Why We Live in Colorado You Asked, Here's the Answer
March 21, 2014
Yesterday someone asked if I'd share where we lived. Many people have asked and in typing a reply, it morphed into this article. We are in Pueblo West, Colorado about 5 minutes from Lake Pueblo. How we ended up here is another story.
Photo: One of the marinas at Lake Pueblo. This 11-mile long reservoir is both for recreation and supplying drinking water to residents as far north as Colorado Springs.
While we still lived in Australia, all I ever wanted to do for those 51⁄2 long years every single day was to come home to America. Warts and all. It is about heritage, family, friends, humor, history and where your heart lies. Not that Australians aren't lovely people, it just wasn't home.
After Y2K, Stan and I prayed for direction. It took 6 months for an answer and even longer to sell our farmlet. The Lord showed Stan this exact property in southern Colorado. It was clearly spelled out on a map that Stan viewed. Each time he raised his head, it was pushed down again as in pay attention!
We came home to a Country we barely recognize with two Australian cattle dogs and 22,000 pounds of stuff.
For 20 years before that I lived in northern Colorado, watched many Californians move in. Along with them came drugs, gangs and New Age beliefs. The first two observations came straight from local cops who monitor these things. Don't mean to hurt feelings, just saying it true. This transition corrupted Colorado from a moderate, decent place that embraced the Constitution to a flaming liberal unrecognizable state. Now it promotes drugs, homosexuality and an array of other non-Biblical things. Now we have Denver International Airport with those goofy controversial paintings, residents actively promoting Agenda 21, and a constant battle against onerous gun control measures. Colorado has gone all loosey-goosey, all P.C. and there is a price for that.
So Stan and I live where my northern friends and I used to refer to as the 'armpit of Colorado'. (Be careful who and what you denigrate as it may come back to haunt.) It's economically lower end compared to Denver and Ft. Collins, with 42% Hispanic population in the county. Many illegals are employed on construction sites. In Pueblo West, the Hispanic population is 22%. Most own their own businesses or are military-affiliated. Because there is such an Hispanic influence in Pueblo county who embrace Catholicism, their beliefs help combat some of the nonsense running about.
Pueblo, the city proper, 20 minutes east of us, used to be a smelly town as it was a steel city. Some of the ugly steel factories are still here, downtown, but now owned by Russians, Evraz Group. Can you believe this? The mind boggles. That said, we never see anyone here running around in funny red hats speaking Ruskie.
Pueblo's steel mills went bust in 1982 and now we have some of the cleanest air anywhere in the Country and EPA needs to update their records. This area enjoys 97% good air days. Not only does the air smell sweet, but did you see the news release from the CDC yesterday? It has new evidence kids living in areas of high vehicle exhaust are 50% more likely to contract leukemia. It is well-established that people living in strong air pollution have a much higher incidence of cancer. I'm not sure how this all works as Evraz still runs the steel mills, but the air is pristine.
A couple weeks ago it was announced that Pueblo will be home to the largest solar panel array east of the Rockies worth a cool $1.4B, not the bottom-line cost of $200M. That's not what this article states, but what local radio stations said.
We have near-constant-breezes-to-big-winds, which blow all nasty air-borne stuff mostly east, some to the south. Skies are mainly clear of chemtrails and those that are sprayed have never produced the cobweb junk you hear about.
On a lesser note, Pueblo (the city) is also known as the Home of Heroes, which we have linked on the bottom of our news page. It produced an unprecedented 4 Medal of Honor recipients. That is a testament to the fortitude of our residents. As Stan and I come from a long line of military people, we honor them for their service and sacrifice.
Shopping here is pretty woeful if you want high fashion. Cas is the order of the day. Clean jeans and a nice top is good. I nearly fell over at the grocery store last week seeing someone shopping in their jammies at 7:30 a.m. Good grief, go take a shower and dress!
For more fashion selection Colorado Springs is about 40 minutes north and there is Dillards, Kohl's and several nice independent shops locally. For couture, go 2 hours north to Denver. It is doable here. There is no nail-biting traffic in Pueblo, decent shopping is within reach and land is still reasonably priced with weather next to none better. Snow melts quickly off main roads and rarely are snow plows called into action.
Photo: This view of Pueblo West looks southeast so mountains are just out of sight. We sit in a arc-shaped area where mountains are north, west and south. You can see homes don't sit on top of each other, nor can you peek into the neighbor's bathroom window. Throughout the entire area are equestrian riding paths.
When I lived in Loveland (northern CO), we had a 3⁄4-acre lot. Now you can't find that at any price there; you're lucky to snag a tiny 1⁄4 acre. Californians bought it all. This began in the prime of California real estate. Those that sold up made a killing. When they came to Colorado they had so much $$ burning their pockets, they dickered little over housing prices. This drove costs out of reach for the average Coloradan moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. One man who came into our business bragged he had so much $$ after selling his California home and buying a new one in Ft. Collins, he wasn't even going to start looking for work for a year.
We have about 1-3⁄4 acres here in Pueblo West and didn't have to sell our first born. Population is roughly 30K. When we bought this place in 2001, an acre was $16K. Now it's more but not prohibitively so. This is Colorado's last best kept secret.
As an aside, lest you think I am unfairly pounding Californians, beginning in 1977 I ran a business that required checking and recording everyone's driver's licence. It became immediately clear from where most of the newbie move-ins originated. California. Not shockingly, about 5 years later 60 Minutes ran a story on the massive influx of Golden Staters to the Centennial State. So unlike our California-mates, I wasn't smoking dope. Now 35+ years later, a pot law is a fait accompli and take a fat guess how and by whom that was passed. Of the only 2 pot-head states, Colorado is one. Not necessarily a raging endorsement when Colorado Springs is headquarters to many worldwide Christian ministries. There is a definite disconnect here.
Southern Colorado is home to a lot of Texans, which is all good as we and they share similar values. There is a lot of cross-breeding between the two states if you just look at the names of rivers, counties, towns and such. La Veta, which is southwest of us, is known as "Little Texas" as so many from the Lone Star state have bought up this area. It enjoys phenomenal views of the Spanish Peaks, which we see out the kitchen window.
Image: This migration map shows that during the 50s and 60s many people moved to California. However the trend has completely reversed starting in the 90s through today. The great move out actually began much earlier, but this wasn't studied by the Census Bureau on this map. Who can blame them for wanting to get away from crushing taxes? According to Californians Fleeing 'Nanny State' for Texas, the top reasons they're leaving include "a bad business climate, high taxes, and bad government. Those leaving believe it's going to get worse, not better."
In the mid-70s to mid-80s, we had a Democrat governor, Dick Lamm. He studied law in California, lived in Berkeley and later moved to Denver. You knew he had some off-the-wall ideas when Time Magazine quoted him saying that elderly, terminally ill patients, have “a duty to die and get out of the way... so that our kids can build a reasonable life."1 Despite this Lamm was a strong leader and not this silly puff ball we have in office now, Hickenlooper.
We don't interface much with the local politicos as they are as much full of blarney, cut-throat politics and nonsense as anywhere. However, we have formed deep friendships with neighbors and that's what counts.
After 911, even the powers-that-be came down from Denver to our city council meeting to best understand how to deal with terrorism. Our politicos gave them a 3-inch binder of how-to's so I think we're reasonably well prepared. The main onus is still on the individual as it is everywhere. Forget FEMA altogether. It is a death sentence.
We get about 12" of rain a year, a bit less, which is considered semi-arid, but compared to living in the miserably hot humid cloudy crummy sucky sweaty sticky days of Kansas City, this is heaven. Lived there 20 years. If you're an outside person, that is not the place to be. I've been blessed with good health by the grace of God and good genes except for SAD Seasonal Affected Disorder. Gray days make me truly depressed. I observed this behavior as a kid while living in K.C., but there was no name for it then. It just was. A thing to deal with and I thought I was just weird. Now when we get a rare day or two without sunshine, I know it's a passing thing and it doesn't bug me. Instead, days here are gloriously uplifting!
Photo: East Spanish Peak (left), 12,688 feet and West Spanish Peak, 13,626 feet, Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ) Mountains, Colorado.
I've now lived in Colorado 31 years and can't imagine home some place else. The fact that the Lord showed Stan this was where we should move underscores the feeling. There is LIFE outside year round in this lovely weather. It's mild enough that you can jog, walk your dogs, BBQ, ride a bike, feel warm sun on your face, etc. probably 360 days out of 365.
We have good friends in Montana, close to the Canadian border, who want us to move there, but frankly it's too cold, too wet and too cloudy, so we're content here despite its drawbacks. No place on this planet is perfect. Some places are just better and more clever than others.
I'm not saying that this is a safe place, it's just where God specifically showed Stan He wanted us. We all have to die sometime. That was 13 years ago, so here we are. We are only 30 minutes from the mountains where Stan and I take our dogs on a weekly picnic. You can get lost there, see no one, literally, and pretend everything is still right with the world. You can breathe in pine-fragrant air, listen to it whisper through trees, hike and watch the birds and deer play. Take a mental enema. Relax. Where else can you find this peace?
1 Time, April 9th, 1984, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lamm