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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a line on a job in Grand Junction but I've never been there. I'm sure many of you on this forum have experience in the area with all the rivers down that way.

What is it like?
It looks great from the web, whats the local culture like?
Family friendly?
Are the outdoors accessible?

Looks like Moab is about two hours away can't beat that!

Any knowledge would be appreciated. I'm in Coeur d'Alene Id and have a family of five.
 

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Grand Junction is pretty laid back town. Our river does have surf waves now above 29rd with low to high flows doesnt have a great eddy to bring ya back up so ya have to walk back up the shore if you get down to far. A great town run easy mostly a booze cruise in the summer we have lots of traffic down the river with rafting guides and tubers. We have many accessible river put ins and outs. Lots of bike trails. Very family friendly outdoor activities to be had Frisbee Golf up in palisade right by the river there is alot to do ya just gota get out and do it. I love this town i pretty much grew up in it & theres always westwater not to far away if you wana do a night trip or day only thing sucks is that you need a permit. If you need any other info hit me up!
 

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Bit different than Couer D'Alene. More like Boise with less culture. Gets super hot in the summer. Great access to the outdoors. Utah is right on your doorstep....southern Utah has some of the best recreatin' in the world. Boating is better where you are,but GJ always has ruby/HT/Westwater. Etc....

You gain some things,you lose some things....
 

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I love GJ. I grew up there, from age 0 to 18, and my dad lives there, and my mom actually now lives in Moab. Although nowadays I typically only cruise through for a day or two, I have spent a lot of time in both places. In general, the Junc town is quite conservative, but there is an increase of liberal folk moving to the valley, and a new foodie/good beer/more chill people revolution is taking place. It boasts some of the best mountain biking in CO, and there are many great skiing and kayaking options within a few hours or less. Access to Utah (I grew up going to Lake Powell and Moab a lot) is super easy also. Great place to raise kids: good schools, public and private, awesome outdoor activity to get them into, and the binge drinking desert parties are essentially no more (although I learned quite a bit in those early days of middle and high school dirt parties). I learned to kayak and row a raft on the fun multi-day runs close by, including Westwater, Ruby Horsethief, Cataract, and the Gunnison runs. Plateau creek is a fun beginning run as well. Escalante Creek (45 mins out of downtown) is one of the best early season IV+/V- options in the state, and Glenwood is little over an hour drive with the Shoshone and Barrell Springs runs on the Colorado River. Although I was eager to leave the place after high school, I realized after going back over the past 10 years that I took GJ for granted while growing up, as it really is a beautiful place. Hit up Kannah Creek Brewing Company for great beer and good bar eats, Bin 707 for fine modern American grub, Enstrom Candies for the toffee, Taqueria Guadalajara (7th and Pitkin) for bomber street tacos (say hi to Hilda and Maria for me), and bring the road bike to kick your ass riding up the Colorado National Monument. Powderhorn, on the Grand Mesa, is a great little ski area when they have good snow, and the mesa itself has really nice fishing and camping spots all over. Grand Junction is a nice Colorado living option that is in between mountain style living, desert living, and urban front range style living, with great access to the whole state from being right on 1-70. Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any questions!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow thanks for the great replies! I will go ahead and look into it further. I hear the winters are mild compared to north Idaho. Is that the case? Can you bike through the winter for example? If we make a move we'd like an easier winter with more sunshine. Our area doesn't get many sunny days November through March.
 

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I grew up in GJ and have mostly good things to say, but a few bad things:

Good:

Colorado Mesa University Outdoor Program- this organization is run by a good friend. They're a very inclusive group, and they wouldn't hesitate to bring you along on one of their many kayaking, climbing, rafting, international trips etc. if you got to know them. This was my biggest sense of community in GJ.

Although it's hot in the summer, it's not THAT HOT, maybe only around 100 for a few weeks in June and then the monsoons cool it down. It's very deserty. I visit my family often in GJ, and once you reach Green River, Utah on your drive down, everything starts looking like a barren moonscape.

Winter is similar to Boise, but it's generally cold enough to snow instead of rain, and there's less precipitation. A typical snowstorm might drop 4 inches of snow. GJ also gets many inversions during the winter.

Close proximity to the BEAUTIFUL parks of the Colorado Plateau. The shoulder seasons are very nice, talking October and March- times of year are great to get some sunshine, while Idaho is still cloudy and rainy.

I remember that Kannah Creek Brewery was good hangout.

The skiing is very good, relative to Boise. Powderhorn Ski Area is only 45 minutes away from town and the cost is very reasonable. I know you have some really nice areas up there, but I don't know how they would compare. A little further up the I-70 corridor brings a bunch more options (1 to 3.5 hours away). Some of the options are very expensive, but they often sell 4 packs for good deals early in the year. The good news is that you don't have the traffic from Denver to contend with because you go the opposite direction as the rat race. The bad news is you have much longer to drive in many cases.

Boating has been covered extensively. The season just doesn't last that long and the further south you go, the more variable the snow pack gets. One year you'll have 180 percent of normal and the next year, you may have 25 percent of normal and fires everywhere. A good water year in Colorado doesn't hold a candle to a bad year in Idaho. Depending on your choice rivers or creeks, the Gunnison drainage has some nice clear river stretches with class II to V choices. The Roaring Fork near Aspen provides some short season creeking options. The Upper Animas and Piedra provide some 4-5, but it's a bit of a drive..... no prettier mountains than the San Juans! Black Canyon expedition 5 and Gunny Gorge are 3 close options for non-competitive permit options.

Bad:
Grand Junction is dependent on energy production. If things are good, you'll have a bunch of rednecks driving huge trucks around doing redneck- stupid things. If times are bad, unemployment hits the roof because most people are tied to energy. The town has a flaming redneck-conservative stench to it, but there are pockets of progressiveness. If you loose your job someday, you could always start your own meth lab..... no Spokompton is not the meth capital, it's Grand Junction!

It's also just too damn dry down there for my tastes. The rivers don't compare to Idaho and there isn't nearly as much wilderness. Although the San Juan mountains are unbelievable! If you ever decide you would like to move up the I-70 corridor to where vegetation and trees grow, good luck.... houses start at one million dollars and up!!
 

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the binge drinking desert parties are essentially no more (although I learned quite a bit in those early days of middle and high school dirt parties).

Taqueria Guadalajara (7th and Pitkin) for bomber street tacos (say hi to Hilda and Maria for me),


Dirt Parties, and Taco Wagon?? Andy, How are you?
 

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Malfunction Junction, went to college there before my boating career. Great swimming holes around town for summer time fun. Great motorcycle riding in the desert and exceptional off road and on road bicycling. You'll love it!
 

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There was an earthquake there just a couple of days ago!!!

My friend Buck likes living there, he'll probably write something about it.
 

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Place is awesome sick boating almost year round with a 0-3hr drive, sick skiing very close, great fly fishing close, sick climbing close, the grand Mesa to cool off in the summer, fruit stands everywhere jus like Cali, sick mt and dirt biking, the town is blowing up... to me it's the new hot spot in CO, many rednecks, liberals, farmers and students make it interesting culturally, college there just became a state school and they are really taking over the town expanding with awesome new facilities. (President is a righty but he is brining a ton of money to the school/town and they love art) Cheap living jus make sure you get central air for the summer, vineyards, tons of art, cool downtown, weather sunny and mild except the hot summers, have a lot of friends with parents who are retiring there, what town doesn't have meth? I live in denver and have been trying to get my girl to move there for 2 Years it's got everything except all the Denver/scummit county traffic, tourist and gapers you will love it!!! Also I would look into certain neighborhoods some will be far more educated and family oriented vs rental hoods that are mostly oil rig workers who work two weeks on two weeks off those guys get rowdy. Great adventure 360 degrees around that town!
 

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I, too, am a GJ Native. I'd live there again if the opportunity was right (I'm a no good, gaper front ranger these days). I share Outlaw's outlook (I'm also a flaming liberal no good gaper front ranger.. forgot about that) on the economy and general stereotype of the valley. GJ has always been tied to the fossil fuel economy and when the prices fall the mood and temperament of a large population slice becomes very pronounced. Still, it's an awesome place with the good far outweighing the bad. If you're a mtn biker it's as good as it gets in the state, in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all, I love this forum. It sounds good enough to look into further. The whole political thing I'm not worried about I keep my opinions to myself. It sounds like it could be an adventure for the family. It's a long way from home but we're finding that kinda appealing.

I would hate to move anywhere where we felt limited with the outdoors.
 

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Let me add a couple more things:

Gunnison Gorge is really pretty, and it makes for a great day kayaking trip. The flows are good enough year round for a low water kayaking trip or rafting overnighter. The flows are dam controlled and minimal most of the year, but rarely too low. It's a 1.5 mile hike down (easy trail) to the river. You don't need a permit, but you do need a strong back if rafting. The canyon is very pretty and isolated (14 miles long). Epic shuttle (2 hours one way) requiring a mountain bike for the last 2 miles or a Subaru or higher clearance vehicle. No permit

Cross Mountain Gorge is better whitewater and has easy access and shuttle. Probably 2.5 hours to the put-in 5 mile trip. Great year round whitewater unless frozen... class varies with flow V at >3000 cfs, down to class III at 500 cfs or less. Classic run that people don't give enough credit too. Hope this helps. No permit.
 

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Probably not on Outside's top ten best kept secrets, but Fruita and Palisade are better choices. We have a significant group of resort town exiles that grew tired of twenty dollar cheeseburgers and pretending a walkin closet was actually a bedroom. The climate is actually quite mild with four seasons. A great central location for a wide range of outdoor pursuits. We certainly struggle in the culinary department, but another outdoor family always has a spot on a future westwater or cat trip. Marc
 

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Junction proper has less of the oil/gas people and meth issues. The outside towns: palisade, orchard mesa, Mack, delta, fruita see more of those groups. But costs will be less for housing in those places too.

If your kids are anywhere near college age, or when they do Mesa is excellent. They have an outdoor program that is one of the best in the country. International trips every major break, weekly pool session, 2-9 day rafting trips, skiing, kayaking, climbing, afternoon outings. Students are the leaders, non paid or on work study. I learned to kayak there, and in turn became the kayak instructor for years, still going back occasionally to help. Great group.

Ideal days: ski powder in the morning, paddle in the afternoon, go climbing in the evening. Could to multi sports all over. Downtown is great, biking....road or trail, some of the best.
 

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Yellowcake Town

Cautionary tale at this link. A couple of highlights pasted below.

Radioactive mill tailings still an issue | GJFreePress.com

Grand Junction once had the dubious distinction of being known as the “most radioactive town in America.” During the 1950s and 1960s, local contractors and homeowners would load trucks of the sandy-like tailings left over from the former Climax uranium mill site near the Colorado River and use it for back fill and for mixing cement. At the time it wasn't widely known, locally anyway, that the waste product was highly radioactive.

The tailings were used in foundations of homes, sidewalks, patios, streets, schools and commercial buildings.

State and federal remediation programs removed or mitigated many of the radioactive tailings from 1972 to 1998. It was a voluntary program and some owners refused to allow the government to clean up their property. Out of 8,000 known tailings properties in Mesa County approximately 5,000 were cleaned up, said Paul Oliver last year before he retired from the state health department.

Homes that were cleaned up under the first program, the Grand Junction Remediation Action Program, were not remediated to the same standards of the clean-up that came later, the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Program.

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Unfortunately, they say, out of about 575 real estate agents, only a few order mill tailings reports on their listings.

The information is free and available to anyone. For a 25 cent copying fee, Elsberry will provide a hard copy of the report.


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“There's definitely a duty to disclose,” Toll said.

And in a city like Grand Junction where the health department is making a concerted effort to educate real estate agents, ignorance of the issue is no excuse for not telling clients that the presence of mill tailings are a possibility, Toll said.

In fact, “we'd be more likely to take an action,” Toll said. “We'd open up an investigation against a real estate agent and bring him or her before the Colorado Real Estate Commission. Penalties could range from public censure to suspension of license to revocation of license.”
 

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They have Taco Bell! The best part is you can leave whenever u want! If your big in to rednecks and flat water it is a rad town!!!
 

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GJ is OK...do you suppose all that radioactivity has anything to do with this....

YOUTUBE Mike the Headless Chicken by GodofMars



Mike was probably the GJ area 's most notable citizen.
 

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The thing I remember about living in Junction is that it never really cools off at night in the summer. The heat from Utah backs up against Grand Mesa and the book cliffs. You will notice about every house in town has a swamp cooler on top. Make sure when you rent......that the swamp cooler works and is in good condition......especially if you rent something in the winter before the heat sets in. Good luck. I did like living there as there is a ton of outdoor stuff to do. Colorado National Monument is right there too.....fond memories of hiking and swimming in hidden pools.
 
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