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Midnight home buying

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#76 dx_ron

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 06:10 PM

That 'other side' of California does tend to be either kindling or flat-out desert, unfortunately. I was poking around listings up in the Red Bluff area and there are some reasonable-looking places for more than we would be selling our current place for, but not all that much more. At least we wouldn't have to take out a mortgage larger than the one we just paid off here :). Would have to do research on access to hospitals and such. Getting close to Oregon - does far-north CA get the same relative lack of clear skies as the PNW?



#77 Windspirit

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 07:29 PM

Definitely….and purposely searched out the darkest areas we considered.  Also engaged the realtor we used and provided her the tools to help screen possible candidates.  



#78 Neanderthal

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Posted 15 June 2022 - 09:07 PM

I've seen quite a few folks make a comment about wanting to be close to a University, why? I'm very close to retirement age and have thought about places to move to, but having a college or university anywhere nearby never entered my mind.



#79 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 10:07 AM

That 'other side' of California does tend to be either kindling or flat-out desert, unfortunately. I was poking around listings up in the Red Bluff area and there are some reasonable-looking places for more than we would be selling our current place for, but not all that much more. At least we wouldn't have to take out a mortgage larger than the one we just paid off here smile.gif. Would have to do research on access to hospitals and such. Getting close to Oregon - does far-north CA get the same relative lack of clear skies as the PNW?

 

If you are looking for clear dark skies, I would be looking in desert areas. 

 

Jon



#80 Tony Flanders

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 06:30 PM

I've seen quite a few folks make a comment about wanting to be close to a University, why? I'm very close to retirement age and have thought about places to move to, but having a college or university anywhere nearby never entered my mind.

College towns tend to attract people who share my interests and perspectives. Not that I necessarily want to live in a college town, mind you. There's something to be said for being around people with different interests and perspectives.


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#81 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 09:03 PM

Tony,

If you want to see way different perspectives from what you are used to, come to my area.   Most others here don't see things the way I do.  I just try to keep a low profile.  No attempt at outreach.  Might cause trouble.  Me having telescopes might mean different things to some people.  My dome is a hot tub enclosure to most.  I let them think it.



#82 dx_ron

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 09:19 PM

I've seen quite a few folks make a comment about wanting to be close to a University, why? I'm very close to retirement age and have thought about places to move to, but having a college or university anywhere nearby never entered my mind.

In my case, it's about getting some of the perks of a big city, but in a smaller city. "Outside of town" is closer to town. Things like top-notch health system, music, decent coffee.


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#83 vsteblina

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 09:29 PM

If you are looking for clear dark skies, I would be looking in desert areas. 

 

Jon

I think the Coast Range, north of San Francisco and south of Oregon, might have the desert areas beat for both seeing and darkness.

 

I worked at Lake Mead NRA in the 70's.  That isn't a 70's sky anymore. 

 

It is not as large as the desert, and the higher elevations tend to have snow in winter, with gravel and dirt roads instead of interstates, but plenty of areas with dark skies and decent access.

 

I like the desert areas, but for a place to live and do astronomy I would look hard at the Coast Range.



#84 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 June 2022 - 10:56 PM

I think the Coast Range, north of San Francisco and south of Oregon, might have the desert areas beat for both seeing and darkness.

 

I worked at Lake Mead NRA in the 70's.  That isn't a 70's sky anymore. 

 

It is not as large as the desert, and the higher elevations tend to have snow in winter, with gravel and dirt roads instead of interstates, but plenty of areas with dark skies and decent access.

 

I like the desert areas, but for a place to live and do astronomy I would look hard at the Coast Range.

 

When I think of the coast range:

 

Rain, fewer clear skies and dope farmers.. 

 

Eastern Oregon, Nevada..  

 

Silver City, New Mexico.. A small city with a small university.. and a lot of undeveloped land.

 

Jon


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#85 CA'nCACalvin

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 12:29 AM

Hello,

     I live in the Coast Range of Northern California nearly straight West of Red Bluff.  Jon Isaacs is correct and vsteblina is correct also about the area.  The climate hear in the coastal counties is more on par with the Pacific North West than the rest of California.  Storms coming in from the West will typically loose a lot of potency before getting into the Interior of the state but you should expect to see a lot of cloudy days in the Red Bluff area.  There are thunder storms and the residual cloudiness afterwards in the interior of the state to deal with in the summer months.  Forrest fires have been very bad in recent years in Northern California.  Not just for many a night of ruined observation but also your health and damaging your optics.  I live 40 miles up river from the coast and nearly 20 miles directly inland with moderately high mountain ridges between me and there but still get many nights of thick marine layer fog even during the hotter, dryer time of the year.

Thanks,

Calvin.


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#86 Nucleophile

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 08:12 AM

Tony,

If you want to see way different perspectives from what you are used to, come to my area.   Most others here don't see things the way I do.  I just try to keep a low profile.  No attempt at outreach.  Might cause trouble.  Me having telescopes might mean different things to some people.  My dome is a hot tub enclosure to most.  I let them think it.

John,  you have summed up my experience here in rural TX very well.  Keep to myself and observe.  If I want to do any astro-related  socializing I will head out to a star party sponsored by the Austin Astronomical Society.  The only people who can even see my scopes are my aging neighbors to the east, and even then they drive to the back of their property in their golf cart.  Someone mentioned being able to pee in their yard as a criterion for sharing with realtors when home buying--yeah, that is the type of privacy I can relate to.

 

Most people would not want to relocate here, which is understandable.  But having logged 60 observing sessions from mid Jan to the end of April is pretty good I think. Furthermore, in the summer there are stretches of up to 2 or more weeks with no rain when the seeing is above average or better every single night.  Do I wish I still lived in Ann Arbor, San Fran, Durham or Austin to be around like-minded people?  Yes, but observing is more important to me than that at this stage of my life.


Edited by csa/montana, 17 June 2022 - 09:29 AM.


#87 dciobota

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 10:51 AM

Same here in SE Arizona.  The locals don't care much about astronomy, and I do see occasionally border patrols catch illegals down my road.  I don't want to advertise, so my observatory will look like a normal shed, less likely to attract attention.  No clubs of any kind near here, although one campground does advertise astronomy and astrophotography.

 

This is probably very different than the areas around Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff, where astronomy is well known and even embraced.  There is even a bar in downtown Tucson that has telescopes out on occasion for folks to look through.  Never seen that before.

 

Btw, I've searched up and down the Oregon coast for a place before I settled to the place in Washington and honestly I didn't see much difference.  But I'm talking about the coast itself not 40 miles inland, which is indeed drier.  The temps do get slightly milder as you go south though.  Prices also get progressively higher as you go south, especially once you get near and into California.  Like Vlad said, going east from the coast gets you clearer skies, although you do start getting more varied climate (hotter in summer, colder in winter).  My set parameters were a relatively mild climate year round and some chance at clear skies, especially in summer (as I really like summer objects the best).  Even with issues like occasional fog, smoke from fires and some overcast in summer, I've always managed to get 3-4 days of moonless clear skies when I went to visit (I haven't stayed more than a couple weeks at a time though).  And they're solid bortle 2 skies.  Would I stay there full time?  Most likely never.  But I do plan to spend most summers there.

 

One thing to also keep in mind, if you're so inclined, is the natural beauty of the place.  To me, Washington has always had a "magical" quality to it, especially the western part.  I honestly don't know what it is.  But more than astronomy, just waking up there is awe inspiring, and yes, even on gloomy, rainy days.  It's definitely not for everyone. 

 

Same with Arizona.  For me, it's at the complete opposite of the spectrum in its own natural beauty.  It looks completely lifeless at first glance, but there is so much variety if you look closer.  It's amazing how much life there is.  And same as Washington, I wake up every day greeted by this alien looking land and love it.  And compared with other places I've lived in over the years, these two are the best for me.

 

But you will live in the place you choose, more than the two weeks out of the month you will do astronomy and such.  Think about how you will feel living in that place every day, because you will spend most of your time living, not doing astronomy.  A dark bortle 1 sky may look great at first, but if you don't love the place itself (or the people, that's important too), it will start bugging you.


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#88 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 09:54 PM

If you want to see way different perspectives from what you are used to, come to my area.   Most others here don't see things the way I do.  I just try to keep a low profile.  No attempt at outreach.  Might cause trouble.  Me having telescopes might mean different things to some people.  My dome is a hot tub enclosure to most.  I let them think it.


Yes, I can imagine. Truth be told, the ideal setting for me has some people like me who are, in my mother's memorable phrase, interested in the life of the mind, and also plenty who are not. I kinda like it here in New Lebanon, NY, which is, when all is said and done, in the northern part of Appalachia. There aren't a huge number of intellectuals, but there are enough so that we're well tolerated, and not enough to be feared or resented.

 

With respect to college towns again, someone above referred to health care. Indeed, health care tends to be best in places where doctors like to live; it's hard to entice good doctors into most rural areas. And since one thing all doctors have in common is a vast amount of time spent in the educational system, they do tend to like living in and near college towns.


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#89 vsteblina

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Posted 17 June 2022 - 11:06 PM

 

With respect to college towns again, someone above referred to health care. Indeed, health care tends to be best in places where doctors like to live; it's hard to entice good doctors into most rural areas. And since one thing all doctors have in common is a vast amount of time spent in the educational system, they do tend to like living in and near college towns.

Lots of doctors  like living close to the outdoors and those areas usually have dark skies nearby.

 

I had health issues and went to a specialist in Spokane.  As I was sitting waiting for him to come in, I looked over the diploma's he had put on the wall and they were pretty impressive. 

 

When he walked in I pointed to the wall and asked "why, Spokane".  His answer was just as brief "elk".

 

When he found out that I was a forester and not only knew where elk UNIT 10 was in north Idaho, but had actually BEEN there working, half the medical visit was about elk.

 

Likewise, in Wenatchee the doctors are very well paid and almost every doctor is into the outdoors.  

 

When I broke my ankle working, the surgeon asked me what I did and "how" did I want it fixed.  That is for light duty or more demanding physical duty??  

 

Turned out he was a former smokejumper.  I told him I wanted to jump out of airplanes and then hike 20 miles with a 100 pound pack off trail to get back to a road.

 

He fixed it to that standard.  Never had a problem with the ankle.  

 

I am trying to get my optometrist interested in Astronomy.


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#90 dx_ron

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Posted 18 June 2022 - 10:42 AM

This discussion has been really interesting, and will make a nice resource for lots of CNers.

 

As for myself, it isn't just about myself. Our kids haven't settled down yet - if that happens all bets might be off and we could easily end up staying right here near Cincinnati (hopefully a bit farther from the city lights, at least).

 

If we move away, it still isn't just about me. The Silver City, NM suggestion looks really intriguing to me, but rural NM is unlikely to fit well with the sorts of activities my wife likes. She likes to keep herself quite busy - currently doing various volunteer things on top of her full-time career. I expect we will focus more on the Southeast. There are Bortle 4 transitioning to 3 skies within a 30-minute drive of Athens, GA, as an example of the "near a university / tolerable winters" theme.



#91 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 18 June 2022 - 12:19 PM

Don't count on your 20 something children staying nearby.  Work and their preferences may take them hundreds or thousands of miles away.  If you move nearby to them, they may be transferred. Best to stay near where you have some roots.


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#92 dx_ron

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Posted 18 June 2022 - 12:26 PM

 Best to stay near where you have some roots.

Well, that's one complication of having lived the grad student / postdoc / faculty life. We don't have "roots" here to speak of. We have no family here other than the younger of our two kids (still in college). Our older son is a grad student in Boston and has embarked on his own nomadic academic life journey.



#93 CltFlyboy

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Posted 18 June 2022 - 01:12 PM

Don't count on your 20 something children staying nearby.  Work and their preferences may take them hundreds or thousands of miles away.  If you move nearby to them, they may be transferred. Best to stay near where you have some roots.

This is very true. Two of ours (26 and 21) want to move to the PNW and the other (26) *might* stay here, but he may be bound for other cities.

 

Though that make it somewhat easier when we start talking about moving to Spain close to dark sky sites.



#94 jcj380

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Posted 22 June 2022 - 08:08 AM

Well interestingly enough, there's some talk about my daughter and family relocating to Arizona for my SIL's job.  Since the grandkids are the main thing keeping me here, this could prove to be a good thing if it pans out...



#95 Jeff_Richards

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Posted 22 June 2022 - 05:41 PM

Glad I came across this thread. Right now I live about a mile or so from the Atlantic Ocean in New Hampshire and needless to say it is not well suited to astronomy (low elevation, marine layer, clouds, horrid seeing etc., etc.). Of course the cost of living is also not very attractive. I'm going to be retiring in about 3 years and the wife and I are starting to consider our retirement location. We took a trip out west last summer to just get a feel for a couple of locations. Absolutely loved Flagstaff (actually Fort Valley area)...nice elevation, great skies, obviously astronomy friendly. But pretty expensive, water is an issue, and so are wildfires. We also stopped in at the New Mexico astronomy village which was a bit more remote than my wife preferred.  

 

One area that has peaked my interest is Pueblo West in Colorado. Anyone familiar with that area and can comment? Any other suggestions for locations to check out? Not a fan of heat, don't mind snow. Prefer a lower latitude so Sagittarius isn't hugging the horizon wink.gif.  Dry climate would be preferred with minimal/moderate pollen to help with the wife's allergies.

 

Thanks! 



#96 Kfrank

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:18 PM

 

 

One area that has peaked my interest is Pueblo West in Colorado. Anyone familiar with that area and can comment? Any other suggestions for locations to check out? Not a fan of heat, don't mind snow. Prefer a lower latitude so Sagittarius isn't hugging the horizon wink.gif.  Dry climate would be preferred with minimal/moderate pollen to help with the wife's allergies.

 

Thanks! 

A bit of history:

 

Pueblo West began life as a development by Robert MCullough, the chain saw king.  They platted out a large area including residential and commercial properties, put in roads and began selling lots.  This was back in the '70s.  It really didn’t go anywhere and was largely abandoned by the mid ‘80s.  The City of Pueblo has gone through a rather prolonged rough patch following the closure of its steel mills and I'm not sure what the economic climate is right now.  But, being retired, and if you’re not looking to work, that may not be much of an issue.  
 

Housing in Pueblo is quite  affordable as far as Colorado costs go and although they do experience winter, it’s relatively mild compared to other more northerly locations.  The local culture leans toward the Hispanic.  Pueblo Reservoir, on the Arkansas River, offers opportunities for outdoor recreation.  
 

I haven’t been down there in a number of years but it’s an area I could well imagine living in. 


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#97 warpsl

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 05:15 PM

I just purchased in a bortle 2 zone.would have preferred bortle 1,but the house was a good price compared to elsewhere. It does have 720 meters elevation though,which should help.and I only have a short drive to get into a bortle 1 area.


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