Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Landscape Photography Locations => Topic started by: Lust4Life on April 05, 2009, 02:29:00 PM

Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 05, 2009, 02:29:00 PM
For years people have been telling me where to go, now I'm asking for their suggestions.  :-)

We are going to move from Naples, FL to the West Coast.  Naples is a beautiful city but life here can get very monochromatic is a short period of time.
Own a camper that will be used for photo trips radiating out to photogenic landscape destinations from the new home site.

As an obsessed landscape photographer I've always wanted to live on the West Coast and have taken several trips to enjoy the area.

Potential sites to call home that immediately come to mind are:
Sequim, WA
Bellingham, WA
     Not sure I can handle the gray cold winter months of WA state.

Santa Rosa, CA  - seems like an area with good weather, close to San Francisco for culture, education and entertainment., Yosemite, Carmel, even WA state, Muir Woods, etc.

Morgan Hill, CA - looks interesting on the internet.

Monteray, CA - warmer than northern CA yet many good sites to explore from there with the camper.

Carmel Valley, CA - more of a village atmosphere from Monteray.

Santa Barbara, CA - Love the town, cost is a negative but so what - never saw a U-Haul behind a Hurst.
Oxnard, CA

Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

I'm planning a 6 week trip to the WC to inspect the towns that we come up with as potential sites.

Your input is appreciated but ask that you give consideration to some of the site specific factors listed below:
Where to Live
Priorities – list is order of importance.

1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.

3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.

4.   Weather - temperate
      Must not be oppressive in nature – can take some rain but not months of it.
         Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

5.   Reasonable cost of living?  Not as important as it used to be when I was younger (now 62), quality of life and capacity to enjoy where I live is far more important – fuel cost, property taxes, state income tax, food, homeowners insurance, earthquake/flood insurance, association fees, housing.

6.   Activities in Region
      Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

7.   Access to other regions of interest within a 2 day drive for hiking/photography/museums.

8.   Impact of Global Warming on the region?

9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

OK, I'm listening,
Jack
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: eleanorbrown on April 05, 2009, 02:36:11 PM
Olympic penn. is wonderful....near Tacoma, Seattle.  you have the pacific coast, Olympic Rain Forest and Olympic Mountains to name just a few.  eleanor

Quote from: Lust4Life
For years people have been telling me where to go, now I'm asking for their suggestions.  :-)

We are going to move from Naples, FL to the West Coast.  Naples is a beautiful city but life here can get very monochromatic is a short period of time.
Own a camper that will be used for photo trips radiating out to photogenic landscape destinations from the new home site.

As an obsessed landscape photographer I've always wanted to live on the West Coast and have taken several trips to enjoy the area.

Potential sites to call home that immediately come to mind are:
Sequim, WA
Bellingham, WA
     Not sure I can handle the gray cold winter months of WA state.

Santa Rosa, CA  - seems like an area with good weather, close to San Francisco for culture, education and entertainment., Yosemite, Carmel, even WA state, Muir Woods, etc.

Morgan Hill, CA - looks interesting on the internet.

Monteray, CA - warmer than northern CA yet many good sites to explore from there with the camper.

Carmel Valley, CA - more of a village atmosphere from Monteray.

Santa Barbara, CA - Love the town, cost is a negative but so what - never saw a U-Haul behind a Hurst.
Oxnard, CA

Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

I'm planning a 6 week trip to the WC to inspect the towns that we come up with as potential sites.

Your input is appreciated but ask that you give consideration to some of the site specific factors listed below:
Where to Live
Priorities – list is order of importance.

1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.

3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.

4.   Weather - temperate
      Must not be oppressive in nature – can take some rain but not months of it.
         Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

5.   Reasonable cost of living?  Not as important as it used to be when I was younger (now 62), quality of life and capacity to enjoy where I live is far more important – fuel cost, property taxes, state income tax, food, homeowners insurance, earthquake/flood insurance, association fees, housing.

6.   Activities in Region
      Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

7.   Access to other regions of interest within a 2 day drive for hiking/photography/museums.

8.   Impact of Global Warming on the region?

9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

OK, I'm listening,
Jack
http://www.shadowsdancing.com (http://www.shadowsdancing.com)
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Tim Gray on April 05, 2009, 02:50:05 PM
How big a city/town?  I didn't see anything in Oregon in your list.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 05, 2009, 03:22:39 PM
Quote from: Tim Gray
How big a city/town?  I didn't see anything in Oregon in your list.


Not real interested in a big city for the sake of living in a big city.
But do require there be a big city within a 1.5 hour drive - thus the appeal of Santa Rosa, Oxnard, Carmel.

Thus size does not matter as long as there is a decent size town within a 1.5 hour drive.

Jack
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: blansky on April 05, 2009, 03:55:11 PM
I live in Santa Rosa. Great climate, very wine country and beautiful. Only usually rains between January and March. The rest of the year its pretty sunny and warm. Even when  it gets hot in the daytime, we get a marine layer later in the afternoon to cool it off.

Morgan Hill is just a bedroom small community just outside of San Jose. Monterey area is generally cooler with more fog.  

All of California real estate is high. But there are deals to be had now.

There is more to allergies than polution. There are allergy sufferers everywhere due to pollen etc.

I lived in Portland Oregon for a years and the dull rainy days can be a downer. The good news is that everything is clean and green.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Paul Sumi on April 05, 2009, 11:32:33 PM
I'm a native southern Californian, and while my hometown of Los Angeles has many things going for it, air quality issues preclude my recommending it to you.

If you're interested in the San Francisco Bay area, check out Menlo Park.  The western regional office of the US Geological Survey is there, as is Sunset Magazine.  Since access to a cardiologist is a priority on your list, Stanford University Medical Center ranks high in this regard.  And one of the best photography stores in the Bay area IMO, Keeble & Shuchat, is in Menlo Park.

You get good access to Big Sur and other coastal locations and reasonable access to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.  Access is also fairly good to the western Sierra (Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs).  The eastern Sierra is a pretty long haul - shorter when Tioga Pass road in Yosemite  is open (roughly May-October).  And Death Valley is a very long day of travel.

One caveat: we're smack on the Pacific Rim's Ring of Fire and that means earthquakes.  We've had big ones (the last in SoCal was the 1994 Northridge quake) but The Big One is supposed to happen anytime from right now to 25 years from now.  Personally, I'd rather go through an earthquake than a hurricane or tornado.  But I guess we're all more comfortable with the natural disasters we grow up with.    

Paul
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Anthony R on April 05, 2009, 11:44:21 PM
Oregon coast somewhere, lots to choose from. Rule out WA state other than Olympic Peninsula, but in comparison, rule it out. I'm biased, but while a lot of California is nice, it's California..
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Panopeeper on April 05, 2009, 11:51:04 PM
Quote from: Anthony R
while a lot of California is nice, it's California..
I guess Americans know what this means, but do you mind explaining it to a foreigner?
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: dalethorn on April 06, 2009, 12:17:29 AM
Most areas around L.A. can have bad air quality, and that extends down to San Diego, even inland now on the 15.  Going the other way, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura - same problem to a lesser degree.  On the South side of Santa Barbara, you could consider Carpenteria - nice cliffs around there.  Avoid La Conchita - bad slides there.  From Carpenteria for example, you can get to Ventura in 20 minutes, Santa Barbara in 20 minutes, and easily get to Los Angeles Fairfax etc. in less than 90 minutes.  On the North side of Santa Barbara, you can go all the way up the 101 to Solvang and thereabouts, which is quite beautiful, and that's only about 45 or 50 miles from Santa Barbara.  I'm looking to move permanently to Camarillo in a few months, but have also considered the area above Santa Barbara.  About half of my photos are from the Santa Barbara area - very picturesque - and half from the L.A. area, which can be quite an adventure if you're willing to explore off the normal/tourist trails.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: dalethorn on April 06, 2009, 12:31:55 AM
Quote from: Panopeeper
I guess Americans know what this means, but do you mind explaining it to a foreigner?
Southern California (SoCal) has gotten a reputation in the past 25 years or so for having some (or even most) of the meanest people in the USA.  If you stay off of the roads, you'll experience a lot less of that meanness.  From my experience, about 27 years, I'd say Orange County (the OC) is the capital of mean, while the people climate in L.A. tends more toward the psychotic rather than pure meanness.  Other than in traffic, people in SoCal don't tend to be anywhere near as vocally rude as the folks in NYC, which I attribute to the weather mostly.  The political climate in L.A. is quite liberal, even moreso in Santa Barbara.  OC is the opposite of that.  No good deed goes unpunished in the OC, although there are a few islands of calm there - Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Seal Beach oldtown etc.

One other peculiarity of SoCal people is that they regard people in nearly every other state except NY as backward and ignorant.  There's a belief there that technology was developed in California, while the truth is most technology in the 20th century was developed in the deep South.

Why do people go there?  I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and I don't like anything that cramps my photo shoots, namely cold and rain.  The time I've spent in Ohio has seen half the days lost due to bad weather.  The percentage is drastically lower in SoCal.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: wolfnowl on April 06, 2009, 01:52:03 AM
Quote from: Lust4Life
OK, I'm listening,
Jack

Vancouver Island... fits everything on your list!

Mike.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: rcdurston on April 06, 2009, 05:33:36 AM
I'll throw my vote down for Caprinteria as well. I lived there for 6 years and it would be the only place I would ever move back to in CA. People, ocean, surf, mountains, Carp has it all.
Don't forget you also have a decent photo infrastructure with Brooks, SBCC, USCSB, MegaVision, Samys and Calumet all located in Santa Barbara only 20 minutes north. By car you are only 5 or 6 hours from SF, Death Valley or Vegas; good for an over night trip with both dusk and morning shots. I used to drive over to AZ and NM in a day, grab a hotel and stay a couple of days to explore.
All that said I think Carp is a great home base.
BTW Carp beach is usually deserted every morning till 9 or 10 from sept. through to feb. Awesome for morning walks with your coffee

rob
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 06, 2009, 08:38:25 AM
Thanks for your input.
Particularily interested in your feelings about Santa Rosa.  I'm finding numerous homes for sale there and prices seem reasonable by CA standards.
What don't you like about the Santa Rosa area?

I was there several times in the 80's when dealing with a software company called Time Arts.  Liked what I saw on those visits.
Particularily like the diversity of topography within a days drive of SRosa.

Jack

Quote from: blansky
I live in Santa Rosa. Great climate, very wine country and beautiful. Only usually rains between January and March. The rest of the year its pretty sunny and warm. Even when  it gets hot in the daytime, we get a marine layer later in the afternoon to cool it off.

Morgan Hill is just a bedroom small community just outside of San Jose. Monterey area is generally cooler with more fog.  

All of California real estate is high. But there are deals to be had now.

There is more to allergies than polution. There are allergy sufferers everywhere due to pollen etc.

I lived in Portland Oregon for a years and the dull rainy days can be a downer. The good news is that everything is clean and green.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 06, 2009, 08:49:02 AM
Talked with a buddy last night who lives in Long Beach - after that chat I've ruled out anything south of Carpinteria, California.
Now looking at:
Carpinteria, California
Santa Barbara
San Luis Obispo/Morrow Bay
Monterey
Santa Rosa - was there in 80's and liked it.

Also Sequim and Port Townsend in WA/Olympic Penn.  But the more realistic I become, the less I think I can handle the months of gray weather and drizzle.

Though I love Carmel, it seems to become nothing but a tourist trap in the Spring-Fall and the traffic becomes a nightmare on 101 (last visit there was 2 years ago).

I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
That would mean giving up the beach access but I'm finding beach access may have to be traded off for other attributes.

Jack



Quote from: dalethorn
Southern California (SoCal) has gotten a reputation in the past 25 years or so for having some (or even most) of the meanest people in the USA.  If you stay off of the roads, you'll experience a lot less of that meanness.  From my experience, about 27 years, I'd say Orange County (the OC) is the capital of mean, while the people climate in L.A. tends more toward the psychotic rather than pure meanness.  Other than in traffic, people in SoCal don't tend to be anywhere near as vocally rude as the folks in NYC, which I attribute to the weather mostly.  The political climate in L.A. is quite liberal, even moreso in Santa Barbara.  OC is the opposite of that.  No good deed goes unpunished in the OC, although there are a few islands of calm there - Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza, Seal Beach oldtown etc.

One other peculiarity of SoCal people is that they regard people in nearly every other state except NY as backward and ignorant.  There's a belief there that technology was developed in California, while the truth is most technology in the 20th century was developed in the deep South.

Why do people go there?  I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and I don't like anything that cramps my photo shoots, namely cold and rain.  The time I've spent in Ohio has seen half the days lost due to bad weather.  The percentage is drastically lower in SoCal.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Paul Sumi on April 06, 2009, 09:54:46 AM
Quote from: Lust4Life
I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

College town (Cal Poly SLO), halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, annual Mozart festival, southern terminus of one of the prettiest stretches of Highway 1 (San Simeon (Hearst Castle) to Big Sur).  It's also home to Really Right Stuff (makers of quality camera and lens plates, tripod ballheads and more), XKs Unlimited (a parts purveyor to classic Jag owners), a small restaurant/bakery whose name I forget which makes awesome chicken pot pies, and the Madonna Inn (a tribute to kitsch and the color pink.  It's named after its builder, not the mother of Jesus nor the singer).

Paul
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: jimgolden on April 06, 2009, 11:25:15 PM
oly peninsula is a dream world - def. try to at least visit it before final decision. PT is a little too touristy for me, Sequim is a bit better but there are a lot of little towns in the area that are great.

Nothing personal to CA. residents, but I couldn't imagine moving to SoCal these days...
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 07, 2009, 06:52:16 AM
Can you be more specific on towns you like on the OP?
Jack

Quote from: jimgolden
oly peninsula is a dream world - def. try to at least visit it before final decision. PT is a little too touristy for me, Sequim is a bit better but there are a lot of little towns in the area that are great.

Nothing personal to CA. residents, but I couldn't imagine moving to SoCal these days...
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Daniel Browning on April 07, 2009, 05:56:10 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Bellingham, WA

If you're that close to British Columbia, you might as well move there.

Let me see if I can make a case for the Portland area.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland,_Oregon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland,_Oregon)


Quote from: Lust4Life
Now, I want to have my permanent home close to the sea, no more than say an hour or so drive, as I find the sea very spiritually renewing.

+1 Portland. Some of the most beautiful and enjoyable beaches.

Quote from: Lust4Life
One concern about the northern western coast is the cold water procluding swimming, at least enjoying it.

What? Can't enjoy a little hypothermia? Dislike wetsuits? -1 Portland.

Quote from: Lust4Life
1.   People - Intelligent yet open minded, creative, outdoors oriented, and courteous.

+1 Portland. It doesn't get any more open minded, creative, or outdoors oriented. Courteousness is not as good as the south or midwest, but better than NYC and LA, IMHO.

Quote from: Lust4Life
2.   Air quality – NO pollution in the area due to my allergies to hydrocarbons, etc.
3.   Healthcare – good doctors in the region – cardiologist, holistic practitioners.
4.   Weather - temperate

+1 Portland

Quote from: Lust4Life
can take some rain but not months of it.

-1 Portland.

Quote from: Lust4Life
Avoid the 107 degree days we were having in N. GA

Average year round temperate: 54 F.
Average Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar: 45 F.
Average Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep: 62 F.
Average High/Low in Jan: 45/34.
Average High/Low in Jul: 80/57.
      
http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather...89627&refer (http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=089627&refer)

Quote from: Lust4Life
5.   Reasonable cost of living?

+1 greater Portland area. If you live just across the river in Washington, you'll have no state income tax, but you can shop in Oregon and enjoy no sales tax (best of both worlds). Of course, technically, one is obligated to track, report, and send in sales tax payments to Washington state every month on all purchases made out of state, but no one does it. (99% of people aren't even aware they are obligated to do the same in any state with salestax.)

Flood insurance is required in some areas. Housing is about twice as much as you pay in the midwest (not 10 times as much, like California), depending on the area of course.

Quote from: Lust4Life
Photographic scenes, hiking/camping, jogging trails, ocean kayaking, College with open lectures and ability to take classes that continue my studies –econimics, philosophy, RC flying field, assortment of restaurants to choose from.

I think those are all +1 for Portland.

For photographic scenes, it's hard to find many areas with as much diversity. Mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, oceans, abandonded Frontier buildings, farmland, hills, city, country, you name it. Rural Oregon has some of the darkest and most accessible night skies in the country. Everyone knows we have rain forests, but are often surprised to find that SE Oregon is covered with vast and beautiful high desert, such as the Alvord Desert which gets just 8 inches of rain a year:

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/72/Alvord_Desert_sunset.jpg)

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c7/Alvord_Desert_Sep_2005.JPG/800px-Alvord_Desert_Sep_2005.JPG)

Quote from: Lust4Life
9.   Water resources for community; good city planning/zoning.

+1 +1 Portland.

There are so many areas around Portland that I don't know which to recommend. Perhaps near Hillsboro? Good luck in your search.
--
Daniel
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: blansky on April 07, 2009, 09:41:33 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Thanks for your input.
Particularily interested in your feelings about Santa Rosa.  I'm finding numerous homes for sale there and prices seem reasonable by CA standards.
What don't you like about the Santa Rosa area?

I was there several times in the 80's when dealing with a software company called Time Arts.  Liked what I saw on those visits.
Particularily like the diversity of topography within a days drive of SRosa.

Jack

What don't I like about Santa Rosa?   Nothing.
Everywhere you live has drawbacks. The entire bay area, roughly San Jose up to Sonoma County has traffiic issues, like everywhere else. The problem with the Bay Area is that there is no bypass to get through San Francisco, so travel can get bogged down. From Santa Rosa to the San Francisco airport is only 60 miles but can take an hour and a half to get there on a good day.

In the bay area there are micro climates so go 5 mile and you get weather change. San Francisco has the worst weather, if you are looking for warm and sunshine. 10 miles in either direction can be a great improvement. I can leave Santa Rosa on a warm day, say 80 degrees, and when I get to the Golden Gate bridge the temperature is 65 and foggy. Then when you get through San Francisco and head down to Palo Alto (Stanford) the temperature is back to 80.

For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great. Then once you get through San Francisco and get up to San Raphael heading north, again great climate. Santa Rosa is a bit warmer than those areas and the grapes and I  love it.

If you want to discuss this in any detail, I will be back from Hawaii in a week, and we can talk on the phone or email.

Michael
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: telyt on April 07, 2009, 10:30:52 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
Air pollution can be a big problem here in the summer & fall, not only locally-produced and smoke from forest fires, but also the air pollution from the Bay area gets blown in here.  The foothills like Cameron Park, Folsom Lake, also up I-80 to Auburn get the worst of it especially ozone.

OTOH access to the mountains is GREAT.  Sacramento is 200 miles from everywhere, OTOH it's also 200 miles from anywhere  


Quote from: blansky
For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great.
+1 on that, I grew up there.  Cost of living and traffic can be problems.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lisa Nikodym on April 08, 2009, 11:36:37 AM
Quote
QUOTE (blansky @ Apr 7 2009, 06:41 PM)
For perfect climate, San Jose, up to Palo Alto/Woodside area is great.

+1 on that, I grew up there. Cost of living and traffic can be problems.

I live there, and can certainly confirm that the traffic is bad and the cost of living is ludicrous (can you afford $800,000 for a condo?), but it is a lovely area close to many good things, with near-perfect weather.  One thing the poster above didn't note is that the people here are generally considerably less courteous than in many areas; I've visited Oregon a couple of times (not Portland, but the southern coast area) and was pleasantly surprised by how extremely nice everybody was compared with what I'm used to in the bay area.  Sometimes I dream of moving to Oregon...

Lisa
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: tsjanik on April 08, 2009, 02:55:15 PM
Hi Jack:

One option that you might consider as opposed to a specific location is to become a campground host at State Parks. I've encounterd a number of retired couples who serve as hosts in state campgrounds.  They somewhat oversee a campground for an extended period (e.g. 3 months); in exchange they have a free campsite.  One advantage of this is you can change where you live: summer in OR, winter in AZ. However the real appeal is that you will be in a location long enough to learn a little about it and have an opportunity to wait for the right light; not often the case when traveling.  Your "real house” could then be anywhere.  I don't have any details but I have encountered such hosts up and down the west.

Have fun,

Tom
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 09, 2009, 07:50:33 AM
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the suggestion.  I've met many folks that enjoy doing just what you suggested.  

When I retired back in 1994, we had a 40' diesel bus built, towed a 4x4 Jeep behind it, sold our house in Atlanta and traveled full time for just short of 3 years.
It was great!  Met many fine folks and just enjoyed the Gypsy lifestyle.

Bought another bus about 1.5 years ago and plan was to travel in it 4-6 weeks but keep home.  We got to Naples, FL where we used to winter in the 90's and never left, but to sell the home back in Atlanta.

My opinion today is that these big beautiful buses are Dinosaurs, especially if you consider the prospect of diesel rising back into the $4-$5/gal range.  At best they pull 8 MPG and depreciate like a rock thrown into a Black Hole.  Beautiful, yes.  Fun, yes. Practical at this point in life - probably not.

But I must admit mentioning the idea of getting another to the wife just yesterday!  I'm a slow learner. :-)

Jack

PS:  No, personally I don't like 5th Wheels and Pickups.



Quote from: tsjanik
Hi Jack:

One option that you might consider as opposed to a specific location is to become a campground host at State Parks. I've encounterd a number of retired couples who serve as hosts in state campgrounds.  They somewhat oversee a campground for an extended period (e.g. 3 months); in exchange they have a free campsite.  One advantage of this is you can change where you live: summer in OR, winter in AZ. However the real appeal is that you will be in a location long enough to learn a little about it and have an opportunity to wait for the right light; not often the case when traveling.  Your "real house” could then be anywhere.  I don't have any details but I have encountered such hosts up and down the west.

Have fun,

Tom
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: enlightphoto on April 10, 2009, 04:40:37 AM
I can't imagine anyplace better to live on the West Coast that where I am in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.


What's the consideration? Centralize Departure Location.

Hwys 1, 101, and 5 to run N / S, and 80 & 50 to head East.



From my doorstep:


Within 30 minutes I ccan be in the Napa Valley, downtown San Francisco, or high up on Mt. Diablo.

Within 3 hours I can be on the Big Sur Coast, at the far end of Point Reyes or up on the Sonoma Coast, or paying my entry fee at Yosemite NP, or coming down the hill into the Lake Tahoe basin.

Within 6 hours, I can be in the Redwood Forests north of Eureka / Arcata, at Mono Lake or East of Reno,  NV., or in downtown Los Angeles.

Within 8 hours, I can be on the southern Oregon coast, Crater Lake, San Diego, or in the Southern Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.

In 12 hours I can be in Portland, Salt Lake City, Zion NP, or on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

(FWIW - These last ones are pretty serious drives but can be done in those times, although maybe not by most, but certainly by a motivated landscape photographer.)


Time and time again, that idea of the centralized departure point has proved this to be a remarkable place to live, not to mention you're sitting in the world-class environs of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hope that helps with your decision.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: OwlsEye on April 10, 2009, 09:44:39 AM
Check out Eureka California.
Eureka is in the Redwoods and is a very nice small "city."
Eureka is a progressive place with a lot of work and living potential. Photographically you have the the North California Pacific Coast, Redwoods, access to Oregon, and access to the California interior which includes the rarely visited Lassen National Park.

Eureka is about 3 hours North of San Fransisco... far enough to be away, close enough for a weekend visit.

Now I think I'm ready to move there... I wonder if they have any jobs available for a Biology Teacher  

cheers,
bruce
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: enlightphoto on April 10, 2009, 10:30:27 AM
Quote from: OwlsEye
Eureka is about 3 hours North of San Fransisco... far enough to be away, close enough for a weekend visit.

Now I think I'm ready to move there... I wonder if they have any jobs available for a Biology Teacher  

cheers,
bruce


To correct; I went to Humboldt State for 5 years in Arcata (7 mi. north of Eureka)
The fastest I ever made it to or from the the SF BAY was 5 hours.


The 'average' driver stopping for food or gas will take about 6 hours.



Mind you, making the trip in 3 hours is possible....


...with a plane.  



If anyone wants to see the area, I have a brand new gallery of photos of the North Coast (http://www.enlightphoto.com/webpages/cstnorth/North_Coast_Redwood_Photos_01.html).
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Lust4Life on April 10, 2009, 02:03:08 PM
Hi Gary,

Your logic reflects my own on this topic.

From a Micro viewpoint, ideal is to have activities in your immediate area that you enjoy on a daily basis -- jogging, fishing, swimming, community of like minded people, shopping, etc.
From a Macro viewpoint, ideal is to have varied topography and points of interest within a days drive.

Your right about the east bay area of SF - I've been looking there but can be a bit deterred by some of the areas crime rates.  
I've also been looking in the area east of Sacramento - Cameron Park, Folsom, etc.  Give up quick access to the sea, but the cost of housing is not unreasonable.

There is one serious drawback to the SF region, and that is the geologic threats that exist.  Of course, this is only an issue if a serious earthquake occurs.  But if and when it does, sure could screw up a nice lifestyle!

In short, with all this pondering the old axiom is proving valid.  There is no one place that is ideal, all require compromise.

Thus for the Bay Area; high risk of earthquake devistation the area (may or may not happen in the next 20 years but the learned geologist sure are convinced).
 
For CA as a whole; high CA State Income Tax of 10.3% on every dollar earned; sales tax generally at 8.75%; property taxes that run in the 1.17-1.27% of purchase price and many of the new communities have infrastructure taxes levied on the homes that amount to another $200/month in COL; States broke; etc.

In short, dang, comprises are a-plenty!

But as I sit here in FL typing this, you could have driven into SF, had a great pizza for lunch, then headed up to Muir Woods for a hike on Fern Creek Trail, and then off to China Town for a great dinner and return home!!   :-)

My luck is that I'd stay domiciled here in FL, take a vacation to your area and be killed in the earthquake that would occur while I'm there!!!

OK, I agree, I need an attitude adjustment!
Jack

Quote from: enlightphoto
To correct; I went to Humboldt State for 5 years in Arcata (7 mi. north of Eureka)
The fastest I ever made it to or from the the SF BAY was 5 hours.


The 'average' driver stopping for food or gas will take about 6 hours.



Mind you, making the trip in 3 hours is possible....


...with a plane.  



If anyone wants to see the area, I have a brand new gallery of photos of the North Coast (http://www.enlightphoto.com/webpages/cstnorth/North_Coast_Redwood_Photos_01.html).
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Paul Sumi on April 10, 2009, 04:39:00 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Thus for the Bay Area; high risk of earthquake devistation the area (may or may not happen in the next 20 years but the learned geologist sure are convinced).

The fact is, the entire west coast is tectonically active.  It's one of the reasons we have beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, Mt Rainier, etc, but unfortunately earthquakes and volcanoes, too.  If you're looking for someplace geo-physically stable, well, there are the Appalachians.   (Not trying to diss the Appalachians, which have a beauty of their own).  

ANYwhere has its hazards - it's a matter of whether you can accept the risk trade-offs.  And yes, I hope that you don't have the misfortune of experiencing The Big One while you're visiting the west coast!  

Paul
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: schrodingerscat on April 10, 2009, 04:43:48 PM
Quote from: Lust4Life
Talked with a buddy last night who lives in Long Beach - after that chat I've ruled out anything south of Carpinteria, California.
Now looking at:
Carpinteria, California
Santa Barbara
San Luis Obispo/Morrow Bay
Monterey
Santa Rosa - was there in 80's and liked it.

Also Sequim and Port Townsend in WA/Olympic Penn.  But the more realistic I become, the less I think I can handle the months of gray weather and drizzle.

Though I love Carmel, it seems to become nothing but a tourist trap in the Spring-Fall and the traffic becomes a nightmare on 101 (last visit there was 2 years ago).

I also remember San Luis Obispo area as being nice - any feedback on this city?

Close friend suggests going between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe - say Cameron Park or Folsom Lake.
That would mean giving up the beach access but I'm finding beach access may have to be traded off for other attributes.

Jack


On this list, I'd vote for SLO. Nice college town fairly close to the Pacific. Puts you in good striking range of the Sierras as well as LaLA and SF, but gets bloody hot in the summer. One of the epicenters of the craft beer movement.

As you had stated a desire to spend time swimming in the ocean, the further north you go, the colder the water, the higher the bluffs to get down to the beach, and the rockier the beaches. The surf gets more treacherous the further north you go as well.   Another good beach town is Santa Cruz. Would consider that over the greater Monterey area.  Another thing to consider is that from Monterey north, most of the summer is fogged in on the coast. People die in Frisco if the temperature goes above 80 F.

If a vibrant cultural scene is important, that pretty much leaves The Bay Area or LA. College towns are usually Ok, but on a much smaller scale. The BA is the only place in California with a real mass transit system that will actually let you get around without a car. If considering the East Bay, check out Alameda as well as the Berkeley/ Piedmont/ Hayward hills areas. Try and stay on the west side of the hills.

I'd stay out of the valley. 100+ for weeks at a time and colder in the winter than the coast. The central valley now has the worst air quality in California, thanks in part to suburban sprawl and just too many vehicles, as well as geography.  Both the I5 and 101 corridors have turned into bedroom communities with the attending rush hour gridlock. A couple of years ago it took me an hour to get through Santa Rosa.

If your goal is to be within easy striking distance to mountains while living on the coast, you are pretty much restricted to Pismo on north. SoCal will place you closer to the deserts and the South West. Death Valley is still one of my favorites. In California, nowhere on the coast is really convenient to most of what is considered to be classic landscape territory(Big Sur/Pt Reyes excepted), tho there are little gems hidden away everywhere. A spendy little beach town that is often not thought of is Malibu. Besides the famous beaches, it's surrounded by coastal parkland and far enough from LA  to avoid the smog. Must be a reason the Hollywood types live there. I'd stay out of the canyons as they go up in flames just about every summer.

If the beach thing is not set in stone there are quite a few nice little towns along Hwy 49 in the Gold Country, about two hours from SF unless it takes four, depending on route and time. Several are on Yosemite's door step. Another below-the radar area is the Anderson Valley. Close to the coast and the redwoods, and an up and coming wine region. About the same distance from the BA as Santa Rosa, but much less crowded and nicer climate.

Probably the best way to check things out is to start in San Diego and head north on the Pacific Coast Highway sometime in July/August, this will give you a feel of what weather and traffic conditions are like most of the time. Same for the valley and foothills. When I lived in Laguna, you either got out of town by Friday afternoon, or planned on spending the weekend home. In any case, it's best to spend some time in the areas rather than relying on internet searches and peoples experiences from years ago. Things have been rapidly changing throughout the state.

Cheers

My experience with California - A 6th generation Californian, I was born in LA, grew up in the Bay Area, then went to school in SoCal and got stuck for twenty years(pleasantly so). Since high school, I've lived in Monrovia, Glendora, Glendale, Santa Monica, Laguna Beach, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Placerville, Alameda, Paradise, and currently reside in Sacramento. The ocean still beckons and I still miss the SoCal beaches and  cutural scenes. I try and get to 10,000' in the Sierras at least once a year.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Paul Sumi on April 10, 2009, 04:50:01 PM
Quote from: schrodingerscat
A 6th generation Californian...

Just 3rd generation for me, am also an Angeleno... my grandparents came to America and California simultaneously in the early days of the 20th century.

Paul
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: schrodingerscat on April 10, 2009, 10:27:28 PM
Quote from: nniko
I live there, and can certainly confirm that the traffic is bad and the cost of living is ludicrous (can you afford $800,000 for a condo?), but it is a lovely area close to many good things, with near-perfect weather.  One thing the poster above didn't note is that the people here are generally considerably less courteous than in many areas; I've visited Oregon a couple of times (not Portland, but the southern coast area) and was pleasantly surprised by how extremely nice everybody was compared with what I'm used to in the bay area.  Sometimes I dream of moving to Oregon...

Lisa

Just don't mention you're from California. Been thru Oregon and Washington many times.

Old bumper sticker - Don't Californicate Oregon.

Of all the places I've lived, the ones with the friendliest folks were in SoCal.

If you can handle the weather, my favorite city in the Western Hemisphere is Vancouver BC. The scenery in the area is a bit of allright as well
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: schrodingerscat on April 10, 2009, 10:32:51 PM
Quote from: PaulS
The fact is, the entire west coast is tectonically active.  It's one of the reasons we have beautiful places like the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, Mt Rainier, etc, but unfortunately earthquakes and volcanoes, too.  If you're looking for someplace geo-physically stable, well, there are the Appalachians.   (Not trying to diss the Appalachians, which have a beauty of their own).  

ANYwhere has its hazards - it's a matter of whether you can accept the risk trade-offs.  And yes, I hope that you don't have the misfortune of experiencing The Big One while you're visiting the west coast!  

Paul

I'll take the chance of an earthquake(been thru 2) any day over the certainty of hurricanes and tornados.  Or blizzards and floods, for that matter.
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: Philmar on April 30, 2009, 04:45:47 PM
2 words:



Bandon, Oregon
Title: West Coast - best place to LIVE?
Post by: dalethorn on May 01, 2009, 11:40:37 AM
I like to be outdoors photographing things. All sorts of things. Being in Southern California means losing *far* fewer days from rain, cold, and other hazards than most other parts of the country. You could get an equivalent number of good days in some of the desert locations of course, if you don't mind being 100 miles or more from the nearest 7-11.