Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trip to Ridgecrest


The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NavAir) has offered Tyler a job. So we went to check it out. I know what you're thinking: Naval... ocean... why are these pictures of a desert? Good question. In the 1940s, JPL in Pasadena needed a place to test all of their rockets and missiles. Thus, Ridgecrest came to be. There's even a restricted air space corridor between Ridgecrest and Oxnard so they can shoot things from the ocean and hit things in the desert.

But enough about the company, what about the beautiful city?


Above is neighboring Inyokern's City Hall.


This shot is actually coming out of the "city." As you can see up to the left, the sierras are actually very close. Yes, that's snow.


One Pro: No smog.

This is at the city college. Just to prove that not all the buildings are dilapidated.


This is looking out from the city college over the whole thriving metropolis of Ridgecrest.


The main drag.


The lights belong to a sports complex where little kids play soccer and pee-wee football and t-ball.


So, let's talk specifics. They picked Tyler up to go to his full day of being schmoozed, and I drove around the town. The first half I drove through looked a lot like the above picture. I thought, no way in a million years will we ever live here. Ever. The latter half looked more presentable, like a regular suburb. (You'll have to take my word for it because I didn't take any pictures.) So here's a short list of pros and cons:
Pros:
  • Cheap housing. And not just trailers which we could buy with Tyler's signing bonus. No, we could buy a nice three bedroom house in the nice neighborhood for 150-175 thousand dollars.
  • Good pay. It's not as much dollar-wise as he could make at some other jobs, but when adjusted for cost of living, it's more.
  • Good job. They do conceptual stuff, prototype stuff, testing stuff, building actual stuff, putting stuff on actual planes. When you are a new hire, you work in all the departments you think you'd be interested in for a month each, and then you can pick which one you want to work in permanently.
  • Hospital for me to work in. I didn't get a good look inside because there was construction obstructions and a crying baby in my car.
  • Small town feel. Tyler's escort took us out to lunch and he ran into maybe 20 people he knew just around town. I kind of like that. But, the guy said that his wife hates it because she can't go to the grocery store in sweats.
  • Not as small as you'd think. They do have all the stores you would need (except, I couldn't find a bookstore, but I'm sure there's one there.) They have the sports complex, a city college, parks, etc.
  • Lots of outdoorsy things. It's close to the Kern river for those river-type activities. It's close to Lake Isabella for those lake-type things. It's close to the mountains for those mountain-type things. Everyone has mountain bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, gliders, rockclimbing gear, etc.
Cons:
  • It's 40 miles east of nowhere.
  • The average temperature in July is 110 degrees.
  • It's a desert. I didn't think this would bother me until we got back to San Luis and I saw how green and pretty it is. If Ridgecrest isn't green or pretty in February, there's no hope I think.
  • Half the town looks like a rundown trailer park.

8 comments:

The Duke said...

Hmmm. Would Tyler be a federal employee if he worked there, or a 'contractor'. This makes a difference in job security, as feds never get fired. Ever.

Bluebell said...

Think of it this way: 40 miles east of nowhere is how long of a drive to visit your family? The dilapidated part would definitely deter me, but the rest sounds pretty good. Having moved 3000 miles away from any of our families, I would say one of the most important things you will need is a network. How many young families are around, how big is the ward, how far do you have to drive to get to church? Are there community playgroups, a thriving parks and rec? These things all matter, at least to me. Also, if Tyler takes the job and likes the company, do they have other locations you could possibly transfer to a few years down the road?

I have a friend who grew up in Ridgecrest. If you want, I can put you in touch with her and/or ask her what she would think of it as a place to raise a family. Her parents are still there and she visits pretty regularly, so I'm sure she knows a lot about the area. She's a member of the church and has three kids with one on the way.

Macon Family said...

A couple friends I went to Beauty School with live in Ridgecrest, and I've been there about 3 times. It's definitely not pretty and in the middle of no where, but they seem to like it. It gets really hot and a little trashy in some areas, but you have to go with the pros out numbering the cons sometimes, especially with jobs!

Myriah said...

Well, Amanda, according to the comments that have been made, it appears that people can leave Ridgecrest. I was worried that maybe you might get stuck there forever just hanging around the 40 lane bowling alley and making friends with the scorpions. "Scorpions?" You say?
Well, you didn't mention them, but i'm just assuming they will be hanging around. Make sure to shake out your shoes before you put them on in the morning.

Amy said...

Um, where is the grass???

Myriah said...

The scorpions ate it. Scorpions are known grass-eaters.

Allison said...

Nothing has to be forever... especially if the job gets Tyler into the field he'd really like to be in. Nice use of the word "stuff" in said job description.

jinnyruth said...

My husband got offered a job there, too. We're from Northern California, and I completely understand where you are coming from on your con list. What did you decide? Or have you yet? I guess it's getting down to crunch time. Maybe we'll both be the new family in the war sometime soon.

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