The natives are restless

I wasn’t even the Mad Dog when I lived here in 1980, the year I worked for The Arizona Daily Star. My nick then was “Shady.”

An Albuquerque native recently told me that he’s had just about enough of the place.

With an eye toward putting the old hometown in the rear view he’s been spending some time in Pagosa Springs, Colo., which he likes quite a bit. Except for the part about winter, which Pagosa Springs actually has. Here in New Mexico we call that season “Not On Fire (Probably).”

Elsewhere in Colorado, my man Hal Walter reports that pretty much every property in Crusty County has been sold, except for his, and that’s only because his little rancheroo is not on the market.

Hal has likewise soured on winter, possibly because up there it drags on into May, and occasionally, June.

“It is foggy and snowing here,” he told me this morning. “It will not do.”

It will not do. The thought has caused me to pack my bags more than once. As a (chronological) adult I have (briefly) settled in Alamosa, Greeley, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Denver, and Weirdcliffe, Colo.; Springfield, Mo.; Winooski, Vt.; Tucson, Ariz.; Corvallis, Ore.; and Española, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, N.M.

Sometimes it was professional; other times, personal. More than once it was simply the place. It will not do. So off I’d go, like a roach from under the ’fridge, looking for some place that would.

Each bailout involved a little more baggage, both actual and psychological. When I fled Springfield in 1972 I had a backpack for possessions and a thumb for transportation. Forty-two years later it took two cars and a professional moving company to get us from Bibleburg to ’Burque.

It will not do. The thought seems to be occurring to quite a few people who have taken a good look around at the places where they’ve hunkered down during the Year of the Plague and wondered just what the fuck is it that they’re doing there anyway.

Any of you folks planning to relocate? Got a dream destination in mind, or is it basically “Anywhere but here?” Give us your thoughts in comments.


36 Responses to “The natives are restless”

  1. JD Says:

    We’ve no plans to relocate. I tend to think it’s more about the people, relationships, and a sense of community than the location. We’re fortunate. We’ve got many friends, good neighbors, and a pretty good sense of community in our neighborhood. Just this past Saturday about 15 of us spent three hours doing fire mitigation work in the ‘hood. Cuttin’, stackin’, and trailer haulin’.
    Of course, we did 23 moves in the USAF all over the world (some places were strange and exotic; some exotic; and some just strange), and we felt the same then — it’s the people. 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I only did a few moves with the USAF — couple houses in Maryland and at least one in Virginia, then Ottawa, Randolph AFB, and Bibleburg. That’s where the old man called it quits after 30 years, in the first house he ever owned. None of the moves were of my doing, of course. I wanted to stay in Canada. Also, Texas.

      As a renter I was less interested in the neighbors than I am now. We’ve had great neighbors for 30 years, in Bibleburg, Weirdcliffe, and ’Burque. They make all the difference.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    House is paid for, so moving depends on a few things. The drought, if it gets worse. What’s left of the country after the fucking 1% buys up everything worth living in, too.

    My better half doesn’t like the idea of ripping out the flower and raised beds and replacing them with rocks and brown or beige pebbles. Then there is her sun-sensitivity, which clashes with my overcast depression. I’d have a hankering for a small place on the upper Great Lakes but she hates winter. And a lot depends on whether Fanta Se starts to suck worse than other places..

    She likes the Pacific NW. I’ve had my doubts, given the number of times I read about Antifa types clashing with Proud Boys while wimpy mayors hide under their desks. I have a brother (Rich) and my stepdad’s son from his first marriage (David) in N. Carolina. Rich is outside of Durham and David in Asheville, which we have talked about. Both are good guys to be around. Both the Pacific NW and Ashville are looking pricey. Unless, of course, you live under a rock in the woods.

    I hate moving, though.

    So what’s up, boss? Are you folks getting tired of the OK Corral and the heat down there? We almost put money down on house just north of Parkland Hills (Southern Ave. SE near Monroe SE) but someone showed up with a suitcase full of cash and bought it out from under us while we frigged about with the bank. But then we discovered we would be a few blocks from the Zuni War Zone, so that is fine. Meena said later “I’d hate to live in a place where you were sleeping with an AR under the pillow”.

    What would happen to Herself’s job at Bomb Factory South?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, hell, no, we’re not going anywhere. Herself is in good odor at the court down to Le Bómbe Factörie South, and they pay her regularly in American money. We’re two blocks from open-space trails that lead to actual wilderness. Excellent neighbors. I’d like to see fewer eejits with guns and drivers’ licenses, but then I hear people in Hell want ice water. Also, we have Herself the Elder to consider.

      Anyway, I have a hard time thinking of someplace worth the hassle of moving, which I recall vividly from 2014, the way I would a broken bone or a boot in the balls. I don’t like winter, so Montana’s out, and the damp in places like NoCal and the Willamette Valley had me buffing the rust out of my steel plate alla damn’ time. The real Southwest is too hot, and I’m just about as far east from I-25 as I care to get. This thins the list of possibilities pretty drastically.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yeah, between the artsy-fartsy stuff my better half likes, the mountain trails and the mountain bike trails, and the fact that we are here, it makes it hard to contemplate other options. Such as dealing with the mugginess and chiggers of NC, perpetual rain in the Pac NW, real winters up north, and all that other stuff. This place up here is hard to leave.

        I’m with you on not wanting to move east all that much. In my dotage, I’ve developed a real allergy to people and there are a lot of people in other places.

  3. Stan Thomas Says:

    Limousin, France. I’ve had it with Brexit Britain – nasty, intolerant, bigoted. More and more like Trump’s America (albeit without the guns).
    There used to be a taunt thrown at pro-Europeans – “if you like Europe so much why don’t you go and live there”. The answer, right up to last year, was “I do, and have done for the past 40 years”. Now, more than a little ironically, Remainers have to become Leavers. Yet we no longer have the absolute right to move to any of the 27 EU nations.

    Work in progress, my better half is not entirely sold on the plan, but she’s coming round. Watch this space…

  4. miles f. porter iv Says:

    miles — hey. spike!
    stays in colorado chronologically: rocky ford, pueblo, denver, la junta, denver, alamosa, salida, buena vista, alamosa, craig, denver, breckenridge, grand junction, frisco, salida. these followed a start in little rock, ark., then to the porter family base in fort wayne, ind. and then there were those three years in france in the us army.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Miles, long time no see. As in a real long time. You’re in Salida now? That’s a booming little metropolis, que no? I remember when Hal wanted to relocate there — he just never quite got ’er done. And now here he is after 30-some-odd years of sitting on the Out There! Shit Glacier & Burro Mo-Tel with a son one year shy of graduating high school.

      Bibleburg was the Colorado town I kept going back to. First, junior high school and high school; second, college dropout and first newspaper; third, second newspaper after finishing college; fourth, when Mom got the Alzheimer’s; and finally, after the stint in Weirdcliffe, where we were just a few miles from Hal and Mary.

      We did 13 years that final stint in B-burg, before we released ourselves on our own recognizance. I miss our friends, the neighborhood, and a few other selected areas, but not the town.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I retired 16 years ago, and since that act we have scouted many places in Arizona and New Mexico. Haven’t found one that beats right here. I am 72 and not moving again. Except maybe to assisted living, right here in Sierra Vista, or a home for the hopelessly stupid wherever when they commit me. By the way, this place really stinks, and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

    “I’m riding that wave
    From cradle to grave
    I’m learning to feel
    My hand on the wheel”

    From the song “Closer to Heaven” by Rodney Crowell

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sixteen years ago? And here I am, still “working,” like a sap. Which reminds me, I have to draw a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer sometime in the next few days. My suffering knows no bounds.

      You folks are lucky to have found your spot. I remain restless — I think the O’Gradys must’ve been itinerant tinkers before great-granddad swam here from County Clare — but not restless enough to think about moving. After a lifetime on the move I’m not certain that anyplace would ever really feel like home.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      You are right Patrick, and I realize every day how fortunate I was to retire at 55 or at all. Sandy and I planned it, but for it to happen was amazing. I only have one bike and it is for sale. But, I have 4 guitars, a great partner in life, and good friends. As JD said above, does it get any better? Plus I got to ride with you and Khal! More than once! And, let us not forget Herb!

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Apologies in advance for off topic, but I’m about to bust a gut. , Has anyone here used fibre reinforced strapping tape for rim tape? I cannot find any rim tape less than 14 mm wide in Fanta Se or online (Colorado Cyclist, Excel Sports, Nashbar) and I have several sets of old 700c bike wheels that need about a half inch width. I’m running 10 mm Velox in one set and it tends to “migrate”, exposing the spoke holes and resulting in sudden and inopportune blowouts. Any suggestions other than “you meathead, get some wider rims”?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yup, I’ve used strapping tape in a pinch. I think all my Zipp and Specialized carbon clinchers have strapping-tape rim strips. And finding anything skinnier than 18mm seems nearly impossible. Not even Rivendell has it. Velo-Orange carries 16mm, but they’re out of stock. Have you asked Stephen Newhall?

    • Shawn Says:

      I’ve also used strapping tape many times. I think I even have a rim or two with electrical tape although you need to make sure that it is wrapped in the right direction – The end flap pointed opposite of the wheel direction (head scratch, head scratch, I think).

    • DownhillBill Says:

      In ye olden days I ran Turbo R tires on Campy rims. The tolerance stack prohibited normal rim tape – just too bloody thick. I used 1 piece of strapping tape all the way around, and a small piece over each spoke hole. Works fine, best to replace the tape once a year.

      I broke a Zip Stick trying unsuccessfully to get the tires on when I first built those wheels. The filament packing tape was the only solution, and with new tires I’d carry the hinged shop tire tool in a jersey pocket.

      • crankyoldguyonabike Says:

        I have used a layer of GORILLA tape on tubeless setups. Works well enough in a pinch.

  7. Si little Says:

    Back in ‘71, stepped off the road to wealth and notoriety for the woods. Unfortunately the flatlanders are now coming. That may push further out. And yes I have used packing tape and white cloth adhesive tape. No issues here. Ymmv

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, lawd, not the flatlanders. Worser than roaches. Before you know it you’re up to your Buck knife in Starbuckses, disco groceries, and tattoo shops, and everyone’s slouching around staring at their phones instead of talking to actual people. If you speak to ’em they frantically thumb their phones like a toddler playing with his dingus, trying to block you or put you on mute.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Don’t forget the storefront “churches.” We have nothing for you, no goods or services other than we claim to know something you don’t know. Give us money and maybe, just maybe, we will let you in on the secret.

  8. Shawn Says:

    All the places that I believe I would like to move to were thought of as great moving-to places several years ago by folks thinking way ahead of me. I thought of that too, back then, but at that time I was several years behind then too. Nope, I don’t believe I’m going anywhere right now. That’s the only way I’ll be able to keep up with those folks who are ahead of me.

    But I do have a couple of places that are worth considering. I believe they are…….Newark, NJ! And another one is, uh….. Cleveland, OH! And of course Detroit has some great riding I’ve heard.

    Regarding bike tech again: I’ve been complacent. I was doing a little delayed routine maintenance and discovered an extra 7/16″ of an inch in my 108 links. Oops. But hey, It’s kind of like having an extra link of chain !

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think I’ve moved enough to know that a simple change of location doesn’t make the nut. I think it might be fun to roam around without fixed location for a while, though. But I have Herself, Herself the Elder, and Miss Mia Sopaipilla to consider. None of ’em would enjoy an extended “Blue Highways” tour in a clangy old Ford Econoline. I wouldn’t be able to hear Bob Seger over the yowling from my companions as we went running against the wind.

  9. B Lester Says:

    I’m retiring in 2-ish years. Date TBD. Here in S. Central WI, the weather is lovely from May thru October. Summers are always ideal.
    November and December can be nice too. Alas, I’ve become more of a winter-phobe as I age. Nose pressed on the glass in late Feb- April moaning “make it end!” But you’re right, the neighbors and the amenities make the place home, and this is a great home.

    I’ve lived in KY and IL, but no extended says in the south or west- just visitin’. I’m not sure being a snowbird is the ticket, but plenty around here are.

    If we were to retire and make a habit of vacaying in warmer, sunnier, winter climes, what do you all suggest?

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      It all depends on how warm you want to be in the winter. In the desert Southwest, I suggest you pay attention to elevation. This may help.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Whenever I wanted to get out of chilly Colorado for a bit of sunshine and warmth I would usually barrel on down to Fountain Hills, Ariz., and camp at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. You have the hamlet of Fountain Hills for immediate necessities (food and drink), and Scottsdale is not far away if you want to indulge yourself in the usual high-dollar Southwestern resort activities. You can even get your oil checked at the Mayo Clinic.

      Tucson is worth a visit, and Bisbee, though Bisbee has some winter going on. Las Cruces, N.M., has its moments — there’s some fine mountain biking down there. Avoid it in summer, though. Hot as balls.

      I’m not sure I would recommend Albuquerque as a winter getaway. I came down here for a week in February a time or two before we made the actual move in 2014. But the Nob Hill-UNM-Downtown areas are a clusterfuck in the wake of the bungled ART project. And no matter what you’ve heard, crime apparently does pay, because it employs quite a few of the locals.

      I used to crash at the Hampton at Carlisle and I-40, riding the extensive bike-path network, and walking over to the Indian School Whole Foods for some grub to eat in the room while binge-watching HBO (we didn’t have cable back in Bibleburg). I’d think twice about that shit now.

  10. astroprojector Says:

    Interesting topic. I’ve lived many of the same places as our host (Tucson, Corvallis, Denver, currently in Bibleburg) and a few others, but have no desire to move again. Not sure where we would go anyway. My father (who is long gone) and his mother were born here, so it seems like where I should stay for some reason.

  11. John A Levy Says:

    As per an email, my other half and I are contemplating a move south to New Mexico. Montana has moved to the right on a severe tilt and the winters are long and grey. Wet in MW Montana and lack of sunshine has finally broke the back of the southern colorado boy, Raised at 6200 ft with a strong Hispanic influence, more grey and Norski culture is not in the future. Looking at Alb. Espanola, wife is looking at Ruidosio. The southern refugees from both the real south and CA. are becoming intolerable. Bringing money and attitude. My days of knocking around the west Ft Collins, Denver, Casper, Reno, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Kalispell, MT. New Mexico looks like it could be my last place. Good climate, not a bad economy, fairly decent health care.Housing prices that do not mirror LA Seattle and Denver. Worry about water but this ilifein the west. Will reconnoiter later this summer.

    • Dale E. Brigham Says:

      John, Ruidoso and surrounding area are worth a close look. As a native West Texan (Lubbock), it is a familiar area. Yes there are plenty of (i.e., too damn many) Texans there, but as the old joke goes, New Mexicans hated the Texans up until they met the Californians, who made the Texans seem tolerable by comparison. (No offense to Californians; it is just an old Tex-Mex joke). I would also look at Cloudcroft-to-Mayhill on U.S. 82 or even westward down towards Alamogordo. Less busy and touristy than Ruidoso. Northwards to Lincoln/Ft. Stanton and the Capitan Mountains is also nice.

      On another note regarding the topic of where to spend our “golden years,” I will put in a pitch for college towns. I have lived in seven U.S. college towns, and they range from absurdly expensive (Boulder) to ridiculously expansive (Austin) to overwhelmingly collegiate (State College, PA) to downright awful (College Station, TX). My favorites are Albuquerque, Lubbock (yeah, it is an acquired taste), and, my present location, Columbia, MO.

      College towns tend to be more liberal than their surrounding locales (a Godsend in MO and TX), and they present many opportunities for taking in music, the arts, and other good stuff (e.g. better restaurants and bike shops) than found in similarly-sized non-college burgs.

      One more advantage is health care: hospitals, docs, nurses, PTs, etc. Any college town with a med school has all that stuff we…uh,… maturing adults need or will need in increasing frequency and intensity as time goes on. Just yesterday, I rode my bike to an appointment with my orthopod doc for a lube injection in my bad knee. Beats a 2-hour round trip drive in every way.


      • Shawn Says:

        Re: College towns. Yes! Dale you are correct. I miss living in a real college town. Being in one reminds me that I’m a super genius. But not being in one reminds me that I’m just another fast food worker.

        I do know of a very great college town way up north but I’m not sure if I could take the brutal cold anymore.

        Any Canadian readers of POG out there? Would you guys mind if I come up for a stay? I understand that climate change is making Edmonton a nicer place.

  12. carl duellman Says:

    i’m feeling nomadic but not in the ‘nomadland’ way. i don’t want to work, just play and explore. maybe i’ll find somewhere i can tolerate. the heat and humidity here in the summer is awful. northwest arkansas has some good mountain biking i’d like to check out. north georgia/eastern tennessee has lots of hiking and biking. boise would be a good home base for exploring.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve only jogged in Tennessee (Oak Ridge). Herself the Elder lived there, and her youngest daughter is still around Nashville somewhere.

      Never tried Arkansas, but the Walton kids sure have been spending some money on bikey projects there.

      I have driven through Boise en route to the PNW, but only once, and that was many years ago. Quite a few folks up there now. The joint is afflicted by winter, is it not?

  13. SAO' Says:

    Never leaving Fort Collins.


    But then again, that’s what I said about Denver in 2007.

  14. John A Levy Says:

    Fort Collins was great till about 80 now it is Anaheim with mountains.
    Graduated from CSU in 1977.

    • Shawn Says:

      Yeah, I can’t imagine any of the front range is that appealing now. Lot’s and lot’s of people.

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