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Old 04-18-2012, 04:24 PM
 
22 posts, read 23,239 times
Reputation: 20

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Hello Everyone,

My name is Matt and me and the wife are seriously considering a move to MT. Just a little background: We are in our early 40's with one dog and no kids (no intention on having any because of medical and lifestyle reasons). I am from OH originally and the wife is from GA. We have unfortunately been stuck in CA for the last 6 years. We spent 3 years in Valencia, CA but got tired of it so we moved to North Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2010. It was absolutely amazing (the snowiest winter in 100 years that year) and we loved every second of it. Tahoe would be the perfect place for us if it weren't in California. We both lost our jobs in Dec. of 2011 so we moved back to Valencia because the wife got her old job back.The money was too good to pass up, but it's not really where we want to be. CA is fine for some, but not for us. Too much taxation, elimination of individual rights, traffic, pollution, crowds, crime and pretentious people.

I am a country boy in many ways. I drive an old pick up, wear Wranglers and t-shirts and boots, fix things that are broke instead of tossing them, cook out our meals, build stuff out of pallet wood, fish, love the taste of SKOAL and would rather be out wandering in the woods than watching reality TV. As you can imagine, I am a fish out of water in Southern CA. Our ultimate goal is to buy 10-15 acres, build a modest log home (900-1000 sq ft) from some of the logs on the property, heat with wood, cook and light with propane and live simply. We have no debt and some money in the bank to get started. We DON'T want a log McMansion on clear cut acreage we will use for 2 weeks a year. Seen too much of that in Tahoe and it is infuriating.

The purpose of my post is two fold:
1)Where in MT are there NOT a lot of CA people? (don't need to go from the fire to the pan) I realize this is like giving away your best fishin' holes, but any help is appreciated
2)Where in MT is the climate/topography like North Lake Tahoe? This atmosphere is exactly what we are looking for outside of CA.

One more thing. I was diagnosed last year with a rare kidney disease that will require dialysis or a transplant within the next 10-15 years, so close proximity to quality medical care is important.

Thanks all, M
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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Sorry about the disease. Bummer. Billings appears to have good medical.

Best wishes
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:27 PM
 
22 posts, read 23,239 times
Reputation: 20
Default Thanks for the info

Hi Bongo...thanks for the condolences and suggestion of Billings. I have looked into Billings and it appears to be a central hub for good medical in the region. That is definitely important for future consideration. I know much of Gallatin and Flathead counties have been overrun by people from CA. Is the same true for Yellowstone county? That area looks beautiful. Do you know anything about Helena? That area looks nice also with pretty reasonable land prices.

Thanks again, M
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,188 posts, read 1,513,654 times
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I've lived in Bozeman since 1970, and even though it has changed, I don't feel "overrun" by CA.

I think you should visit here before believing the rumors. You don't have to hang out in the trendy restaurants. There are many people who moved here, couldn't hack the winters, and moved on.

If you want to be on a lake, check out Canyon Ferry. Helena hospital would be the closest. Nothing is exactly like Tahoe. Canyon Ferry is drier than Tahoe, but if you want a lake, it is there.
Seeley Lake area would be another choice, more thick forests there than Canyon Ferry, but not as easy access to a major hospital.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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Hi Happiness....I am not much of a trendy restaurant kinda guy and winter doesn't bother me at all. Having lived in OH for 30 years, Boston for 3 and Tahoe for 3, I relish the cold and snow. No problem there. I visited Whitefish and Kalispell in January a few years back and I really enjoyed it. Beautiful area with great people. With the abundance of lakes in the state, I don't really need to live on one. I have actually spoken with a few people who tried to move to MT and couldn't hack the winter and moved back to LA. Every time I hear a story like that I laugh. These are also the same people who don't want to go to Tahoe or Big Bear in the winter because of the snow, but they want to move to Montana full time. Cracks me up. Thanks for the info.....
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,188 posts, read 1,513,654 times
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Re: your comment about getting a small acreage with cabin...

Having our state cut up into small parcels has been very detrimental. Too much rangeland, farmland, wildlife habitat and migration corridors and forest have been subdivided with roads put in, taking agricultural and forest land out of production, causing higher taxes for roads maintenance, fire, and law enforcement into land that should not be used for residential plots.

Many people have moved away from the mountains with the economic downturn, so you may be able to find something out of town that you can get now at a bargain. In general, though, unless you are a working farmer or rancher, it is better for the land and to control sprawl to live in town. You can find plenty of places right on the edge of a town with wide open spaces around you without building out on a small rural plot. We want to preserve undeveloped land here.

Here's a helpful site:
Welcome to the West Guide | Western Sustainability Exchange
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:05 PM
 
22 posts, read 23,239 times
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That's an excellent point about the land and one I hadn't considered. I knew it would be useful to ask a local. I have seen some pretty reasonable land offerings in several parts of the state in close proximity to a town. We aren't interested in huge sprawling acreage to run cattle or farm. Just something small for some elbow room, a modest cabin and a garden. It is very suffocating in Southern CA. Everyone is on top of each other and I can't quite get used to it. We would like to be closer to a town with the basics. We learned that valuable lesson first hand living in Tahoe City on Lake Tahoe. With Reno an hour away in the winter, it was decidedly very inconvenient. As far as jobs go, we are very flexible. We are both skilled and educated and not picky about work. With no debt it is much easier to get by. I do want to secure employment before moving there. Again, another valuable lesson learned from Tahoe. We were lucky there that I was able to get a job there before moving and the wife got one within two weeks. The Helena area looks like a nice compromise. Descent sized town with lots of outdoor recreation close and plenty of amenities. We are pretty basic and simply and don't require much. Fine dining for us is In N Out Burger....
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
3,555 posts, read 3,210,644 times
Reputation: 3195
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtheck69 View Post
Hello Everyone,

My name is Matt and me and the wife are seriously considering a move to MT. Just a little background: We are in our early 40's with one dog and no kids (no intention on having any because of medical and lifestyle reasons). I am from OH originally and the wife is from GA. We have unfortunately been stuck in CA for the last 6 years. We spent 3 years in Valencia, CA but got tired of it so we moved to North Lake Tahoe in the fall of 2010. It was absolutely amazing (the snowiest winter in 100 years that year) and we loved every second of it. Tahoe would be the perfect place for us if it weren't in California. We both lost our jobs in Dec. of 2011 so we moved back to Valencia because the wife got her old job back.The money was too good to pass up, but it's not really where we want to be. CA is fine for some, but not for us. Too much taxation, elimination of individual rights, traffic, pollution, crowds, crime and pretentious people.

I am a country boy in many ways. I drive an old pick up, wear Wranglers and t-shirts and boots, fix things that are broke instead of tossing them, cook out our meals, build stuff out of pallet wood, fish, love the taste of SKOAL and would rather be out wandering in the woods than watching reality TV. As you can imagine, I am a fish out of water in Southern CA. Our ultimate goal is to buy 10-15 acres, build a modest log home (900-1000 sq ft) from some of the logs on the property, heat with wood, cook and light with propane and live simply. We have no debt and some money in the bank to get started. We DON'T want a log McMansion on clear cut acreage we will use for 2 weeks a year. Seen too much of that in Tahoe and it is infuriating.

The purpose of my post is two fold:
1)Where in MT are there NOT a lot of CA people? (don't need to go from the fire to the pan) I realize this is like giving away your best fishin' holes, but any help is appreciated
2)Where in MT is the climate/topography like North Lake Tahoe? This atmosphere is exactly what we are looking for outside of CA.

One more thing. I was diagnosed last year with a rare kidney disease that will require dialysis or a transplant within the next 10-15 years, so close proximity to quality medical care is important.

Thanks all, M
Billings is your best bet as far as having less pretentious people and access to good medical care. Helena also doesn't seem to pretentious, although I don't know how good the hospitals are. If you go to Missoula or Kalispell you will feel like you didn't leave California and you will have to incur the wrath of the locals. Bozeman is the most pretentious place I've ever lived in and you couldn't pay me enough to move back there, five years was plenty.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:13 PM
 
22 posts, read 23,239 times
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From what I understand, Missoula and Kalispell have a younger demographic population because of the colleges. I lived in a college town (Boston) for three years in my early 30's and I don't think I want to do that again. We're not much for partying or going out. Much more laid back home bodies as we are getting older, so looking for that vibe rather than the college town party scene. Happiness or anyone else who is more familiar with Missoula and Bozeman please feel free to correct me if I am off base. It's been known to happen from time-to-time. From all the posts on CD, research and reading I have been doing, it is looking like perhaps Helena or Billings for us. Jobs seem to be available, housing/land and cost of living very affordable, good medical, close proximity to outdoor activities and down-to-earth people. Next step, talk the boss into a trip out to tour your beautiful state in the next month or so.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:01 PM
 
10 posts, read 7,033 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtheck69 View Post
From what I understand, Missoula and Kalispell have a younger demographic population because of the colleges. I lived in a college town (Boston) for three years in my early 30's and I don't think I want to do that again. We're not much for partying or going out. Much more laid back home bodies as we are getting older, so looking for that vibe rather than the college town party scene. Happiness or anyone else who is more familiar with Missoula and Bozeman please feel free to correct me if I am off base. It's been known to happen from time-to-time. From all the posts on CD, research and reading I have been doing, it is looking like perhaps Helena or Billings for us. Jobs seem to be available, housing/land and cost of living very affordable, good medical, close proximity to outdoor activities and down-to-earth people. Next step, talk the boss into a trip out to tour your beautiful state in the next month or so.
I currently live in Missoula and would personally recommend it based on a lot of what you said besides the whole college town thing. If thats a big issue for you there is always the Bitterroot valley area - Hamilton, Stevensville ect.
As far as Billings goes... Well it's Billings.. I grew up there and spent a few summers back there during college so I know that area like the back of my hand. The rest of my family lives there because frankly there are a lot more jobs there than most of the rest of the state. Also every single one of them from my mom to my brothers completely hate it. On paper it looks like a relatively safe town but more petty crimes are more common than you would ever think. Broken out car windows are common in even the nicest of areas of town. Even my mom who lives at the end of a dead end street has had a bat taken to her mailbox and one of my brothers who lives in a nice apartment on the west end has had 2 broken car windows and a slashed tire and he has only been living back there for less than a year since he graduated college. I am pretty sure its high school students with nothing to do but very common nonetheless.

As far as Missoula goes being a college town you really only notice during Griz football games or if you spend a lot of time near the university. The rental market is also fairly tough around here which drives up the rent rates but you will still think prices are low if you have lived in California. This is also one of the more beautiful places a person can live. Mountains all around you and multiple ski mountains within an hour or two. You can drive 5 minutes from town and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere out in the pattee canyon area and the hiking trails are everywhere. You will also find some of the most laid back people of all walks of life here and everyone I know who has moved here from other parts of the country absolutely love it. As far as the medical care here goes St Pats is a pretty good hospital but community medical center sucks unless you are having a baby - end of story. Care at cmc is poor and rates are through the roof as they are expanding the facilities and struggling with financing. I know quite a few people who even work there who will vouch for that.


Hope that helps out a bit!
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