If you were starting fresh and wanted to live out west... Where would you go?

James Riley

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What on earth makes a person think they are entitled to never feel anything natural and always have absolute comfort? Isnt feeling a little bit of discomfort once in a while connected to being alive? My inlaws from California complain about Montana weather incessantly, yet as far as i can tell in california they sedentarily move from one air conditioned zone to another in pursuit of the best coffee and shopping experience.
You win the internet for the day.
 

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
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Chugiak, AK
I don't think you will see much difference between towns of 100k vs 50k. Seems like most of the "big" towns in Montana have virtually all the same amenities, if not they're only a few hours apart.
 

MTGomer

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MT —> AZ
I live and work in the Billings west end suburbs.
Day to day, I feel like I live in a smaller town than when I worked in downtown Dickinson, ND during the oil boom.
Except there are a plethora of real restaurants and good beer 15 minutes away in downtown.

Dickinson aprox 25k
Billings metro area 150k +
 

Ben Lamb

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Helena
I don't think you will see much difference between towns of 100k vs 50k. Seems like most of the "big" towns in Montana have virtually all the same amenities, if not they're only a few hours apart.
We all have virtually the same box stores in almost identical strip malls. Yes.

It comes down to the character of the town and in that respect, out of the 5 major markets in Montana, Helena remains the better option in terms of livability, access to public land, strong economy and cost of living.
 

Rancho Loco

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I would visit in February, or better yet, April. If you're looking in Montana, realize Spring is mostly just more of winter.
 

Rancho Loco

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The big GC's in Montana:

J Langlas, based in Billings, office in Bozeman, also.
Dick Anderson, based in Helena, offices in many cities.
Martel, based in Bozeman, office in Big Fork, Missoula.
Swank, based in Valier and Kalispell.
Barnard, construction management, big boy company, civil work all over.. Based in Bozeman.

Be advised, Montana wages are very low compared to the rest of the country, even for skilled positions. Depending on work history, but at your age, I'd anticipate working as a project engineer before progressing to PM. Prepare to travel, it's a way of life in the construction business here in Montana. I worked out of town for the last two years before taking a local job in April.
 

RockyDog

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Hamilton MT
Dang man, very well put! Well she does hate shopping, and she loves camping and only enjoys running when we trail run. She likes the outdoors but I think it's the whole idea of being a long way aways from a large population... I think we may give helena a chance, we're looking at visiting places in september (while everyone is chasing elk lol cuz I have a CO rifle tag and no archery tags) just haven't decided where yet. I kinda want to narrow it down to one place then visit it for 3-4 days.

I still think her best transition would be to a bigger town 100k+ then years down the road shift to a town more my speed <50k. We always complain our lives flash by because of working 9-12hrs a day each week then 1hr commutes on top of theat theres no time for anything after work. And on the weekends just to let Boomer(my lab) hike in the woods we drive 45min to a crappy metro park(it's pathetic) and 45min back.
It sounds like you would both enjoy life in most the western cities, Helena, Missoula, Boise, etc. your wife doesn't sound very metropolitan to me. Good luck!
 

bkondeff

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Jul 7, 2007
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Wife and I moved the 3 boys away from Cali 13 years ago to Boise area. We landed 10mi W in town of Star, but all in Treasure Valley.

One thing not mentioned enough, but valid, is the political aspect. I'm not overly political, but feel I bailed from Cali just before it completely bailed off the to the liberal deep end. I think this is much more of a concern in some states you've mentioned, depending on your personal feelling. I don't think I could live in Colo at this point, and definetely not OR or WA. Montana leans a little left, primarily due to the bigger cities being college towns, or so I hear.

I'm a banker, so I can't live in too small of a town. I really think ID has a lot to offer for you and your wife. Lot's of opportunities for hunting and fishing, though I must admit if big game hunting was driving my decision, I'd look at WY.

The IF/Pocatello area is gorgeous and the hunting is amazing, plus you are fairly close to UT, CO, WY, and MT. Of course the cold windy winters are horrible, which is likely true for any part of W Wy.

Wife and I just got our last boy out of the house and have actually transitioned from the more rural home in Star to a smaller home/yd actually closer to town for restaurants, movies, shorter commute, etc. but also have a cabin we escape to on weekends. We will feel this out, and if it doesn't suit us in 5-10 years we'll escape an hour out of town to Cambridge, or Fairfield, or ??? Remember, this is just one phase of your life, what you do now, won't likely be the last.

PS We have a lot of engineering jobs and people who have, need, and can afford nannies, plus some pretty substantial hospitals.
 

grandejuan

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Aug 8, 2016
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Arizona
You might check out Flagstaff AZ. City is about 65000 and has No Az Univ with 20000+ students. Coconino county is 2nd largest in area in US. Grand Canyon is 75 miles away. Elevation is 7000 ft with 12600 ft San Francisco peaks and Snowbowl ski area less than 15 miles from town. City is surounded by largest ponderosa
pine forest in US, Coconino National Forest. AZ has great hunting for elk, couse's whitetail, rocky and desert sheep.Fishing is marginal stream fishing for trout in oak creek and east and west clear creeks. Lake Powell is 150miles as are Salt river chain of lakes. Winters get cold with about 120 inches of snow, but sun is out after storms. Best of all ave summer temps are in the 70s to low 80s. Lots of construction going on but home prices are high such 90% of land is owned by national forests, parks and state lands,but access is great. Some say it's poverty with a view. Check it out. GJ
 
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