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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello AZ people!

I am considering a move your wonderful state. You might recall that I was the guy who bumped into a handful of snakes last week at McDowell.



Anyway, my wife and I visit Phoenix 3 or 4 times a year to ride and enjoy the weather. We are considering visiting one more time....permanently. We are in our mid-thirties, educated and have decent careers here in Ohio. We would most likely take a significant (10-20%) cut in earnings to make this move.

So, were any of you in the same boat as me? Living in the cold, snowy, and gloomy Midwest/East and you made the switch to AZ? How has it worked out for you? Any regrets? We think the time is right, but it's so hard to be sure. Everyone back home says "Do it!". But, I'd like to hear from some people that have actully done what we are considering.

Yes, I've heard it all before. "The weather in the valley is terrible!. The trails suck! The lifestyle is pathetic! You don't want to move here....wink, wink, wink..."

Any input, advice, or heartwarming stories would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to post here or PM me. Thanks!
-Mike
 

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I am Walt
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Arizona!

Ohio Mike said:
So, were any of you in the same boat as me? Living in the cold, snowy, and gloomy Midwest/East and you made the switch to AZ? How has it worked out for you? Any regrets? We think the time is right, but it's so hard to be sure. Everyone back home says "Do it!". But, I'd like to hear from some people that have actully done what we are considering.

Any input, advice, or heartwarming stories would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to post here or PM me. Thanks!
-Mike
Do it!!

My wife and I are from Buffalo, NY and lived in Milwaukee, WI for 13 years before moving to Colorado, then Scottsdale 3 1/2 years ago. We love it and will never go back to the east or midwest, even though our families are there. Sure it gets ridiculously hot in the summer, but it gets ridiculously cold and/or snowy elsewhere, along with being dark and grey and gritty for half the year. And I will take 115 in the summer any day over -20 in Wisconsin or 0 in Buffalo with 8 feet of snow (really - Christmas, 2001). You can do all outdoor activities year-round - big plus if you're active. You just learn to do stuff (ride, run, hike) early, then jump in the pool at night.

Colorado was also great (the west, in general, is much better than the east or midwest), but the schools are not nearly as good as the better districts in the Phoenix area (we have four kids).

And the riding is world-class...

Good luck!
 

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Some people here will try to scare you off. Right now, the housing market is a big issue. Prices in many areas are, as Krammer would say, out of control. Just a few years ago home prices were one of the major advantages to moving here. My house has perhaps doubled in value since purchased only 5 years ago. Problem is, I can't afford to move.
 

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Dirdir said:
Some people here will try to scare you off. Right now, the housing market is a big issue. Prices in many areas are, as Krammer would say, out of control. Just a few years ago home prices were one of the major advantages to moving here. My house has perhaps doubled in value since purchased only 5 years ago. Problem is, I can't afford to move.
Mike - Disregard anything Dirdir says - he is a California boy. Plus, as everybody knows, he doesn't play well with others.

Dirdir - STFU - you are from California, therefore, you are whacked.

(Sorry for the threadjack - now back to the topic at hand)

:D
 

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Yeah, go for it! I came here from MI in 1981 and I love it(except maybe in September when the heat lingers a bit too long). Just be prepared to ride at night or early morning, or road trips to the White Mtns or Flagstaff, 6 months a year.

Rita :)
 

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Do it! Moved here last July from Massachusetts, so ditto to everything Walt said about winter SUCKING!!! Lived in MA my whole life (25 years, at that time), and came out here 3.5 years ago on vacation...dreamed about it ever since, and then decided to move. I was never one to even consider moving from the east coast, but I never, ever want to move back. The riding, the outdoor activities, all the things that are just short drives away...this part of the country is so abundant with things to see and do.

If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be single-speeding, I'd have said no...now I can't imagine not doing it (the ss culture back east is either underground or very nonexistant). If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be downhilling (sorry Dirdir!), I'd have said no (to buy a $$$ bike and ride it 3 months out of the year...no way). If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be riding at places like Sea Otter, Boulder City, Deer Valley, etc, well, you get the point. I just feel like this place has opened up so many things for me in terms of riding.

Don't get me wrong...I rode all through the winter 2 winters ago...bought all the gear and went out despite my better judgment. I learned a lot from it, but damn near hated every minute of it. I've ridden out here in the 100 degree heat, and it's do-able. But, I would not trade the heat for the cold.

In terms of jobs, I am a teacher and the salary is almost identical to what I made back in MA. My ex-husband works for the supermarket industry and makes about 1/3 more here. We sold our teeny tiny old house back home and bought a pretty big, brand new house in Gold Canyon (which we then sold 6 months later due to the divorce and walked away with a big profit). The only thing I've found more expensive here is the car insurance. Other than that, I think the cost of living is a little bit less (though I come from Tax-a-chusetts...so that might be a bit debatable).

Bottom line...you never know until you try. The longer you wait, the harder it'll get. Hope that helps you out!

Steph
 

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Ohio Mike said:
"The weather in the valley is terrible!.
Absolutely not, if you like a thick layer of smog in the winter and 115° (and all the way down to the 90s at night) in the summer, then it's definitely great weather for you.

There may be a reason that people life in the valley (work), but the air quality is pretty bad, and it's one of the hottest places in the US. That means flat out that it won't be for everyone.
 

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waltaz said:
Mike - Disregard anything Dirdir says - he is a California boy. Plus, as everybody knows, he doesn't play well with others.

Dirdir - STFU - you are from California, therefore, you are whacked.

(Sorry for the threadjack - now back to the topic at hand)

:D
I do have a hard time suggesting a move here after having lived in San Diego, San Clemente and Tarzana. The weather in Phoenix is the worst weather I have lived with. Sometimes Phoenix seems like a giant cultureless clustering of people. Hell, it is a giant cultureless clustering of people. Side by side you will encounter a MILF driving a Beemer sporting her Prada wear and a ******* in a Chevy pickup, chewing tabaca and a shotgun in the rear. However, in many ways, Phoenix is the best place I have lived.
 

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Dirdir said:
I do have a hard time suggesting a move here after having lived in San Diego, San Clemente and Tarzana. The weather in Phoenix is the worst weather I have lived with. Sometimes Phoenix seems like a giant cultureless clustering of people. Hell, it is a giant cultureless clustering of people. Side by side you will encounter a MILF driving a Beemer sporting her Prada wear and a ******* in a Chevy pickup, chewing tabaca and a shotgun in the rear. However, in many ways, Phoenix is the best place I have lived.
Well, you know what they say, Crack Hills!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hey Steph!

Thanks for the input. I lived in MA for a couple years, too, back when I was in the Army. Fort Devens, near Leominster. I think it's closed down now.

Anyway, I'm glad you responded. My wife and I are are both teachers, as well. I teach high school math (8 years) and she teaches middle school science (11 years). How is the "education business" in Phoenix? Is the job market competitive? My wife and I are both mid-career with Masters degrees, so we would most likely take a hefty pay cut moving out there.

Not to sound picky, but we're not interested in teaching in "the hood". Where are the best schools? We've been all around Mesa, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Paradise Velley, and Tempe. They all seem like very nice communities. Where is Gold Canyon? I'm not familiar with it. How do you feel about teaching in Phoenix? Like it? Love it? Hate it?

Thanks for entertaining all my questions. I might ask my wife to PM you for a little girl-to-girl sharing. Thanks!

castaway222 said:
Do it! Moved here last July from Massachusetts, so ditto to everything Walt said about winter SUCKING!!! Lived in MA my whole life (25 years, at that time), and came out here 3.5 years ago on vacation...dreamed about it ever since, and then decided to move. I was never one to even consider moving from the east coast, but I never, ever want to move back. The riding, the outdoor activities, all the things that are just short drives away...this part of the country is so abundant with things to see and do.

If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be single-speeding, I'd have said no...now I can't imagine not doing it (the ss culture back east is either underground or very nonexistant). If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be downhilling (sorry Dirdir!), I'd have said no (to buy a $$$ bike and ride it 3 months out of the year...no way). If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be riding at places like Sea Otter, Boulder City, Deer Valley, etc, well, you get the point. I just feel like this place has opened up so many things for me in terms of riding.

Don't get me wrong...I rode all through the winter 2 winters ago...bought all the gear and went out despite my better judgment. I learned a lot from it, but damn near hated every minute of it. I've ridden out here in the 100 degree heat, and it's do-able. But, I would not trade the heat for the cold.

In terms of jobs, I am a teacher and the salary is almost identical to what I made back in MA. My ex-husband works for the supermarket industry and makes about 1/3 more here. We sold our teeny tiny old house back home and bought a pretty big, brand new house in Gold Canyon (which we then sold 6 months later due to the divorce and walked away with a big profit). The only thing I've found more expensive here is the car insurance. Other than that, I think the cost of living is a little bit less (though I come from Tax-a-chusetts...so that might be a bit debatable).

Bottom line...you never know until you try. The longer you wait, the harder it'll get. Hope that helps you out!

Steph
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Waltaz and Dirdir...

Walt-
You mentioned your kids and schools in phx. My wife and I are both teachers. What do you consider to be the best schools in the valley? Having never lived in any of these places, Scottsdale, Chandler, Fountain Hills, and Paradise Valley all seem to be very nice communities.

Dirdir-
Thanks for your link to Arizona Snakes last week. Very interesting. Also, when my wife and I were reading this board in preparation for our trip to AZ, you scared the bejeezus out of her with all your stories of scorpions near Dreany Draw. I'll never get her to live up there now.

waltaz said:
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Walt-
You mentioned your kids and schools in phx. My wife and I are both teachers. What do you consider to be the best schools in the valley? Having never lived in any of these places, Scottsdale, Chandler, Fountain Hills, and Paradise Valley all seem to be very nice communities.

Dirdir-
Thanks for your link to Arizona Snakes last week. Very interesting. Also, when my wife and I were reading this board in preparation for our trip to AZ, you scared the bejeezus out of her with all your stories of scorpions near Dreany Draw. I'll never get her to live up there now.
Certain areas are 'infested" others are not. I wouldn't know which. I do know that my area is known for having them. Killed a little devil last night in my kid's room - well my wife did, I was out riding. 5 years and we have only been stung once. Not bad.
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Walt-
You mentioned your kids and schools in phx. My wife and I are both teachers. What do you consider to be the best schools in the valley? Having never lived in any of these places, Scottsdale, Chandler, Fountain Hills, and Paradise Valley all seem to be very nice communities.
I went through this process 3+years ago, with a focus on the schools because of having four kids. IMHO, the best school districts are: Scottsdale Unified, Paradise Valley and Tempe Union - Kyrene Elementary District. Period, the end.

Cost of housing-wise, PV is $$$$$, Scottsdale is $$$/$$$$ and Kyrene Elem. is $$/$$$. I'd be happy to share tons more info.

Walt
 

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Go West!

Ohio Mike said:
Any input, advice, or heartwarming stories would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to post here or PM me. Thanks!
-Mike
I made the move here back in 99 after living in from the Dayton/Cincinnati area for 21 years. Trust me, I know the weather in Ohio and I'm glad not to be in it. Freezing rain was the worst. :)

Unlike you, the military made me and my wife move here, and after I got out I stayed. The little time I've been here it's changed alot. Mainly with the mad growth, and like DirDir said the housing market is out of control. When I first moved here it was easy to find a new small house in the distant burbs for around 100 grand, now it's a constant bidding war between prospective buyers trying to nab a house. If your gonna buy whatever the price range, sooner is probably better than later, but hey I'm no realtor. :D

The bad surprises moving to Arizona:
1. No back yards. Most people don't have one!
2. Sales Taxes!! Getting taxed on groceries and my water bill (as if I had a choice).
3. Houses made of Styrofoam and chicken wire.
4. High gas prices!

The good surprises moving to Arizona:
1. Weather, I had no idea just how good it could be.
2. Vegas is right down the road.
3. Less violent crime per capital.
4. Mexican food everywhere!
5. Mountain biking galore!

Overall, I really enjoy it here, plus there are tons of buckeyes living here already. When OSU went to the Fiesta Bowl it was all OSU colors in the stands. Along with me, of course! :D
 

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I'm planing on moving BACK to the Midwest!

OK, I'll be the only dissenting remark here.

I moved to Flagstaff just under 2 years ago.

I would argue that, mile for mile, the trails in the midwest are more fun then in Arizona. No kidding! I miss good old Kickapoo back in east-central Illinois, and when I rode there last summer I had a total blast. However, Kickapoo was a mere 10 mile loop, and it was a 45 minute drive from where I lived. The next closest trails were 1.5 hours in the opposite direction.

Here in Flagstaff there are probably close to 200 miles of trail which I access from trailheads I ride to just 1-2 miles away. In the winter that same 45 minutes of driving time takes me to Sedona, with somewhere around 150 miles of the best trails anywhere. Quantity and not having to get into a car most of the year simply overwhelm the quality in Illinois. I don't think the situation is quite as good in "The Valley" lots of good riding, that's for sure, but its all spread out and you have to drive to most places.

On the other hand, road riding in AZ sucks. Very few roads to choose from with lots of traffic. Now I don't miss the flatness back in Illinois, but I do miss the thousands of mile of paved grid roads with practically no traffic.

Living conditions in Flagstaff, suck. Cost of living is very high, I recently saw a doublewide TRAILER advertised for $150K. WTF? Pay rate is low, my wife works at the public library makes about 25%-30% less then she would in a similar position in the midwest. She has a Master's degree and only makes $27K for crying out loud!

The weather ain't bad though, 8 month riding season is good, compared to, eh, 6 in IL? At least on the MTB, trails get muddy and all, I never had too much trouble riding on the road in the winter, except on the very coldest days, and on those days the muddy trails are usually frozen solid. Good stuff to ride on.

Now I don't live in "The Valley" so all I can do is throw stones, but I can honestly say that Phoenix is the last place I'd want to live anywhere in the US. Sure cost of living isn't too bad (though as other have mentioned it's going up) but between the insane urban sprawl, the smog, the automophillia madness and the crazy urban sprawl, I 'm just totally disgusted every time I go down there. And did I mention the smog? The smog just freaks me out. You people breath that stuff? Almost nowhere is there any business or home or anything with character. Plus the vegetation totally dead looking all the time. The subtleties of the desert vegetation are neat and I definitely appreciate the uniqueness, but then it gets to you after a while. Even here in Flagstaff with all the pine trees... well, last time we drove back to the midwest my wife and I both stopped and one point and said "wow, it's sooo greeeeen!"

The weather, down there in "The Valley", I think I could get used to it. What, 4 months of intense heat for 8 months of great weather? Not a bad trade off. But it seems to me that it's definitely set up a sort of artificial atmosphere down there. So many people go from air conditioned home to air conditioned car to air conditioned office to air conditioned grocery store (where they leave the doors open for some reason) it just seems so artificial and creepy to me. Obviously, everyone on this forum gets outside and experiences life, but it seems like a lot of people are huddled in a human made world. The bright green golf courses where their should be wild desert really says it all.

Sorry if I offended anyone, like I said, I'm just throwing stones. Tucson on the other hand, doesn't look to.

The main reason we want to move back is more personal then anything. I am an ecologist and a nature lover and I really miss the beautiful prairies and oak woodlands. The desert and arid mountains are neat, but most of these places here have been just beaten to hell by people and well, just don't do it for me. For example, sure there have been lots of nice flower blooming down in "The Valley" after all the rain we've been having, and it's been neat to see them, but up here in Flag, I'm just waiting for signs of spring. I finally realized the other day that, we get the migrant birds coming back but that's it, We don't get the big green up in the spring with all the spring effemerals and budding trees and what not. That's somewhat dissipating for me.

All in all, we're looking in areas such as Southern Illinois, Wisconsin, Souther Michigan, Missouri, places with plenty of trails to ride and natural areas for me to work on too. I'm glad I've spent time here in AZ, but I'll be very happy to get back "home".
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Thanks for the input. I lived in MA for a couple years, too, back when I was in the Army. Fort Devens, near Leominster. I think it's closed down now.

Anyway, I'm glad you responded. My wife and I are are both teachers, as well. I teach high school math (8 years) and she teaches middle school science (11 years). How is the "education business" in Phoenix? Is the job market competitive? My wife and I are both mid-career with Masters degrees, so we would most likely take a hefty pay cut moving out there.

Not to sound picky, but we're not interested in teaching in "the hood". Where are the best schools? We've been all around Mesa, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Paradise Velley, and Tempe. They all seem like very nice communities. Where is Gold Canyon? I'm not familiar with it. How do you feel about teaching in Phoenix? Like it? Love it? Hate it?

Thanks for entertaining all my questions. I might ask my wife to PM you for a little girl-to-girl sharing. Thanks!
Hi! Wow...there's a lot to say, and I'm super busy this weekend (going to Sea Otter) but I'll get back to you on Tuesday...
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Thanks for the input. I lived in MA for a couple years, too, back when I was in the Army. Fort Devens, near Leominster. I think it's closed down now.

Anyway, I'm glad you responded. My wife and I are are both teachers, as well. I teach high school math (8 years) and she teaches middle school science (11 years). How is the "education business" in Phoenix? Is the job market competitive? My wife and I are both mid-career with Masters degrees, so we would most likely take a hefty pay cut moving out there.

Not to sound picky, but we're not interested in teaching in "the hood". Where are the best schools? We've been all around Mesa, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Paradise Velley, and Tempe. They all seem like very nice communities. Where is Gold Canyon? I'm not familiar with it. How do you feel about teaching in Phoenix? Like it? Love it? Hate it?

Thanks for entertaining all my questions. I might ask my wife to PM you for a little girl-to-girl sharing. Thanks!
Hi! Wow...there's a lot to say, and I'm super busy this weekend (going to Sea Otter) but I'll get back to you on Tuesday...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Housing Question...And More!!

Dirdir said:
The weather in Phoenix is the worst weather I have lived with.
However, in many ways, Phoenix is the best place I have lived.
Hey Dirdir....Care to elaborate on the above statement?

Waltaz...I hope you don't mind if I PM or email you to get a little more info on schools out there. As I said, I'm a math teacher (although I have no kids of my own), so quality schools and competitive job markets are important to me.

Everybody else...
I'm a little confused about the housing in PHX. It seems to me that the rapid appreciation of housing would end up being a wash. Lets say I purchase a $200K house. Next year I can (hypothetically) sell it for $250K. Great, I just made $50 grand. But, a LATERAL move to another house would cost me $250K. To get a bigger/nicer/better house I have to spend more than my $250K. So, what's the catch? How do you guys "Get ahead" in a housing market that is rapidly appreciating?

I would not be opposed to living/working in Sedona, Flag, or Prescott. I just don't know as much about those areas.

Again, I thank all of you for entertaining my numerous questions while my wife and I try to make this most difficult decision.

Mike
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Hey Dirdir....Care to elaborate on the above statement?

Waltaz...I hope you don't mind if I PM or email you to get a little more info on schools out there. As I said, I'm a math teacher (although I have no kids of my own), so quality schools and competitive job markets are important to me.
Dirdir is a mystery wrapped in an enigma...

I'd be happy to give you as much info as you want, along with my opinions. Feel free to PM me and I'll give you my e-mail address.

Walt
 

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Ohio Mike said:
Hey Dirdir....Care to elaborate on the above statement?

Waltaz...I hope you don't mind if I PM or email you to get a little more info on schools out there. As I said, I'm a math teacher (although I have no kids of my own), so quality schools and competitive job markets are important to me.

Everybody else...
I'm a little confused about the housing in PHX. It seems to me that the rapid appreciation of housing would end up being a wash. Lets say I purchase a $200K house. Next year I can (hypothetically) sell it for $250K. Great, I just made $50 grand. But, a LATERAL move to another house would cost me $250K. To get a bigger/nicer/better house I have to spend more than my $250K. So, what's the catch? How do you guys "Get ahead" in a housing market that is rapidly appreciating?

I would not be opposed to living/working in Sedona, Flag, or Prescott. I just don't know as much about those areas.

Again, I thank all of you for entertaining my numerous questions while my wife and I try to make this most difficult decision.

Mike
I recently moved to Precott from New Hampshire/Mass. I am originally from NorCal and I fricking hated the east coast. Why?:

The #1 reason why I hated it there was the fricking bugs - spring (when it actually starts in late may) is blackfly season, summer/early fall is mosquito time and fall is deer fly season. Being outside there sucks. For those lucky enough to not know, black flies are like gnats - small and swarmy, but they bite you leaving red itchy welts. Deer flies (also known as horse flies) are the most brutal insect I have ever dealt with. They are like super mosquitoes - much bigger and amazingly fast. I mostly cycled on the road on the east coast to avoid bugs, but the deer flies will hunt you down if you are going less than 15mph. Give me snakes and scorps any day compared to these bastards.

#2 goes to the weather. Winter there was a six month affair filled with bitterly cold winds and icy roads. Snow is kinda cool and all, but when it snows on May 18th it just gets to you. Worse than the cold is the humidity. 85 degrees with 90% humidity is way worse than 100degrees of dry heat. When it wasn't winter, grey skies and the contant threat of rain loomed.

Now, you're asking me: "is it that much better in Prescott?"
ummm - yup.

No offense to you phoenix floks, but I wouldn't live there. I left the Bay Area when it was clearly becoming LA north - Phoenix is LA east. Traffic, smog and the general press of humanity makes me genocidal. Living here in Prescott, I find that I am full of love for my fellow man (well, not really, but it is a comparison). For big AZ cities, I think that Tuscon is way nicer, but further away from riding in Prescott/Sedona/Flag.

For me, Prescott was the best of AZ. It is at elevation, so it is cooler (90s are highs in summer and it snows just enough to look pretty in the winter). Monsoon rains are a little bummer for someone who likes to ride in the afternoon, but it is at least predictable and the mornings are all sunshine. It is enough off the beaten track to not be too crowded and for sale price of my 20yr old crappy tract house in NE, I got a nice spread with mountain/city lights views.

If you are both teachers, I would think about finding a spot away from a big city - there are schools everywhere.

The West is the best.
 
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