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#1 skinnyonce

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

Im at a crossroad in life with job and where I live. was contemplating moving to new mexico for real dark skys , but Ill need to find work and others stuff as well, was wondering about the life style and or friendliness of the state. and it's acceptance of new people.
Im a displaced auto worker with a great deal of time spent working the docks, trailers,freight etc etc..
At 54 I know its not the smartest move, but if not now then never.
Mostly interested in jobs, housing, crime, etc cost of living ,stuff like that for now, Ill figure out the rest later..

thanks, skinny.. (sick of ohio)

#2 CollinofAlabama

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 10:50 PM

Skinny,

Not a resident, but a beloved visitor. I'm a west Texan. First, the bad news. New Mexico is a, relatively, poor state. Not being uppity. It's the truth. I have often noticed one can tell he's left Texas and driven into New Mexico by the quality of the roads. Suddenly, they get bad, "oh yeah, we just crossed the border". Same is true with Colorado, too. Driving to Colorado from west Texas, one may drive thru the aptly named town of Ratón (Spanish for 'rat'). It's one of the dirtiest places to drive into, with miles of abandoned refrigerators, rusted out cars, just plain junk right off the highway. But drive a few miles north to Trinidad, Colorado, and it's like your back to a clean land again. Being from Alabama, I've said New Mexico is Mississippi in the mountains. If I were moving, I'd consider Colorado over New Mexico.

OTOH, New Mexico has fantastic weather, and some of the absolute most picturesque natural western beauty the Lord God hath bestowed on North America. Some fantastic Native American history, too -- Bandalier & Pecos National Monuments not to be missed. And the quaint towns of Jemez Springs, Las Vegas, Cloudcroft, gosh, just wonderful places to visit. And yes, the night skies are fantastic!

Albuquerque, for its vastness, has the wonderful Sandía Peak just on the north side of town. This is probably a good fit for you financially, but it's a really big city. There'd be plenty of light pollution to escape from. Some place along Interstates 40 and 25 might be more economically fruitful for you given your background, and Albuquerque has both. Can't speak much about western New Mexico, since I haven't been there. The people in the central and eastern half seem nice enough. Folks in Santa Fe have a particular distaste for Texans, but when you open your mouth you can prove you're not from there. Being from Alabama, it's pretty hard to convince them I'm not! But Santa Fe and Taos are tourista locales. If you could apply your skills toward the tourism sector, plenty of options would be available to you, since tourism drives a lot of the economy throughout the state.

Wouldn't mind living in New Mexico, but I have too many economic roots in west Texas right now. Never can tell about the future, however. I will always be a fan of visiting the beautiful neighbor to the west, tho. Can't wait for my girls to get older so we can go there more often. Horseback rides in Ruidoso, looking down on the enormous White Sands Desert from Sunspot high above it in the mountains, vistas easterers can only dream of, the vastness simply without equal in the eastern part of geologic North America.

Not sure where it really begins, but the climatological and geographic East and West run thru Texas, down here. Runs thru Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the north, of course. Will Rogers was close, "Fort Worth is where the West begins. Dallas is where the East peters out", but he was off a bit. The west begins somewhere between Abilene and Fort Worth. You can literally feel the difference, the dryness in the air, the rising altitude, the lesser humidity. The vastness of this part of the continent is something easterners just don't fathom.

Mount Mitchell in North Carolina is the highest peak east of the Mississippi, at something like 6,500'. West Texas (very near the New Mexico border, btw) has this state's highest point, Guadalupe Peak, at 8,600'. And Texas isn't a "mountain state", like New Mexico, Colorado, and all the others west to and including the Pacific states. As someone who only moved to the geologic west of North America at age 29 (from the Midwest, Iowa, no less), I sure do like the west.

Hopefully an honest to goodness New Mexican can answer better than a visitor. My background is computers, so my advice is sadly lacking with more specifics. Good luck in New Mexico or Colorado, wherever you find yourself in the future.

#3 lcaldero

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:08 AM

Skinny,
I love New Mexico. I have been here 7 years, moved here from the east coast. We have a monsoon season in the summer; clouds form in the afternoon and may linger all night. Viewing opportunities are can be few and far between in July and August. We get most of our rain during the monsoon season, so even observers don't complain (much). We have a bad drought which is not over but easing. We have a great astronomy club in Albuquerque -- taas.org, check it out.

The economy is not great here; it's not very diverse. There's not much manufacturing. Wages are lowish, housing costs are high. Because of the two national labs, New Mexico has a high percentage of PhDs (some say the largest number of all the states). There's great natural beauty, but it's dry, dry. NM is a majority minority state; culturally diverse from the Spanish-Native American-Anglo triad. Not much night life but great opportunities for the arts, including music. I don't know the numbers, but the state population boomed from people moving here, many from California. People in Albuquerque are really friendly and welcoming. It helps if you like chile, red or green is the state question. (Don't spell it chili.)

Skinny, feel free to PM me. And good luck to you, wherever life takes you.

CollinOfAlabama -- I will just say one thing: since New Mexico isn't clean enough for you, stay out. We won't miss you.

Laura -- proud to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico :cool:

#4 Kendahl

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

Arizona and Nevada are other options. Temperatures are reasonable at higher altitudes. In the 19th century, Percival Lowell chose Flagstaff as the location for his observatory.

#5 precaud

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:54 AM

skinny, +1 to everything kcaldero wrote. I escaped to NM from the midwest in 1972 and would never go back. Every time I travel, it is such a relief to return here. It helps to bring a means of livelihood (or a marketable skill that is in demand) with you, as this is one of the poorer states.

NM is a different world from what you're accustomed to, and it will change you, for the positive, IMO... the clear skies and wide-open vistas tend to cultivate a bigger perspective within us.

PS - Albuquerque's astronomy club is great - Santa Fe's is not, unfortunately...

#6 molniyabeer

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 10:07 AM

I've lived in Albuquerque for three years now and enjoy it. ABQ is big enough that we have a good variety of stuff to do, shopping, entertainment, etc. but not so huge that it takes forever to get out of town.

As has been mentioned, the median income in the state is lower than elsewhere and, yes, we do have some crime hot spots. And the schools can be hit or miss if you have kids.

But we also have some lovely neighborhoods and the scenery is gorgeous. On the northeast side of town we have an overlook over the city that is awesome (check out the Aug 13 S&T gallery for a picture of Comet PanSTARRS from that location).

For astronomy, TAAS is fantastic. We have 300+ members and usually get 50ish on an average monthly meeting night. We have an observatory about an hour's drive south of town with very nice skies. And our interests are pretty diverse so you're likely to find someone who shares your particular passion.

I have not spent much time in southern NM so can't really speak to that part of the state. I can say that I like living here and it's in the top 2-3 places I'm considering for permanent residence once I retire.

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

As far as astronomy goes, you'll feel like you've died and went to New Mexico....really miss those skies.

#8 Kfrank

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 03:30 PM

Arizona and Nevada are other options. Temperatures are reasonable at higher altitudes. In the 19th century, Percival Lowell chose Flagstaff as the location for his observatory.


Flagstaff is up on the Mogollon Rim and has cooler summers than down in the desert. However, in the winter, it can get COLD in Flag. I stayed there one night in late spring and it got down near zero that night.

#9 Tom Clark

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:29 PM

Visit our web site for the New Mexico Astrtonomy Village and you can read about the area and find lots of photos.
http://www.tomclarkbooks.com/NMAV.html

We have been here two years so far and love it, especially the low humidity. After living in Florida for 40 years this is heaven.

The high altitude makes for pleasant days, even in the hottest days of summer, yet the winters are mild.

From our web site:

Life living at the NMAV

I receive quite a few emails from astronomers asking about what life is like living here at the NMAV, so here what we have found after just two years…

History: We just purchased our property here in Oct of 2010, and so far five other astronomy families have purchased property here for their retirement, so obviously we are not the only ones who find that this area had just the right quality of life we were looking for.

Location: We are 20 minutes from Deming, and 30 minutes from Silver City - the best of both worlds. We live out in the desert under very dark skies with good seeing, yet town and all the conveniences are 20 minutes away. There are many other astronomy places in the southwest where you are far from civilization, and have to live the life of a hermit. Can you imagine a 100 mile round trip to the grocery store? How about two hours or more each way to go to Home Depot? Forget about going out to eat, or playing golf, or having any kind of social life… Las Cruces is a fairly large town where you can find anything. It is just one hour away down the interstate.

Astronomy: This area is heaven compared to FL. No more underwater observing! The super transparent air allows you to see so much more, yet the seeing is very good since we live out on the grasslands. In most mountainous areas the seeing is very turbulent which seriously degrades viewing. We have observed here numerous times with both our 16" and 24" telescopes, and every time we have found the seeing to be excellent. We held a small star party in October of this year, with about 24 friends attending. Five telescopes were set up, including 24 and 30 inchers. Galaxies were bright and contrasty, globulars were full of tiny diamonds, and nebulae stood out from the background sky like in photographs. You have to experience the observing here to believe it. The sky seems to be clear or mostly clear every night. Even during the July-August rainy season many nights are observable. We recently finished our new observatory and have had first light on our 42" scope. I won't even try to describe what those views are like. You have to experience it yourself to understand why we moved here.

Social Life: Jeannie and I are not hermits. We have joined the Deming Country Club, where we play golf two days a week, and The Silver City Astronomy Club, where we have met many new friends, and attend functions now and then. News travels fast, so we have already met some local astronomers. I also joined the Silver City RC Flying Club, and their super flying site is only 15 minutes from our house. The Deming Camera Club also provides some fun, such as a trip to a Ghost town. If only there were more hours in the day.

Climate: We love it here! The average 20 percent humidity is wonderful, and the breezes keep even the warmest days comfortable. We find the summers here delightful compared to Florida, where we were forced to leave 6 months every year due to the oppressive heat and humidity. If you walked outside you immediately began sweating, and walking the golf course was out of the question. Here at 4800' it is cool every night, so during the summer months the house stays cool most of the day, and the airconditioning doesn't even come on until the afternoon. We do occasionally reach 100˚ in late afternoon, but even then sitting on the back porch in the breeze is comfortable. As soon as the sun sets the temperature starts dropping, so there is no more of those Florida summer nights where it is too hot to observe in the dome. In the winter the average days are in the 50s and 60s, and nights in the 30s. When you are in the sun it feels great! I have walked the golf course at 45˚ in the morning in a sweater and felt wonderful. The dry air really does make the hot days feel cooler, and the cold days feel warmer. However, in December and January we had an unusual cold spell where the temperture ran an average of 20˚ below normal for 6 weeks. We still worked on the construction of the dome every day, but we simply waited until later in the day to get started. We are so much farther south (31˚) than most of the US that when we think it is cold most of the northerners wish they had our temperatures. The only bad thing to say about the area - which is true anywhere in the southwest, is sometimes it gets too windy and dusty. In 2012 we had three dust storms. They are not like the ugly things Phoenix gets, but they do run you inside for a few hours until they pass. March is the worst month for high winds…

Neighbors: We find the few neighbors who already lived here to be very friendly. They are all older people so the neighborhood is very quiet! Many local astronomers have come by to visit and check out the village. Some have purchased land and are awaiting retirement. Others are awaiting the sale of their houses back home so they can move out here. All who have come to see the place say that it is an astronomer's dream. It looks like the NMAV will be a success, and in the next few years we expect to have many more astronomers living here.

Homewise: We sold our FL home 2/12, and started our move west in March. The shop was moved in March, and while here we placed an order for a new modular home. While the house was being set up we made another trip back to FL to supervise the moving of our household goods, and were able to move into the new place in June. Of course it takes a bit of work to move and get things back in order, but as soon as we were able we started construction of our new observatory. The first light for the refigured and recoated 42" was 4/5/13.


Tom and Jeannie
Loving the desert life

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#10 Monadnock

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:14 AM

Tom, no disrespect to your HUGE, nicely hardscaped observatory, but I'd love to see that shot without it. What I can see looks absolutely stunning.

Sorry, Skinny. Back on topic.

#11 Kfrank

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 11:22 AM

Visit our web site for the New Mexico Astrtonomy Village and you can read about the area and find lots of photos.
http://www.tomclarkbooks.com/NMAV.html

We have been here two years so far and love it, especially the low humidity. After living in Florida for 40 years this is heaven.

The high altitude makes for pleasant days, even in the hottest days of summer, yet the winters are mild.

From our web site:

Life living at the NMAV

I receive quite a few emails from astronomers asking about what life is like living here at the NMAV, so here what we have found after just two years…

History: We just purchased our property here in Oct of 2010, and so far five other astronomy families have purchased property here for their retirement, so obviously we are not the only ones who find that this area had just the right quality of life we were looking for.

Location: We are 20 minutes from Deming, and 30 minutes from Silver City - the best of both worlds. We live out in the desert under very dark skies with good seeing, yet town and all the conveniences are 20 minutes away. There are many other astronomy places in the southwest where you are far from civilization, and have to live the life of a hermit. Can you imagine a 100 mile round trip to the grocery store? How about two hours or more each way to go to Home Depot? Forget about going out to eat, or playing golf, or having any kind of social life… Las Cruces is a fairly large town where you can find anything. It is just one hour away down the interstate.



Without commenting on the other aspects of living here, let me address the issue of distances. The above quote talks about "20 minutes to X" and "30 minutes to Y". In that area we're really talking about 20 miles to X and 30 miles to Y. No, I can't imagine a 100 mile round trip to the grocery store. But, here, we're talking about a 40 or 60 mile round trip to the grocery store, and I can't imagine that either.

This country is high desert. Personally, I like the desert, so I'm not trying to discourage anyone from living here, but prospective residents need to be aware of the pros and cons of living miles from the nearest town. Note also that neither of these towns mentioned are very large. Silver City has a population of about 10,000 while Deming is about 15,000. Las Cruces is a much larger city at about 100,000.

If dark skies are one's primary consideration, as they clearly are for Tom,
this might be the answer to your prayers. However, prospective buyers need to be aware that this small development of lots has been around for a long time, perhaps as long as 2-3 decades, and most of the lots have not found buyers. This would indicate that resale might be a significant problem.

If you're looking to retire, where this will likely be your final home, AND you're VERY interested in dark skies, this might be a decent option. But, if this is not intended to be your final stop on the road of life, I'd think hard about it.

#12 davidpitre

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 06:21 PM

Having lived a little while there, but spent a heck of a lot of time in New Mexico during the last 25 years ( My folks live there) here's my opinion.
Cost of living is low.
Jobs are not real easy to come by unless you are in a specialized field.
Poverty is higher than average, but crime is not.
People are very friendly, though there is a bit of racial cliquishness if you could call it that. If you are not comfortable around Hispanics don't move there.
Homes are very reasonable, as is rent.
Virtually the entire state is freaking beautiful.
A deep sense of history pervades everything.
The Santa Fe, Taos area is home to a lot of wealthy people who tend toward the artsy and spiritual. Most of the rest of the state is pretty blue collar salt of the earth. Albuquerque is fairly cosmopolitan, though not in a east or west coast way.

#13 BarbMoore

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 08:37 PM

I live in south central New Mexico where the skies are so dark, the milky way casts shadows on the ground. Only problem here is there aren't that many employment opportunities unless you can find work at one of our military bases.

#14 Lee.S

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:37 PM

I guess I'll put a comment here NM for life,and live in the south east portion of the state roughly 60 miles west of Clovis,70 miles north of Roswell, 50 miles south of Santa Rosa,and 60 miles east of Vaughn.Skies are fairly dark,though I do see the light glow from all the surrounding towns.Like others have wrote employment is not at its best there are some openings in the oil field in the Roswell Hobbs area due to oil fracking.Just before my retirement did some electrical stuff in that area.Hot dusty but there is a whole lot of sky to observe.I grew up use to it ,and didn't realize what I missed until I moved back from 10 years in the Albuquerque area.I did like living in Rio Rancho.big place with small town attitude .Good luck on your decision...Lee.S

#15 Lee.S

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:50 PM

Oh I forgot Carne Adovada !!!!

#16 davidpitre

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:41 PM

Oh I forgot Carne Adovada !!!!

Now that's what I'm talking about. That, and green chile stew.

#17 precaud

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 06:55 PM

Anything smothered in green is fine by me, thank you! :jump:

#18 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 07:19 PM

Amen to that. Green sauce FTW!

I like green on my pork and green on my carne asada tacos. I do use red chile molido in my carne asada marinade, though, together with jalapenos, serranos and pasillas. No habaneros if the family or friends are partaking, though.

I'll be visiting your delightful paradise of a state first week of September with a dozen or so observing friends from all over the US. I'll be grilling in the bush, and am doing chile verde (with pork loin rather than butt this time) and carne asada (with flat iron/clod rather than skirt or flank this time) both loaded with a myriad of different chiles in celebration of the culinary traditions of the region. When in Rome...:lol: Of course, I'm also doing Boef Bourguignon, bison, and chicken kabob all with "gringo" spices because, well,...that's how I know how to cook.

I love New Mexico. 90% "old west" and >50% blue. Diverse, naturally splendid; truly a land of enchantment. Love it, love it, love it to death. But...

(1) Not many high-paying jobs.

(2) Cost of housing in developed areas is quite high compared to similar quality housing in similar communities in Arizona and Texas for example.

(3) Sparse population, while great for enjoying the outdoors and the night sky, means services and amenities can be relatively distant so I always end up doing *a whole lot* of driving in the state when visiting.

I think it'd be a great place to retire, though probably a harder row to hoe if you were still a working stiff. My fantasy is retiring on a 600-1800 acre spread in NM in about 10 years. Problem is my wife doesn't like it, or Arizona (which I also kind of like) or Texas (which I also kind of like) or Kentucky (which I also kind of like)...There's a pattern here, I think. :foreheadslap:

Regards,

Jim

#19 precaud

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 08:50 AM

Sounds to me like Jim is lobbying to be granted resident status... :)

I have a ladyfriend who feels the same way as your wife about NM, and is back in NYC where she feels "comfortable". To each their own...

#20 hm insulators

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:02 PM

Oh I forgot Carne Adovada !!!!


Never heard of it. Is that a New Mexico specialty?

#21 precaud

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:36 PM

It's basically pork stewed in a red chili sauce.

#22 Ron (Lubbock)

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:48 PM

I'm not a NM resident, but I go there occasionally from my home in Lubbock mostly for hiking opportunities. My feeling is that if you were to move to NM to take full advantage of observing opportunities, you'd want to consider the southern part of the state (Las Cruces, Carlsbad, Ruidoso, Alamogordo, Artesia, etc.). Light pollution in Albuquerque and Santa Fe has to be bad enough that you'd need to drive an hour to find truly dark skies. Housing prices are outrageous there. If you can find a job in the less populated part of the state where housing is cheaper, you've got it made. As for that summer monsoon season, how many places are there in the continental U.S. that have great skies in July and August?

#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 11:22 PM

"...how many places are there in the continental U.S. that have great skies in July and August?"

Sadly, much of (very expensive) California. :big sigh: Problem is, it's a lousy place to retire no matter how much dough you've squirreled away. Housing is over the top (makes Santa Fe look reasonable :shocked: ), fuel and groceries are almost 30% more than what my relatives in the lower midwest pay, traffic is getting worse and worse, taxes are high (income, sales and hidden use taxes included). Pretty much *not* what you want when on a fixed income and not planning on resuming work to replenish the nest egg.

I'm thinking Gallup, Farmington, or across the border to Cortez, might be nice, but the wife likes civilization a lot more than I do. I'm trying to get her to visit Austin, TX, with me. I go there on business a couple of times a year and really enjoy it. I'd rather be in NM, but I think along the Austin/San Antonio corridor we might be able to find a happy medium. I'm a country mouse and she's a city mouse, as it were. I tried Tucson (she didn't like Scottsdale - how can you NOT like Scottsdale?), but no dice. She didn't like Tucson either - too much of a "cow town" (her words).

I've only been to rural McKinley and San Juan counties, Albuqueque, Santa Fe, Taos, Carslbad and Roswell in NM. Where else might someone who likes proximity to all the modern conveniences (commerce, entertainment, the arts, an international or at least big regional airport, etc.) find a home in NM? If I could find a place she would enjoy in the state. I could always get a shack and observatory in the boons in dark sky NM.

Ideas appreciated.

Regards,

Jim

#24 absurdum

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 11:58 PM

>Ideas appreciated.

What about Eldorado at Santa Fe? The house prices seem to be much more affordable and in a yellow area. It is on my list of places to visit as I get closer to retirement.

#25 mountain monk

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:15 AM

I've spent some time in NM, mostly in the SW corner. Yes, the state has great skies, an impressive amount of outdoor recreation, and yummy food. But some of the cautionary notes above deserve close attention. Moving to relatively remote locations can be economically, socially, culturally, and intellectually isolating. We have a similar problem here. People want to move to Wyoming for the fishing, skiing, hunting, kayaking....a long list...etc. But Jackson is like Santa Fe--definitely not representative of the state. Try more obscure locations--say Lander--and the wives (husbands) get bored, the kids are bored, and it often ends up being very stressful and/or ending relationships. EYES WIDE OPEN.

Dark skies.

Jack






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