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Old 07-15-2011, 09:30 AM
 
21 posts, read 38,998 times
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Greetings! The Mrs and I are winding down to retirement in the summer of 2012. We currently live in the Inland Empire in southern CA. We are looking at relocating either to the Portland, OR area or, Colorado. We've been checking out Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas like Monument, Woodland Park online.

We like fishing, walking, photography, reading, cooking, and technology. I may still do a little consulting work, I'm a divisional IT director at a mid-sized university. We're not looking for significant night life and would like to get away from the rabid pace of So Cal. We're also an interracial couple. We have two dogs, a lab and a border collie/aussie cattle dog mix. We're looking for a 4 season climate that hopefully, won't aggravate mild asthma.

Any insights anyone care to share? What are house rents like in the $1,000-1,800 range. What internet service options are available? Any neighborhoods to avoid?

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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The COLO SPGS area would be fine, as would Golden, Fort Collins or even Boulder. Anything along the I-25 / Front Range corridor should allow you to enjoy all of your interests, with COLO SPGS being considered the most conservative area and Boulder the most liberal. All four cities have universities of various sizes. Golden and Boulder put you in proximity to all of Denver's many cultural and entertainment options and both fit up against the foothills, as does COLO SPGS.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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You should consider an or check out N. Nevada. Lake tahoe, Stateline, Incline, very nice areas and very affordable. Only federal tax.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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You sound very similar to us and our situation over the past few years. My wife and I both grew up in California (San Diego and Santa Barbara), but employment took us to the east coast for far too many years. With my career winding down, we spent five years looking at communities in several western states to retire (or, as it turns out, semi-retire, as I still do consulting work part time from CS and my wife is self-employed as well). We narrowed it down to suburban Portland, Eugene, and CS for a variety of reasons. The deal breaker for OR was the weather; just too gloomy for too much of the year. CS hit most of our priorities (mid-sized city near a large city; lower cost of living; college town; dry climate; no bugs; less traffic). We also looked at Boulder (liked it a lot, but you need to bring lots of money; if you like the Boulder area, check out Louisville. It's near Boulder, more small town, but less expensive) and Fort Collins (we liked it ok, but like CS more), and Denver (too big, congested, expensive). CS is more conservative than we'd like, but it's pretty live and let live here, so that hasn't been a problem (if you're from SoCal, you probably live in a fairly conservative area, so you'll feel right at home). Night life here is pretty subdued, particularly if you're young and single, but if you're approaching retirement, I think you'll find plenty of entertainment options, and if not, Denver's just up the road. There's loads of outdoor activities here; CS is known for its hiking, biking, etc. Loads of parks for dog walking (very dog friendly here). You should have no problem renting in your price range (I'm pretty sure there are very nice homes available at the upper range of your stated budget).

Hope this helps. If you have some specific questions about our retirement community search experiences, pls PM me.

Good luck to you.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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Many people relocate to Colorado assuming that the dry climate will be beneficial for their asthma. It may or may not be. Colorado Springs tends to be one of the wetter locales in Colorado in summer (though it is very dry there this year) with a fair amount of vegetation. It tends to be dry most of the winter--usually with little snow on the ground--thus, dust may be an issue for a good chunk of year. The precipitation pattern in Colorado's lower elevations is polar opposite from California's Mediterranean climate. Add in the altitude and you may have problems with asthma. Also, don't let the pretty green pictures fool you. Colorado Springs and the surrounding area is green for about 4-5 months maximum in a normal year--the rest of the time the landscape is brown (unless it is snow-covered). This year, the Springs areas looks about as awful as I've ever seen it--very little moisture this spring, so much of the native grass never turned green. Hopefully, it will green up with some Southwest Monsoon rain that is starting to show up.

Finally, for a city its size, the traffic in Colorado Springs is terrible--and it has been that way for years. I had the misfortune of having to drive through the Springs a few weeks ago--not even in rush hour. It took me 45 minutes to get across the Springs on Academy Blvd. and US 24. The city is a sprawled, auto-dependent congested mess with poorly designed arterial streets in many places. I drove through a couple of similarly sized Midwest cities a few days later and was across both in less than 20 minutes--that on arterial streets and not the Interstates. Anyone who gushes about lack of traffic in Colorado Springs obviously has never actually lived in a place with a well-designed, decent road system.
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wowhunter View Post
Greetings! The Mrs and I are winding down to retirement in the summer of 2012...We've been checking out Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas like Monument, Woodland Park online.

We're not looking for significant night life and would like to get away from the rabid pace of So Cal. We're looking for a 4 season climate that hopefully, won't aggravate mild asthma.
Thanks!
If you are not looking for night life, Woodland Park is your next home! Seriously, I could easily see retiring to Woodland Park or the immediate area. Woodland Park does have four seasons but winter is half the year. I love winter here; lots of sunshine, little snow (usually), and the dry climate makes the cold very easy to take for me. Your mileage may vary. Housing should meet your budget. It is normally 25 minutes from downtown Woodland Park to I-25 at US24.

I do agree with Jazzlover that Colorado Springs highways and major roads are poorly planned. Actually, I do not think they were planned at all; they appear to have just sort of happened. That said, I am usually surprised to see traffic flowing as well as it does. I know I personally would rather drive around CS than Denver. Or Dallas. Or (shudder) Atlanta.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Yes i have said that about CO springs roads for over 2 decades, the biggest mismash of roads around.

I have known an number of asthmatic people in CO and they all struggle with the high elevation, dust, pollen, cold air, wind and so on. I have one friend that had to move to the front range down from the mountains cause he couldn't take it anymore. He does much better at sea level and will probably move that direction in a few years.

Colorado is a vast range of microclimates. You have 4 seasons, but also winter is the predominate weather pattern. Any place you see trees in CO outside of irrigated town/cities, you are looking at a place where winter conditions will be ever present.
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:06 PM
 
21 posts, read 38,998 times
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Thanks folks for the quick responses.

Quote:
Woodland Park does have four seasons but winter is half the year. I love winter here; lots of sunshine, little snow (usually), and the dry climate makes the cold very easy to take for me.
Little snow? I thought there was considerable snow there or, does it not stick long? I have a healthy respect for driving in snow. I grew up in the desert and have driven in snow only once. I have some trepidation about it! My wife loves what she's seen of Woodland Park. How difficult is it to get down to CS during the winter months? I have a truck but, it isn't 4 wheel drive.

Quote:
I have known an number of asthmatic people in CO and they all struggle with the high elevation, dust, pollen, cold air, wind and so on.
I think the asthma thing is a bit of a hit or miss, by individual. My current hom in in the 50s of the Asthma Foundation's Asthma Capitals of America. I think CS is in the high 90s. I suspect it has a lot to do with your triggers. One of the reasons we plan to rent is that we don't want to make a purchase unless we've lived in a community for some time.

If anyone else has some opinions, we'd love to hear them!
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:13 PM
 
827 posts, read 1,618,101 times
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As noted above, micro climates are a reality in Co. I once found out about a major ice storm going on in Colorado Springs that closed I25 while standing in blazing sunshine, wearing a cotton shirt up in Divide. The snow tends not to accumulate in Woodland Park. Three or four inches may fall but be gone by noon the next day. Of course, it can snow two feet. If I remember correctly it did so two years ago in late April. Or maybe it was three years ago. Time seems to get away from me anymore.

No, you do not need 4wd. You may want front wheel drive, though. AWD is very popular out here.

Not to kill this thread, but there is a wealth of information about Woodland Park, Divide, and the Ute Pass generally in the Colorado Springs forum, including many observations about US 24 in winter.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:46 PM
 
21 posts, read 38,998 times
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I haven't seen much info on Monument, CO in the forums (except a thread on spiders). Anyone have any information on that area?

Thanks!
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