C40's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
latearlyFI
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by latearlyFI »

Hi C40!

Wow your story is amazing! I couldn't put it down, read your whole thread from 2011 to now. Kudos to you for sticking to such a frugal lifestyle and killing it with your investments. I was surprised that in 2018 or any other time you didn't appear to freak out at all over stock market movements. Did you not follow it closely? Or are you not bothered by it?

Love your charts. I particularly liked the one that has the spending against investment income showing the two numbers moving towards each other.

Looking forward to reading more and thank you for sharing!

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Hello lateralyFI. Thank you for that.

Yeah, I haven't freaked out (so far) about stock prices going down. I mean, what am I going to do about it? Basically nothing. So there's no reason to freak out. Also, I have about $80k in my pension value and some IAU. If stock prices go down a lot more, I'd use that to buy more.

I do get some anxiety lately, as I'm thinking about selling (maybe a lot of) stocks in order to buy a house. House prices are going up, and the stock prices just dropped a bunch, so, that does suck.

2Birds1Stone
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Hey C40, I've been following your journal in real time since I discovered these forums 4+ years ago. Always loved the pictures, creativity, and especially the chart pr0n.

I can't believe I've never posted in here! Viktor K made a comment in my own journal that triggered a re-read of the entire thing from page 1. Thank you for taking the time and effort to detailing your thoughts around quitting and designing your lifestyle. I feel like I'm ~6 months out from where you were at the end of 2015.....and boy is it a scary and exciting place to be!
Last edited by 2Birds1Stone on Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

theanimal
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by theanimal »

I'm envious of your house. That looks like a great set up. I enjoy checking out your IG for updates every once in a while. Looking forward to hearing about this next chapter in your life.

elegant
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by elegant »

These charts are amazing.
Would you be willing to share the formulae / spreadsheets?

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

elegant wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:59 am
These charts are amazing.
Would you be willing to share the formulae / spreadsheets?
Thank you. I did once clean up the file to share it. Back in 2014. I don't feel like doing that again today. Here it is:

Empty:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1i8uT ... sp=sharing

With fake numbers:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1i8uT ... sp=sharing

It's not working for me to download the file from there right now,... so I'm not sure whether it will for others(?).



theanimal wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:48 pm
I'm envious of your house. That looks like a great set up. I enjoy checking out your IG for updates every once in a while. Looking forward to hearing about this next chapter in your life.
Thanks man :-)

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:31 pm
Hey C40, I've been following your journal in real time since I discovered these forums 4+ years ago. Always loved the pictures, creativity, and especially the chart pr0n.

I can't believe I've never posted in here! Viktor K made a comment in my own journal that triggered a re-read of the entire thing from page 1. Thank you for taking the time and effort to detailing your thoughts around quitting and designing your lifestyle. I feel like I'm ~6 months out from where you were at the end of 2015.....and boy is it a scary and exciting place to be!
Thank you. And, yeah, it is a scary and exciting time. Hope it's going well for you.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

———————————————

2018 YEAR END SUMMARY

———————————————


Well I did quite a lot.



MEXICO TO PORTLAND:

Feeling ready for a break from living and traveling in the van, I drove from the southern tip of Baja up to live with my closest friends in Portland. The plan was to hang out at their house during the winter, and then in the summer go out on some trips around the PNW with my van. It was great living with my friends.

Dating and finding lovers was going decently well. While Portland is full of interesting people, I don’t do the greatest there dating. I don’t stand out much. Also, a good portion of the locals are jaded and I don’t dig that. Still, it went well and I stay in touch with a couple women I met there, and share a warm adoration with one.



PROJECT MOM VAN:

My mom split up with her second husband in the spring. I pretty much knew what was coming if/when they split up. She’d buy an empty cargo van and ask for my help converting it into a camper. Right away, she did. I left Portland when the weather was getting close to perfect, and drove down to the human roaster of Oklahoma.

The van project went well. Took longer than I expected, but that’s not a problem. It was nice to live with my mom for a while, and she appreciated it a ton. Dating and friendships went decently well, but I did learn from being here and from a couple trips to Tennessee/North Carolina for family stuff this year that I wouldn’t be so pumped about living in the South.

Image

Image

Image


If you missed it before, there are more pictures and info on page 47 of this journal.





LIVING IN TUCSON:

After finishing the van, I was going to head to California to putz around Santa Barbara and San Diego for the winter, but was hoping I’d like one of the cities along the way enough to stop to live there. I liked Tucson, and I stopped here.

Real estate is pretty cheap. Weather is great. It’s warm enough throughout the winter to do things outside. Summer will be very hot, but hot doesn’t stop me from doing much. There’s tons of interesting desert and mountain stuff right on the edges of town. And there are a fair amount of interesting people.

I rented a little 250 square foot house (with its own yard) for $575/month all inclusive. I like the house. There are pictures of it on page 48 of this journal. I’ve built a bed frame and a big shelf for the wall near the door.




MOTORCYCLE

I bought a motorcycle for riding around the city and for adventures out in the desert and mountains. It’s a little Dual Sport / Farm Bike. A Yamaha TW-200. Here it is:

Image

Image

Image

It’s a 2009 model. It had only 1,100 miles when I bought it. It’s obviously sat a lot. It ran well though. The only issue, which I didn’t discover until after i’d bought it and went on a longer ride, is that the voltage rectifier/regulator always stopped working once it warmed up. So the battery would go dead. I did the troubleshooting to sort that out, replaced it, and it’s been good. I’ve done some work since it is old/sitting. Changed the oil, the fork oil (actually only adjusted the level because it looked good), and the front tire. I’ll change out the rear tire, the chain at some point, and maybe put in a different sized sprocket for lower RPM at speed (the bike is geared extremely low). I also put a rear rack on it and I attach a milk crate to that for carrying things. I’ve been riding it a lot, and enjoying it, and the bike has 2,100 miles now.

I use it for nearly all my in-city transportation, and numerous trips out of town - one to Phoenix and a bunch to just go ride around and explore. I’m loving this as a means of transportation and trying to drive my van almost never.



EXPLORING AND PLANTS
I’ve been going out hiking here and there. I put some plants in my yard, which was empty when I moved in. Mostly it’s a bunch of aloe plants that I got for free from a lady in town that didn’t wan them anymore, and a few cuttings of cacti from out in the desert and the adjoining yards.

I got some books on the Sonoran desert and on foraging plants for food and medicinal uses, so I’m looking forward to trying that out (for food)… “some day” I think I’d like using some foraged plants to make fancy soap, creams, deoderant, and so-on to sell to spendy people. But that’s a “some day” thing.


DATING AND FRIENDS
This is going quite well. My stock is high now and I have no shortage of women to date and sleep with. They of course aren’t all my type so I do some paring and choosing. I also have some budding friendships going.



———————————————
The post FIRE challenge:
fulfillment

———————————————

I think I have made things slightly hard for myself with my post-FIRE lifestyles, and I’ve found myself at times regretting my choices/timing. I built the van out, sold my house in St Louis, and went off traveling before I quit my job. That has been a lot of fun.

Now that I’ve stopped doing it, looking back, it also does not seem like a
‘normal’ phase of life for me. And also, now that I’ve been deciding where I want to live for the long-term, and how I want it to be, I’ve came to think that I had things going pretty damn well in St. Louis, and in many ways it is/was a good city for me. So I found myself wishing I’d just stayed there for a while after quitting. Or wishing that I’d continued working longer, which would simplify the process/decision of buying a house.

Anyways.. as I’ve been settling in here in Tucson, things have been going well. I’ve been settling in nicely, making friends, have been getting as many lovers as I could want/handle, and so on… I’ve also felt in some amounts lazy, unmotivated, and unfulfilled. When I saw this in M741’s journal, I thought I could have written it almost word for word myself:

m741 wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:56 pm
With all this stuff going on, I've actually been very lazy. I'm a bit lethargic and unmotived many days though I sometimes power through. I asked in another thread about personal mission, something that becomes a noticeable void when you stop working. My fundamental problem is one of meaninglessness - I'm not driven to complete any particular project, and as a result my days don't feel urgent and I don't really want to do a whole lot. I'm still thinking about how to deal with this.


———————————————
I think I know
what to do

———————————————


I feel that the more time/energy I spend on thinking directly about happiness, fulfillment, self-actualization, the more I end up finding gaps and feeling bad about them. I think it’s better if I set up good web(s) of goals every now and then, and just allow/trick myself to get focused on and lost in:
  • Making and being around long-term close friends and lover(s)
  • Working on hobbies, goals, systems
  • Earning some more money to pay for a house and/or just feel more secure
  • Having a well-established home that I enjoy
I’ve been getting on with this stuff, and have been feeling better. I do still need to reset/clarify my personal goals though.



———————————————
Location choices…
… again… ?

———————————————

Now… in terms of getting on with those: as for location, I’m happy so far with Tucson. It has its strengths and drawbacks and overall I like it. Ideally, for here, I would own a really small and cheap home, and would leave some/most summers or for as much as half the year to go travel. I’d often going up to the PNW and spend a good deal of that time away living with my close friends.


Another option I’ve started considering is go to back up and live with my friends in Portland full time. These are the friends I lived with for a few months at the start of 2018. I was going to stay longer, but left (much) earlier than planned to go help my mom. So I didn’t live out that phase up there to its end/conclusion. Nearly every time I talk with one of the two friends, she asks/demands me to go back up to live with them. And lately I’ve started thinking about doing it.

I like living in that area about the same as Tucson. The weather is quite grey and cloudy in winter, but there are still sunny days and with my flexibility, I can go outside on those days and soak it up. The thing that eliminates Portland for me long-term is real estate cost. But… my friends would probably be happy to have me live there not paying rent, maybe indefinitely, just helping them with home projects, caring for their dog, and being good company for them.

So… now I’ve created a decision for myself between staying in Tucson and settling in long-term vs going up to Portland.


Thoughts on staying in Tucson:
(+) I like the weather and land
(+) Enough people for friends and lovers
(+) Real Estate is relatively cheap (for now)
(+) Feels like a good long-term option - like I could stay here indefinitely
(+) Close to family (Brother and Mom are in Phoenix now)

(-) Long-term water shortage issues and climate change (will get warmer)
(-) Fairly high rates of poverty and property crime


Thoughts on going up to Portland:
(+) Would live with my closest friends. We have TONS of fun together
(+) Likely zero housing spending
(+) Tons of interesting people to make friends/lovers with.
(+) Heavenly weather in summers. Winters would be bearable/ok for me since it doesn’t get that cold.

(-) Wouldn’t be a permanent arrangement. When I leave there I might feel as I did when I stopped van traveling - that I spent the last years just messing around. Could offset this by focusing on earning money or establishing/building income sources.
(-) Living with the friends has it’s stresses. Main one is related to one of them being in a pretty big rut in some ways, which is out of my control.

suomalainen
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by suomalainen »

+1 to @bigato
C40 wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:37 pm
I feel that the more time/energy I spend on thinking directly about happiness, fulfillment, self-actualization, the more I end up finding gaps and feeling bad about them. I think it’s better if I set up good web(s) of goals every now and then, and just allow/trick myself to get focused on and lost in:
Rumination is bad. Nothing good comes of it. If "allow/trick" isn't framed in a manner that helps you feel good about your list, think of it more along the lines of "sucking the marrow out of life by being fully present in the moment rather than being stuck remembering the past and/or planning the future."

edit: in other words, it's not a trick. Getting lost in what you're doing is the solution.

Re: Tucson/Portland, why not snowbird it? Tucson in the winter and Portland in the summer with flexibility around the shoulder seasons? At least until you find yourself wanting more permanent roots. You'll have more experiences in both places to help you make a decision.

theanimal
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by theanimal »

+1 suo

Somewhere I hear the ghost of Dragline saying, "Do both." :)

m741
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by m741 »

It's interesting reading what's going on with your life, which feels a lot more adventurous than mine :)!

If you don't mind my asking, why weren't you interested in living in the South? I feel like I've been dismissive of living there mostly based on political leanings, while there are some strong selling points (low cost of living, some beautiful land in Kentucky/Tennessee) - and I'm curious if you had a different perspective.

Clarice
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Clarice »

"being around long-term ... lover(s)"
If you don't mind answering, what is your definition of "long term"?

classical_Liberal
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Sure you could've stayed in St Louis, but the whole time you'd have been dreaming about living in a van. If you had saved 2 million, you could afford a condo in Tuscon, Portland, and still be at a 1% WR rate. Then you'd think, "Wow, I have everything I could possibly want, and somethings still missing". At least in your current situation, you have to make some decisions, commit to them, and work towards your goals (even if it ends up "both", which I second as a great idea). In the end, working towards and achieving those goals is what will provide you the satisfaction you seek.

IMO, you are in a perfect situation, FI but not filthy rich, you still have skin in the game of life and have to put forth effort to keep making things better. Good luck!

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Clarice wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:04 pm
"being around long-term ... lover(s)"
If you don't mind answering, what is your definition of "long term"?
Umm… I don’t really have a short definition. Mainly a relationship that lasts a significant length, where we get to feeling ‘settled-in’, know each other very well, establish a lot of trust, etc. I don’t mean a relationship that lasts forever (because I think that unlikely), but one that could or does last (many) years. For a person traveling, one way to measure is how we feel about that woman when I go back to a place. If seeing her is like ‘coming home’, or if it’s a feeling of joy and comfort to see them again, it’s probably more in the long-term realm, where if it’s more like getting to know one-another again, it’s not. (I realize that example is also touching a different scale - something like ‘depth).

m741 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:49 am
If you don't mind my asking, why weren't you interested in living in the South? I feel like I've been dismissive of living there mostly based on political leanings, while there are some strong selling points (low cost of living, some beautiful land in Kentucky/Tennessee) - and I'm curious if you had a different perspective.
I’ll list some reasons below, being quite blunt. To some they will seem judgmental, dismissive, un-nuanced, etc. I’m sure there is more nuance and good things about the south than I was there long enough to understand

- The summers are both hot and humid. I’m cool with hot. I’m cool with humid. Both at once can be tough. I spent last summer in Oklahoma. It actually wasn’t all that bad and I wouldn’t mind living in that climate. I think it is worse further south.
- Lower average and mean intelligence (or education level and quality)
- Higher obesity rates and lower fitness
- (MUCH) higher rates of serious Christian faith
- Higher birth rates (not sure about this… higher than some areas at least)
- Way more gender discrimination, misogyny, patriarchal norms (for example, my brother and his wife lived in NC. They’d hired people to build a fence on their property. The wife gave them instructions on where to build it. The worker looked at her blankly and asked “is your husband here?”. They needed to hear the instructions from the man of the house)
- The western half of the US has way more public land with really beautiful and fun landscape, mountains/rocks/canyons, plants, etc. Also, the public lands in the south are so full of trees that I like them less. I prefer more wide-open places where you can see off in the distance.
- Ticks. LOTS of ticks. Some with lyme’s disease, thought not as much as the northeast. I’d rather not get that, and I guess I prefer my dangerous animals more like rattle snakes, which give you a warning so you can usually avoid them easily.
- Some southern cities have high racial tension (ex: St Louis, Memphis, and probably many more)
- Pretty high amounts of racism. (though other areas are high too, like rural PNW, cities like Boston (form what I read), etc.)

Here’s one example of how those come together: when I first got to Oklahoma City and was using Tinder and Bumble, I met a handful of polyamorous, bisexual, very liberal women and though ‘wow, I did not expect this’. After a couple months, I was mostly meeting conservative christian divorced single mothers (and often feeling like they are basically all the same, which is a little boring for me). I realized that probably why I met those more liberal ones at the start was that there are so few of them in OKC, so when somebody new pops up on Bumble that is not the same ol’ conservative, christian, divorced single father, they jump on it.

Another example: I spend a little bit of time in Texas. Rural Texas has both some of the southern happy-go-lucky charm, and also a big time ‘sovereign individual’ vibe. I like those. When I’d meet a stranger, they were usually really nice, and I’d be thinking “wow, people are easy to make friends with here”, and then they hand me a business card for some Christian thing or invite me to their church and I think “oh… that’s why he was being friendly”


I haven’t totally written off the south. I could still end up there. I feel like it’s a place I might like when I’m older - in large part because I have a probably very inaccurate expectation that I’ll be less social then and won’t care as much about what the people are like where I live. For now, my feeling is that I’d rather live somewhere that I like a bit more and be willing to pay like $30-50k more for a house. (though certainly not $300k more for a house in Portland, Seattle, Denver, or CA)



Augustus wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:10 pm
Nice van build! What do you think of promasters vs ford transits?
I've only been inside one a Transit for a couple minutes. I don't have an opinion on this.

suomalainen wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:45 pm
Re: Tucson/Portland, why not snowbird it? Tucson in the winter and Portland in the summer with flexibility around the shoulder seasons? At least until you find yourself wanting more permanent roots. You'll have more experiences in both places to help you make a decision.
theanimal wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:08 pm
Somewhere I hear the ghost of Dragline saying, "Do both." :)
Yeah, I might do something like that. The possibilities I’m thinking of are to either have a main home base with my friends in Portland, and go south during winter. Or have a home base in the south, and go north during summer.

For now, I’m going back up to Portland to live with my friends, because fuck it, it sounds like fun. Also, if I’m going to live with them for a straight period of time (the Portland home base thing), I figure I should do that one now while I don’t have any housing situation set up somewhere else that would have ongoing expenses or complexity.

m741
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by m741 »

Thanks for the detailed response. I wasn't planning on moving to the South, but your impressions are in line with my observations from afar. I was curious if I was missing something or would feel different if I lived there but we seem to have a similar mindset and I imagine I'd feel similar to you.

Salathor
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by Salathor »

C40 wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:54 am
Another example: I spend a little bit of time in Texas. Rural Texas has both some of the southern happy-go-lucky charm, and also a big time ‘sovereign individual’ vibe. I like those. When I’d meet a stranger, they were usually really nice, and I’d be thinking “wow, people are easy to make friends with here”, and then they hand me a business card for some Christian thing or invite me to their church and I think “oh… that’s why he was being friendly”
In their defense, that probably IS them being friendly. If you met someone and asked them to join your social group (bike club, hiking group, craft beer fan club), wouldn't you being doing it because you were interested in spending more time with them?

Now, that said, I haven't spent any significant time in the south, so I've got no dog in this fight and I'm obviously missing the vast majority of the social signals exchanged.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Salathor wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:10 pm
In their defense, that probably IS them being friendly. If you met someone and asked them to join your social group (bike club, hiking group, craft beer fan club), wouldn't you being doing it because you were interested in spending more time with them?

Now, that said, I haven't spent any significant time in the south, so I've got no dog in this fight and I'm obviously missing the vast majority of the social signals exchanged.
Well, you're right, they could have really been engaging with me for entirely friendly motivations, and evangelical efforts don't mean they weren't friendly. As for the evangelism part itself, in most cases it is done for other reasons, not as an attempt to spend more time with someone.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

Well, I have the wheels in motion for a next phase of life:
- Going up to Portland and living with my friends
- On the way, going fairly slow through Arizona and Utah to do a bunch of camping, motorcycle riding, etc.

When I got my lease, I paid it in full through April. After I told him I'd be leaving at the end of April, I told him that if he finds someone who wants to rent the place earlier (as soon as April 1), I could be out by then, and would be happy if he refunded me half the rent of after the new lease starts. He did find someone to rent it starting April 1 (and he also told me he'd refund the full rent amount, so that would be cool).

So, I have just two weeks to get my shit together. My main challenge is sorting out my motorcycle and gear to be ready to do a lot of riding - most of it on dirt roads and trails. The timing is odd because I'm making decisions and buying things in a hurry without the experience or full knowledge of what works well, what I want, etc. So, on some things I'm just going ahead and buying them.

As for the route up, I was considering these:
Image

I'd never been along the eastern sierra side in CA, so I was thinking about that. But.. the gas prices there are way higher, and I already know that I love Utah. So, I'll be taking something like the more eastern route on the map. Probably with a lot of meandering through AZ and UT.

I will also have a challenge of trying to relax, camp, etc. in/out of my van with a lot more stuff in it than normal. I have more stuff that I picked up from storage at my sister's place, plus some furniture that I'd like to keep. (IKEA stuff that packs pretty flat). So,.. I'll have to figure that one out.

I'm pretty excited about the possible adventures on the trip up, and about stuff I want to do up in Portland. Also, I had been feeling a lot better lately (before this Portland planning) compared to what I described some posts ago. I basically just got on with having fun and it was working. I'll write more about this after I hit the road, or once I get all my preparation work done.

My seasonal timing is turning out wonderfully. In a twelve month period, I will have three summers worth of pleasant summer-type weather (The fall in Tucson, this spring in Tucson/AZ/UT, and summer in Portland)

MidsizeLebowski
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by MidsizeLebowski »

C40 what was your experience like/thoughts on the year in Tucson? We seem to have similar interests/leanings in taste when it comes to peers/dating and Tucson has been floated as an idea for future home base. Likely arranging an AZ/southwest tour to scout out locations this year. Read through your journal front-back over the past couple weeks, congrats on everything you accomplished and much appreciated for detailing it so thoroughly!

m741
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by m741 »

Three underrated sights on your path in Northern CA are Lassen Volcanic NP, which is pretty and undertrafficked, and Lava Bed NM, which is deserted, in the middle of nowhere, and allows you to pick up some free/cheap gear and wander around in beginner-friendly caves on your own (ie, without installed lighting). That's also close to a barely-known national historic site, Tule Lake, a Japanese internment camp, which you can tour. You show up at an office and they drive you around in a cargo van for a guided tour (free). It's totally off the radar.

I'd highly recommend all three and you are going right past them.

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C40
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Re: C40's Journal

Post by C40 »

MidsizeLebowski wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:41 pm
C40 what was your experience like/thoughts on the year in Tucson? We seem to have similar interests/leanings in taste when it comes to peers/dating and Tucson has been floated as an idea for future home base. Likely arranging an AZ/southwest tour to scout out locations this year. Read through your journal front-back over the past couple weeks, congrats on everything you accomplished and much appreciated for detailing it so thoroughly!
I like Tucson a lot.

The weather seems good:
- Fall is great
- Winter is colder than I like but warmer than almost anywhere in the US.
- Spring is great
- Summer is hot, but I think it would be bearable.

The scenery is great. There are big mountains right around the city, so you have really nice views form in town. There is cool desert and mountain stuff to go explore. Plus more of a highland or scrub area to the east. Tucson is in the Sonoran desert, but sort of near it's edge. And 30 miles from the city you can be up at 10,000 feet or so in a coniferous/alpine forest.

Jobs seem to be shit here, so there aren't a lot of people around my age with a lot of money. Quite a lot of college students near in the middle of the city. There's a big air force base that has planes flying around all the time. A good number of people are employed at the Air force base, at military industrial companies like Ratheon, and for the border patrol. Still, (the rest of) Tucson is a fairly liberal and environmentally conscious city. Significantly more than Phoenix at least. But it's not like bleeding heart 'we're going to yell at people and have hissie fits all the time' liberal. People seem to mind their own business and nobody fucks with you. As far as big cities, it's kind of one where you can do whatever you want. You want to keep 5 RVs in your back yard? Who's gonna stop you? (In much of the city, no one). The dating here is decent but the pool is quite small for the city size.

Houses are pretty cheap, I think because there aren't many jobs. If some big employers came here, I think house prices could double.

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