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California Critique

2010 November 23
by bgerman

Based on November 2010 Trip

L.A. fm Santa Monica Mts

Background: I lived in California in the late 60’s – San Diego and Long Beach. It was paradise for a boy from West Texas. The best weather, the prettiest women, the best outdoors things to do. The Navy gave me a place to live and paid me enough to have some fun. Since then I’ve lived in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and now Colorado. Once I retired in 2008, the option has been mine to choose where to live. California being my favorite state, my plan was to visit, look at possible places to live, and at houses/ condos available.

Three years ago, California was not a consideration because I ‘knew’ it was too expensive for my budget. Now that housing prices have come down everywhere, I figured there was a chance I could slip in unnoticed, making my dream come true. Alas, twas not to be.

The visit did NOT change California’s status as my ‘favorite state’, but it did illuminate for me what it would take to live there today. It just doesn’t add up and the reasons follow.

L.A. Traffic

L.A. Traffic

10 Never-ending traffic. Every single day (eight days in a row) got stuck somewhere with a 10 to 30 minute delay. Freeways or city streets, both waiting to suck your time.

9 Houses cost a lot for what you get. If you want to be near civilization AND have a view or a yard, figure half a mill for a shack. With a one car garage and a postage stamp sized patio or balcony.

8 Everyone’s in a hurry. Which means they are not be extra friendly (there are exceptions).

7 Skiing options limited – Mammoth and Tahoe are remote except from Sacramento

Oceanview Condos

6 Driving a Motorcycle on any freeway is dangerous (more dangerous than Colorado)

5 Affordable houses are 100+ miles from major airports

4 State is broke with a water shortage coming (tax burden is high and going up)

3 I don’t deserve to live in this nice a place

2 Gas pumps funky and gas costs a dollar/ gal more

1 Range Rover** or better req’d to be respected and/or credible

Affordable California Property

0 Turns out Colorado has most everything I want, and it’s affordable. Now that I’ve been here three years, turns out I even like the weather. Having four seasons gives me something to look forward to. Plus California is on one end of the country and I want to travel all over, so Colorado being in the middle is a big advantage.

* I’ll go back and check out the northern half of the state next year.

** Don’t try and get by with an entry level LR2, either. It won’t work.

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