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So I currently live in Seattle with my wife and 7 month old kiddo. I may have the opportunity to move to So Cal (grew up in Riverside & OC area). The job would be located in the Simi Valley. Right now I am looking at this as a temporary move as I would like to return to the PNW. Right now I am looking at a 2 year or so commitment, if it does go through. It is all in the very early stages, I am just wanting to do a little research before we say "yes" and realize that we should have moved to X instead of Y.

Are there any good resources for researching communities out there?

Any of you out there now? How is it for young families (we intend on having more kiddos)?
 

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So I currently live in Seattle with my wife and 7 month old kiddo. I may have the opportunity to move to So Cal (grew up in Riverside & OC area). The job would be located in the Simi Valley. Right now I am looking at this as a temporary move as I would like to return to the PNW. Right now I am looking at a 2 year or so commitment, if it does go through. It is all in the very early stages, I am just wanting to do a little research before we say "yes" and realize that we should have moved to X instead of Y.

Are there any good resources for researching communities out there?

Any of you out there now? How is it for young families (we intend on having more kiddos)?
I love that part of the state. It's kind of rural suburban with pockets of city. I lived in Santa Paula, a bit north west of there, for a couple years back in the early 90's. Loved riding around Santa Paula, Ventura and Moorpark. Lot's of two lane country roads that run through citrus orchards and ag fields.

Simi is just over the hill from the San Fernando Valley.
 

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It's a suburb of Los Angeles that is nevertheless oddly rural in many respects. There are some pretty good rides in the hills above the valley. Don't expect the height of sophistication when it comes to stores and restaurants. It probably won't tug at the old heartstrings, either, as it isn't exactly brimming with personality. Where Chudak lived, Santa Paula, is actually a bit more historic. It is closer to the wonderful desert-meets-temperate/coastal vibe that veritably defines Southern California.
 

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I live in the neighboring town of Thousand Oaks, so my comments are colored by the fact that anyone from my town looks down on anyone and anything from Simi Valley.:)

Simi is pretty much a bedroom community, although they have done a good job of cultivating light manufacturing and office jobs over the years. It is low in crime. There is a blues festival in the spring. Green Acres market has the best tri-tip beef in the area. You can find any brand of chain restaurant your little heart desires. There is a mall. There are plenty of parks. There is a train station. The Ronald Reagan Library is on the edge of town. There are many multiplex theaters. There are two bowling alleys.

OTOH, it is very low on the funky vibe you may be familiar with in the PNW. The roads are straight, wide, and perpendicular. The houses vary all the way from beige to tan. I can't even think where one would go for live music. I think there is a civic auditorium, but it doesn't seem to book many interesting acts.

Cycling in town is not excellent, but is ok. They have tried, with limited success, to introduce bike lanes over the years. It's the sort of town that would just as soon not have to deal with the spandex set, but is much more attuned to equestrian needs. There is a trail along the Arroyo Simi, but it is configured such that every mile of so you have go up to street level, dismount, go through a turnstile, press the buttion and wait for the light to change.

It is a relatively short jaunt to the nice riding mentioned by chudak - maybe 10 uninteresting miles or so to Moorpark, another 10 very nice miles to Santa Paula, and another 15 or so very nice miles to Ojai. All of those towns have funkiness ranging from at least a little, to lots and lots.

HTH,
JSR
 

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Some of my favorite rides were:

* Out South Mountain Road to Fillmore and back to Santa Paula. There are several good climbs off of SMR, including Balcom Canyon, which has been in the Tour of California.
* Up Hwy 150 from downtown Santa Paula up over the summit and down into Ojai
* The straight run from Santa Paula down Telegraph to Ventura and back

There is something intoxicating about riding through the citrus groves when the trees are blooming. The smell is divine. I got a whiff of it again this weekend when I did the Tour of Borrego. One section had a large citrus grove on one side of the road.
 

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I live in Simi. Quiet...town shuts down at around 9pm. Lots lifted trucks.

Lots of glass in the bike lanes.

Lots of good riding in Westlake Village. That will lead you out to some of the best riding in So Cal...
 

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As someone who has lived in both Northridge (not too far from Simi) and the outskirts of Seattle, I'd say that, if you love Seattle, you're going to hate every single moment in Simi Valley. If not, not.
 

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I moved out to the area about 3 years ago from KC, love it :)

I live in Westlake Village, work in Simi. The commute is easy, 20 minutes - in the summer I sometimes ride to work, takes about 90 minutes each way on back roads. I work just north of the 118, the only sketchy part of riding to work is the last bit near the 118.

If you get a chance for a house-hunting trip, check out the Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills area. They're all right up against the Santa Monica mountains and some of the best riding in the country.
 
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