Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Move to Albuquerque

Some of you know that I have been planning a move Southwest to Albuquerque, New Mexico. For others, it may come as a surprise. I have lived in Pottawattamie County, Iowa for nearly 30 years. When I moved here, I thought I would live in this house until I died or had to move into a care facility. Things and priorities have changed.

In 2005, I suffered a stroke caused by a failed heart valve. To keep this part of the story short, suffice it to say that the cardiac rehab folks wanted to know what I was going to do to keep active. I settled on riding a bicycle.

Since a kid, I was the family photographer. I started carrying a camera in the pocket of my cycling jersey. Soon, riding my bicycles and taking photos of bike trails became my passion. There was a problem. Living 2 miles down a gravel road takes me to busy, high-traffic roads with no shoulder. I had to load the bike on the car rack and drive 13 miles plus to a bike trail.

For several years, I drove to the trailhead, unload the bike, and pedal on down the trails. One year I logged over 3300 miles on my bikes.

During my trips, I generally had at least one bicycle with me. I started planning trips with destinations where I can stop for a couple days and ride my bikes. It has been a great way to explore the area. A bike ride on unfamiliar trails adds some adventure. It gave me the opportunity to shoot some awesome photos for my “Bicycle Trails” calendar.

In Moab, Utah, I was planning a bike ride. Traffic was terrible in the little town. I decided to start my ride from my room. It was an enjoyable experience. I have had similar experiences in Kalispell, MT and Decorah, IA. 

Being in my 60s with my health issues, it was becoming dangerous for me living by myself in the country. Besides the distance to medical facilities, I am serviced my a volunteer fire department and rescue squad.

It because clear, I needed to move into a town – A town/city with a good bicycling infrastructure. My Army Reunion trips have given my the chance to look at locations that have what I was looking for.

I could just move into a place in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. But, I have had enough of the cold and humidity. I visited a cousin in Albuquerque, NM. The weather is more moderate and drier. They have an awesome bicycle trail system. Should I want, skiing is about an hour away. I found a motel a block off the trail system. The area has lots to see and do. Many opportunities for photography.

Over the last 6 years. I have been making 1 or 2 trips a year to Albuquerque. I found the climate is more temperate, I can tolerate the altitude, and housing prices are comparable to the Omaha area.

I started plotting my move to Albuquerque. A big concern I had was my health – not so much the heart valve, but the 4 cancers I have been battling. Three of them are now over 5 years since treatment. There is just one area we are still watching. My medical oncologists (and my other doctors) say there should be nothing keeping me from moving.

So, here I am, starting the process of moving from rural Iowa to a city lot in Albuquerque. The large house on 6 acres will be on the market. Initial scouting shows good prospects for homes near the bike trails with no/little yard maintenance. I am not looking forward to the hassle of moving, but happy I have decided to make the change. It will be great for my physical and mental health.