Moving elsewhere in CA - need additional info on certain areas (San Jose: renting, hotel)
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Moving elsewhere in CA - need additional info on certain areas
I've looked through most of the "Relocating" forums and haven't found exactly what I'm looking for, but I've found some really good information. So, here is my situation:
My boyfriend and I are moving out of our current location sometime next spring/summer. We are currently in the Kern River Valley, an hour outside Bakersfield, in the foothills of the Sierra. We are moving due to a lack of jobs in the area, as well as the long commute for jobs/school (to Bakersfield or Ridgecrest, just over an hour to each). I am finishing my teaching credential and also have a school social work credential, so I will be looking for a full-time teaching/counselor/school social worker position for the 2011-2012 school year (I know, bad timing). I'll have credentials to teach and work in K-12, and my experience is with court schools (like at Juvenile Hall). My boyfriend will be transferring to a four year University and finishing school, as well as (hopefully) working 20-30 hours/week. He has tons of construction/maintenance/landscaping experience, and would like to work in any of those areas.
That said, we're looking at the following areas/schools: Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura (CSUCI), Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, Morgan Hill/San Jose, Reno/Tahoe/Truckee, Chico, Rohnert Park (Sonoma State), and possibly Humboldt/Eureka/Arcata. We're in our mid/late 20's, fairly liberal, and love the outdoors. He's a mountain person (grew up in the Sierra) and I'm a beach person, so either or any combination of both locations would suit us. We'd love a place with tons to do outside (hiking, mountain biking, snow sports, water sports, rivers, climbing, etc), a great farmer's market, and a relatively small area - 50,000 people or less, yet close enough to a bigger place for jobs and not a horrible commute. We'll be renting on my (teachers) salary. We'd like to find a place where we could settle down, not have to move in two years, etc. We're also animal lovers and would love some great hiking trails/greenbelts locally to take our dog for walks. We're both from California and want to stay in the state, both for cheaper tuition (University of Nevada, Reno, has relatively cheap tuition for CA residents) and my credentials being valid, as well as our families being in the state and wanting to be close to them.
Does anyone who is familiar with these places have any suggestions, inside information, etc? We'll be trying to take lots of road trips this fall and winter to visit, but would like to possibly narrow down the list first...
Any and all suggestions, including places we haven't thought of, would be great. And we are aware that the economy is horrible everywhere... but given that, all suggestions are helpful!!
It sounds like you have already narrowed things down to good areas which could suit you. Based on your criteria I think I would take San Jose off the list as the area has huge suburban sprawl. My wife grew up in Morgain Hill and while a nicer part of SJ, it's still part of a larger population. SJ has exceeded SF in population and the freeways and roads really show it during rush hour.
I would continue widdling down your short list.
While San Luis Obispo is a cool college town jobs are harder to come by than the other areas on your list. Too many graduates like the area or have a spouse/SO going to school. Although I have heard that the Reno, Tahoe, Truckee area is also home to a highly competitive, overeducated, underpaid workforce. You have all those ski/snowboard, mountain loving folks with degrees who end up waiting tables or dealing cards at the casinos if they can get the work - kinda like starving artists/students/ski nuts all in one. Hey, I love to snowboard so I can relate. But it might not be the best place to start careers.
What is your BF's major?
Santa Cruz and Monterey can be good options. See my latest thread on the Monterey Economy for more details. There are more types of jobs here than in some of the other botique type smaller college town areas. Santa Cruz has somewhat limited jobs and a large group of 20 something students or surfers living on a shoestring and taking more menial jobs (construction, waiting, hotel work, etc...). But San Jose is right over the mountain. SO ppl opt to make a sometimes hellacious hwy 17 commute. Do a search on Hwy 17 on this forum for more info on that one.
It sounds like you will be the full time bread winner while your boyfriend finishes school so much will depend on where you find a teaching job.
Each of the other areas have their own unique vibe so I'd visit the ones you haven't already. It honestly might just come down to something really practical like getting job(s).
I'd skip SoCal since you are looking for smaller areas unless you find a teaching job somewhere near Santa Barbara or Ventura.
Also keep in mind you guys are in transition while your BF finishes school. So I wouldn't worry to much about having to stay there for 10 years or anything if it's not your first choice. The main thing is finish school and getting some good experience under your belts.
Last edited by MtnSurfer; 08-28-2010 at 06:45 PM..
Thanks so much, Derek and ferretkona for your input!
Derek, that's really good information on the Santa Cruz/Monterey area. I figure a teaching job will be hard to get anywhere, but since we won't know where he gets into school until spring, was hoping to network in some of our favorite areas in advance. I looked up hwy 17 - it sounds somewhat similar to our local hwy 178, also known as the Kern Canyon (it's the only road to Bakersfield, a winding, mountain hwy, only 1 lane in each direction, some guardrails to protect you from going into the river, but only on about 50% of the road, and no divider between you and oncoming traffic. Are you familiar? if so, can you compare the two?). How's the commute from Monterey to Salinas? I'm hoping to find a teaching job anywhere but figure that I'd have better luck in a larger town/city, but then again, who knows?! Also, what are some of the outlying areas like - Watsonville, etc? How's the commute from those areas?
My boyfriend will be majoring in some branch of science - physics, geology, essentially whatever major is strongest in whatever school he goes to. I read your other post on Monterey and it seems there might be some job opportunities with the military - and that might be up his alley.
I haven't driven that specific road. But I have driven Old Stage Rd and Granite Rd into Bakersfield. Hwy 17 is different. It's a beast all it's own. The times it really gets crazy is during rush hour in the winter rain, fog, etc... People seems to not care or even speed up in poorer conditions. Consequently many deadly accidents have occurred on the stretch over the years. It is a lot different on a clear sunny day off peak rush hour and may even be somewhat enjoyable.
A big difference between it and some of the Sierra Foothill roads is that people treat it like a freeway and drive like bats out hell. Plus you get more of the NorCal weather which includes fog, freezing raining at times, and even occasional snow in the Santa Cruz mtns. Those things alone aren't the worst part. It's the combo of crazy driving in those conditions that cause all the accidents.
I like this description of it from a local resident:
Born and raised in Los Gatos and the mountains next to 17 and I can personally vouch for the inherent danger. A study was done about some 15 years ago and found that 17 is banked totally incorrectly in something like 15 places (take notice next time you drive it and you'll feel it). Friends that I know have either died or been in terrible wrecks on 17 without the element of bad weather. The house that I was born in (Redwood Estates)used to overlook 17 and my parents still talk about decapitations and fatalities that they witnessed right below our home. The problem is that people take it WAY too fast and there isn't much time to slow down due to the turns in the road. Add a little booze or someone falling asleep at the wheel and it's disastrous. While some of the problems have been fixed there are still tricky merges/exits with little or no space to get on or off much less with visibility. All this aside, it's something that you will learn to live with to get around when you live in Santa Cruz. Just give yourself plenty of time to get back and forth! Good luck.
Regarding the commute between Salinas and Monterey, it's not too bad, but there is traffic. Many people do it and there are a couple of ways to go. Hwy 168 or Hwy 1 to Reservation Rd. It's only ~18 miles of mostly flat driving. Watsonville to Monterey isn't too bad as long as you get up early or drive off peak hours. There is traffic down Hwy 1 coming into Monterey which gets backed up at times, especially if there is an accident. We have a number of people at work who commute in from Watsonville and Santa Cruz as well.
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