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Thread summary:

Moving to Albuquerque: transplants, traffic, cost of living, housing, four seasons.

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Old 06-05-2008, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Placitas, New Mexico
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Phoenix and Albuquerque were roughly the same size in 1950. I've also always thought that one of the main reasons accounting for Phoenix's phenomenal rise has been that so many people including retirees from the Midwest and East have been fleeing the cold and can't tolerate even a bit of cold weather in the winter. This same movement has brought growth to Vegas and Florida as well. What they don't quite bargain on is that it comes with a price---fierce, stiflingly hot or humid summers.

I think this trend is starting to wither and I think smarter generations will start gravitating towards a 4 season climate, but milder and sunnier like Albuquerque's.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by ABQSunseeker View Post
I've also always thought that one of the main reasons accounting for Phoenix's phenomenal rise has been that so many people including retirees from the Midwest and East have been fleeing the cold and can't tolerate even a bit of cold weather in the winter. This same movement has brought growth to Vegas and Florida as well. What they don't quite bargain on is that it comes with a price---fierce, stiflingly hot or humid summers.
Yep, that might be a bit of it Sunseeker, but I always agree with my good friend who lived in Phoenix for a number of years, and noted that Phoenix always *strove* to get huge, and they did what they could to encourage large population influx.

Many areas of Florida did this similarly.

Part of that is why Phoenix got so huge, and say, Tucson, who is only a hare cooler than Phoenix - didn't (roughly ABQ's size).

Look at Denver metro, whose winters are incredibly more volatile and far, far less mild than ABQ's, and their population exploded too. I just think that while ABQ has traditionally been content with its size and natural population influx, some cities have really pushed to increase population.

I never get the whole ABQ can "get cold" in the winter thing. I mean, Atlanta does too. There will be cold snaps in Atlanta with some minor snow, etc. Heck, even Dallas can get some cold winter weather. I will grant that Atlanta / Dallas also can get into the high 60s / 70s in the winter which isn't as common in ABQ, but heck, ABQ's winters are more mild than even a Louisville, KY, which for a person coming from the Midwest or NE or Rocky Mountain north or plains, etc., is pretty darn nice.

I definitely would take a 3-month so-called ABQ "winter" and the other 9 months of tremendous weather over the 6-hellishly-scorching Phoenix months and their other 6 months of tremendous weather.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
That is what scares me to death about the move. My wife and I are going to need to build solid relationships really fast in order for the move to be a good one.
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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
That is one reason ABQ appeals to us. You have the city ammenities and you step outside of the city and you are in this vast mountainous beautiful area you can get lost in.
Don't worry too much about isolation if you relo to ABQ, jrod. As you've now seen for yourself, while much of New Mexico is rather rural, isolated, remote, etc., when you are in ABQ itself, you feel as much a part of a larger city as you would if you'd be in Indy, Denver, or Phoenix in many regards. Actually, vegaspilgrim had a really good post on this once. For the most part, people reside and operate in fractions of whatever city they live in. So even if you are in 14+ million person metro LA, you still for the most part will do your everyday thing in a small fraction or portion of LA. Thus, ABQ with a metro of 850,000 in most respects feels very similar to residing in a city of 2 or 3 million metro (obviously with some glaring differences such as traffic, etc.).

As far as making good relationships / friendships themselves in a city, I would advise you that most people that relocate in big cities often note it can take 2 or 3 years for solid relationship forming...no matter what city you are going to/from. I don't say that to discourage you, and surely you guys could make friends much quicker (having your wife in a PhD program, you working, etc., will help with that - if you do church, etc., that helps too), but also to encourage you that if you feel a bit more isolated than you are used to initially, it is only natural, and it changes over time. I note this because I gave up on a city that I greatly preferred due largely to this, and I wish I had someone kick me over the head with this advice before we moved back north!

Last edited by EnjoyEP; 06-05-2008 at 03:09 PM..
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
On a side note, this might be a really dumb question, but can anybody who has been to both compare Albuquerque and Omaha?
I have been to Omaha quite a bit. My wife always notes how much I really like Omaha. Actually, my cousin resides in Omaha and we potentially are heading there next month for a wedding.

I like Omaha. I think it is a really underrated, neat Midwestern city. I find it quite pretty actually in the Midwestern/plains sense with the rolling hills and the river - they have a really nice Downtown for the city's size too. Cost of housing is really cheap and cost of living overall is very good. Overall, I like that rare Midwestern - Plains convergence that you don't get much in most cities. Usually it is one or the other.

I - for a Midwestern/plains climate - like the weather there. It can get brutally cold for stretches in the winter - even colder than a Milwaukee/Chicago - but those stretches are often quick and are followed up with some very mild winter days too (a few days of 0s aren't uncommon, but days in the 40s and mid-50s aren't uncommon either). Snow happens, but not nearly to the degree as up here. Springs and falls are longer and nicer than they are in the upper Midwest. Summers can be quite hot and humid, but to a person familiar with the Southwest, they aren't very bad at all. Obviously, the one negative of the Omaha climate is being in the heart of tornado alley, although with the exception of 1975, typically tornadoes haven't been a major issue in Omaha itself. Severe spring/summer storms though will happen.

Omaha has some neat minor league sports & the college baseball world series (and is close to a huge NCAA Div 1 program - Nebraska), a nice arena, surprisingly many decent restaurants, and best of all - Runza's. It reminds me somewhat of Albuquerque in that it is a city that is proud of itself and somewhat content being the best Omaha it can be, rather than say cities like Phoenix trying its hardest to be another LA.

For a city of its size, Omaha has a good job market and economy. Its infrastructure is pretty good too.

I really can't say I have a whole lot of negative perceptions of Omaha. Heck, after reviewing my post here, I am ready to throw Omaha into the mix of cities I should be trying to relocate to! Seriously, I probably wouldn't, as while I am not a severe weather wimp, if I am going to live somewhere with cold and snow and rain and clouds, it'll be Milwaukee near my family.

But honestly, if my family were out of the equation and God made me pick a city to live in, as long as it was in the Midwest, it would be between Omaha and Kansas City for me, with the edge probably going to Omaha.

However, obviously I would choose ABQ over Omaha. The mountains and the weather, while not the be all, end all in life, surely contribute mightily to quality of life for an outdoor lover / enthusiast. I also simply love the culture, pace, vibe, and food of Albuquerque - moreso than a Midwestern town like Omaha. I am just more of a "desert guy" than a "midwestern guy" I guess.

Omaha is probably in my own personal "top 10 favorite" US cities, and honestly, while I like Denver quite a bit Vegas, I would probably rate it over Denver (although my wife would really disagree with that). However, ABQ falls in my "top 2 favorite" and the other isn't Omaha.

But to me, these cities are both jewels in their own ways. They are nearly - to me - perfect sizes (in that 850,000 metro), have a reasonable and a good cost of living / housing (Omaha even better but ABQ still very good), and have a lot going for them.

Last edited by EnjoyEP; 06-05-2008 at 03:30 PM..
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:14 PM
 
Location: New Mexico to Texas
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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
Vegaspilgrim,

In regard to your "weather wimps" statement, I agree with you for the most part. What people in the south and southwest in particular don't realize is sunshine, or lack thereof is why northern folk complain about the weather. You guys take it for granted. I'm not sure if midwestern people or just northerners in general hate the cold as much as they miss the sunshine. At least for me, that is one thing I hate and complain about. Imagine almost never seeing the sunshine from November to April. It truly depresses me. I think that is why a lot of people from my region are flocking to the southwest. Waking up in the morning to a bright blue sky with a big yellow sun just makes you feel better... and the sandia mountains for a skyline is just icing on the cake.


funny you should mention this,In my new apartment where my bed is placed I dont get any sun and its hard to wake up,I need the sun to start off my day otherwise its just dosent feel right, so now I gotta move my bed around so that sun can shine down on my face every morning.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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EnjoyEP,

Good post, I've always wanted to go to Omaha but never had the chance. Being a huge baseball lover, I always wanted to watch the CWS there but have never gotten around to going.. something I definitely want to do someday. It's funny, my wife makes fun of me for being a weather geek (I'm fascinated by the weather) and she rips on me for being obsessed with sports. EnjoyEP, it seems we do share many common passions. I'll say it again, and probably again in the future, but if we both do relocate to ABQ we need to throw back some Fat Tires at Horse N Angel and talk some baseball.

Desert Sun,

No matter where I place my bed in my room, I rarely get sun on my face. In the winter, I could sleep outside in a sleeping bag under the stars and I still wouldn't see the sun in the morning due to the constant cloud cover in the winter... ugggg it depresses me.
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Thanks for another great post, EnjoyEP. My plan as of right now (which could always change of course) is to move right back to Denver after I finish the (one year) program at USC. However, I'm coming up with alternatives just in some case that doesn't work out. I could stay in LA (which seems like a lousy option to me). I could move to San Diego (one of my favorite cities-- but the cost of living is no different from LA, and the economy there is underpowered). One hand I could go south to sunny Albuquerque, in the heart of the pinion-studded high desert of New Mexico. On the other hand I could go east to the midwest, probably either Omaha or Kansas City so I'd only be a day's drive away from Denver. Phoenix is out-- I have no desire to live there ever again. Salt Lake city seems nice on paper, but I don't think I could ever be comfortable living there. After coming back home to visit for these last few weeks, I'm starting to like Denver more than ever before. This is probably where I'll be in exactly one year from now... but I always like exploration and learning about new places. I'm going to be in ABQ this weekend on my way to LA-- this time we're going to do the Sandia tramway. I've also thought we should eat at Sadies, from everything I've read about it. Good idea?
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
EnjoyEP,

Good post, I've always wanted to go to Omaha but never had the chance. Being a huge baseball lover, I always wanted to watch the CWS there but have never gotten around to going.. something I definitely want to do someday.
I am with you there, jrod. Omaha can get awfully steamy and warm around the CWS, but to me that only adds to the appeal. That is, in many respects, *baseball weather*. I believe Omaha is a great baseball town. They have a big "rival" Triple A speaking to the ABQ Isotopes - the Omaha Royals - and I would love to catch some CWS and then an Omaha Royals game. Omaha knows its baseball.

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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
It's funny, my wife makes fun of me for being a weather geek (I'm fascinated by the weather) and she rips on me for being obsessed with sports. EnjoyEP, it seems we do share many common passions. I'll say it again, and probably again in the future, but if we both do relocate to ABQ we need to throw back some Fat Tires at Horse N Angel and talk some baseball.
You are on jrod. I will buy ya a few rounds in fact!!

I know that my #1 weekend pastime up here in MKE currently is watching Milwaukee Brewers baseball, and I loved the baseball-loving culture of Albuquerque too. As long as "my teams" are reasonably competitive (hovering around .500 works for me), I am typically glued. I have been fortunate with my Milwaukee background to grow up with one of the all-time great baseball broadcasters, Bob Uecker, who is a real pleasure to hear over the airwaves on a warm, humid evening when you are out and about.

Anyway, if that ever gets pulled off, you can rest your wife assured she'd have a social companion too, as I am sure she'd enjoy getting together with my wife, as they could both mock us openly and freely about our love of weather tracking and sports obsession!!

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Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
Desert Sun,

No matter where I place my bed in my room, I rarely get sun on my face. In the winter, I could sleep outside in a sleeping bag under the stars and I still wouldn't see the sun in the morning due to the constant cloud cover in the winter... ugggg it depresses me.
I know I am not Desert Sun here, jrod, but I had to comment. I actually - my weather geekdom aside - have never figured out just why it gets so freaking gray and cloudy in this portion of the Midwest in the winter! I don't know why that happens. There is a real meteorologist - mrgoodwx - who occasionally posts here, maybe he could tell us why. But yeah, it is a real p*sser, for so long it is just so overall gray and overcast. And then, when the sun comes out - the complete opposite of ABQ's winters where the sun makes everything feel so much warmer - here when the sun comes out, that is when is at its absolute crazy coldest!!! I hate that - it is pick your poison: gray/overcast and dreary OR sunny-but-amazingly-cold. Argh.

It is weird, because in the summer it can be (and has been) sunny over 80% of the time. But for some reason in the winter, the Upper Midwest is a magnet for clouds. It stinks. I hate being cooped up for 6+ months or, if you do get out, having to layer like mad. This is why while I could live in a Phoenix type of climate OK, I still would really rather not.
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Old 06-05-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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I have spent time in Omaha as a buddy of mine moved there.

Abq's population (523,590 & 841,133 metro) is a bit larger than Omaha's (427,872 & 829,890 metro), but Omaha (to me) seems more like a 'city'. *NOTE: Omaha's metro is from 2000 and ABQ's metro is from 2007 according to Wikipedia*

Omaha seems to add to their city's population by annexing outlying 'lil guys' whereas ABQ grows within its boundries (metro population excluded).

Omaha does have 5 Fortune 500 companies (ConAgra Foods; Union Pacific Corporation; Peter Kiewit and Sons; Mutual of Omaha Companies, and; Berkshire Hathaway). Because of the Fortune 500 companies, their downtown may look more impressive because they have more money that they can invest in it (this is merely a guess by me, with no factual information to go behind it).

Like I said before, I think Omaha seems to have more of a 'city' feel to it. Their downtown is currently going through a vast redevelopment. It already is pretty impressive for a city its size. Also, the multiple interstates that run through Omaha just seem to make it feel larger. Omaha is not far from other large cities, unlike ABQ, so maybe that has something to do with it as well?

Also, Omaha's green landscape is amazing (this coming from a desert rat lol).

I think both cities share a lot in common, but it seems that Omaha's population has more disposable income (which may very well be true).

Also, Omaha has that oh-so-wanted downtown arena that many of us are after (and it is really sweet!)

I think both cities are going in the right direction, yet going at it a little differently. Both cities have a very different history so they are going to look/act different.

Like Enjoy El Paso stated, I don't have anything negative to say about Omaha either as I believe it is hugely underated. But, I believe ABQ is underated as well. Omaha gets overlooked by larger midwestern cities (Indy, Kansas City and of course Chicago). We get overlooked because we are in New Mexico, we have no sport teams (pro) and no large city near us.

Sorry, I got off on a tangent, I was just really amazed at the time I have spent in Omaha.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Thanks for another great post, EnjoyEP. My plan as of right now (which could always change of course) is to move right back to Denver after I finish the (one year) program at USC. ... This is probably where I'll be in exactly one year from now... but I always like exploration and learning about new places.
No problem vegas, I hope I helped. Honestly, I always get pumped to see a vegas post, as I really enjoy your posting style and insights as well.

Yep, it sounds like deep-down you are kind of set on Denver, and hey, I cannot blame you. If your family is there, that obviously is a big thing, and yep, Denver is a very nice city. Most of my inlaws all live in Denver, and Denver is probably my most-visited city (slightly edging El Paso, TX) with me having been there 20, 25 times in my life. Honestly, Denver is the city that initially got my interest going in "the West" (although then it shifted gradually more to the Southwest). Heck, Denver is not quite "for me" being a bit bigger / more expensive / cold&snowy than I prefer, but it is probably in my "top 15" for favorite US cities...certainly top 20.

My wife loves Denver even more than I, and if things weren't quite so doggone expensive there (and I realize it isn't Cali expensive), it would probably be closer to my top 10. I was last there in October and had some quite enjoyable times as always. Classic, freaky Rocky Mountain weather - 4 inches of snow on a Sunday; the day or two preceeding was in the 60s and 70s. Denver is definitely a good town.

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Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
After coming back home to visit for these last few weeks, I'm starting to like Denver more than ever before.
You know, with complete and utter sincerity vegas, I hope it ends up that way for you too, once you return. I really do.

It is just interesting you state this, as this is *exactly* how I felt coming back to Milwaukee for visits over the course of my last year or 1.5 years in ABQ. I kept getting more excited being in Milwaukee, "seeing and appreciating things" that I hadn't noticed especially ever before. I thought - wow - I am falling in love with this town all over again (break out the violins and fiddles).

But, for *me*, that really all kind of changed quickly when living here again year-round. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it here, and in fact, there are many things I really like and appreciate about living here. Heck, some of those things I noticed in my visits are still things I appreciate about living here (that I didn't before).

Here is one thing to just put a caution / bug in your ear about (and again, I honestly am not trying to disuade you - not like you'd be disuaded by some dude on a message board anyway! - as I honestly hope and think it would work out well for you as you've so much done your homework...I just thought maybe it would be worthwhile to chew on):

You have lived in boiling hot Phoenix now for several years. Undoubtedly, the heat of Phoenix's long, ultra-hot summers where on the soul after a while (like Milwaukee's winters). Thus, you say that you are visiting Denver alot the "last few weeks" meaning, what, mid-May through early June? Well, that is *prime time* in Denver...ESPECIALLY compared to May/June in Phoenix. So you see things a little bit more favorably towards Denver, even if you *know* that indeed, then in January, Phoenix is the preferrable climate.

Again, I know you *know* all of this, as you are a weather/stats guy like me. But I know my wife and I would ALWAYS come back to Milwaukee for a summer visit from ABQ in July / August, etc., and I would always then look at the amazing greenery everywhere, feel the pleasant humidity on my skin (after going through bone-dry ABQ for a summer), feel some 78 or 81 degree unbelievably nice days with some great cool breezes off of Lake Michigan (when it would be a sun-baking 98 in ABQ, dry heat or not, for seemingly several months) and I would think, wow, why didn't I appreciate this ever before??? Wow, I appreciate this place like I never did before!

But then I lived here, in, mid-December. Early January. Early February. Mid-March. Mid-April. Holy smokes...I should've been doing my visits for my own good perspective in those times!!

Also, we'd also typically do a Christmas run up here too. It would be gray, wet, cold, and snowy. However, on vacation with no where to go, nothing to do, cozied up in my parent's nice house, and (subconsciously knowing that this would be only for a week's stay), it all seemed to enjoyable.

I guess what I am trying to say...visit times, especially back to your "home", for short / week-long bursts, especially at times of the year when your home is preferrable to your current residence, can be deceiving. They can hit you like a snake in the grass. I am not saying Denver is doing that to you now, but it is just a kind word of warning for a guy that's gone through it recently to at least think of / consider, etc.

There is a saying that you "can't go home again." I knew of that before I came back here, and I even posted on the CD forum seeking advice trying to bolster that you *can* go home again (most people on the forum wouldn't back me up and told me no - you'll regret this - you indeed can't go home again - don't do this) and stubbornly I refuted good advice and even my own instincts and tried to prove the conventional wisdom wrong. And I was proven wrong. And it somewhat sucks.

Again, I don't hate Milwaukee / being back home. In fact, there are components of this city that I love - it is truly underrated - and aspects of being back home that I love. However, at the end of the day, it shouldn't have happened. I hope and think your return back to Denver will have more favorable outcomes. But think it through as you are and don't hesitate to consider all options like you are, family pressures aside. You aren't the same person that you were the last time you were a Denverian, and if you are going to enjoy living in Denver again, it'll take a big adjustment period like any other city, even if you lived there before.

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Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I could stay in LA (which seems like a lousy option to me).
See, I think I am far easier on LA than you are, vegas! I ENVY your year there as a single fellow. LA is a GREAT city! I know it is one of the much-maligned cities of the CD forums (along with Vegas and Phoenix) due to breaking seemingly "CD Commandments" such as "sprawl", "overpopulation", "crime", "traffic", "not enough light rail", etc.

But you know what? 14+ million folks live in that metro reason for a reason. It is a great city / great town. It is NYC - West, with far better weather and the ocean.

I would never seriously entertain living there due to a) the cost of living there, and b) the traffic / congestion, however, you know what? If cost of living wasn't a major factor and you were able to get around fairly easily, I think you could do worse most anywhere else other than LA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I could move to San Diego (one of my favorite cities-- but the cost of living is no different from LA, and the economy there is underpowered).
I agree with you there about most anything. I love SD as well, although I actually prefer the hotter LA climate and grittier areas. It is a great city, I agree though, and its one huge downside is cost of living. I just couldn't do it / wouldn't really even want to. But if I was rich, I might feel differently.

The only thing I disagree about is the economy. I think the local economy thing is so underrated. If you have a degree (or in your case, a higher degree when you come out), a niche, a drive, etc., you can make a nice living almost in any sizable city.

Sure, ABQ doesn't have as many Fortune 500 companies as Omaha, but so what? If you have your stuff together, you'll get a decent-paying nice job in ABQ. Same for San Diego. SD is one of the biggest cities in the US! Sure, its economy may not be LA esque, but good gracious, if you have a skill, an education, a degree, and a somewhat ability to sell yourself in an interview, you'll get a good job there. Would you make $5K less? Sure, maybe, but who cares if it is your city of choice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
On the other hand I could go east to the midwest, probably either Omaha or Kansas City so I'd only be a day's drive away from Denver.
You think like me here. I love both Omaha and KC - two underrated, just great cities. I have made the I-80 trek from Omaha into the Denver region (realize it changes to I-70 in CO) so many times, and I have made it often in 6.5 hours.

I know my wife would EASILY take Denver over O-Ha, but I would take Omi. I really like Omaha. But I LOVE KC too. Hell, both of these are great towns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Phoenix is out-- I have no desire to live there ever again.
Yeah, I think I easily *could* live in Phoenix if I had to, but I really don't have a big desire. I laugh at all of that "chip on the shoulder towards ABQ" you and I have both observed from Phoenix residents, as honestly, ABQ has Phoenix beat in so many ways I almost cannot describe. It isn't to knock Phoenix so much, but more to point out that ABQ has some huge advantages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Salt Lake city seems nice on paper, but I don't think I could ever be comfortable living there.
I think I agree with you here. I have in all honestly never spent major time in SLC, however, have flown through a number of times and always find it to look quite pretty, almost ABQ-esque (or a mixture of ABQ and Denver like ABQ is kind of a mixture of DEN, PHX, and EP). However, I think I agree with you - one of those cities that seem really nice (and to its residents likely is really nice), but honestly, if you are going to live in SLC, why not just live in Denver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I'm going to be in ABQ this weekend on my way to LA-- this time we're going to do the Sandia tramway. I've also thought we should eat at Sadies, from everything I've read about it. Good idea?
Good call on the tram. As for Sadies, yeah, why not? I think it isn't the greatest NM cuisine in ABQ, however, it is up there. The ambiance isn't the greatest, but that is almost what you are looking for in a NM restaurant (and the ambiance is good enough).

Sadies will give you well-above average NM cuisine and is an ABQ institution. You may as well give 'er a run.

If I could, I would whip up a jrod-vegas-EnjoyEP meet and greet at Sadies and throw down a couple of ice cold cervezas with you guys over some chile-laden New Mexican cuisine and talk geography/relocation!!
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