going to be a whole new experience, east coast mountains are full when 5-6' of base has built up.

Good to hear that I shouldn't be overwhelmed by the mountains, just really excited.

"Some people like it when they can go snow skiing at Squaw Valley in the morning, and then go surfing at Santa Cruz in the evening."

This is great! I have a buddy who used to do that all the time on Long Island and then go up to VT for the last run of the day. Now he lives in San Diego and I am sure he has done the coast to Mammoth trip in a day at least once by now.

Edited by earn_my_turns on 08/04/2012 19:11:10 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: thanks for the email BPL on 08/04/2012 21:01:11 MDT Print View

"Now he lives in San Diego and I am sure he has done the coast to Mammoth trip in a day at least once by now."

There is a slight problem.

Southern California skiers often drive to Mammoth to ski. Northern California skiers often drive to Tahoe to ski. The way the mountains and mountain pass roads are oriented, open, and closed, you don't necessarily cross those two. So, you want to decide some things about Northern versus Southern.


Jen Churchward
(mahgnillig) - F
location on 08/04/2012 23:01:18 MDT Print View

If you have the luxury of staying with a relative before you decide where you want your permanent home to be, that sounds like the best way to do it. The Tahoe area is great in all seasons... though Desolation Wilderness is always packed in summer. Most ofthe locals stay away from Tahoe on summer weekends to avoid the crowds. You might try some adventures in one of the less well used wilderness areas such as Granite Chief or Mokulumne.

There are very few places in Tahoe that dogs are not allowed - some of the State parks and some of the beaches don't allow dogs, but in the winter when it's all covered in snow, no-one cares anyway (my dog still likes to go swimming in Lake Tahoe even in winter in a blizzard!).

The middle of summer can be quite hot - definitely wear your long sleeves, a hat, sunglasses & sun screen. Bugs are around, but they're not too much of a problem. I always pack a rain jacket & trousers in the Sierras whether rain is forecast or not... mountain weather can change quickly, and I've been snowed on in June 2 years running. Most areas have access to water all year round so you can hike/backpack without worrying too much about where the next drink is coming from. Some areas on the eastern shore (mostly the NV side) are pretty dry, but the guide books usually tell you which hikes these are so you can plan accordingly. If you don't have a canister stove, you may want to get one... there are a lot of restrictions on the type of stove you can have due to the dry summer conditions and fire risk, and I find it easiest to just pack the Jetboil rather than worry about whether any other type of stove is allowed. Even with a canister stove you are still required to get a "Campfire Permit" to use it, but you can get them for free at any ranger station. As for bears, I have never had a problem with them but use an Ursack with an Opsak just in case. I used to pack a bear barrel, but it's very cumbersome and bears don't seem to be as much of a problem in Tahoe as they are in Yosemite.

In winter the temperatures really aren't too bad as long as you layer, and there are a lot of clear sunny days when you warm up quickly. There are also times when it snows for several days and the roads get jammed up with people trying to get up to the ski areas from CA in unsuitable vehicles without chains! Definitely make sure your vehicle is snow worthy, carry chains, a shovel, and emergency gear.

I haven't camped in winter (I'm too much of a wuss!), but do a lot of day hikes/snowshoeing/XC skiing. The snow gets wet & sticky at times and a lot of people complain about it... but I would rather have sticky snow than no snow, so I'm not that picky. I would advise carrying gaiters and some sort of traction for your shoes in spring and autumn... there's nothing like discovering that last patch of snow/ice when the rest of the trail is clear!

I hope this helps a bit... I can't comment on the merits or not of various cities in CA (I live on the NV side of the Sierras and have never lived in CA), so I stuck to general equipment advice. If you're looking for guide books for hiking, I would highly recommend Mike White's "Afoot and Afield" guides to the Tahoe area... I have the Reno/Tahoe one and it is an excellent resource.

Edited by mahgnillig on 08/04/2012 23:11:03 MDT.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Moving to CA on 08/05/2012 13:19:13 MDT Print View

Well Jeremy, my situation is somewhat similar to yours in that i grew up in little Sherrill (Mayberry North), population 3000, in Upstate N.Y., which is close to Vermont, and then moved out west during and after high school. First Utah and then finally Sacramento CA. Most of my trials and tribulations in Utah were of a cultural nature, as we were Irish Catholics from N.Y. and not used to the absolute stranglehold the predominate religion has in that state. Lets just say it was the only place I have lived where I felt the sting of discrimination, and also the only place I have lived where a Jew is considered to be a gentile. My dad got tired of that scenario and moved the family to Sacramento right after I graduated from high school, and I continue to live in "The Big Sack" at this time.

If you are planning to hike in the Desolation Valley/Lake Tahoe area I don't think you will have to change your gear much from your Northeast setup. Keep in mind though that the mountains here are much higher than Vermont, often 10-11 thousand feet, or even higher. You may even be interested in completing the OGUL list of the 63 highest peaks in the Lake Tahoe area. The Desolation Valley is beautiful, and rivals anything in the Rockies, but it is hardly desolated. You better get to the trailheads before 9AM if you want a parking spot. In the winter we have the Auburn State Recreation area, which is located 20 miles from Sacramento, for hikers that don't like snow.

In the summer and shoulder seasons I bring a fleece or Thermawrap, warm hat and gloves, sometimes a Dri-Ducks rain suit, but mostly a water resistant windbreaker that also serves as a rain jacket. There is bountiful spring run off on the Sierra mountain trails, so you may want to consider Gore-Tex during that time. Personally, I don't like the stuff. There is no snow in Sacramento in the winter, but the Sierra (no s please, its singular) get tons of snow and the main arteries to the mountains, I50 and I80 often have chain requirements, (no studded tires allowed) or are even closed. We have lots of Poison Oak and ticks below the snow line, about 4500 feet, but none above which includes the entire Desolation Valley/Lake Tahoe area. I think your winter gear from Vermont will work just fine in our mountains in the winter.

Finally, I want to warn you about a certain elitist snob attitude that you may get from a minuscule number people who live in the Bay area. Mostly from folks in San Francisco and Marin county, and to a lesser extent from folks in the East Bay because they have less to brag about. Usually they will mention the smog, heat, suburbs, and lack of cultural amenities etc. here. Yes we have smog here, but a lot of that is generated in the Bay Area and blows in through the Carquinez Straits, so they sort of lose the moral high ground on that one. Yes it gets hot here in the summer, but rarely 110 like some one mentioned, and the humidity is usually below 50%. Back East the humidity is often 80-90%. Westerners can't even fathom how oppressive that is. I was on Tinny's blog the other day and he was mentioning 100 degree heat and 90% humidity in Maine! No thanks!

And suburbs, are you kidding me? There are plenty of suburbs in the Bay area, almost all of Contra Costa and Alameda counties along 680 and 580 are suburbs and strip malls--and I might add, with worse traffic than Sacramento. The bottom line is, don't listen to them, just come out here , check it out, see if you like it, and make your own decision. I don't ague with them, I just smile and wave as they roar through Sacramento at 95 MPH on their way back from a skiing trip in the winter and then get stuck in stop and go on the Yolo Causeway.

John Penca
(john.penca) - F

Locale: SoCal
Do You Have a Job Lined Up? on 08/06/2012 20:21:40 MDT Print View

Or at least some contacts and a good nest egg?

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but Cali is expensive. Taxes and the cost of living here are outrageous and going to get worse. Any area that offers significant opportunity for a landscape architect will be a major urban area or an expensive resort community. Even then finding a job may be a challenge.

Good luck man, but if I were looking for a life change, Cali would not be on my list. It is true Cali has huge diversity and beautiful places. On the other hand, expect to spend hours in traffic and be taxed to death. I'm not saying your plan is not doable, but it does not seem like you have done your research.

Come on out and check it out. Again, good luck, but have a back up plan.


Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Moving to CA on 08/07/2012 16:47:39 MDT Print View

Why not So Cal? You should just come to California and spend a little time seeing the entire thing, including So Cal. I'd say the region between Oxnard/Thousand Oaks and Paso Robles is the best kept secret of California. It is expensive, though. I was just looking at apartments and I can't afford any anymore. I would have to stop saving for retirement. :(

Jeremy Osburn

Locale: New England
SoCal on 08/07/2012 18:20:18 MDT Print View

I have a buddy in San Diego, I will hopefully be swinging through for a few days and attempting to learn how to surf before I make it up north. I don't have anything against SoCal other than LA. I am NYC all the way, my blind ignorance (arrogance) won't even allow me to visit LA. A friend recommended Big Bear Lake as a cool city, I am going to detour around LA and go check it out on my way up to Sacramento.

Winging it doesn't mean I don't have a plan, it just means I have a loose plan that is open to alot of interpretation. I have some things in the works, hopefully a little consulting while I am looking for a more stable continuation of my career.

Sorry for saying Sierras, I have probably typed and said it a few dozen times by now. Nothing like showing up and saying it wrong looking like a tourist. You can always pick the tourist out in New York that pronounces Houston Street like Houston, Texas. Never want to be that guy.

After extensive google maps and wikipedia searching I am interested in San Fran (No brainer), Sacramento, Truckee, and Chico. Truckee is for the inner snowboarder that wants to be able to splitboard down the streets to work after a hugh snowfall.
San Fran is for the inner NYC addict that gets out there and thinks I can't sleep with all this quite.
Sac and Chico are my in betweens if I decide I am ok with not being a city slicker or a bearded mountain man.

I looked at Redding, and was very intrigued but it doesn't seem like they consistently get the meters of snow that the further north portions of the cascade mountains get.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: SoCal on 08/07/2012 18:57:33 MDT Print View

Hi Jeremy,

Taking a giant lap of the state sounds like a good plan--you'll get a better feel for the immensity and span of environments.

Redding only rarely gets snow and it won't last when they do. Heat, they know. Chico is a fun, small city and close to Lassen Park--a plus in my book. It's a college town and has one of the best parks anywhere. Davis, just west of Sacramento, is similar in size and also a college town.



Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Moving to CA!!! on 08/07/2012 20:26:33 MDT Print View

My daughter spent 6 years in Davis (2 to finish college and 4 in veterinary school) and really loved it there. I enjoyed visiting her there, too! A small town feel but also plenty of cultural activities thanks to the university--a pleasant mix of the two worlds. Hot in summer, though.

She and her husband now live in Petaluma, and have fallen in love with both the town and the general area. As mentioned, it might be a more profitable place for landscape architecture.

It's great that you have family in Sacramento to use as a base. I personally would caution anyone moving to anywhere on the west coast (Oregon and Washington as well as California) to pin down a job before moving, though. I hope that in addition to family there, you have a good nest egg as cushion!

Edited by hikinggranny on 08/07/2012 20:35:32 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Moving to CA!!! on 08/08/2012 07:24:44 MDT Print View

Jeremy, never never say San Fran.... ;)

You might want to check out some of the coastal communities near San Francisco. Pacifica and Half Moon Bay are nice places that are very close to San Francisco. If you ever need a city fix, you're 30 minutes away. Further south is Santa Cruz which is 30about minutes west of San Jose.