I have been thinking about this for a while. I should start by saying that in the last 12 years I have lived in:
- Denver – about 7 months during Air Force technical training.
- Germany – 3 years and traveled throughout most of Europe during that time.
- Turkey – Spent 6 months camping out on an Air Force deployment to Incirlik AFB which is right outside of Adana. Was able to travel to Mersin a few times.
- Phoenix – for 1 year. Traveled to Flagstaff several times, Vegas a few times.
- Chicago – Worked for Fermilab right next to Aurora. Went to college at NIU in Dekalb Illinois. Was born and raised in Rock Falls Illinois, a few hours from Chicago.
- Twin Cities – worked for Lockheed in Eagan and live out in Le Center, a long commute but a nice town and the nicest neighborhood I have ever lived in.
- Iowa – have lived here for the last 2 years.
- Cost of living – it is cheap to live here. Especially housing. You can get about whatever you want. You can live by water, on a golf course, in town, in the sticks, new houses, old houses, whatever. If you want to buy land, you can find it at a reasonable price. The price of our home is less than twice my annual income. That is an excellent ratio that could never happen in a metro area.
- Meat – I like steaks. I work with a lot of people that farm on the side. We recently bought half of a cow from one of these guys. We had the cow butchered and now have a freezer full of meat. The sirloins are the best I think I have ever had. We have been cooking them on the grill, they are outstanding. We are going to buy a pig sometime soon. There is no shortage of meat here.
- Corn – I am a little burned out on corn right now. But when I was in Germany I was dying for some good corn on the cob. I think that Iowa and Illinois have the best corn in the world, no contest.
- Mississippi River – We live in an old, old river town. We go to the river and walk along the trails once in a while. It is cool to watch the barges go through the locks, and also to watch the barges go down the river. The river isn’t as big as it is in Arkansas or Mississippi, but it is a lot bigger than up in the Twin Cities.
- Proximity – We are about 3 hours from Chicago, 5 hours from the Twin Cities, 30 minutes from Iowa City (U of Iowa), 30 minutes from the Quad Cities (Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline), 5 hours from Kansas City and 6 hours from St. Louis. I-80 is about 10 miles away, it can take you to New York, San Francisco or anyplace in between.
- Traffic – What traffic?
- Crowds – What crowds?
- Diversity – believe it or not, the population here is diverse. I absolutely love Mexican food. Lucky for us, there is a decent size hispanic population here and there are plenty of very authentic Mexican restaurants to choose from. Most are small, not fancy and very cheap with excellent service and excellent food.
- Bandwidth – We seem to have plenty of bandwidth believe it or not. I can’t complain about my isp at all.
- Polite People – The people are polite here. If you needed help, someone would help you out. I’m not sure if people are as friendly as the people of Minnesota, but pretty close.
- Hunting – I am not much of a hunter now, but I used to bow hunt deer. If you want to hunt deer, or birds, this is the place to be. Unfortunately between work and school I haven’t had the time to do it.
- Free Wireless – All rest stops on the interstates in Iowa provide free wireless internet access.
- Hardwood – If you are in to woodworking, the availability and cost of hardwoods here is unbeatable. White Oak typically sells for $2 per board foot.
- Tech Jobs – I have a pretty decent technical job here. I am pretty happy with it. The “cool factor” isn’t really there, but it could be a lot worse. If something every happened to this job, I would probably be moving. There are not a lot of technical jobs here. There are some, just not like being around the larger metro areas.
- Radio – I think that most radio sucks anymore, but it seems to be exceptionally bad here. There are a couple stations that are marginal, but most suck.
- Seafood – If you want decent seafood in Iowa, you better bring your own.
I will probably add more to this later. I am tired and drawing blanks right now.