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:
- 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.
- 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.