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Old 02-26-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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I'm almost ready to take up a collection here for the plane ticket and send a limo to his door to get him to the airport.

Seriously, I can hardly wait for the results of this scouting trip, N_A_H.

You need a blog with pictures: "In Search of Affordable America"
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Need_affordable_home View Post
I am willing to accept the change from south FL. The crime, weather, hurricanes, insane house prices, traffic, etc suck. I can always live in Woodsfield, OH if I dont find any other place. You love Woodsfield and I have never seen anyone say anything bad about it. Plus Woodsfield, OH has plenty of cheap houses. I remember you told me one seller was selling two houses for $30k(for both) and you said I could probably negotiate the price down to $20k. The big house needs some repairs but the smaller house is in livable condition I could live in the small house while doing repairs to the bigger house or just use the big house as a storage area for my "stuff"

Do tell me with what you know from your observations! I sure hope Oil city is much better, ive spoken with a few locals and no one said anything bad about Oil city except its "depressed" and you cant get a job. Im self employed and hopefully will make around $40k a year with my home internet business but only need half that to live a middle class life in Oil city, very low costs of living. Woodsfield is also an option.
No, I would not count on Woodsfield being that easy to find any house. Not much on the market this past year. What there was pretty much total junk, even some of that sold when I was in Florida. Difficult to know what is going on exactly. Seem to be a lot more people in town this morning, the normal free parking spots were jammed. Looks like a lot of interest in open land in the last several months. Maybe the speculators, house flippers and neer-do-wells are changing their game a bit. Could be trying to buy up for plots for oil / gas drilling too.

Only thing really worth anything has been in the very small outlying towns, most of those places have few services, many are just wide spots in the road. Even those seem to have sold off. None of it seems to be going cheap lately.

One place in town that was up for sale because it was being foreclosed. I heard the lady also had to go to jail because of drugs or whatever. Originally started at like $90K last spring, I hear finally sold for $60K cash, not a bad house but horribly jammed up next to the neighbors. Might answer that question, where is floor price for a better house that used to be valued around $90 - 100 K. Most of those never sell even if they are on the market forever, have to drop the price like that one did to some level to find a buyer.
Could be interesting if a fellow could find the right one out of town a bit.

Couple of those fixers would be a disaster for you. Probably froze pretty good this winter. Don't know if that old boy drained those two houses. No real interest by anybody in either of those for a reason. The one fairly good one which was bigger had some potential if they could get the price right did finally sell, none of the neighbors seem to know the price. Good olde boy looks like he trying to rehab it hisself, not very social fellow, never talks to anybody. Very tricky to make many rehab's work in this market. Woodsfield has been picked pretty clean lately.

One real dog is finally put on the market at like a 300% premium price. Me and a neighbor have had more fun jawing that dog. Good olde boy who owns will not be reasonable, a bit like watching a contest between a cobra and a three legged mongoose wearing glasses. Number of other boys have been unable to let it be. Fair price might be $5600 if he subdivides the larger lot. Even that will kill the wrong fellow. Might be best to throw in a match to clear up the situation.

Woodsfield does have its own problems. Too conjested in some parts, too densely built, no parking in the downtown areas. I would not like to live in the town itself. It is not Paradise, you are a bit late for the better stuff. I hear one doctor from Columbus paid $90K for a smallish house, remains to be seen if that becomes a trend, not a bad house, way over priced in my book for this area.

You may be a lil late in some of those states. When I was in Florida, talked with all kinds of people from Ohio, lots from Canada, midwest upper states and loads of people from Florida. You hear a lot of the same things. People wanting to run away to Paradise or even to something less costly or stressful than what they got. Seemed like half of Lake Placid was for sale, Florida is in super trouble and not just over house prices. They can't even run away to TN, all of them blaming the snowbirds.

I doubt you got that price of a motel right either. I had to pay $33 for a Motel - 6 in NC and "Declare" my old pup like she was a dangerous weapon and that was with the Good Guy travel coupon and giving up a future draft choice. Plus you ain't going to get away hiding momma in the trunk and claiming one or two people. They even now have the rooms sized for just one person. No more two big beds for a single. If you don't cheat fair they might call the cops, got signs at the front desk, stating the rules.

It is everything. Your main problem is no wheels for independent steaming. Today a fellow needs something that gets super gas mileage. Got to be up there around 40 MPG for real. I got 43 MPG down to Florida, didn't check it on the way home but tanked at $2.09 in Georgia and then a tad up in VA, you got to be able to run long distances cheap in comfort. A tad over $40 total gas bill for me to Florida. Love watching them big SUV's tanking for top dollar, I always tell the fellow my problem is my buggy can't absorb the full $20, got to go get the change back. Act like I am mad.

Somehow you have to come up with a viable game plan. Must be able to get boots on the ground for few dollars and have good staying power. Must be able to develop some method that can approximate having a presence on the ground in the area of interest. The super bargains won't stay around that long if it is for real. Too many sharp eyed boys looking to make a buck.

I just don't know if $50K is a viable limit. Even won't buy much in Trendy Wellsville today as it boot straps itself up. Naw, no easy cheap anything left. Bluefield would give me the Willy's even if I could get a place. Just way, way to isolated, using toll roads is a bummer. Where is your back up support base and source of goodies not available local?? WV is a turn off for me anyway in a bunch of ways.

Somehow you must get the eyeballs on the fab lil Oil City. But somehow in the back of my head, I know a number of the Bluefield negatives are there. Place has to be very dense housing in the cheaper areas, those elevation differences you can see in the realtor pics are waving red flags. Did you see the 25 member drug gang big bust in Oil City. Big-H, Coke and Meth, ungood. You just ain't using the right methods to check these places out. I would consider a temporary rent situation, something very, very cheap just to get some boots on the ground time away from hot and hazy Florida. Looking at Realtor sites ain't the key to success.

But the key factor is you must have your own wheels, be able to travel independently. Be able generate some type of income, leave all the junk home with daddy. Be the traveling man with the plan until things gel.

You just ain't got a plan.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:28 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 22,803,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figment 07 View Post
I'm almost ready to take up a collection here for the plane ticket and send a limo to his door to get him to the airport.

Seriously, I can hardly wait for the results of this scouting trip, N_A_H.

You need a blog with pictures: "In Search of Affordable America"
Figment also wrote: (I wonder if Google is puzzled by the sharp spike in searches for Oil City, PA info.)

OMG, that's a great idea. They ought to present him with the key to the city, as I'm sure this has been the most press it's received in years. At the very least, they ought to make him their web designer. Their site isn't colorful enough.

I Googled Oil city, too and then went to their website. How many of you have Googled Oil city? (And I just can't bring myself to capitalize the "c" in city...)
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Old 02-26-2007, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,047 posts, read 21,653,691 times
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NAH, I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts after this trip. If you have a digital camera, I hope you will take pictures.

On hotel price - my husband and I took a cross country roadtrip a few years back, and we were on a tight budget. The absolute cheapest place we ever stayed was a Knights Inn for $35. It was very dirty. I know some hotels advertise low rates, but often there is a catch - for example may have to be on a weeknight, may have to stay multiple nights, or you'll get there and they'll say, "Sorry, all the $30/night rooms are sold out!" It's a teaser to get you in the door. In my experience, Choice Hotels is your best bet - you can generally get a room from $50 - $75, they are usually very clean, they give AAA discounts (if you have an AAA card), and also they have a free membership club you can join and you can earn a free night's stay pretty quickly. Also you will get breakfast in the morning. I'm sure you don't really care if the room is dirty or not, but your mother might.

As for your original question - if you have the time to spare, I would drive. It gives you so much freedom to stop and look at different places, and you can leave whenever you want. I love roadtrips though, so I am biased! Perhaps you and your family can turn it into a little vacation. Get in the mood for it by renting "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Little Miss Sunshine."
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,375 posts, read 7,763,353 times
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Default Cosmic truth

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Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Bluefield is nothing like you said, or hoped for, nor is it like the representations one can glean from messing around on the Web. Would take a major effort to really understand what is going on. One of the most strange places I've seen in a long, long time. Now I fully realize what my neighbor meant when he said no way.
I have this feeling all of these very low cost places have a number of the same factors in play. Lot more than may meet the eye in a few days. It is their total picture that will probably count long term, not some bricks on a particular lot.
Bluefield is a real trip in the true sense of the word. Think it answered that basic question I posed, why are there so many places for sale, why are they so cheap, what are we missing here???? Wow, I just was not ready for the real answers. And I've seen my share of other WV places. So do these factors parallel what is happening in Oil City??
Cosmic, wrote a great description of what I think of as the "other America". The other America is found in many parts of the country that have been economically bypassed and left so far behind, that it is almost a shock in comparison to life the metro areas and small cities and towns that are part of the mainstream society and economy in our country.
I was in VA a couple of years ago on a trip to Mt. Rogers, staying near a nice town called Damascus. This is a real nice area of VA about 80 mi southeast of Roanoke. Decided to take a side trip up to W VA to New River gorge to see the bridge and the gorge. This is the bridge shown on the quarter dollar coin for W VA, famous for the (somewhat crazy) people that "base jump" off the bridge every year. I also went through Bluefield and stopped there for a look around. A former co-worker from that town and had told me a few stories about the place. It's amazing what a difference there is upon crossing from VA to W VA. I hate to generalize or "bash" places, but there is a pervasive sense of malaise and hopelessness and lack of local pride. You could tell that everything that could go wrong for a town did go wrong, and it was "game over". This was no joke my friends, it was sober and harsh.
Needless to say, didn't spend the day there. Went on up to New River gorge, and later up I 77 to Beckley. Beckley is trying to bill itself as an outdoor recreation mecca and a good town for retirees. Yes, there's quite a bit of outdoor recreation around, and it look's like there's a few new things in town but it is still surrounded by many depressed towns in a state that is largely depressed.
What do towns in the "other America" have as a common denominator? Significant population loss in a short time. People vote with their feet better than they vote at the polls. What does Bluefield or Beckley WVA have in common with places like Oil City? Population decline. Oil City is the winner in that category with 5 percent decline in 5 years, probably one of the steepest losses of any town of its size in America, double the decline of Bluefield.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,375 posts, read 7,763,353 times
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Default Love roadtrips

Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
As for your original question - if you have the time to spare, I would drive. It gives you so much freedom to stop and look at different places, and you can leave whenever you want. I love roadtrips though, so I am biased! Perhaps you and your family can turn it into a little vacation. Get in the mood for it by renting "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Little Miss Sunshine."
I am biased too, I believe that "getting there is half the adventure", or maybe more than half. Oh, to be twentysomething again with no responsibilities and no high paying job at a windowless cubicle overflowing with big projects that are "due ASAP". I'd say forget the plane ticket, leave the old folks at home, go rent an econo car. Bring a good tent, warm sleeping bag, ice chest, camp stove and cooking pot, warm clothes, plenty of tunes, maps, some books, some flashlights and $400. Heat, who needs heat? $400 will last you a looong time if you stay at state park or national forest campgrounds and don't eat at restaurants. Forget beg bug infested, noisy cheap motels with worn out mattresses.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:16 PM
 
Location: Hopewell New Jersey
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I agree with Cristina..."As for your original question - if you have the time to spare, I would drive. It gives you so much freedom to stop and look at different places, and you can leave whenever you want. I love roadtrips though, so I am biased!

I don't see it as a 3 day drive..2 at absolute max...I tend to prep for these kinda things and then go at it. By that I mean I'm stocked up on water ( You only need enuf to get to the next pit stop...I'm a refiller. Snacks..apples, energy bars (I like the Cliff ones), bagles, I stay away from salty or greasey stuff, I do the rest room thing when I'm also getting gas (no pun) ,ie when I make a stop I take care of everything then not stop till the gas tank is getting low again.
I'll admit your folks (f they come) might not like 16 hrs in a car but I've done it many times...and longer a few times. I've brought a wind up alarm clock and caught some sleep at trucks stops right with the big rigs. SOme times ya just gotta step up and do it....
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:24 AM
 
3,020 posts, read 23,622,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recycled View Post
Cosmic, wrote a great description of what I think of as the "other America". The other America is found in many parts of the country that have been economically bypassed and left so far behind, that it is almost a shock in comparison to life the metro areas and small cities and towns that are part of the mainstream society and economy in our country.

I also went through Bluefield and stopped there for a look around. A former co-worker from that town and had told me a few stories about the place. It's amazing what a difference there is upon crossing from VA to W VA. I hate to generalize or "bash" places, but there is a pervasive sense of malaise and hopelessness and lack of local pride. You could tell that everything that could go wrong for a town did go wrong, and it was "game over". This was no joke my friends, it was sober and harsh.

What do towns in the "other America" have as a common denominator? Significant population loss in a short time. People vote with their feet better than they vote at the polls. What does Bluefield or Beckley WVA have in common with places like Oil City? Population decline. Oil City is the winner in that category with 5 percent decline in 5 years, probably one of the steepest losses of any town of its size in America, double the decline of Bluefield.
Yes, I think you put it very, very well. There is that "Other America" out there in so many forms. Sometimes you can use it to your favor if the situation is right. Population decline can be a good thing in moderation. Example a town that is depressed but charming, cheap, safe and desirable but no jobs. Located close enough to other areas to damp out some of the negatives like limited shopping. I don't think a place like Bluefield qualifies, don't pass the Squeeze Test of having other supporting areas close enough. I was looking in particular for the type of businesses you would need to support a normal lifestyle. Bit like some islands, maybe one choice and that may be super expensive, lack of competition will kill you and the next possible choice is miles and miles in what direction?

Things like grocery, gas stations, building supplies, car repair, car dealers, doctor, hospital, etc, etc. That Other America exists in big cities in ghetto areas, limited choice, high prices and poor service. Think you must bring the right tools to check out any Paradise. Having to go deep into the core of WV for a support base should have the antenna rotating long before the wheels turn anywhere.

Oil City might have a better chance of passing the basic Squeeze Test. Maybe better situated to a number of other supporting towns / cities with a road network that will allow it to happen. Think of the need to go somewhere else as just another tax to live there in both time and money. Somehow one must think outside the box when checking out Paradise but know to look for much more than a shack on a nice lot.

The other factor that separates out the sheep from the goats in looking at the Other America situations is what other support systems might Paradise have?? Things like how does a particular state support depressed areas with extra state aid for education, library, roads, communications, etc, etc. Can make a huge difference. Ohio does it fairly well, welfare for the more depressed counties, not every dime has to come from local taxes. In particular the libraries in Ohio get a lot of money via grants, can be the bright spot in many depressed towns. Same with communications, they have a tax on everybody's bill to raise money to support building systems in areas
that normally would be poorly served. Many rural counties in Ohio would dry up and blow away without the extra welfare from the state level. The Ohio library systems are first rate, I haven't found another state that compares. What is PA like in this category???

Flying to check out Paradise also sounds like just the wrong approach from a theme or organizational planning aspect. You are going Out to Look for America, not to conduct a series of motivational speeches. Do it with the European way of traveling. Load up the goodies, drinks, food, comfort stuff, CD's. Isn't that big a deal, one good hard day in the car should get most of it. I always try to plan the max for 600 miles in a day then have some party time before a good snooze. Flying today is the way to get into a bad mood before you even get there. Finding Paradise is an adventure, not meant to be efficient. Flying puts you at the mercy of others and all their cruel tortures, same with rental cars, standing in lines and following rules is not the best thing for exploration trips.

You are right tho about the voting thing. People do vote with their feet but in many other ways. In particular with their wallets. If I go to Florida again, I am taking a 3 month supply of canned chow and other goodies. What is with them prices in Florida????

Maybe our boy will go to Paradise, slam the door to the city and start an export business selling food back to WPB. Food originally grown in Florida, shipped to Paradise, bought retail and re-exported back to Florida cheaper than it is sold there. H,mmm could make his fortune on just sugar and strawberries, forget Web designs.

Then that burning question, to drive or fly it down.

Yup, use the truck, flying is only fun any more if you go via private jet.
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Old 02-27-2007, 11:42 AM
 
Location: STL
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Are you sure there are even hotels in Oil City??
I mean, if you are finding prices for all these places everywhere else, you should be able to find something there too. I would call 411 and see what hotels are there so you can have the peace of mind, knowing that you get to stay somewhere in that tiny town.

Also, if you drive.. you probably cannot estimate gas costs. You have no idea what the road conditions are, nor the speed limits.
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Old 02-27-2007, 12:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by poprocksncoke View Post
Are you sure there are even hotels in Oil City??

Also, if you drive.. you probably cannot estimate gas costs. You have no idea what the road conditions are, nor the speed limits.
Yeah, there are places to bunk there. Lots of ways to find them. Do a MapQuest search for Oil City and then ask for motels under the search feature.

Way I like to do it is stop at some of the rest stops on the freeways. Get the travel guide motel books, they are free, usually has a bin for the state you are in, maybe states to either side of you.

Look for the towns in the index where you want to stop, will give the page numbers for motels featured in the area and exits to take, plus details and coupons for various motels. Usually works like a charm, some places will allow you to piggyback discounts for like AAA with another coupon. Seem to have a lower limit they will go to bag you. Must depend on the season. Ones without WiFi must feel they got to offer a good deal. Motel-6 is usually a good one. I never mess around trying to do anything in advance, no reservations, etc. Never have a problem, stay in the more rural places.

Cheaper gas is usually the off brands like Pilot, CITCO can be cheap, pays to watch for the billboard or large neon signs. Got to know which states are the cheaper in general. Some Wal-Marts are the good deals, if they have a gas station.

I also like to use MapQuest and print out a large font (like 26) trip-tic sheet of the route between locations. Makes it easy to hit all the exits spot right on. WPB to Oil City should be about the same route I take north. I-95 to grab I-77 and then I-79. Hey, he can kill two birds with one stone and go into see Bluefield for hisself. Plus that route is also an easy spur off to go see Chester, WV and all those upper Ohio River towns that he was so keen on. Talking norminal miles. H,mmm will have to see how they try to route that trip, sometimes they can go crazy. Fun to check between the various mapping services, GOOGLE will give all the common ones just by punching in an address in Oil City. Then can compare how they try to route you. You can do it many ways via a menu. Flying sure ain't that type of fun.

This could become the Dream Trip into the Heartland of Affordable America. So little money required for chance of a life time.

Hey, I bet there is some super cheap bunking in maybe that area too. Still some Mom and Pop independents, almost like cabins. They probably will show up in a MapQuest search. I know there are still some in the East Liverpool area. Lots of those will show up in SE Ohio, still some B & B's. Maybe stay with Farmer Jones, see if his daughter is still at home. Lots of ways to have fun on this type adventure. Will we ever know all the juicy details?

Yeah, I would not mess up an opportunity like that with flying. Maybe look for some good catfish eating places too. Put some straw between your teeth and talk like local folk.

He has to get his own set of wheels as first priority. Good used Honda or Toyota. Or go for broke and have daddy spring for a new Toyota Yaris Hatchback. Put that back seat down and bunk in a sleeping bag at the truck stops. Going to need a car anyway, doubt the fab Oil City rates as a prime Walking City.
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