NFR Questions about a few southwestern towns.

Moses Lake in the summer and a 36' motor home headed to AZ or NM in the winter. We have a shop and large parking area with 50-Amp hookup for the motor home so I can do yearly maintenance/upgrades. The shop has a 700 sq foot apartment: door into the shop; door to the outside.

Only downside was that the motor home is 35'7" long; the shop is 35'00" long. But it has 16' power doors!!!

I have enjoyed the responses and have researched the other areas recommended. Like I said earlier our new location has to be comfortable year around. Part of reason for north central Arizona is the warm weather which will benefit my wifes comfort level AND part of it we have some family there. We can't afford a summer home and a winter home that would be wonderful but it ain't happening. I enjoy fishing but I have other hobbies as well. I have fished a lot and had the opportunity to fish some great water in my lifetime, I am thinking that my new home can be less fishing and more other pursuits. I will be able to travel and fish in the west but it will be from a new home base. Just to let you know the list is smaller now with Prescott leading Payson AZ a newcomer is is 2nd and Show Low is hanging in at 3rd.
Grand Junction is out as well as Farmington NM.
I find myself in a similar situation, looking for the perfect spot to "set up shop" when I graduate dental school. I have spent a lot of time looking at Redding CA. The sacramento is a great tailwater fishery that runs right through town, plus 1.5 -2 hours to multiple steelhead rivers. It does get hot in the summer, but there is plenty of water nearby to cool down in - Wiskeytown Res and Lake Shasta. Sure the taxes are high here, but this town has a very conservative/small town feel to it.

I have enjoyed the thread and for me Durango/Montrose looks very appealing.
Several smaller burgs North and East and West of Redding at 2-4000' that are way cooler in Summer and still in easy reach of fantastic fishing: McCloud, Burney, Dunsmuir, Lewiston, et al.

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
I'm with Travis; why would any normal person move to CA?? Having lived there most of my life, I've seen it degenerate from a magical place into lunacy. Yeah, there are some decent places to fish, but then you have to go back to the asylum. It's a conservative's hell. Of course, if you're a liberal, it's not bad at all-until April 16th, anyway-assuming you're not on the dole.
I don't think CA is on my list not because of the politics however. I would probably fit in more in Humboldt county than any where in AZ. I am going to move for reasons other than my political persuasion.
With recomendations from some on this board and others we have decided to concentrate on the Show Low AZ area and see if we can find affordable housing there.
It is a beautiful place in the White Mountains with lots of high lakes and a couple hundred miles of moving water in close proximity. I will have a chance to catch Gila trout, Apache trout, Grayling and many others in the local lakes and streams. There are hundreds of miles of single track mountain biking and paved low traffic roads for road biking.
It does get cold in the winter and there is a little snow but it doesn't last long. The days warm up fast, yesterday it was 20* at 6am but a bright and sunny 58* at noon. (Spokane was 25* at 6 and 36 at noon and heavy overcast). The summer temps will get in the low to mid 90's for a couple months but don't reach 100 like the valley floor toward Phoenix. Only twice in history have they had 100 degree temps.
The fishing regulations are more complicated than Washingtons :eek::eek: it takes an entire page to discuss the various options for just buying a license. Out of state license for me for the first 6 months before I am considered a resident is only $60. It is fairly close to the San Juan and drivable to Lees Ferry so we can make some short camping trips there. There are hundreds of historical and archeological sites nearby many federal and state parks and forests to visit. My wife's a hobby photographer and she cant wait to get there and start seeing the sights.
The beat goes on, we are still researching but narrowing it down. Oh and BTW it is only 3 hours to Spring Training baseball and the regular season Arizona Diamonds backs MLB park.

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
Well, as a professional Forester I got to live and see much of the west.

The area I only briefly got to visit was Boulder Mountain and Highway 12 in Utah. Those professional Foresters that lived and worked there always commented that it was the highlight of the career's for a natural landscape.

There are small towns in the area, but I am not sure how important shopping is in your life. In our case, a super Wal-Mart is way, way more than we had in most places we lived until recently.

The west has really changed in the past 40 years. My wife calls it the "baby boomers trashing everyplace".

I am not sure your age, but sounds like you got a few years ahead of you. Take a look at the town and see if it will gracefully age. We LOVED Wenatchee when we first moved here in 1985. It is still a nice city, but no longer a town. Now we avoid driving in late afternoon because of the traffic. There are lines of three or four people waiting in the credit union at all times. Doctor's appointments are now being scheduled a couple months in advance. Life is too short to wait in line or traffic.

The other issue is community. Large cities are basically all the same. For small towns the level of governmental services such as libraries and schools varies dramatically. In our case libraries are critical. When we lived in Coeur d'Alene the town was the same size as Wenatchee but had a one room library!! In Wenatchee in 1985 I could order books by connecting with the library computer system and they would mail the books to me!! If the library did not have the book they either purchased it or went inter-library loan automatically. I did get a note once that they had bought too many books for me!! Quite a difference.

Good luck in your search for the perfect place. It is out there...somewhere.
Vladimir's advice is sound. How a town grows into a city can make a huge impact on your quality of life. Choke points like bridges can be quaint when you move there but turn into huge time wasters later on if you need to get past them for important services. And gridlock if they close for repairs (just ask the residents of the Tri Cities when their "Blue Bridge" closed recently).

As you age your ideas about how long it takes to get to medical help can change, too. Our farm in the Basin was 45 minutes (or more) away from any hospital in any direction and the ambulance service was staffed by volunteers who, while professional and competent in their work, had to get to the ambulance from wherever they lived before they could even head to our farm. Since farms are inherently dangerous we had many trips to the ER and always just drove ourselves. Something you can't do with many problems associated with aging.

The availability of the Internet and cell service is also something to take into consideration. Our farm was dial-up-only as recently as 2010 (except that I was an IT admin for the school district and could set up a WiFi line-of-sight connection onto their T1). And cell service away from the Interstate is often much less than the minimum 3G you (or your wife) have become used to.

Moses Lake has become a small city in the past ten years but it's still small enough to get a doctor or dentist appointment the same day you call in. But our choke points (a bridge and a lake) can be annoyingly slow at times. I suspect that in ten more years they'll either have to build another bridge or it will be gridlock here; and no one has any money for a new bridge!

Some things to think about.

I live in Pueblo, Co. We have a few weeks in the 100s, a few weeks below 0, not much snow, around 100k population, and the Arkansas tailwaters, which is a great place to come fish. Heck if you ever pass by throw a fly in the water just for fun. If it peaks your interest check the real estate ads. You can get a damn nice house for a good price.

Bradley Miller

Dances with fish
My parameters are a bit different BUT......
Prescott is pretty awesome. I would call it high desert, so it's not too hot in the summer.
NM is fabulous as well......though my time spent there was with a camera not a fly rod.
My suggestion? Go visit. Spend some time. Call it investigative journalism or scientific data collection. It's all theory until you pony up the rent.
My parameters are a bit different BUT......
Prescott is pretty awesome. I would call it high desert, so it's not too hot in the summer.
NM is fabulous as well......though my time spent there was with a camera not a fly rod.
My suggestion? Go visit. Spend some time. Call it investigative journalism or scientific data collection. It's all theory until you pony up the rent.
That is my plan... We have a 'home base' in Payson AZ at my sister-in-laws place and we are going to do the final investigation from there; however we wanted to narrow it down and try to get as much intel as possible. Show Low is high desert with trees that makes it attractive to us.

Bradley Miller

Dances with fish
I visited Prescott Valley in the winter: it was beautiful. My uncle, who lives there, said the wildlife is abundant. Love to go back and fish the area. Good luck!!!!


Active Member
Look in the Taos, Los Alamos & Santa Fe corridor of New Mexico. Lots of activities, good weather, strong economies and an active population with the activities that you describe.

John Hicks

Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits
Now that the fly shop is closed and it will soon be in my rear view mirror we are SERIOUSLY thinking of moving out of the cold, snow and long cloudy/gloomy weather.
We have researched a lot of areas with a few things in mind; 1. WEATHER We MUST have a lot of sun 250 days of sunshine minimum. We don't mind a little snow but little or no accumulation. Cold mornings are ok but warm sunny afternoons are mandatory. Summers can't be too hot we don't mind 90's in the mid-summer but long stretches in the 100's are out. 2. DEMOGRAPHICS, Small town/rural atmosphere but enough population to have clinics/hospital services and decent shopping without driving to "town" to shop. 3. RECREATION. I like to fish but am content to fish lakes and ponds as well as moving water. However also love to bicycle and would like to ride year around, hiking is also high on my list. 4. INTERESTING GEOGRAPHY, We really like to explore we would like to have some historical places, national parks, national forests, places to camp and hike.



I would strongly urge you to look at Asheville North Carolina. It is a city that is in the south but very progressive. It is probably the only city I have experienced that has been able to keep it's small city feel (think Olympia, Boulder, Burlington VT), yet still have a great thriving young progressive scene. The cost of living is much less than all the above mentioned cities as well.

The weather in Asheville is a lot like the PNW but without the rain. There is rain, snow, sun, sleet, black ice, etc. But there is mainly sunshine. I loved that it may rain once or twice a week all winter long but it will be sunny the rest. The summers are dry and not humid like the rest of the south because of the 2000 ft elevation.

The other thing that I don't think was on your list, is healthcare or close proximity to it. Asheville boasts a level 2 trauma center and two other level 3 trauma centers. This is a huge thing as we age and as our outdoor activities catch up to us. My friend was Mtn Biking and shattered her tibia in pieces. In most good outdoor locations this would require an Ambulance ride to a small community hospital (45 minutes) triage assess stablize (4hrs) and a life flight to a trauma center (1hr). She was from accident to e.r. in less than 30minutes. And had surgery, rehab, and continuing physical therapy right there. For the older generation Asheville's Mission hospital has a dedicated heart tower that is one of the best. They really luck out with being a teaching hospital for the University of North Carolina system.

On the gustatory front, there are at least 7 micro brews within a stones throw of Asheville, and most of the bars also brew their own beer. The town boasts one of the best BBQ joints in the country (12 Bones). There is just about any kind of food you can think of in town. If you like southern food, well you are in the south. Shopping for food they have it all. From crunch granola type, to good ol' safeway style.

Activities (cultural), there is a lot of history in the town. The Builtmore Estate is located just outside of town. The B.E. was built for George Vanderbuilt as his summer get away from New York. He orginally owned 125k Acres in and around Asheville and had several hunting lodges built on his property. There is a thriving social scene, thanks to having two universities in town.

Activities (outdoors), this is the outdoors capital of the south. Some of the best whitewater kyaking in the country is dotted around Asheville. Asheville has the best Mountainbiking there is, outside of the desert southwest. I used to ride hundreds of miles (literally) of maintained mountainbike trails. Look up 24hrs of Pisgah for probably the hardest mountainbike race in the country. Road biking is amazing. My ex-wife is on the Subaru race team for Triathalons. They train in the hills of western Carolina. Hiking, there are many many peaks and waterfalls to hike too.

Ok, ok, what about the fishing you say? Well if they had anadramous fish, it still would be my home. Oh and the ex-wife thing. The waters of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee are some of the best trout fishing waters in the country. There is everything from small mountain streams with "specklebacks" southern term for brook trout, which are native to the region. These streams you can use the 0 to 2wt and dries for hungry fish. All they way up to the big tail-race rivers that hold 5-10lb brown trout. Oh and it's not bad to be 5hrs drive from the coast of South Carolina. Redfish, stripers, Cod. When I lived there, I figured it out. I was 8-15hrs from anywhere. I could drive up to the Great Lakes, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Long Island, all in a days drive or less.

Then there is the best part of Asheville. They have a great Airport! Bahamas, BC, South America, eh hmm Forks

Jesse, if you want any other info please feel free to P.M. me