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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Make It Work

It took us several years of research to finally figure out where we wanted to live when we retired. We wanted to be in an area with a lower cost-of-living than Southern California, close to good skiing, fishing, hiking and golf, and a place with a a good hospital and airport. We also wanted to be a reasonable driving distance from our parents. We wanted it to be a safe area with good emergency services, like fire and police.

We visited Durango, Colorado. We loved the proximity to Purgatory ski resort, Mesa Verde National Park and the Silverton Railroad. There's a hospital and an airport and the Animas River in Durango is known for world-class fly fishing. There were a couple of good golf courses. The downside was the very high housing and living costs; although it was only about a 12 hour drive from Orange County. 

We spent quite a bit of time in Laughlin, Nevada/Bullhead City, AZ. We loved spending time on the Colorado River and Lake Mojave boating, jet-skiing and fishing. We had friends who lived in the area. There's a good hospital in Bullhead City and the cost of living and housing isn't too expensive; plus Nevada has no state income tax. There are a couple of good golf courses nearby. We were only about a 4 hour drive from Orange County and only 2 hours from Las Vegas airport. But- the summers are VERY hot and dry and utility costs were very expensive. We would be about 7 hours from Mammoth Mountain to ski. It's almost impossible to golf in the summer. 

We spent a lot of time in Klamath Falls, Oregon. We fell in love with the beautiful lakes and mountains. We dreamed of building a log home someday and Oregon seemed the perfect fit. We had friends who had moved there and hosted us many times. There was a decent airport, a big hospital, lots of great golf courses and we were only about 3 hours from Mt. Bachelor in Bend. The cost of living was great and no sales tax was a good benefit. Camping, fishing, hiking and outdoor activities abound in the area. It was only a 12 hour drive to Orange County and best of all, it snowed all winter! 

We sold everything in Orange County when Kevin retired in 2006 and moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon. We bought a piece of property in a beautiful resort area and planned to build our log home. When we realized that it would take quite a while to build, we decided to buy a home and sell it in a couple of years since the housing market was so strong at the time. Little did we know what would happen with the housing market...and the economy. 

Fast forward about 7 years...we needed a change. The skiing in Bend never materialized because we were so far away. The airport stopped commercial service. The housing market took a huge hit. Lincoln Logs went into bankruptcy and after 6 years, we got a check for $200 and lost the rest of our $10K deposit. We do own some beautiful blueprints, though! Lots of things in our lives changed- but our passion for skiing did not. I retired in August 2013 after 17 years in pastoral ministry. We decided to start looking- again.

We thought about Reno, NV because it was so close to the Lake Tahoe ski resorts. We'd skied there often when we lived in Orange County. It had a big airport, great hospitals and lots of golf courses. There is no income tax in Nevada. We visited many times and found lots of beautiful communities in Reno- but it didn't seem like a good fit. We went a little further south and found that Carson City was just what we wanted. 

Carson City reminds us a lot of the good things we really enjoyed in Klamath Falls- the small-town feel; a little rural and a little cowboy. We especially love the close proximity to fantastic skiing, camping and fishing. We love taking the kayaks out for a spin! Lake Tahoe is such a treasure as an outdoor playground! Most importantly, we researched the infrastructure of the area. Carson City and Douglas County are in great shape. We like the philosophy of living 5% under budget every month that is espoused by the local government. We especially love hopping in the car and getting to the mountain to ski in 35 minutes. And, it's only an 8 hour drive or a short flight to the OC. 

It's been a life-changing move for us.  We took a chance and trusted that it would all work out. Sometimes, it doesn't work out the way you hope it will...and sometimes, it does. We will see if Carson City works out for us. We really like it here and have great hopes for the best. 

One thing we knew- and have experienced a LOT-is that things change. Having a plan in place is good- but make sure you have wide parameters for that plan in the event of a change.  If you can roll with the change, it makes life more of an adventure. My motto has always been, "make it work". No matter how much things change, there is no reason not to more forward...it just won't look exactly as you planned, but you will accomplish your goal. 


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