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Hi Mountain Buzz. Not sure if this is the best section for this question so please move it if it isn't. I've been lurking around the forums for years, but just created a profile. Figured this would be a great place to pose my question.

I've been a traveling raft guide for a few years now on the American (lived most of my life in Coloma/Placerville), Rogue, and now working on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. Then traveling around most of the year.

I'm looking into finding my home base, besides the back of my car.

So what are some good places around the USA that I can:

-Continue to guide a fun river(day trips are fine)
-Has pretty low cost of living (so I can eventually buy a home)
-Has a good boater/outdoorsy community
-Has a good community as a whole (Active, healthy, younger, etc)
-doesn't have SUPER extreme weather. I'm not a huge winter guy and have been chasing the endless summer around the world for awhile. I'm not super opposed to snow, but nothing extreme!

I don't want to be radically specific, but please let me know. I'm planning on heading out east for Gauley season this year. So will be checking out a lot of east coast places.

Right now the list is:

Boise
Fort Collins (expensive)
Asheville

Thanks a lot for any insights!
 

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I'll throw Morgantown, WV in the mix.

Big enough to find good work (you cannot guide forever....just nearly)
Fun town with WVU...plenty of easy college girls
Under an hour to the lower and upper yough, cheat narrows and canyon, tygrat, n. branch of the potomac, casselman, savage, stoney, sandy....and a million creeks.
Probably the most liberal city in west by god...not saying it's liberal, just more than the rest.
Rapidly growing city, low local and state taxes.

Really a nice area.
 

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Boise and Fort Collins are giant cities. Fayetteville, WV and Salida, CO might be good choices. If you live in Salida you may find yourself driving to WV every year, which can be nice, but the 6+ month WV guiding season from the comfort of home might be worth considering.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the suggestions! The WV, NC, Tenn areas are giving me a lot of consideration. Especially the lower cost of living. Seems as though a guide in those areas can have a decent livelihood. I'm especially interested in coming home after a day on the water!

Keep the ideas coming guys. This year will consist of a lot of driving and checking places out before and after my Salmon season. So I just plan on visiting a bunch of places and settling in somewhere in the fall.
 

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No one mentioned the Ocoee in TN.

Nice long boating season, Ocoee is release driven, close to a couple nice sized cities for possible off the river employment and tons of close in creek runs most of the year they run at decent levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Does anyone have any suggestions for places in NC?

Also, what is the year round life like in Fayetteville? Looks like a really cool town and my Gauley friends said they like it a lot.

I'm def. a small town guy, but was thinking a slightly bigger town would be nicer for the transition.

Also, at least a small population of younger single women is very important! Small towns can be difficult for meeting potential lady friends!

Keep the ideas coming guys. I'm considering anywhere...
 

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Anybody have any other ideas?

Any info on Southern Oregon. I lived in Merlin/Grants Pass for a Summer working on the Rogue. I def. liked it. Was thinking of checking out the town of Jacksonville. Ashland was cool, but probably a little too yuppie for me.
 

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Anybody have any other ideas?

Any info on Southern Oregon. I lived in Merlin/Grants Pass for a Summer working on the Rogue. I def. liked it. Was thinking of checking out the town of Jacksonville. Ashland was cool, but probably a little too yuppie for me.
Jacksonville is sweet, but it can be hard to settle down there without money. Property is expensive, and the commute would cost as much as rent/mortgage. My advice is to look into Talent. It is 5 miles North of Ashland, and seems to be the most reasonable cost of living in SO without being in the sticks or Medford. Talent gives an escape from the Ashland yuppies and there are four outfitters within 10 miles.

Living a little further South of GP gives you the Nugget run on the Rogue and Upper Klamath as day trip options, but there are a dozen runs(Cal. Salmon, Scott, Illinois, Trinity, etc.) within a 3 hour drive. Plus, having SOU near by keeps the rotation of ladies constant. A night out on the town can be fun. They don't call it Assland for nothing...
 

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Boise and Fort Collins are giant cities. Fayetteville, WV and Salida, CO might be good choices. If you live in Salida you may find yourself driving to WV every year, which can be nice, but the 6+ month WV guiding season from the comfort of home might be worth considering.
not sure how Boise a city of 200k is considered a giant city. but okay.... maybe its huge compared to a "town" like Salida. But as far as cities go, its pretty small.
 

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Also, what is the year round life like in Fayetteville? Looks like a really cool town and my Gauley friends said they like it a lot.
Fayetteville is a pretty cool little town and it has alot of amentities in the area. I'd 100% consider living there if I didn't work in Charleston.

It has some good places to eat and drink (better than most area in wv actually), obviously TONS and TONS of year round boating within 30 mins and all types of it at that, lots of rock climbing, you are less than an hour from the larger cities of Charleston, Beckley and Summersville, during the winter there is skiing about an hour away, best smallmouth fishing in the nation and lots of trout, musky and walleye opportunity, crazy cheap to live anywhere in WV and Fayetteville has a young outdoorsy population. Winters are cold (avg 25ish with a low near 0) with some snow but nothing crazy and summers are warm (avg 85ish with highs near 100).

Morgantown would be a decent option too....much larger and than Fayetteville and growing fast but heavy on the college kids. Some good eats, LOTS of bars and partying and decent Whitewater options to the east but still not coming close to approaching Fayetteville's amount of paddling or guiding ops. I got tired of living in Morgantown, but some do like it. Less than an hour to Pittsburg and a couple hours from DC. It's colder up there but not a Ton of winter stuff but you would have Canaan Valley and Wisp if you ski a few hours away.
 

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Fort Collins is definitely a giant city on par with New York, Tokyo or Mexico City. A world class international city like Fort Collins may not be for everyone, but there are definitely benefits to living in such a metropolis.

Fort Collins is great, I live here, and I'd recommend it to anyone. That said it is not a year round boating destination. The Poudre is great in season - but the season is short. Fort Collins is a great place to live for hundreds of reasons that don't include boating. The 3.5 months of boatable Poudre is just a bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wouldn't list year round boating has a necessity, but a long season is nice. Especially a place with plenty of runs nearby.

I'm more considering places with cheaper cost of living.

WV is up there, but the weather trips me out a bit, plus how far I would be from CA to visit.

Any other western towns people can recommend?

It's funny the more I write what I want the more I realize its here in Nor Cal minus the cheap cost of living.
 

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Is Northern Cali gonna finally get some snow? The last 3 years have been bad. I'm from Reno and it's the same here. It's nice to have a lot of options but water is obviously the most important factor. I'm hoping for several big wet storms.

I did live around the fayetnam area for a few years. To me WV is one of the best spots year round. The PNW isn't bad either but can be expensive. If the weather was above 20 degrees, we were boating.


Woke up this morning at 10:13.
 
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