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Old 07-29-2005   #11
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 274
The best place to live?

As someone who was born in the South, raised in the South, and thankfully redeemed herself by going to school overseas and being saved from what could have been a pitifully boring existence as the kept society wife of some stuffy, overmoneyed and undersexed piece of "decent" breeding (WillPaddle: you still have me beat by a long shot! I'm not even gonna try to compete! ), I'll also throw my hat in the ring for where NOT to go:

Don't go to Mobile, AL. Sure, they have good programs there, I have a cousin who's practicing nephrology there now, and an uncle who's a very successful orthopaedist (the likes of which I think I described above), and it's a pretty town. It's also dying, the water is filthy, and there's nowhere to play that doesn't require a substantial drive. Florida makes for a nice road trip, but wouldn't you rather live closer to the beach than have to drive there every weekend? Also, Florida is that much closer to Georgia, which is the closest whitewater paddling to either of those states.

I second the opinion on Phoenix, BTW-- never lived there, but my godson's mother did. The most vivid memories I have of the place are the 115 degree heat, and a vivid mental image of my friend having a "pregnant" moment and going off on a couple of wanna-be gang-bangers for a good 15 minutes on end one sweltering afternoon.

Little Rock, AR - what can I say.... more family there, too... they all live in NORTH Little Rock because Little Rock itself is too dangerous. Didn't you see that HBO documentary on "Bangin' in Little Rock" a few years back?? I don't know much about their med programs, but Arkansas is a flat, boring, backwater state, and I wouldn't personally want to live there. That being said, HOT SPRINGS and the Ouachita Mountain area (about 45 min from LR) almost make it seem you aren't in Arkansas. It's pretty, the people are friendly, but you do run the risk of being overrun by tourists, especially on Derby weekend. The Cossatot River (class III, goes up to III/IV in th spring) is nearby, as are a number of fairly challenging bike trails. Lake Ouachita is one of the prettiest bodies of water you'll ever set eyes on, and the guys at Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters are great about getting creative with hiking, paddling, camping, and biking activities that make good use of the region.

Savannah, GA - Pretty city, but dying, too. More folks going out than in. Proximity to Atlantic beaches is a plus, but proximity to Atlanta a minus. Even if it is several hours away. You'll have to travel to paddle, and will be limited in options in TN and NC. verdict: you could probably do worse, but you could also probably do better.

New Orleans, LA - see "homicide rate" posting above. It's sweltering, dirty, and reeks of booze, vomit, and death on a Sunday morning, and lord knows you don't want anything to do with the River in that town... unless, that is, you want your kids to be born with three eyes and deformed genitalia.

Shreveport, LA - There's nothing there. Decent proximity to Ouachita area in Arkansas, but otherwise... hmmm.... do you enjoy the smell of paper mills, by chance?

Jackson, MS - NO. no no no and more no. You don't want to go here. There's nothing there? There's nothing in the whole state?? I was born there, for chrissakes. I don't live there now. Closeminded people, lots of old-south, old-money, pedigree-bred politics, and no where to go play. Hot and humid, with mosquitos the size of hovercraft. Only has two seasons: hot and less hot. Also, no snow-- EVER. What fun is that?

Memphis, TN - I saved Memphis for last. Take all the bad from all the posts above, subtract the good and then some, and you've got Memphis. I lived there for years, and never felt safe once. Lots of gang activity, very high crime rate, violent crime rate against women is about 20 times the national average, there are at least 12-20 carjackings a day, and the per-capita murder rate is thru the roof. I have a disabled grandmother and a disable aunt who live there now, and it scares me to no ends. I've seen people shot and bleeding out in the floor of a quickie mart, been in a coffee shop when it was robbed at gunpoint, and had friends who were literally stuffed in the trunk of a car, one who disappeared without a trace, and another who was murdered for $3 and change. The crime rate alone should be enough to keep you out-- and for whatever it's worth, I'm in public health myself, and didn't even consider UT's graduate programs because their medical campus is in Memphis.

If you have your heart set on TN, though, Chattanooga can't be beat, and Nashville's not that bad, either.

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Old 07-29-2005   #12
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 37
Glenwood Springs Colorado

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Old 07-29-2005   #13
Roy's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 682
Having never lived in the east, I won't comment on anything right of the Rockies. Besides, you did say you like snowboarding, and if that's a requirement then you don't wanna go that direction anyway. So from your list in the west, I'd say to focus on:

a dozen California programs

First and foremost, stay the hell out of LA! Other than that, closer to the coast and you'll be more surf oriented with a few hours drive to the Sierras, and vise versa. Tahoe would be awesome. If you need a city, Sacramento wouldn't be a bad compromise geographically, but you may have to buy a Camero and grow a mullet.

Denver, Colorado

Good or bad, you know the story here...

Albuquerque, New Mexico

While this year was a great snow and flow year for Taos, but don't be fooled--dry spells are measured in decades. Besides, Albuquerque aint Taos.

Portland, Oregon

Great choice if you don't mind a little rain.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Pretty light on local rivers, but lots of pretty decent stuff in a 3 hr drive radius. Best damn snow in the lower 48 (or anywhere else that I know of), but as of today, the anti-snowboard Nazis won't let you on Alta (same w/ Taos). Social climate in SLC is a bit stifled by the LDS and I've heard that not being a member can be an impediment to career advancement, but there's a decent sized counterculter there too.

Seattle (or Tacoma), Washington

Great choice if you don't mind a little more rain. Way bigger/more congested than Portland, but a cooler city, IMHO.

Spokane, Washington

This could be the ticket! Decent local rivers and good access to the whole panhandle area of Idaho. Great skiing nearby and a good sized (not too big) city.
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Old 07-29-2005   #14
Lawyer Scum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 45
Salt Lake City ?

I moved here from Denver two and a half years ago. I would put it way ahead of Denver area on all out of door activities with the exception of boating. Acessability to the out of doors is stellar, and when you are out the crowds are non existant. I commute to the city from Park City. It's half an hour on a bad day. My drive from Denver to Boulder had reached an hour on good evenings before I left. You have great biking right outside your door. Likewise with sking and fly fishing.

Boating is tough. There are a few park and play spots, and you go out and don't see another boater ever. You can exhast yourself on a wave and never have to observe Golden rules. If your looking to meet up with someone at the river, make arangements in advance, because you could wait all day and not see someone. You can't just show up and join a group like you would on clear creek, the numbers, etc... There are alot of steep creeking opportunities, or class II-III stuff, but nothing real close of substance.

Finally the LDS thing. I'm not out in the Bars anymore, but have not seen it be an issue yet. If you are in Park City or Salt Lake City, the majority is non LDS. If you were in another small town, it could be an issue, although they are some of the best neighbors you could ever ask for.

Finally, I would stay away from Albuquerque. I was raised in Northern New Mexico and love it, but every young person I've known there is trying to leave. Crime, poor schools and poor wages seem to be common themes.

My two cents.

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Old 07-29-2005   #15
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 50
Knoxville, TN

Knoxville is really good if you're really into boating. Thanks to TVA some rivers run all summer and then once it starts raining in the fall the creeks come up, thus we get good kayaking all year. The location also puts you within 4 hours of most southern boating. There is also good mountain biking and fishing. As far as snowboarding goes, watch the weather and go on a good day or bring your ice skates.

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Old 07-29-2005   #16
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Portland and Sea-Tac are pretty obvious first choices for boating. However, take a close look at Charlottesville, VA. By far one of the most beautiful towns in the Southeast, and it's centrally located to the WVA boating communities, as well as all of the NC mountains, and it's not that far a drive to the Potomac for lots of other year-round opportunities. There's no in-town boating options to speak of, but it's a mid-sized town with a world-class university and plenty of culture- and would be a excellent place to raise a family. Very safe, temperate climate, and your commute would likely be very short. Cost of living is lower than Colorado & California, but probably higher for the Southeast. Snowboarding is close, but it's not really worth mentioning since you've been out West for so long. Good mtn biking, trail running, etc.
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Old 07-29-2005   #17
Lewiston, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 21
For a boater choosing residency?? Important things to consider
1. Where do you want to live following residency?
2. Residency program/other residents/education/fellowships
3. Cost of living/salary
4. Boating

I did my residency (pathology) in Knoxville, TN, and give K-town two thumbs up. Cost of living is relatively cheap (way cheap compared to the west). We had a lot of contact with the radiology residents, and I think they were all pretty happy. We had to do lots of conferences together. It seemed like a good program. They also get to do quite a bit of interventional stuff the last two years. It isn't all that competitive to get into (at least it wasn't) I know two UT staff members that boat, one in anesthesia and one in ob-gyn. Lots of close boating in the smokies (close boating in just about every direction), and the Green is 2 short hours away for year around boating (although I hear that lately the green is becoming less reliable with weird flows and times).

Where you want to live following resendcy is quite important when it comes to getting a job (unless you do interventional...then you can go where ever you want), because it often depends upon who you know when it comes to getting a job. So it is often easier to get a job in the region where you trained.

I would recommend choosing your top two and doing rotations. I knew I wanted to go to knoxville prior to the match (after spending a month there) was able to list it as my only match program.

Good Luck .

(BTW enjoy fourth year, shit gets a lot tougher once you start residency)
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Old 07-29-2005   #18
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 272
stay here.. where else can you find a community of boaters like this???
"I would drag my balls across broken glass just to hear her fart into a walkie talkie" -Jay Drury
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Old 07-29-2005   #19
Krynn's Avatar
Pueblo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 46
Thanks for all the great replies.

We are still trying to figure out how important snow is in our future. We definitely kayak more that snowboard. Mountains are important. Hiking and biking. Low cost of living. Low crime.

Thanks for the good input on the best places to apply. We will likely end up applying to 30-50 programs. Then we will have to decide where the rank the places that offer interviews.

Thanks again everybody.
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Old 07-29-2005   #20
San Diego and Frisco, CO
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 107
Where to live

Hey we're not done with you!
Enjoyed reading all of this as I am tired of my town! (San Diego, go figure).
I've been going to Summit County, CO to ski and paddle for 8 years and just spent a month there in June. So everyday I check Mountainbuzz, ...just to stay in touch with Colorado boating. What is that all about?!
We have our own damn river near San Diego (the Kern) complete with the 2004 Olympic Slalom Silver Medal winner and great ocean surfing,...but somehow I wish I were back in Frisco, CO.

So here is the SoCal wrap up.
San Diego is still a great town, though getting pretty crowded. We mountain bike all winter in shirt sleeves and kayak surf some big stuff in Jan., Feb. and March. Summer is one big beach party! Can't complain about that. But if you are passionate about mountains or river kayaking...its a long drive before you are in real mountains. Its 5 hours to the Kern and 7 hours to Mammoth.
Consider Redlands, CA and Loma Linda University
Yeah, beaucoup pollution and its really LA, but its a lot closer to the Kern.

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