Thinking of Colorado

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by growingpcs, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. growingpcs

    growingpcs New Member

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    I noticed that there are a few of us here that reside in Colorado. My family is at a point that we are ready to move and want to be closer to Southern CA, my wife's family lives there. We have decided that CA is too expensive and not to our liking but still want to be with in a days drive. Looking in the general area my consideration is to the Nevada, Utah, Colorado areas with a interest in Colorado. Currently we are residing in central PA so I would like a area with similar climate, ie..change of seasons, trees and stuff like that. Other than having driven through the state five years ago when we moved from CA to PA I really dont have any personal first hand experiences. I like what I see in the pictures in rockymtnprop.com. My concern is work and where to locate. I work in the IT field as a systems administrator so finding work isnt to hard in metro areas, I hope, but usually the other side to the coin is reasonable housing is sometimes hard to find.
    So to those of you that live there, where are the areas that I may be interested in? I would ideally like to be located within a hour of my future homestead spread and not be burdened with a mountain of permits and paper work to build a house and what not.
    We currently have plans to drive around the southwest for a month or so and check out different areas to see if we like the area and do some job scouting.

    Lookin to relocate
     
  2. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Lived in Colorado for awhile hated it!! Where I was had two seasons Brown and White.Another thing getting Water Rights.Plus I would say the price of property will be pretty high,and Jobs far and few between unless you are close to a big city.

    big rockpile
     

  3. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    Well, personally, I really disliked Colorado myself. First of all, there are a lot of "upscale" type folks moving there from California because the property values are lower, comparitively speaking, and to get away from the illegal immigration issue. While all people from California, of course, don't have the "upscale" mentality, the ones that do are a real pain.

    Secondly, I didn't care for the climate. It's super, ultra dry there and I never did get used to it - or I should say my NOSE never got used to it. I can't tell you how many bloody sheets and pillowcases I had to throw away because of night time nose bleeds. And NO buying a humidifier didn't help because when you are away from the humidifier during the day, etc., your nose dries out quite badly.

    Finally, I didn't care for the scenery. I find mountains boring. If you go outside (hiking, or something like that), you get dirty because everything is dirt. Mountains always look just exactly the same. Seen one - you've seen them all.

    Oh, and the cost of living is higher there. Property is higher there.

    I guess I am just a Missouri girl. Colorado left me cold and I was very, very , very happy to leave.

    donsgal
    YMMV
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    growingpcs

    I suggest you search for the job first. Colorado Springs is relatively high tech and you may find good opportunity there. It's also close to mountains and more reasonably priced property. Your profession may give you opportunity in many cities, even small. Hospitals, city governments, and all types of businesses are in need of your skills.

    It is not dry everywhere in the state. The eastern slope is drier because most moisture moves from west to east and falls before it crosses the divide. My wife came from Cleveland and she loved the drier weather, so it is a matter of personal preference.

    Not all land is very expensive. My area is a bit remote, and I paid $2000 an acre. An acre lot around Denver would run $50K.

    Water is an issue, but you don't really need water rights. I don't have them, but I have a well that I can use as much as I want. Here, water rights typically means surface water. Property with a stream often has water rights. Technically, no water rights would prevent you from capturing run-off, but it is mostly an uninforced law in rural areas. They did bust a guy in Denver for capturing water from his downspouts.

    Good luck, and don't let those who don't like it here persuade you. Make your own decision. I love it.
     
  5. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I LOVE Colorado, and LOVE the dry climate (there are ways to protect sensitive noses.) That said, Colorado is not Pennsylvania, and I mean nothing like. You cannot come here and find a place just like dear old Pennsy, and you cannot live like Pennsy. Water is scarce and getting scarcer. There are restrictions on how much land is required to drill a well, and what the water can be used for. IF you are prepared to xeriscape, conserve water, and be very very fire prepared it can be wonderful. IF you want to come and grow everything you did in Pa, don't come. Please. The state cannot absorb anymore like that.

    From what you say you do and want to accomplish, if you can stand dry climate, you might do better to consider Albuquerque NM. Lots of earthships and homesteads out by Edgewood for your homestead and yet lots of tech jobs.

    PM me if you have questions re specific towns in Co.
     
  6. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it something how people will react differently to an area?
    Oh my gosh, I think Colorado is simply stunning...
    And mountains being boring??? What?

    I can't believe anyone would feel that way - oh my goodness, the first time I saw the Rocky Mountains was a SPIRITUAL experience, I tell you! I've never SEEN anything so gorgeous and sublime....I'm just very, very grateful that I got to cross the Rockies.
    I LOVE the mountains. The air is crisp, clean, and the scenery will take your breath away (no pun intended.)

    As far as the western slope of the Rockies, Grand Junction is a nice, quiet little town.
    It has a nice vibe about it.

    And let's not forget that Mike the Headless Chicken was a native of FRUITA, COLORADO! (right next door to GJ)
    [​IMG]
    http://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/story.html
     
  7. DenverGirlie

    DenverGirlie Well-Known Member

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    Former Illinois girl here and love Colorado! I can't imagine not loving the mountains. Even just looking from the city to the west can raise my spirits anyday.

    We live in Denver, smack dab in the middle. It's definately city here, but can get to the country with a 30 minute drive.

    Yes it's dry, I've gotten used to it in the 5 years I've been here. A few times a year I really need lotion, but most of the time I'm okay without it. We do have a humidifier, I run it during the day in the bedroom, and the rest of the time I'm alright. Winter is worse than summer IMO.

    One thing I do miss about the midwest is humidity. No I don't miss the muggy wetness that one gets walking to the mail box on a summer day with 90% humudiyt. But I do miss what the hummidy does. Things are not as "lush" and green here. But then again Denver is techically the high desert. I miss the crickets and their song when sitting on the back porch on summer nights, buit son't miss the swarm of bugs... it's a total catch 22!

    Denver is city, have seven major sports teams, the big four plus, soccer, lacrosse and arena football. Concerts and such do come through town, big names, etc. Museum, GREAT libaray system and wonderful parks and recreation.

    Being all of that, it's still city, with city issues. Denver public schools leave much to be desired, but I'm not terrribly knowledgeable about that as we don't have kids (yet).
    Denver had a tech boom in the late 90's between Denver and Boulder and it went bust, so lots of out of work IT folks, but I understanding that it's rebounding a bit these days.

    Colorado Springs - Lots of Military and lots of Christians. Smaller feel to the town but it seems awfully spread out to me and rather dumpy overall. Much closer to the front range than Denver, so winter can be a bit harsher.

    Ft. Collins - I honestly have only driven through it so I can no speak knowledgeably. I know Budweiser has a plant there so sometimes when I rive by it smells a bit yeasty.

    Pueblo - Ugh. I would pass personally.

    grand junction - Nice, smaller town but nothing within a several hour drive. 3 hours to Moab, UT, it's beautiful but once past Moab there is nothing for many hours. Grand J has a lot of wine compnaies, it's charming to drive and see all the vines growing.

    Mounatain towns - stay away from the "trendy" places, Vial, Aspen, etc. Real Estate is very pricey and it's bit snootty IMO.

    I do love the back country thou. Personally we are looking for land in the middle of that state, Fairplay, Park County, etc. However, then there are not many jobs in those areas.


    We will be stuack in the Denver metro for at least 5 more years, but are already looking at getting out ever 45 minutes from Denver and commuting in.
     
  8. Jessikate

    Jessikate Well-Known Member

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    A Colorado Native here.... born and raised on the Western Slope in heart of the Rockies. I am going to tell you the honest truth here.

    This state is as varried as the population! You have the lush mountain valleys, the windblown and overpopulated plains, the desert tundra, glacers and areas that remind you of tropical forests. It is very dry here - as in humidity - and as in rainfall/snowfall. The average accumilated precipitation, I beleive, is less than 18 inches of actual water.

    There are truly four seasons here, Winter being one of the longest, then mud/wind season, summer and fall. You have to watch carefully for fall as it has a tendency to only last for about a month. It is not unusual for the first snowfall to occour shortly before or on Halloween. The temperatures can range from 118 degrees in the summer to -50 in the winter so be prepared in the clothing department. The weather can change drasticly in a matter of minutes here as well.

    The job market fluctuates - right now IT jobs are big everywhere, from the tinyest town to cities like Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. Most communitys will have a "Penny Pincher" newspaper online that you can take a look at to see about employment and housing, here is a link to a listing of many Colorado news papers, but not all: Colorado Newspaper Listing

    The distribution of weatlth in pretty inequitable - Colorado is host to one of the poorest and one of the richest counties in the nation. It is not unusual to see neighborhoods built solely of second/vacation/trophy homes that drive property values up above what regular working folks can afford. There are quite a few "bedroom" communities that supply the housing for the workforce of the more affluent communities.

    Colorado is a pretty athletic state, offering world class skiing and snowboarding (of course) as well as mountain biking, hiking, camping, cliff diving, sailing, fishing, off roading and a huge number of other recreational activities. Residents of this state take recreation very seriously and it is a constantly booming industry. WARNING - as you travel through on your investigative vacation, please take it easy, many people overdo it and get what is called Altitude Sickness, it is very unpleasant. There is also a higher risk of stroke and heart attack if you come from a lower elevation and do not allow time to become accoustomed to the altitude. Drink plenty of water and rest frequently if you are participating in heavy activity. It usualy will take two to three weeks to become fully acclamated.

    Water is a huge issue here and very closely administered. One of my many jobs is working with a Water Conservancy District handling water rights. There are several forms of surface water rights (ponds, creeks, ditches) and several forms of wells (Domestic indoor use, indoor/outdoor use, commercial). If you buy a property that has a well and/or water rights, make sure you know what your well permit or water right decree entitle you to. The person above me was incorrect in saying that they can take as much water as they want from their well, all well permits will have an "annual ammount" that can be withdrawn, and most permits require a meter be installed and annual recordings be made available to the state if they should ask. Many people ignore this stipulation on their well permit, and as Colorado's water policys become more heavily enforced, they run the risk of having their well "curtailed". Though many counties on the eastern slope are not administering wells as they should, they soon will be, as population grows and water becomes more and more scarce. Wells tap into underground aquafirs that do fluctuate in quantity and qualtiy of water so make sure you get the dirt on that before purchasing a home. Not knowing your water rights is a very dangerous thing in this state.

    Growing seasons are pretty short here in general, though it is slightly longer in the warmer parts of the state like Grand Junction and the surrounding communities. Stick with plants and veggies that like arid weather and sandy dirt unless you have a whole lot of time to dedicate to soil reparation and figuring out a responsible way to water.

    The people here are great and as crazy as the climate. A majority of the residents of Colorado are well educated and there are many excellent colleges all over the state. The art community is very strong, and supportive of new and innovative things. I would say in general that the population is quite liberal. The state is taking some libertys with the rights of the people recently with a proposed smoking ban in public places and buildings (this includes bars but excludes casinos). This ban has stirred a lot of controversy though and many people are against it simply because they feel it infringes upon basic rights.

    I think that covers a lot of information for you - I have tried to present it in an unbiased way - but I am partial. If you have any more questions, please let me know, or when you come-a-visitin, let me know and I would love to play tour guide - this country is full of some mighty amazing history!
     
  9. Marilyn in CO

    Marilyn in CO Well-Known Member

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    LOL, LOL mountains are boring, you have got to be kidding. I have lived in eastern CO all my life and those mountains are so magnificent, when we need to be inspired we just head for the hills. I've been to Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee and they are nice but lacking in majestic.LOL Yep, it is dry but I personally have never noticed on skin or nose.LOL There shouldn't be much of an issue for water for a little homestead. Just buy one with a water well already there. Western slope of CO is nice it has a milder climate than eastern. I think northern AZ is nice as well as Albuqurque, NM. The climates in the Rocky mountain west are nothing like back east to be sure.

    Hey, I've got an 80 acre farm with domestic well and water rights with a ranch style home and machine shed for $360K and it's an easy 4 lane 1 hour drive to Denver.
     
  10. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I grew up on the Mississippi (dislike humidity), packed a bag at 18 and have been in Colorado many years. We're flat landers here in Colo...not far from Marilyn. I see Longs Peak to the west. Tis a wonderful life...even when I think the dust bowl has returned!
     
  11. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jessikate said:
    I went to the county seat and got the details on my well. It has an agriculture stamp and I can use it as much as I want. I'm lucky, not many have the stamp, and no new wells get them. The Arkansas River valley has been over tapped and Kansas sued CO for depleting their share. As a result, new wells are getting meters. I know things can change, but the county told me I don't have to worry.
     
  12. Billie in MO

    Billie in MO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm a Missouri native who lives in Colorado and wouldn't live any where else. Everyone has their likes and dislikes based on their own experiences. I blame my grandparents for my love affair of CO!! They first brought me here when I was 3 years old. That same year they built a cabin in a small place called Green Mt. Falls and I spent many summers there. I was devasted when they sold it. Every once in awhile I go thru there and stop to see the cabin and recall all the wonderful memories.

    Being retired military I have lived and traveled all over the U.S. and Europe. The only other mt. range to take my breath away was the Swiss Alps. Mts. boring...... not to this old girl!! "donsgal", Forgive me for laughing when I read about going hiking and getting dirty because everything is dirt!! I thought everyone has dirt and gets dirty!

    I won't repeat what the others have said because it is good info. Research and ask lots of questions. On another forum I was on a lady was asking about the area I'm in. I answered her questions from my perspective as a local. Based on 'one' thing I think she chose somewhere else. The reason: she planned to work at the hospital here but was going to live outside the valley. About a 40 minute drive BUT you have to drive thru a canyon to get here and it is narrow and winding with the mt. on one side and the river on the other. That canyon has lots of wrecks and rockslides that shut it down for hours at a time. Sometimes you can go for months with no problems and other times it will be shut down 3,4, 5 times a week. That kind of observation probably would not be listed on a website or by a real estate agent.
     
  13. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Well I lived in Salida.The mountains always just seemed to have me boxed in all the time,thats why I think I just don't care for them.

    Plus where I was the only Jobs were part time.But you could work on the river in the Summer and Ski area in the Winter.Which in some ways that was nice.Me I worked for myself.

    My Grandparents on my Moms side were from there.My Grandfather would walk from Rifle to Stemboat Springs to visit my Grandmother.My Mom was raised there.So I should have some sence of roots there.

    Plus my wife was raised there.

    My Grandpa and Grandma to the left.Grandpa watch out for that Wild Woman :D
    [​IMG]

    big rockpile
     
  14. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I personally don't like Denver for one reason: breed bans. They should've made a stricter dangerous dog laws instead of banning bully dog breeds. You can actually get your dog repossessed if you are even JUST visiting the city! The most uninformed council woman who proposed the breed ban lives in Denver.....water is gonna be a severe issue in the future.

    My brother had a beautiful cabin built in Lake City, CO and when the builder didn't complete the building in time, my brother took him to court and won. The builder was ordered to give back the money he took from my brother and to speed up the building and give him the title fast which he did. My brother was lucky he got the house for free.
     
  15. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Colorado is magnificent. Life is wonderful here. Every day I thank Heavenly Father that we live here! Pack up the bags and come on over! Some of the greatest people on earth live in Colorado!! :hobbyhors

    My husband works in IT. Downside is outsourcing of the computer industry however there are still jobs available, you just have more competition than a few years ago.

    Only downside about CO is how dry the climate is. The plains really are high desert (they call it prairie here -- sure seems like a variation of CA high desert to me!) You really notice it in the winter time -- your wife will especially. But one look at those mountains and you'll shrug and ask, " what were you saying about low humidity?" :) And although I live in northern CO, I have to say I think Colorado Springs has the best of all worlds. As they say in southern California - "it's to-die-for gorgeous." Just face west and smile. :angel:

    Good luck in your search.
    BW
     
  16. Jessikate

    Jessikate Well-Known Member

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    You are getting some great info here!!!

    "I went to the county seat and got the details on my well. It has an agriculture stamp and I can use it as much as I want. I'm lucky, not many have the stamp, and no new wells get them. The Arkansas River valley has been over tapped and Kansas sued CO for depleting their share. As a result, new wells are getting meters. I know things can change, but the county told me I don't have to worry."

    GOBUG - OK! Sounds correct - I rarely get to deal with exempt agriculture tags (and therefore totaly forgot about their existence!)- you are very lucky. The real point is, if you are buying, check out your water rights - they are tricky and often poorly worded!

    BIG ROCKPILE & TEDH71 - WOW!! I grew up in Steamboat Springs and am currently located in Gunnison. I'm very familiar with Salida (which is starting to grow!) and lived in Lake City for a couple of summer seasons. You both have seen some beautifull country.

    growingpcs - My offer stands if you want a tour guide for the western slope - it is breathtaking!
     
  17. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    I totally agree with you Big Rockpile. I felt positively claustrophobic. I guess that's why if I *had* to live in Colorado it would be on the far eastern part, towards Kansas. Like the song says.... there you can "see for miles and miles" LOL

    Donsgal
     
  18. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

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    My sister has lived there for about 25 years. I guess she likes it, she never complains.
     
  19. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Due to my fiancee having family in Denver, I'm starting to reconsider Denver. I will be attending school to specialize in both construction (carpentry) and pipefitting. Was wondering if Denver has jobs in both categories? I checked the newspaper online and there were lots of carpentry jobs compared to pipefitting.....any advice or suggestions would be appreciated!
     
  20. Rocky Fields

    Rocky Fields Failure is not an option.

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    Hey.

    You might want to consider Oregon, even tho it wasn't on your list.

    RF