Cafe is back in business full-time! After a busy, tiring few days, Melanie
and I have completed our relocation from Erie, Pennsylvania, to
. Why did we leave Erie and why did we move to Alpena?
The answer is multi-faceted. Although we really like Erie, the state
of society has really degraded there since we moved there six years
school taxes, while already very high to begin with, have increased
significantly over that time. A news article from Erie this morning,
read online, reported that school taxes will increase yet again by more
than 1 mil in 2014 to account for budget shortfalls. Our township superintendent
was dismissed (per reports) last year for cooking the books.
The economy is not great there, but that did not affect us directly
since RF Cafe can operate anywhere with a high speed Internet connection.
GE Transportation, the area's largest private employer, is on the way
out as a newly built plant in Texas will eventually replace their function.
Almost all new "business" is government, which only sucks money out
of the economy in the form of taxes. Erie has also imported a huge number
of "refugees" in the last decade and most, per newspaper reports, sign
up for and receive maximum levels of public assistance and do not work.
Half the people in Walmart buy their groceries with food stamps and
carry them out to cars equal to or better than mine.
state is massively in debt with public sector employee pensions threatening
to force bankruptcy in the near future. Gas tax in PA goes up 9 to 10
cents per gallon in 2014, and income taxes are rising to help offset
the budget imbalance. It's a real mess.
For no good reason,
a housing price surge occurred in late summer, following an absolutely
dismal year to date. Three houses on our street went on the market and
sold in a couple weeks, so we decided to strike while the iron was hot.
Our house sold at a open house just four days after putting it on the
market. We made back every dime we put into it, which was the sole criterion
by which we decided whether we would sell.
In the process, we
had been researching other areas, with requisite features being as follows.
1) Dark skies for the telescope. 2) Peace and quite. Erie is plagued
with incessant, very loud train noise. 3) No miserably hot summers.
4) Low housing cost. 5) Low property & school taxes. 6) Low overall
cost of living. 7) Good medical facilities nearby. 8) Near a large body
of water. 9) Concealed carry permits issued. 10) A mall that actually
puts up Christmas decorations (Erie stopped that a couple years ago).
met all the criteria, so here we are. Our new (to us) 2-bedroom house
is a mere 960 ft2
, with a heated 1-car garage, sitting on
1.3 acres. There is deeded access to
. Melanie and I decided that with the kids grown and gone,
we need to keep things simple and inexpensive, with low maintenance
(exterior is all brick) and easy accessibility for encroaching decrepitness
(aka old age), so a rancher with no basement was perfect. The Internet
connection here is an incredible 36 Mbps download (3x previous) and
4.2 Mbps upload (6x previous). Upload speed is really important when
publishing a website like RF Cafe. It is blazing fast!
nice pole barn (garage, actually) with a full upper level will be a
perfect platform for my
Celestron CPC 800 Deluxe HD telescope
, eventually, complete with
a rotating dome. The dark skies will be great for viewing. As I was
laying in bed last night barely able to move and dead tired from all
the driving (500 miles in a day) and box lifting (26' van packed to
the gills), Melanie suddenly nudged me and told me to put my glasses
on and look out the window over our head - there was Jupiter shining
brightly amongst the stars of the constellation Gemini! I can't remember
the last time I could see so many stars in the sky. The aurora should
Melanie has found a music school here to continue
lessons on her violin, cello, and piano (Yamaha keyboard, actually).
She is very glad to have a wooded lot again for watching wildlife -
plenty of deer, black squirrels, and birds.
Alpena is just barely
north of 45° north latitude, so we are actually closer to the north
pole than the the equator. That's make Santa's ride to our house a little
shorter than in previous years. Long Lake has about 6" of ice on it
and the ice fishing shacks are staring to appear. An ice sail boat might
be in my future. Melanie wants to me buy and restore a small wooden
hull sailboat for when the lake is in liquid form. Overall, the temperatures
are a little colder here than in Erie, but there is not as much snow
because of no lake effect squalls. We traded Lake Erie for Lake Huron
- right off of Thunder Bay. Our next-door neighbor has already invited
us over for a venison dinner. Life promises to be good.
have bothered reading this long, then thank you. Here are a couple quick
pictures of the yard.