So now that we’ve lived here a little while I have to say that our assumption that the small town life would be just fine seems to be pretty accurate. Before moving we reasoned that for the most part we shopped, ate-out, found entertainment or visited friends all in about a 5 mile radius from home. On the occasion we’d travel further for a concert or for a getaway type weekend it always seemed like it was at least an hour drive but more often a couple of hours of travel. In addition, Lori’s parent’s house in Lake Havasu was a 5-1/2 drive compared to a 4 hour drive from here. As small as it is, the city does have the shopping necessities covered - Sears outlet, Home Depot, WalMart, 3 grocery stores and at least 3 full western outfitters and a Tractor Supply. I think we have a better assortment of restaurants than our neighbors in Sedona, we have a couple of golf courses and I don’t know how many wineries and breweries existing and popping up. For more needs than that we have Flagstaff 50 miles north, Prescott 40 miles west and Phoenix 90 miles south. The transition from Los Angeles area to Cottonwood area living has been surprisingly seamless. We don’t offer up the fact we’re just in from California to everybody but we have accidental slip ups from time to time. I refused the suggestion to go through the self check out at the grocery store because I had beer in the cart, the clerk laughed, saying it’s ok in AZ unlike CA. A lot of the people we’ve met are transplants from other states and the vast majority of people we encounter are by far more friendly, outgoing and helpful than what we’re used to dealing with in So. Cal. We’re having to relearn our standard “don’t look any stranger in the eyes” procedures. We’ve traded in our SoCal Casual Attire for the most part for jeans and boots. There does seem to be a bit of a Twilight Zone thing here where a suspicious amount of the men have matching grey hair, pony tails, goatees and wear Tee shirts with bands from the 60’s displayed on the front which cover their beer bellies of varying size all the while driving an assortment of very similar pick up trucks and wearing cowboy boots (the more worn the better). I have to admit it’s not that much of a morph for me to slide into that formation except for the ponytail, the wife has put her boot down on that idea. Finally, local entertainment and engagement. We’re joining in, enjoying and embracing what there is to offer. You don’t want to compare size or scope of events because it’s just not the same thing. I’ve never liked crowds. L. A. county fair grounds can easily have 100,000 people in attendance at any time. We’ve been there for the Fair, Home shows, RV shows and even Car or Horse Races and as much as we’ve wanted to enjoy the events the crowds make it just miserable. A couple of weekends ago we went to the Verde Valley Home Improvement Show. The Fairgrounds are 1.1 miles from the house. There were approximately 40 to 50 vendors and probably 100 visitors there at 11:00 on Saturday. We talked in depth with 10 or 12 local companies, bought a couple things and even got a lead for the foundation guy we’re using from a couple with a countertop company (probably use them too). I also got to meet Stephanie who handles the building permits for the County where we’re building and ask a bunch of questions ahead of meeting her at the office. Just take a look at the attached flyer, we’ll be there for the 4th and I’m sure, have a blast. Also heading over to the Prescott 4th of July Rodeo on the 6th of July to meet friends. In September Thunder Valley Rally happens with motorcycles downtown, food, drinks, music, contests all about 1/2 mile from home. $15.00 covers all weekend events including concerts at Riverfront park which is about 1/3 mile behind us, I think we’ll walk to that one. Headline bands this year are 38 Special and Great White. I keep mentioning the costs of things because those low numbers are so new to us. The Prescott Rodeo is $20.00 for admission, by comparison I paid $25.00 just to park during our last visit to the L. A. Fairgrounds. We have local Farmer’s markets all around selling local produce and beef with business hours spread out from week nights to weekends with none overlapping. There are Downtown walk around evenings where the wineries and restaurants take their goods to the sidewalks to share. We haven’t even begun to explore the historical aspect of the area. Mining, Indian Pueblo Ruins, National Monuments and Parks, Railways and much much more. I imagine some of you members here from smaller communities laughing at the majority of this post and me sounding so awestruck but I’ve only ever lived in the greater San Francisco or Los Angeles areas and the perspective here is 180 degrees from all of my previous experiences. I didn’t plan on writing a tourist info promotional brochure for the city but we are really happy here and haven’t come up with a single negative aspect of living here so far. If I run into Barney, Opie, Andy or Aunt Bea on 4th of July at the fairgrounds I’ll be sure to post a picture…..