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My suggestion would be to visit the area before moving, basing a opinion from here would be a big mistake in my opinion, people tend to be territorial on here.
I've noticed in reading other more heated threads on relating subjects..ha, but I like to "hear" those territorial opinions... I've not been to any of the areas I mentioned, and visiting them before the move isn't really an option for me. It'll be okay, I've lived in a few different kinds of areas from Vegas to Dallas and Fort Worth to practically the hollar in Southern Ohio and visited many more...no matter what I'm in intelligent person with the ability to adapt and more importantly to make the best of not-so-ideal situations.
I was born in CA and have since visited off and on for weeks at a time to Oakloand, L.A., San Diego, and San Francisco..I have a lot of family out there that I'm not terribly close with but I keep daily facebook contact with haha..I have a lot of family in Vegas, including my mother and father, though and I'd love to live within a days drive of them, but I can't see myself living around Vegas...CA has all of my geological preferences combined with ideal weather, and that's my main reason for choosing CA, but combined with all of the afore mentioned benefits, it becomes pretty much my only option, in my opinion. Another benefit is being closer to Montana...although not terribly close to my particular area of interest, living in CA would make a drive to see my Grandparents in Montana much more reasonable.
My list of locations are based on my husbands job...there are branches of his company near/in each of those locations. Recently our options increased from Tulare co. and Kern County to the ones I've mentioned minus a few I've already eliminated with common sense and my personal preferences.
I intend to get a better feel for each of the locations personally, but only after I've moved. I was hoping to get a better idea about the areas than what wiki and google can do for me so I could eliminate some areas before moving. Ultimately I will make a decision based on my own criteria, but for now, I need a starting point...
Thanks, by the way, your post was awesome.
Also, when I mentioned suburbia I meant to add the word "cookie-cutter" in there...I don't mind some types of suburban neighborhoods, I just wouldn't be able to personally stay sane in a cul de sac of cookie-cutter houses. I'd rather some...flavor, if you will, even if that means accepting some "roughness". But not too rough, I have an 8 year old, a 4 year old and a 3 month old...and a husband who's never been out of the state of Ohio until our trip to FL earlier this year. haha
Hah! You've done the whole California city tour then. I've done it as well (as well as Phoenix and NYC), and to be quite honest , I LOVE California way more outside of the cities than I do within them. I've begun to realize at this age that after you've seen many different cities, they don't vary as much as you would think. I can still appreciate the differences between them, but at least in this day and age, the American city just looks more and more like each other unlike the countryside.
Just know that while California is an extremely huge state in itself, its ecological and geographic diversity could be found in a matter of miles of each other (along with most other Western states) due to the extremely varied terrain there is.
Tulare and Kern Counties are nice and big, with their eastern flanks being part of the Southern Sierra Range. I just came back from a trip to Lake Isabella (the largest lake in Southern California, at least according to the National Forest Service) and the Kern River, and I must say I was pretty impressed. Within a matter of miles within Kern County at least, things can go from looking like this
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/postcards-pictures-of/ca-1268RedRockCanyon,Mojave,California.jpg (broken link)
All within a good 80 mile drive.
Tulare County HAS that as well (minus the desert, which is part of Inyo County), but has the added bonus of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.
Now, that's about what you can see. About living there, well I haven't ever lived in areas that WEREN'T large cities (the "smallest" city I ever lived in was Phoenix...yeah...I know!) so I can't quite comment on that.
The Inland Empire isn't so bad if you like outdoors stuff, because its considerably more accessible to get to that kind of things than it is from the populated parts along the coast (except the beach, of course), but understand that much of its reputation is amongst many SoCal residents because its sort of seen as kind of a "last resort" option for cheap housing for those who can't afford to buy along the coast. In the past 20-30 years, it practically went from farmland to suburbia. However, due to the housing crisis and all of the REO properties in the area, housing prices have dropped SIGNIFICANTLY. Just know that if you aren't looking for cookie cutter, the IE wouldn't really be it considering most of it is so new.
Keep in mind though that a huge chunk of the residents here are coastalites from LA, OC, and SD who are doing everything in their power to turn the IE into another part of the California suburb. The closer you get to San Bernardino, the more and more run down it will get (some locals call it "San Bernaghetto" or something of the like).
I'm sure you've read throughout the forums about "California's failing schools", so that may factor into your decision moving here. Keep in mind though that if you're a good enough parent (and I'm sure you are, otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned anything about the safety of your children) and be there for them during the whole education process, you'll come out fine.
I have a few more questions that may be relevant to this discussion:
1) How much are you willing to spend on housing?
2) How far are you/your husband willing to commute?
Lifeshadower..you seriously rock. And I LOVE the pictures...
I've been researching on real estate sites and I've made good use of city tool, wiki, and county/city sites. Also google and yahoo maps are really helpful with the commute time guestimates (yes, I keep in mind that traffic is likely to be complete hell closer to L.A....even if I didn't remember from my own experience, it's easy to infer). I really can't express my thanks enough, you've really done an awesome job and know that I appreciate the time and effort you've put into your post.
ecological and geographic diversity could be found in a matter of miles of each other
and that's awesome...I adore that quality sooo much. Texas was similar, but Ohio...not so much...there are some larger hills to the way south...um...it's gets colder and a bit greener up north. Some caves here and there that are anything but impressive and some of them cost an unreasonably large admission...some brown, mucky, and unkempt beaches...historic covered bridges *snore* But there is an awesome local music scene, probably a result of musicians having nothing else to do but work on their music ha. But anyway...
Thanks guys, this has been, in combination with answers to my other threads on the subject , extremely helpful...I'll update when I make the move in case anyone is interested.
I grew up in Red Bluff, and though that was many years ago, it gets to be way over 100 in summer. It is hot and dry. So if you like drier areas, it is ok
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