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TJ's in Paradise - Where should a retired Jeeper in NorCal move to enjoy the golden years of his Jeep passion

Mr. Bills

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One of the realities of approaching one's 70's is that there is less time ahead than behind. Another is that there will come a day when one graduates from gonzo rockcrawler to gentleman jeeper and spends more time exploring unseen territory or returning to favorite places than conquering obstacles for sport.

I'm not there yet, but that day is on the horizon.

I can stay where I am in California's North State or I can move. One motivation for seeking another state of residence is the current political climate in California and the very real potential for substantial increases in state taxes to pay for Governor Newsom's social programs. If I move, it will most likely be the last move before its time for me to consider a retirement community for "active retirees." Or it will be the last move before I croak but I prefer to be an optimist.

I've been thinking about a good friend and avid jeeper who moved from Orange County to St. George Utah when he retired. He goes jeeping at least once a week, often more, and is currently jeeping in Colorado. Another offroading acquaintance recently moved to Hurricane Utah.

So now I am planning a multi-week road trip to explore the places where I have imagined that I might enjoy living that are close to multiple jeeping and offroad exploration opportunities. Here's my list so far. What do you think? Pros/con? Taxes? Politics? Places to include in my road trip or exclude?


Carson City/Minden/Gardnerville NV

St. George UT

Prescott AZ (tentative front runner)

Tucson AZ


I have been spending time in Southern Oregon already, but as attractive as the area might be there appears to be little in the way of jeeping opportunities.
 

mrblaine

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Quail Valley, CA
One of the realities of approaching one's 70's is that there is less time ahead than behind. Another is that there will come a day when one graduates from gonzo rockcrawler to gentleman jeeper and spends more time exploring unseen territory or returning to favorite places than conquering obstacles for sport.

I'm not there yet, but that day is on the horizon.

I can stay where I am in California's North State or I can move. One motivation for seeking another state of residence is the current political climate in California and the very real potential for substantial increases in state taxes to pay for Governor Newsom's social programs. If I move, it will most likely be the last move before its time for me to consider a retirement community for "active retirees." Or it will be the last move before I croak but I prefer to be an optimist.

I've been thinking about a good friend and avid jeeper who moved from Orange County to St. George Utah when he retired. He goes jeeping at least once a week, often more, and is currently jeeping in Colorado. Another offroading acquaintance recently moved to Hurricane Utah.

So now I am planning a multi-week road trip to explore the places where I have imagined that I might enjoy living that are close to multiple jeeping and offroad exploration opportunities. Here's my list so far. What do you think? Pros/con? Taxes? Politics? Places to include in my road trip or exclude?


Carson City/Minden/Gardnerville NV

St. George UT

Prescott AZ (tentative front runner)

Tucson AZ


I have been spending time in Southern Oregon already, but as attractive as the area might be there appears to be little in the way of jeeping opportunities.
Colorado hands down.
 

jodomcfrodo

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Evanston, IL, United States
Colorado and Arizona are definitely your best bets. I've been to Prescott a few times and that is a hard town to turn down. But I'd also add Mesa to the list. Another nice town and the scenery is unbelievable.

When I retire in 40+ years I'm planning on moving to Montana. Somewhere around Bozeman preferably.
 

glwood

Jeepless
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Albuquerque, NM
I've seriously considered moving to Grand Junction, CO. Smack in the middle between the San Juans of southwest CO and Moab UT. Great little town also.
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
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I'm shooting for northwestern nevada, but that's 10 years away, so i have not done the research.
 

06lj

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Oregon
Having lived in Colorado I can attest that the 4 wheeling there is unchallenged and is by far my favorite. Lots of good trails with some great history along the way. However the season for getting out is a little short. The winter in the mountains can last well into July. Arizona is great for rock crawling. I moved from there last year due to the crowds and crime. I stopped 2 scumbags from trying to steal my Jeep before I gave up and just garaged it. Prescott has a lot of drug activity. Especially in Prescott Valley. It is a beautiful area but I would suggest looking very closely before committing to it.
If I could afford it I would move to St. George. I haven't made it to any trails in Utah but it is on my bucket list.
Any one of your choices will have some great wheeling so I think the choice will be more about where you want to live when not in the Jeep.
 

Stevemack

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May 17, 2018
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Northeast
Arizona. I'm trying to escape long, harsh winters. AZ has it all. From desert to mountains. Sun to snow. Wheeling everywhere. It'll be my base of operations for my exploration/travels.
 

Jamison C

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I spent half of my life in Prescott/Prescott Valley. It’s an outstanding place full of outstanding people and scenery. But it’s growing extremely fast and starting to lose the “small town” feel FWIW. The rates are also starting to reflect the popularity, though the taxes themselves are reasonable.

It’s also centrally located in AZ which makes it relatively easy to get to places like Sedona, Flagstaff (where I do most of my wheeling), and the outskirts of the Phoenix area where there’s tons of exploring to be had.

I’d live there, but it gets a little too windy for my liking 🙂
 

Mike the Silver TJ

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Jan 10, 2019
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Jacksonville FL
I'll be watching this thread. I love living in Florida but I'm pretty jealous of the Jeeping out West and may consider a move in two years when my youngest graduates high school.
 
OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

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My first experiences in a jeep were in the Southern California deserts during the late 1950's and early 1960's. I learned to drive at 15 by being turned loose with my dad's '54 CJ-3B and the warning, "stay off the pavement." The rest of the desert was fair game.

Wide open spaces are in my blood.
 

duncanator

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Sacramento
My first experiences in a jeep were in the Southern California deserts during the late 1950's and early 1960's. I learned to drive at 15 by being turned loose with my dad's '54 CJ-3B and the warning, "stay off the pavement." The rest of the desert was fair game.

Wide open spaces are in my blood.
I too live in the area and while I sympathize with your CA sentiment, I will most likely stay around. There's crap everywhere and you just have to find the place that has the kind you can deal with. It is expensive here though so I feel that if a person leaves, they are essentially "cashing out" and not coming back because to do so would be too expensive.
I have relatives that live in a Sun City in Florence, AZ and I have found it a nice place to visit :) I'm still a few years away from being able to buy into one of those places though.
 

mrblaine

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Quail Valley, CA
Leave it to Blaine to think outside the box and name a place not on the list. ;)

Two facts:

Colorado is a great place.

I hate living where the snow sticks to the ground for weeks on end.
Be that as it may, snow sticks in St. George. St. George is very expensive since all the old Jeepers who hate CA now move there. My second choice if you can't handle the snow, is Hurricane, Utah. Better than St. George, not as expensive, lots of wheeling.

The CO choice is based on proximity to lots of wheeling that isn't hard core. AZ doesn't have as much of that, and if you want to do some AZ wheeling, you can always take a longer road trip. Most other areas have some local limited stuff, CO isn't as limited and the other Utah place has tons of wheeling. I'm not a fan of the snow either so I get that part. Do you wheel year round now?
 
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rubicube

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Jun 6, 2019
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payson az
been retired awhile and lived in Prescott the last 8 years it's getting quite crowded 150000 or so....now I'm in Payson just below the mogollon rim many many miles of jeeping to do and still just a lil over a hour to phx/mesa/sedona/flag.
town of bout 14000....lots of lakes..
IMG_0434.JPG
 
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OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

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150,000?!? It certainly has grown.

Tell me more about Payson and the surrounding area from the perspective of a retired person.
 

AndyG

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Well the weather in Moab is mighty fine for a retired person, and you aren't that far from the western slope of the Rockies and have incredible terrain about any direction you point the hood.

I'm not going to tell anybody where to live no more than I'll tell anybody who to marry, but as long as you've got a Jeep with you you're going to be okay.

Somewhere in that general area if you aren't in heaven, you can probably get there by sunset.

Whatever you do I hope it's the best years of your life, I hope you stay healthy, and I hope you live as long as you can and get to see all that you want to see.