Wednesday, June 12, 2013

California trips

We lived down in Southern California for twenty five years before moving here to Las Vegas, and liked California a lot. People have a different attitude in California than in the rest of the country, more adventuresome and accepting, and the weather is marvelous. We fixed up our last house in San Diego, adding a second floor and really making the yard nice. About ten years ago we decided we needed a change; Interstate 15 was completed behind our house and the traffic was becoming very obtrusive, everything was becoming too crowded and it was just too cool at night to really enjoy our yard.

San Diego has a beautiful Mediterranean type climate – the summer forecast (for about five months) was easy to anticipate: “night and morning low clouds, high of 72 low of 65” (22c, 18c). Winter was not much different, just a bit cooler. We lived about five miles in from the coast, very close to the football stadium and just a short ride to downtown. In the fifteen years we lived there it never got down to freezing. We were able to grow just about any kind of plant we wanted – out front were large giant Bird of Paradise bushes and a bougainvillea that had been growing over the driveway arch for seventy years. Out back we had an assortment of bananas (with fruit), citrus trees, lots of flowers and a large garden. At one point we had over two hundred rose bushes, and one year I went wild for heirloom tomato seeds and planted over thirty varieties (from purple to yellow to striped, even some plain red ones). Very lovely, except when the sun went down the fog came in from the ocean (not thick at our place, just as low clouds that made the sky light and clammy) and a breeze came up. 18c (65f) may sound nice but it was just a bit too cool and damp for us to sit out back comfortably. It was dry – under 300mm (12 inches) per year, but as long as we watered the yard we could grow anything.

We looked around the west for a place to move to. We investigated and visited several cities, including Tucson (we had both lived in Phoenix and didn’t want that again), Portland and Las Vegas among others. We wanted more sunshine – B grew up in Phoenix and liked the desert climate, which eliminated Portland and most of the northwest. B wanted a big airport to make it easy to travel, which cut out Tucson. At that time our daughter was living in Vegas, which was a plus for here. There was a big airport with flights everywhere, along with lots of entertainment, a great many nice restaurants, and lots of sunshine. We knew that we would lose our garden – it’s a desert here, with horrible alkali soil and freezing temperatures in the winter. Most plants have no problem with the heat, as long as they get sufficient water.

Two things we didn’t really notice before moving: the wind (lots of wind) and the summer bugs (called water bugs, but really big cockroaches). The wind is impressive – in the summer when it’s 39c (100f) and the wind blows (32kph/20mph steady with gusts double that) when you step out of a cold air conditioned casino it’s like walking into a blast furnace. Coupled with the low humidity, usually around 3%, you really feel dry. The bugs come out at night; they like water and spend the hot days out under the grass, wandering around the yard after dark. We don’t get them in the house, but it is strange when we go to throw something in the compost bin at night and the surface of that is just covered with hundreds of black and brown crawling things about 5cm (2”) long.

In the past few weeks we’ve made several trips back to California. One trip was to the San Francisco bay area where our youngest son got married. This was a nine hour drive through the central valley of California, which was very pleasant in itself. I like driving, and the freeways in California are nice to drive on. Everybody is going fast, and there are off ramps with places to stop and eat every twenty miles or so. I-5 runs along the west side of the central valley up on the start of the coastal mountains, so that you have a nice long view to the east over the farmland and orchards. The weather was fine – sunny skies and warm without the typical Spring bay fog. Last week we went down to Los Angeles for a train show. That’s a four hour drive through the desert and mountains, different than the greens of farmland. We did notice all of the flowers and greenery in the LA area, similar to what we had in San Diego. B misses the ability to have lovely gardens like that and would like to move back to California. I’m not sure I could take all of the crowds and traffic, and the loss of sunshine.

I’m listening to Penn Jillett's Sunday School podcast. Penn is the bigger, more talkative half of Penn and Teller, some pretty good magicians with a permanent show here at the Rio. We’ve seen their show several times, and it is very enjoyable experience – go see it if you come here. Penn is pushing his annual party, Penn Jillette’s Private Bacon and Doughnut Rock and Roll Dance Party , this year being held at the South Point Casino starting at 11pm on Friday July 12. It sounds like an interesting experience which I will try to attend this year. (Free bacon and donuts and live music – wow).


angryparsnip said...

Don't do it...
Don't move back.... ever !

I lived for a few years in San Juan Capistrano but mostly in Laguna Beach for 30 plus years and I miss it dearly.
Living right by the beach, seeing pelicans fly by my home. Lush garden with roses and orchids growing like weeds... but I will never move back. The (my) middle class is completely destroyed.
The crowds, the air, impacted freeways, Gas prices and everything is just so expensive but the TAXES alone are so ungodly high.
If you are dumb enough to have a job and pay taxes you can't survive.
My daughter was living at poverty level in LA and she still had to pay more California taxes than my Arizona taxes ? Hello ?
The state is beyond bankrupt and they can never fix it.

Several of my friends are small business owners and are being taxed out of the state they love. Two are moving to Texas ! three want to move but can't figure out where to move yet.
I still have property in California, it is what I live on, and they come after me every year trying to find more money.
I am trying to figure out how to reinvest it so I don't have to deal California.
Sorry if this is more info that you wanted but my quarterly taxes are due and I'm not feeling the surfer dude love.

Donuts, BACON and music what not to love. I am so there !

cheers, parsnip

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰
Bonjour cher Joe !
Je te remercie pour cette publication intéressante.

Les taxes ... en France nous en avons beaucoup... parfois ça donne aussi envie de partir !!!!

GROS BISOUS de Thaïlande
et bonne journée Joe !!!
•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

I so want to visit San Francisco. It seems like a fabulous place.

JoeinVegas said...

AP - yes, that is what California is looking like to me. Living in Vegas we get a lot of California news and complaints. But my wife just sees the green and how things grow and the concept that our boys are living there and would be closer.

Blond Duck said...

I like to visit Cali, but I'm a Texan girl at heart.

JoeinVegas said...

You can keep Texas in your heart and still visit other places outside of the state. I know Texas is about the size of all of Europe, but come on BD, there are other places.

SOL's view said...

Ah yes, Penn and Teller. I've seen the show on pay TV a couple of times, but I remember Penn best from Sabrina.

I'd love to go to a show that featured donuts, BACON, and music. Cause everything is better with bacon! :)

Daly said...

I enjoyed your post Joe. It put a smile on my face. :-) I love Bird of Paradise bushes and a bougainvillea (they sell the bougainvilleas here but I'm not sure if they will survive Reno IF they survive my brown thumbs).

I had lived in Redondo Beach and Burbank and enjoyed my time there. But I'm glad to know that you also see the crowds and traffic (and less sunshine compared to Vegas) despite having a great life there before.

That's why my husband and I decided not to move back to CA when we had the opportunity (to San Luis Obispo which I heard rains often in the spring). John's parents lived in Arroyo Grande before following him to Vegas.

I love Vegas. I love the dry heat. The city was good to us. John lived there for 9 years and I was there for 7. Now that we're here in Reno, we like the smaller town. Less people and less traffic (though there's always downsides to every city). I added to my post today by the way :-) to add supporting evidence for what I've observed.

Daly said...

angryparsnip said what I forgot to mention...state taxes. Another reason we didn't move back. At the time federal and state taxes would have been about 40% of our income on top of the higher cost of living. And then we probably would never be able to afford the house that we could live with in a neighborhood we would be happy to live in and not have a heck of a commute. Don't get me wrong, California is beautiful but we weren't willing to pay the price to live there. Now we live in Nevada and it's a 2-hour drive to Sacramento and 3 1/2 hours drive to San Francisco. We figured if we live here, we can afford to travel more than live in CA and be broke without a budget to travel with. :-)

By the way, it seems to be windy...A LOT here too but without the blasting blow dryer effect. I've been told that it has to do with the clash of the cool in the surrounding mountains with the warmth in the area where Reno sits. I'm getting use to it and see it as part of living in the high desert where there there's no skyscrapers to diffuse the wind...just wide open spaces.

Daly said...

Our friend in Newport says it's blowing there too. I think it's just a windy year for everyone. Sorry to gunk up your comments.

Rob said...

Hmm, wind and bugs. Maybe we'd better make sure we have a good windshield scraper before we hit town.