Tornadoes in Oklahoma?? (Tulsa, Norman, Muskogee: houses, to buy, public schools)
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GunGirl, we moved from Colorado a year ago and can tell you - God really blessed us with this move. We're here to stay!!! Love it!!! Saw a neighbor behind us in CO get struck by lightning when he went to the mailbox!! Very sad. Hiking in the mountains was also dangerous because of it. I'll take my chances with a tornado anyday. Sirens have only gone off once since we moved here!
I thought of moving to Oklahoma City area, but then I thought about the tornadoes. Thought of Canyon, TX too but then the tornadoes. Perhaps it wouldn't be so scary if I had a shelter. But then I think, what if I am driving home, and I see a tornado? No shelter. What if I am in town shopping? Same.
Maybe people from other areas of the country are more fearful of things like that. And it isn't that I don't fear earthquakes because I do. I just don't live in an area of CA that gets them.
Jess, I live north of OK, but am also in tornado alley. Even though tornadoes are devastating when they hit, chances of being killed by a tornado are about a million to one. We've probably got a better chance of being killed in a car accident then a tornado. I wouldn't let that factor in to my thoughts of moving there. We've also been toying with the idea of visiting Tulsa for the past two years now and it may just be time to go down and visit.
I hate to say it, but a rampaging mass of tornadoes would be the BEST thing that could happen to OKC. Of course, I do not wish for people to get hurt, but it'd be great if the whole city population was away for a stupid OU futtbawl game or something and the city itself was levelled.
I have unfortunately been stuck in Oklahoma for most of the past 20 years. I get my masters' degree this December and we cannot wait to leave.
Having said this, there are still things to recommend about the state. In most places, esp. smaller towns, people are generally friendly and unassuming. Crime is lower than in some other states (though not in Tulsa and OKC which are way higher per capita in violent crimes than New York City. Gang crap is rampant in Tulsa and OKC, meth is a big deal in lots of palces too,) Also, the cost of living is lower than many states, but this is largely because the taxes and economy are not so good.
I'm in Norman now, which is a decent college town with limited night life, though it is growing far too rapidly and becoming a haven for yuppies and fratboys.
However, I lived in Tulsa for years. Many great memories there and Tulsa, at least, is FAR prettier than OKC, both in the city itself and in the surrounding environs. This isn't to say it's a jewel either, but more lush and hilly and clean than OKC for sure. Tahlequah is about an hour outside of Tulsa and is about the only other place in the state I would ever consider living in (other than Norman or Tulsa.)
Of the many things I dislike about Oklahoma, tornadoes are the least of my concerns, though the nearby town of Moore (right between Norman and OKC) gets slaughtered by tornadoes every spring it seems. Why anyone would invest money in a house or business there is beyond me.
No, the things that my family and I can't stand about this state are:
#1-- the freakin' summers. The heat is incredible and seems to get worse every couple of years. Sheesh, it was over 100% for like 5 solid weeks this summer, geting up to over 110 several times (and with the heat index, felt even hotter.) Even in the middle of the night, the ground radiates stupid heat it has stored up all day. And the humidity...atrocious. I guess it could be worse...you could be stuck in Houston. Plus, snow is rare (more common aruond Tulsa and NE of there)--precious little of it. Ice storms far more common.
#2--lack of scenery. You have to get north and east of Tulsa before you get to any real pretty countryside or lots of trees. Here you get into the foothills of the Ozarks, which are far prettier and more mountainous when you get OUT of Oklahoma and into Missouri or Arkansas. There are the Witchita mountains in the south, which have their own beauty but having travelled and lived all over the US, are really nothing special. They are so old they basically amount to an outcropping of rocks at this point. Plus I nearly got trampled to death by a stampeding buffalo herd there once. Good times.
#3--lack of culture/character. There is a decent museum in Tulsa. OKC has The Omniplex, a decent science museum. Both cities have decent zoos. But...just decent, y'know? There is a small handful of universities, a couple of which are not too shabby and are fairly well respected. The state also gave us The Flaming Lips, not all bad. But overall, this is a Wal Mart, pick-up truck, tacky lawn art, strip mall state. Grade school football and college football seem to drive everything.
#4--conservative christians. Again, don't mean to offend anyone. There are plenty of republicans and christians who are fine, warm, wonderful, thoughtful people. It's just not where I'm at. So many baptist churches on every street, all look exactly the same like someone digs a hole, someone drops in a brick and they spring up overnight. And very conservative politically, hence not very open minded or tolerant.
#5-- the economy. It stinks. One of the lowest paying states for teachers. Enough said. I'm not a teacher, but I think you can tell a lot about the values of a place by the way it treats its teachers, health care staff, etc. It's no great shakes here. Very bad, in fact.
#6--okay, tornadoes. But they aren't so bad in certain areas. They seem to skip over Norman and Tulsa most times. Maybe something to do with the geography. But why tempt fate? Go anywhere else. Except Houston.
I've got to tell you, even though you don't especially care for OK, you have a very informative and somewhat funny post. There were many of the things that you don't like there that appealed to me, like hot weather, lack of snow, etc. I hope you find the area you're looking for and will be more comfortable in.
I really liked Griffis' post too. I am now seriously looking at Cherokee County and anywhere east of Tulsa and Muskogee. I lived in the panhandle of Florida once, and it was the uglist place I have ever lived. It rained all the time and the humidity was terrible. I think I could have accepted it more if it were beautiful and didn't rain all day every day. My feeling is, you can't find paradise anywhere. I live in San Diego county, and people call it paradise here, but it is actually a desert where rich people have planted vegetation. I lived on the coast for a time, and the lack of seasons was so boring. I wanted to see trees change color, I wanted a little snow, I wanted a real summer, so we moved inland, and it is somewhat better, but it is still desert but with pines and a few other trees. The cost of living here is horrible. I have lived all over Texas, and all I complained about was the lack of big trees, but I knew East Texas had them. And I have lived in different areas of CA. I loved Berkeley, CA, but it is over crowded, and it takes all day to get out of town to get into the country, and CA is so expensive that we can't even afford a house. San Diego they say no longer has a middle class. So I want to be in a place with beautiful scenery and low cost of housing. Sure there isn't much to do in OK, there wasn't anything to do in Texas either, not even in Dallas or SAn Antonio. When I lived in my hometown of Paso Robles, CA, coming back in my 40s, I was bored with the area in less than 3 years. There is nothing in the San Francisco, Berkeley area to cause one to ever get bored, and after having lived there I have never found anything to compare. San Diego is still boring to me. But I ask myself, what do I do all day? I stay home and wish I had another garden to work in. I go to a small town nearby to go shopping. Once in a while I travel to the mountain town of Julian to have lunch and shop. I seldom go to San Diego due to the traffic. I think I no longer need excitement. If I find I do need some excitement I can go to Tulsa or Muskogee or better yet, travel to the Ozarks or other small towns.
So I have lived in a very humid climate of Florida, and I will take that over a dry desert of NM where I can't even afford a house with land, and I will take it over CA where I can't afford even a house, much less rent.
I accept the bugs, which I actually happen to love except for the chiggers and ticks, over living in San Diego where I seldom see a bug outside of a few flies. I would love to live where I saw a few wild animals outside of the coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions that I have seen here. While I have seen raccoons and possums, I would love to have more wildlife. When I lived in San Antonio I loved seeing praying mantis' and in MS I loved the fireflies. I only hope that OK gets fireflies.
I can understand your feelings about the Christians because I have lived in the south, but my problem with them wasn't the religion, it was how neatly they combined racism with their religion. The word "N-----" rolled off their tongue much easier than the word "God." I walked into a real estate office to ask about rents, and I was told to always talk to a realtor in person so they can see your color. They did not rent to blacks in these small towns. They got around it in spite of the laws. I heard people telling me that they were not racists, but they would not rent to blacks. There is racism everywhere, it is just where I lived in MS people were open about it.
Tornadoes. I got over my fear after reading about the lightning in CO. I no sooner left Berkeley, CA than a big earthquake hit the area. For that reason I was glad that I had moved, and had actually worried about it all the time I lived there.
So, I really couldn't tell you where there was a perfect place to live; I just know where I don't want to live again.
You're right, Jessaka. There is no "Mayberry" any more. No place is paradise. I love cities, but with my family I want to now live in a smaller town. Cities have a lot to offer but are costlier and have more crime and they aren't convenient to get around in at all. I can't imagine sending my kids off to school in a place like Chicago or Miami or Detroit.
I really hope you find what you are looking for. I wouldn't expect a lot of tourism industry anywhere in Oklahoma, if you are thinking of that sort of thing for a job (you can look at the # of posts for Oklahoma as opposed to other states on this forum and see that there really just isn't much interest in this state, and there are good reasons for that.) But that said, there are some really nice folks here and the conservative christianity isn't quite as oppressive as it is further into the deep South. I was in Lafayette, Louisiana for a few months and boy, were they ever racist! They would shoot off their mouths about asians and black people and I would just stand there stricken with people telling me "Ha! You in THE SOUTH now, boy!"
I don't think it's quite so bad here. And you are looking in the right areas...Muskogee, Tahlequah, Grove...all are pretty, at least the surroundings are prety. I've also heard really good things about this town called Prague with is on the eastern edge of OK in the middle of the state. Don't think I've ever been through there but I've heard stories of retirees RV'ing through that area and stopping in Prague because it was so pretty and buying homes there.
Hoever, anywhere in OK you are gonna have to deal with a lot of ticks and mosquitos.
Still, there are two other places I'd recommend if you are still considering other places: there are some areas of Arkansas that are really beautiful and the people and economy is pretty similar to OK. There's a town called Eureka Springs in the Ozarks in Ark. that is amazing. Homes aren't so easy to find there because it is pretty touristy, but that whole area is gorgeous and while in the mountains, they aren't great high jagged peaks or anything, just nice and green and forested.
Also, we lived in Wyoming for a couple of years in the town of Laramie, about an hour from Cheyenne. Really great town. Not too expensive, people are as friendly as I've ever been around, there's a university there and it is right next to the Snowy Range Mountains and Medicine Bow Park. My only real problem with Wyoming was that is it a little TOO sparse...I like to at least live close enough to a good sized city to visit, but there' s no such thing in Wyo. Just small towns separated by vast stretches of lonely highway, some of which is gorgeous and some flat like the badlands of S Dakota.
Yes, there is no Mayberry, nor is there a Stars Hollow which is the town in The Gilmore Girls, and which is actually a TV set in L.A. Ha. I grew up in a Mayberry type of town, Paso Robles, CA. Now the prices are outrageous, but I still love the area, especially San Luis Obispo which is a college town.
My husband and I are retired, so we don't have to look for work. I found homes that we can affored in Cherokee CO. I find I like the really old mountain types of homes that look rundown and have some land as compared to the more modern homes.
All of my life I wanted to live near or in the Ozark Mountains. As a youth I read every book in the library about mountain living, even novels.
I noticed that much of what you write, Griffis is how I feel about things. I believe that is due to having lived in Berkeley during my college years. Recently, Berkeley was voted one of the meanest cities, which surprised me. Perhaps, it has changed since I lived there in the 70s.
I think I would like AR, but I am fortunate enough to get my husband to look past NM to OK. He would still consider AR the south. I would have thought that Louisanna was somewhat different in regards to racism. Silly me. When we lived in MS we learned that our landlord was in the KKK. I found people to be very open in racism. It was difficult to listen to it and harder to be afraid to speak up. I did once in a McDonald's when a worker mentioned that only blacks voted for Clinton, and I mouthed off, "There's nothing prejudiced about you." Then another woman said, "You better be quiet, you can start a race riot here."
I have a friend who is a Buddhist monk, and he was at a monastery in OC for a while and said that the people were wonderful and friendly. So I thought of going there, but I really want to live in Cherokee CO. or think I do. I, too, like to live close to a city. Grove is too far away from Tulsa and Muskogee, and my husband needs to be near a VA hospital.
When we first decided to buy a house my husband wanted to move to NM. I kept thinking, I don't want to be stuck in some desert. But I tried hard by reading the forums, but everywhere we could afford had no land, no trees, no nothing. Now I am excited.
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