Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends.

Can't believe it's been almost 3 years since I posted this thread (lol) - https://forums.mtbr.com/california-norcal/am-i-screwed-moving-palo-alto-1024360.html

In that time I've met a lot of you guys, made friends, found a great riding crew, rode UC, Nisene, Demo countless times, visited Downieville, Northstar, South Lake, Pinecrest many times, and done lots of other fun things.

But, a tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to appear. We will be ready to make our Bay Area exit, settle down, buy a house and start a family in less than 5 years. Hopefully closer to 3.

While I have enjoyed my time here far more than I originally expected, it is time to start planning our next steps and I am excited to begin a new life phase.

So...

I have started compiling a "long list", which will probably be whittled down over time as we gather more information and vet some of these places in person. Without further ado:

- Ashland/Medford OR
- Bend OR
- Arcata area CA
- Reno/Carson City NV
- Boise ID (where we lived before here)
- Grand Junction area CO
- Denver/Boulder area CO
- Colorado Springs CO
- Flagstaff AZ
- Santa Fe NM
- Salt Lake/Lehi/Park City UT
- Wenatchee WA

We will probably focus on the location first, and then figure out the job stuff once we've narrowed down the possibilities more. I'm an electrical engineer and my wife works at a hospital.

So, those of you who know these places or may have other recommendations, please speak up! How is the riding and how are the towns? Good places to raise a family? Weather (we aren't big fans of gloominess of the PNW)? Access to good breweries, restaurants, backpacking, etc? Housing prices (budget is <450ish).

Yes I know there is another thread floating around about leaving the Bay Area, but I felt like being a bit of a narcissist and focusing this on me specifically!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
My family is looking at Vancouver, WA. There is no state income tax and if you drive across the border into Portland (quick drive across the bridge) there is no sales tax. Both of those items will put a ton of cash back into our pockets that CA currently steals and wastes. Homes are less expensive than the Bay Area and schools are way way better than CA. We are looking at a suburb called Camas, WA which has the best schools in Clark County. Camas is more expensive than other parts of Vancouver but if being in the best school district is important than I feel that this is the place to be. We have a 2yr old to think about so this looks like our best option. You can look at the school district next door to Camas called Evergreen and they are the 2nd best in the area. Another benefit to Vancouver is that you are -not- in Portland which I feel is suffering from the same extreme political climate that we have in CA with all the issues it brings (pick your topic). Portland definitely has more homeless, drugs, and crime. But, you can always go into Portland for great food, great beer, and more venues than in Vancouver then go home when you are done. Also, we both work for Silicon Valley tech companies and get to work remote. So moving out of the area has no impact on our jobs. If something happens, however, there is some tech in Vancouver and more in Portland. There, however, is way more tech from the major players in Seattle. $450K can definitely get you a nice home in the Vancouver area -- just depends on what you are looking for: schools, home size, lot size, and price.

We looked at Boise and ruled it out as it just feels like a nice small town gone wild with un-checked growth and strip malls.

I used to live in Prescott, AZ which is about 100mi to the SW of Flagstaff. There is a ton of MTB in both places but you need to get ready for cold winters. Prescott, at 5,000ft, would get occasional snow but it would usually melt off within days except for shady areas. I would assume that the snow would stick around in Flagstaff as it is at almost 7,000ft. Humidity is also really low which used to give me dry, itchy skin, and the static electricity can be interesting. I used to get good shocks getting out of my car or unlocking the front door to the house all the time.

I can't speak to the other areas.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
785 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My family is looking at Vancouver, WA. There is no state income tax and if you drive across the border into Portland (quick drive across the bridge) there is no sales tax. Both of those items will put a ton of cash back into our pockets that CA currently steals and wastes. Homes are less expensive than the Bay Area and schools are way way better than CA. We are looking at a suburb called Camas, WA which has the best schools in Clark County. Camas is more expensive than other parts of Vancouver but if being in the best school district is important than I feel that this is the place to be. We have a 2yr old to think about so this looks like our best option. You can look at the school district next door to Camas called Evergreen and they are the 2nd best in the area. Another benefit to Vancouver is that you are -not- in Portland which I feel is suffering from the same extreme political climate that we have in CA with all the issues it brings (pick your topic). Portland definitely has more homeless, drugs, and crime. But, you can always go into Portland for great food, great beer, and more venues than in Vancouver then go home when you are done. Also, we both work for Silicon Valley tech companies and get to work remote. So moving out of the area has no impact on our jobs. If something happens, however, there is some tech in Vancouver and more in Portland. There, however, is way more tech from the major players in Seattle. $450K can definitely get you a nice home in the Vancouver area -- just depends on what you are looking for: schools, home size, lot size, and price.

We looked at Boise and ruled it out as it just feels like a nice small town gone wild with un-checked growth and strip malls.

I used to live in Prescott, AZ which is about 100mi to the SW of Flagstaff. There is a ton of MTB in both places but you need to get ready for cold winters. Prescott, at 5,000ft, would get occasional snow but it would usually melt off within days except for shady areas. I would assume that the snow would stick around in Flagstaff as it is at almost 7,000ft. Humidity is also really low which used to give me dry, itchy skin, and the static electricity can be interesting. I used to get good shocks getting out of my car or unlocking the front door to the house all the time.

I can't speak to the other areas.....
haha, my wife is from Vancouver actually and her parents are still there. It would be on the list but it seems like not good access to MTB? I don't want to drive an hour to Hood River to ride...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Hello friends.
Some nice options there. Some opinions based on some experiences I've had in some of them:

- Reno/Carson City NV
: We live part time in South Lake and will probably retire in the Carson Valley when the time comes when we can't deal with the snow any more. It's no longer much cheaper than California though. I recommend staying there for a week or so before making a decision. There are nuances to the place that you may or may not like.

- Grand Junction area CO
: You should seriously look into this one. Great climate with winters that aren't too harsh, yet easy access to higher elevations for recreation. Inexpensive real estate. Hot in the summer, but if you can live with that you have great access to Moab in spring and fall. This would be my #1 pick on your list.

- Denver/Boulder area CO
: I used to live there. OMFG the traffic drove me crazy. At least in the Bay Area there is a reason for it.

- Colorado Springs CO
: Conservative culture and politics for Colorado. More of a midwestern vibe. Beautiful place with lots to do nearby.

- Flagstaff AZ
: Similar to Santa Fe in some ways. Lots of interesting stuff to do around there. Skiing is meh. Unrelenting winds in the spring.

- Santa Fe NM
: I used to live there. Beautiful town, interesting culture, traffic, but spend some time there to get the nuances. People in New Mexico do things differently. You have to understand the culture first to see if you will be OK with it.

- Salt Lake/Lehi/Park City UT
: Park City = yes. Anything down in the valley = no for me. Winter smog is pretty bad. It's damn hot in the summer.

- Wenatchee WA
: Eastern Washington suffers from inversions in the winter where it is really cold at the surface and warm up above. This leads to ice storms, which I have personally experienced in Yakima. Maybe Wenatchee is different so get a local opinion on this, but that's a deal-breaker for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
We'll be moving from Arcata to Knoxville, for a variety of reasons. We'll miss the hell out of our Humboldt MTB community, because these folks are amazing (and they better keep their spare rooms ready!), but Knoxville has its own thing going on...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
I'm not exactly to the point of moving tomorrow but if I could find the right place for a young family 9-11 yo i.e. good schools, good outdoors with mtb trails, skiing, I'd consider seriously. From that list, maybe Bend OR and Park City UT fit some of my needs. Maybe something in BC too around Kamloops or Kelowna since I have a Canadian passport.

Anyways, subscribed!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,298 Posts
I'm not exactly to the point of moving tomorrow but if I could find the right place for a young family 9-11 yo i.e. good schools, good outdoors with mtb trails, skiing, I'd consider seriously. From that list, maybe Bend OR and Park City UT fit some of my needs. Maybe something in BC too around Kamloops or Kelowna since I have a Canadian passport.

Anyways, subscribed!
One of my good friends and fellow MTBer moved to Kelowna a few years ago. He loves it. Need to check in with him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
haha, my wife is from Vancouver actually and her parents are still there. It would be on the list but it seems like not good access to MTB? I don't want to drive an hour to Hood River to ride...
That is kinda what I am finding regarding the MTB scene in Vancouver as well. There are a few XC trails and a few trails that are rated Black Diamond nearby, per MTBproject and Singletracks, but for me at this stage in the game MTB is taking a back seat to other priorities.

What does the wife and her family think about Vancouver? My biggest concern will be the adjustment to WA weather -- drizzly days and long gloomy winters. Every time I have been to the PNW, however, the weather has always been clear and warm so I have no personal experience with it. We do have a friend who is a Bay Area transplant to Vancouver (Felida) and he assures us that the grey gloomy weather is real and it took him a year or so to acclimate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,283 Posts
There’s no “quick drive across the bridge” from Vancouver into Portland....and it will be even less quick going back north. My daughter graduated college in 2014 in Portland and traffic sucked then, it’s even worse now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
I'd second a look at Reno/Carson City area. My wife and I moved to Reno about 18 months ago from San Diego. We got tired of all of the traffic and increasing costs and wanted proximity to mountains for play. Housing costs have gone up in the last few years but you will be fine in that budget. We found a nice 3BR/2BA for $300k. You get a little of all 4 seasons which is nice, summer is warm 80s-90s but if it ever gets too hot you are only 40 mins from Tahoe which is always 10* cooler. Winters really aren't too bad as the mountains catch most of the storms, plus if you snowboard you are less than an hour from most Tahoe resorts. Riding wise Tahoe is 30 mins to an hour (depending where you live), Downieville is 90 mins, Mammoth is 3 hours, Ashland is only 5.5 hours, Park City 8 hours so tons of easy weekend trips. Reno really feels like the Biggest Little City since it has most everything you need and you can get corner to corner in the city in 20 mins. People who grew up here will say there is traffic, but there is no real traffic. Plus if you go to the mountains you are going reverse of all of the Bay Area people. Plus SF is an easy 4 hour drive for weekend getaways.
 

·
F*** it
Joined
·
1,277 Posts
Have you ridden Ashland yet? Some really good trails, many more than are on the standard shuttle ride. And the town is full of super friendly active folks, seems extremely safe. It can get hot and/or smoky in the summer, but that seems like it's true for anywhere in the West now. Have fun choosing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,283 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
"There's no "quick drive across the bridge" from Vancouver into Portland....and it will be even less quick going back north. My daughter graduated college in 2014 in Portland and traffic sucked then, it's even worse now."

I guess I got lucky. I was just up there two weeks ago on a Thursday and Friday and flew into PDX. I managed a reverse commute out of PDX to Camas at 10:30am in about 20 minutes then Friday I managed downtown Vancouver to PDX at about 6:30pm on the 5 in about 15 minutes. The way I look at is any traffic is better than Bay Area traffic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
I would highly suggest staying in arcata for awhile before moving there. Humboldt, isn't for everyone and decent paying jobs are really tough to come by. Not to mention the cost of living and wages don't match very well. It does have a growing mtb community, but you will live 3 hours plus from other civilization. It's a great place, but very few who grow up there stay unless they have family money/ land/ businesses or grow.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top