Arizona Buckeyes

LouGroza's picture
August 27, 2012 at 8:57a

The wife and I are possibly looking to relocate to Arizona. Always wanted to go that direction and with the third and last off to college we are ready to go. Would like to hear from fellow Buckeyes in Arizona. What do you think of the place after living there a while? We know that a couple of years at a location can be great but over time that can change. I have family out there, a cousin, and they like it but we would like some other feedback. Also if you have any suggestions or thoughts on the best places in AZ to live would be great. On the flip side, where not to be in the state. How does the weather suit you? I know the temps get high but without humidity at times seems much better than the heat and humidity of south central Ohio. I've got RA so I need the dry weather. Have considered Vegas as well and am open to any really good place to live in that area of the country. We will be taking on condo life as we are both ready to be relieved of taking care of our country property. We are young to be retired, so definitely not ready for a "retirement" community. Just ready to enjoy life after much hard work. Also have to be able to watch Buckeye football, forgot the important part. Any insight would be appreciated. Sorry if this offends anyone, as I am certain it will. If not sight appropriate please remove. Thanks for any help/info from a fellow Buckeye fanatic of 45 years.

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AGL's picture



bedheadjc's picture

Prescott if you:
-Like country
-Drive a truck exclusively
-Have a mustache
-Want to limit your financial possibilities
Prescott is the country verison of Flagstaff. That said it is pretty and the weather beats the Valley hands down. Lots of country folk and retirees, a very pretty town square, and a Whisky Row that burns down every ten years or so.
More to follow below regarding Phx, Flagstaff, Tucson.

LouGroza's picture

Love the descriptive specs. How about a 6' 1", 220 lb., shaved head, full goatee guy that my youngest daughter describes as a scary looking human being? Could not be more wrong as that can be construed as a very lovable guy as she well knows. Anyway appreciate the info but wonder about why Whisky Row burns down so often?

bedheadjc's picture

No idea on Whisky Row. It has just happened twice lately, more than that historically. It was/is a neat area for bar nightlife.
Your look would fit in with the bikers, and Rolex Riders who inundate Prescott (and nearby Jerome) every weekend living out their Born to be Wild fantasies.
I hear you on being large and intimidating but cuddly :)

pompano buckeye's picture

I say you just suck it up regarding your RA, get you a small efficiency near OSU campus and enjoy the really important things in!
Enjoy your change, wherever you happen to land.  Good Luck!

“...indomitable in victory, insufferable in defeat.” Woody Hayes

Alhan's picture

I personally enjoy my trips to Tucson (have friends in the area) and have been looking for a job down there for some time now (I live in C-Bus at the moment).  Lot of stuff going on in Phoenix, but there is a definite difference in feel between those two cities, and Tucson is close enough to drive there for stuff.  If you didn't need it dry, Flagstaff is awesome, but it sounds like you're wanting somewhere further south.  Good luck to you wherever you decide!

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Buckeyejason's picture

Arizona's great if you like Hispanic culture, blazing heat, and desert terrain. 


LouGroza's picture

Thanks for the responses. Looking for a good, clean, as much as possible crime free community. 

bedheadjc's picture

Tucson is a nice alternative to Phx. Do not move there if you are a racist (not assuming you are!). Tucson has been a primarily Hispanically cultured city since before the US became a country. Its proximity to the border ensures that you will have to deal with some of the increasing border issues. Not violence necessarily but a heavy Border Patrol presence. The Hispanic culture there is awesome though. Easily the best Mexican food places in the state, a lively music scene, etc. Tucson is at a slightly higher elevation than Phx and that means it's about 3-5 degrees cooler at any time. Slightly downtrodden appearance makes it the little brother or sister of Phx. Tucson does have a really weird mix of neighborhoods. Rich near poor with industry and business thrown in. Pretty desert (and pine farther off) mountains surround it. The pace of life there is slower than in Phx. Business opportunities are fairly good. Lots of jobs supporting the Air Force base there.
Tucson is also the biggest city that still has a somewhat Old West/Old Mexico feel that people expect when moving out here but don't realize has been lost in Phx. I like it for that aspect particularly.

bedheadjc's picture

Flagstaff is hands down my favorite city here and I would live there if I could. Sitting at 7000ft at the base of the highest peak in AZ it is a perfect mountain town. Gorgeous, cool, green, only light snow in the winters. Its climate is perfect. As a college town it attracts the usual hippie/college/artist community. Has a great downtown area only slightly starting to be commercialized. Plenty to do with the most active and healthy population in the state. Everyone wants to live there. Everyone. We all can't because there is a very small number of jobs available and they are guarded like the crown jewels of England. You either have to know somebody, be a relative, or an absolute superstar at what you do to find a job there. Most are university jobs or working for Gore (of Goretex), maybe some healthcare slots. Also Flagstaff's max population is an absolute. The city's growth is directly tied to its water supply and it is maxed out with water use restrictions during the hottest summers. This means property costs/values are very high. Small homes regularly exceed$400k...reminds me of San Diego's market.
I'd move there in a second. But I have been here 30 years and haven't made it yet (except for college). You can try a banzai run to Flag and decide to work two or three small service jobs, and live in an apartment (if you can find one) or trailer on the not as "cool" outskirts if you absolutely must move straight there.
Alsothe best coffee house in AZ is there: Macy's. Just amazing.

bedheadjc's picture

I wrote a huge rant about Phx and lost it. Sigh. Don't move here it is too hot and only getting hotter. Too many people. Too much sprawl (hundreds of square miles of concrete and asphalt).
It's the worst and best parts of LA. Another LA...because we really really need one , right?
Move to Gilbert, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Queen Creek if you have to come to Phx. Flagstaff/Williams or Pinetop/Lakeside/Show Low up north.
If you have questions just ask. I don't want to type the Phx rant again.
If I were you I'd look at Colorado. Lots of smalll towns that aren't exploding with population or heat issues.
OH, forgot: Phoenix has the largest population of OSU grads in the country. So lots and lots of people to shout O-H at and watch games with. This grad population is why the NC games here looked like OSU home games. I was at both and the NC game in Tempe had Mill Avenue  looking like High St. Maybe one Miami fan for every 20-30 OSU fans. It was awesome.

penult's picture

BEDHEAD gives good info, I'll second all of that.  I would say PHX is usually 5-8 degrees hotter than Tucson in the summer, and can be more humid (takes longer to cool off at night).  Tucson seems to be continually expanding, so things can change. 
-also, I'm assuming RA is referring to arthritis and not reactive airways or asthma or something.  If that's that case, Tucson and PHX should be great, if the it's the latter it would be questionable, sadly.

LouGroza's picture

I get asked about any and all wildlife as well by the wife. Do you see many snakes, lizards, or anything else getting in homes? I told her it would be minimal if it does but this way I can say I've asked others. Unfortunately rheumatoid arthritis set in just prior to hitting fifty. I am lucky I guess it could have been earlier. Always very athletic and strong. Thought I was invincible and would be the last one that my body wouldn't hold up on. Just goes to show you not to take your health for granted. I am waiting for my immune system to build up enough to get one of my shoulders replaced. I have to take infusions every 8 weeks for 2 hours a pop. Just as if I had cancer, which I thank God I do not have and pray for those that do. The infusions (sit with an IV in your arm for 2 hrs.) take out my immune system so my better half worries a lot. But just do what you have to do and life goes on as it keeps it at bay, hopefully. Sorry for the rant, just over-answering your question. But that is why we want to get somewhere where the weather works, in a condo without worries and a nice community. Really appreciate all the help. Bedhead does great work!

bedheadjc's picture

And finally (whew!) you should check out Wickenburg. It's a little ex-mining community about 45 minutes northwest of Phoenix in the desert foothills. it is out of the way enough to be slow paced, and the housing costs are low. You might think of it as a lower rent Cave Creek (which is a rich desert suburb of Scottsdale). It still has some western charm, small population but access to the Valley's medical care. It is about 5 degrees cooler than Phoenix, and gets light snow that doesn't stick maybe twice a winter. It's gaining an artist community. My mother in law lives there semi-retired. Beautiful high desert surrounding it.

bedheadjc's picture

Well if oversharing and having an opinion (and what that implies) works then I am your man. You're welcome :)
As for the wildlife, the sprawl has taken care of most of that here in the desert. The only fauna that you'll see in the city proper are birds, lizards, and Black Widows. The lizards are totally harmless and I'd advise you not to kill them. They eat all of the bugs. Any good house has three or four running around the outside, particularly the ubiquitous cinder block walls surrounding the houses. We have a gecko who lives in the housing of our front doorway light. He does good work keeping the insects down. Black Widows can be found in dry corners of outdoor garden sheds and the like. They rarely come inside homes since there are no bugs to hunt inside. If you see a Black Widow kill it. Nasty things. Big enough and black enough to be hard to miss. Scorpions are also sometimes found. Again mostly on the desert fringes of cities. The common bark scorpion sting hurts like a wasp hit (used to work where they were plentiful). I have never found a scorpion in my house. If you have a exterminator do your house once or twice a year you'll never have to worry about any of this. Ants also.
You have to live on the edges of the desert cities to see anything real interesting. Snakes happen, coyotes, javelina, and Gila Monsters too. Most of these are seen in suburbs whose landscaping blends into the desert edges. All are rare enough to not be a worry.
The odd black bear will get into some garbage in the mountain cities, and there's always some hiker or cyclist who gets scared by a Mountain Lion in the mountains outside of Tucson.
Truthfully, Arizona is a hunters paradise. 70% public lands, around 90% hunter accessible. Great Game and Fish dept., fair hunt drawings. And every big game species in the lower 48 except for moose. Great bird shooting, Awesome fishing, especially trout up north. The scenery is amazing.

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

I lived in Tucson for two years and it is a great place.  Similar population to Columbus and home to a large University (U of A).  The heat is not as bad as Phoenix as it is at a higher elevation but during the months of May and June it is pretty unbearable.  The monsoons come around the 4th of July and cool things off but even then during the summer I would try to get out of town during my weekends.  Arizona is beautiful though. Extremely diverse environments from The Sonoran Desert up to the high alpine mountains all across the state.  
Also there are a bunch of midwesteners all across the state especially from Ohio.  There are a bunch of Buckeye fans and finding a place to watch the games in Tucson with fellow fans is not difficult.