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Old 12-31-2017, 10:25 PM
Location: Jewel Lake (Sagle) Idaho
35,593 posts, read 21,909,028 times
Reputation: 22060


I currently live on a 20 acre parcel in the mountains between CDA and Sandpoint (actually closer to Priest River). I love a lot about the area-access to national forests, mountains, lakes, rivers. I like the "remoteness" of where we are and the privacy. There are some negatives. First, I'm a 50 mile drive from work, which when the weather is good is a bit over an hour-about a third of that the last 10 miles through CDA (I work downtown). It gets worse when the roads are bad (traffic or weather). I'm considering moving closer to town, but rural property within 1/2 hour of downtown has gotten very expensive. I'm also getting tired of the long winters and lots of snow. I spent about 4 hours plowing our 1/2 mile of private road today. And I'm an avid motorcyclist. My driveway iced over in November and probably won't thaw until March. Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (PMS)-it's real and it's crushing. Snow in the mountains keeps the best riding areas closed much of the year as well. I'm also getting older (55) and will be retiring in not way too many years.

So, compared to my area, I'm looking for somewhat more reasonable housing prices, shorter winters with less snow (cold doesn't bother me so much-as long as it's not quite such a long winter!). Reasonable summer temps (90s are OK as long as it's not months at a time or humid). A little longer daylight hours in the winter wouldn't hurt. Good access to the mountains/forest service lands. Jobs-I'm a mechanical engineer and haven't seen a big issue finding work around CDA/Spokane. How are things in the field in IF? How are things at INL these days? I've heard mixed news regarding cuts. How is traffic around the area?

A couple other weather related questions. How are most winter days? Cloudy/overcast or sunny? How about summer air quality? Here in N. ID we have had major issues with smoke from wildfires for the last several years. Some not so bad, some terrible. I imagine you deal with similar issues, but does anyone have direct comparisons?

THanks for any thoughts or inputs. I'm thinking I'll ride down some Friday night after work and spend the weekend and get to know the area a bit sometime this year.
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:28 PM
Location: Ammon
151 posts, read 126,556 times
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As a retired Idaho Falls resident and an Idaho motorcyclist, I can identify with your PMS. Unfortunately, here in Idaho Falls, we also seem to typically park our two wheelers in about late October (occasionally early November), and not get them back on the road until at least late March or April.
Having spent a lot of time in Spokane and CDL, I honestly don't think there is any significant difference between winter in CDL area vs. Idaho Falls area. Boise may be a little warmer, but the Idaho Falls area is no "banana belt", or tropical paradise.
December through March is usually below freezing and varies from overcast to sunny and COLD. Last winter we still had the October '16 snow waiting to melt in March of 2017.
It is an easier escape to the South from here by road, but Spokane is a lot cheaper for airfare to anywhere than Idaho Falls is. It is generally cheaper to drive to Salt Lake City, rent a room, and fly from there than to fly direct from Idaho Falls. This is a VERY air-travel unfriendly town.

Idaho Falls is also severely lacking in all of the retail benefits of the Spokane area, such as GOOD restaurants, extensive shopping options, availability of pretty much everything in Spokane vs. good luck finding anything in I.F. (this is a mail-order-town). Oh, and as you know, Idaho does not have BevMo or TotalWine type stores, whereas, Spokane does. Those of us that live in I.F. travel to Spokane, Boise or Salt Lake City just for retail vacations.

Last edited by Ret.InAmmon; 01-01-2018 at 06:41 PM..
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:49 PM
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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The snow is about the same here as it is up there, but there isn't nearly as much fog, log smog, or overcast during the winters. There will be a spell of overcast that's followed by one of cold temps and bright blue skies.

There is a bit more daylight, because I.F. is 600 miles farther southward. The average winter's length, though, is about the same.

As to fighting the snow plowing, much would depend on where you decided to live. If you were to buy 20 acres here, the snow might be just as bad or not. It would depend on the exposure and lots of other factors. We get more wind here, and during the winters, a windstorm can scour a rural driveway clean if the wind is blowing in the right direction. The place next door could have a road that was drifted shut because the wind was blowing in the wrong direction for that road.

In general, the closer you live to Idaho Falls, the easier it is to get around in the winter.

The job situation at the INL seems to be OK for the moment, but there's a lot of apprehension happening due to the present administration, so I really don't know how much new hires are happening. But Idaho Falls is a very business-oriented town, and there's a lot of private industry happening, so with your degree, I don't think you would have a real hard time finding a job. You wouldn't have to do a 1-hour commute either, unless you wanted to.

We have been getting our share of wildfire smoke during the summers. But Idaho Falls always has a slight breeze, so the smoky days here may be fewer in duration.

All the bike riders I know down here have snow machines, and they use them all winter. This is big snowmobile country, but the motorcycle season isn't much different. If you really need a longer season, I would look at St. George over Idaho Falls; a close friend keeps a bike down there at his Dad's retirement home, and he goes down there when he must ride a motorcycle for a while in the winters.

The biggest difference between CDA and I.F. is Idaho Falls isn't a big retirement city in a popular retirement area. Folks move here to retire, but nothing like the numbers who move there, and I.F. doesn't depend on them economically. There is a lot less California influence here as a result, too. Young folks move here to work instead of old folks looking to kick back and take it easy.
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Old 01-01-2018, 09:15 PM
Location: Jewel Lake (Sagle) Idaho
35,593 posts, read 21,909,028 times
Reputation: 22060
Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it. I wouldn't mind the lack of shopping opportunities (and don't know what BevMo or TotalWine even are ). About the only time I head into Spokane (other than for a flight) is to hit the motorcycle dealers, and IF has both Indian and KTM (at least in the area). The area looks appealing from what I've seen. But without a significantly shorter winter, I'm not that interested in making the move. Which is kind of depressing-I love so much about Idaho. Still want to come down and look around sometime. Longer daylight hours in the winter, more sun and less snow (we got about 16 inches this weekend, and about 20 the week before) might still be very tolerable, even though the overall temperature isn't much different or winter actually shorter.

As far as riding-I don't mind the cold and will ride in the 20s. I just don't do ice, and my private road iced over this year around Thanksgiving and likely won't thaw until March. Tried to take the adv bike out a few weeks ago-the county road and lower elevations were clear. I didn't make it out my driveway without dumping it.

Mike, funny how you mention St. George. I spent some time in southern UT last spring and loved the area-Zion was amazing. Based on that St. George was on my list, I had done just a minimal amount of research over the weekend. Housing prices look to be as inflated as the CDA area from what I see in a quick glance, but I need to dig deeper. I'm also looking into the Prescott and Flagstaff area. I also need to research Colorado more-was through there as well and saw a lot to like. But also a fair amount of the state that was pretty open and baren. Oh well, no need to make an immediate decision and I have a reason to travel.

As far as snow drifts/blowing off and exposure. I grew up around Buffalo and experienced a lot of that. One area could be bare, 1/4 mile further on the drifts are 10 ft high. My first home there was on the east side of a big, open field. Guess where the snow ended up!

Last edited by Toyman at Jewel Lake; 01-01-2018 at 09:26 PM..
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:27 AM
Location: Old Mother Idaho
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That friend I mentioned is about the most hard core biker I know; he rides in all weather, all winter long, unless it's storming.

He bought a new Yamaha cruiser last year for his road bike, and it's really like a new car. It's big, heavy, has all kinds of digital stuff going on, and has lots of heaters all over the place. During the winters, he wears an electric riding suit, boots, gloves, and helmet.

But that was last year. I haven't seen him on any of his motorcycles for some time now. That's probably due more to his long-time girlfriend, who's willing to ride with him except in the extremes, and his aging father, who's still very sharp mentally but is almost completely helpless physically now.

Times change, needs change. His dad would sooner spend the winters here, but because he's so weak, if he caught a bad cold he could end up in the critical care ward, so his son moves him down to the condo complex in St. George when it starts growing cold, and then goes down to visit and see for his care once a week.
This has been their routine for at least 6 years, and in the past, he always made the trips on a bike. This year, he does it in a van he bought and rigged to accommodate his dad's wheel chair instead.

All that is easier done with a vehicle, so that's the main reason he's not riding as much as he once did. And my buddy just turned 60, so he's re-thinking his priorities. Motorcycles have always been a real passion for him, but last fall he suddenly sold all his vintage bikes, and he said the other day he's thinking of selling his KTM.

Age is something he's really thinking about now. He's independently employed, and does the kind of work that allows him to work for as long as he wants, but I think he's thinking a lot more about how to retire well than continue on with everything he's done for most of his life.

He's a lot like you- he has about 20 acres about 18 miles south of town, and has to plow out his access road in the winters. Most of his property is used to grow hay, but over this year, he has been talking about doing more intensive small farming instead of cruising; he wants to start an orchard and wants to get into selling produce at the local farmer's markets during the summers instead.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:31 AM
Location: North Idaho
2,361 posts, read 2,585,399 times
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Toyman - We thought about moving to northern AZ before we decided to come to NID. We traveled extensively throughout southern UT and northern AZ over the years when we lived in CA, and really love the whole Colorado plateau area. Lots of great ADV biking throughout the area.

Flagstaff is at almost 7,000 feet elevation, and I think they get about 100" of snow in an average year, so it's not obvious that would resolve your motorcycle woes. Prescott is not as high (~5,400'), and gets less snow, but they still do have winters. I'm guessing most motorcyclists there put their bikes away for the winter as well. Probably a shorter winter than here in NID though.


Last edited by Cnynrat; 01-03-2018 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:57 PM
Location: Jewel Lake (Sagle) Idaho
35,593 posts, read 21,909,028 times
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Still doing some research. I'm frankly rather shocked at housing prices around Flagstaff-they make the CDA area look reasonable! Did some digging regarding Arkansas as well-MUCH more reasonable housing costs and reasonable taxes. Don't know if I could deal with the humidity of the SE after living in the west. Flip side-unlike more southern cities in the west, they actually have trees and green grass, rather than such a desert landscape. Oh well, not a really big hurry and it gives me an excuse to do some traveling.

Hoping to hop on down to Idaho Falls for a weekend when the weather (finally!) warms up a bit.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:47 AM
Location: Idaho
5,808 posts, read 6,035,804 times
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Originally Posted by Toyman at Jewel Lake View Post
I'm also looking into the Prescott and Flagstaff area. I also need to research Colorado more-was through there as well and saw a lot to like. But also a fair amount of the state that was pretty open and baren. Oh well, no need to make an immediate decision and I have a reason to travel.
My older brother left home when he graduated from high school and moved to the West Slope of Colorado. He is a 'free spirit' and his picture is right next to the definition of Libertarian in the dictionary. He had a small ranch near Silt/Rifle. However, he moved about five years ago, primarily because he got fed up with the interference of politicians in Denver on the lives of the people living on the western slope of the Rockies.

He moved to a small enclave south of Payson in the hills about halfway between Flagstaff and Phoenix. High enough to be out of the summer desert heat, but low enough to not get unmanageable snow. He doesn't have all that much money, but does own his own place, so I assume prices aren't too extreme, like they are in Flagstaff.

Might be worth a look. But I have to warn you about Phoenix traffic. I thought Washington drivers are aggressive. Phoenix drivers are totally nuts!

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Old 01-04-2018, 10:45 AM
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Sorry to hear you're thinking about moving out of Idaho, Toyman. Before we decided on CF, we looked into a lot of other options, too, but Flagstaff wasn't one of them. My sister-in-law lived in Flagstaff twice, in the late 1960s and again in the early 2000s. In the 60's it was a fun, artsy place. By the new millennium it had apparently become a nightmare. Crime was up, and drugs were everywhere. You probably won't need school info, but apparently the schools were dismal. I doubt very much that it has changed for the better. I don't even think I'd want to live near Flag and have to do my shopping and other official business there...But Highway 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff is high country, and very pretty.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:35 AM
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Default Colorado Springs


I lived in Colorado Springs for just over a decade. I rode all year round. It gets cold but it being high desert, it gets tons of sun. Snow usually doesn’t linger long. I was more worried about the sand they throw down on the roads. It sticks around longer than the snow.

The good, was the location. I had the view of a 14000 footer staring at me in the mornings everyday. Beautiful snow capped peaks on clear blue skies. Northern springs always got more snow than the south where I lived. Northern side of town was more affluent. The Spring doesn’t get a lot of snow unless there is an Albuquerque low. Then it suck the snow in on us. We sit in a bowl. The storms usually push up over the mountains to the west. About 10 miles away from foot hills. Then it blows over us and dumps to our east. It gets hot 90’s 100’s. I like the atmosphere. Western cowboy rancher type. Country but not red neckish like the Southeast. I grew up in the south east and have a little hick in me. Huge military town. There are four bases within thirty miles of each other. Great renaissance fest up in Larkspur every year.

The bad, altitude and storms. The springs sit at 6200 feet and if you move west it raises quickly. Some medical conditions are sensitive to the altitude. I just turned 50 last year and I am in relatively good health. For my wife it affected her. We won’t be able to move back. We still have a house there. The storms can be violent. Major hail damage every year. Flooding seems to have gotten worse also. Crime also felt a little worse than other places. Nothing like Denver. But we still had gangs, shootings, and home invasions. The springs is a big city with crappy roads and bad traffic.

If you get out maybe to woodland park area it is real nice. Great riding through the mountains and exciting twisties. Still only 45 minutes from the springs but small town feel. Pricy and elevation is around nine grand.

I met my wife there and retired from the military there. So Colorado has a special place for me. I currently live in Hawaii. Heading to CDA this weekend to scout it out. Still ten years from retiring but we miss the snow and four seasons. Was looking at Leavenworth, we Lived in Bavaria for three years, but doesn’t look like enough infrastructure. Spokane, CDA, Sandpoint, Newport are on the list this weekend and next week.

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