Right to the Heart of Dixie
Alabama – The Yellowhammer State
Moving to the South Land
Last summer, the US Gov told Karen that they wanted to promote her and move her to Huntsville in Alabama. It was splendid news! We had been keen to get away from the DC Metro area for years. In many ways, it’s a great place. But, we loathed the wretched commute and the awful traffic, Karen’s workplace was 24 miles away, but the drive took her 90 minutes each way on a good day. Everyone has to aim off for the awful traffic during the ‘commute’ whatever the destination and purpose of the trip. It impinged on all aspects of one’s life. Eighteen years of that is enough.
Getting a Move On
We got the green light to relocate during the first week of November. During the next five hectic weeks, we were to:
- Market and sell our home in Lake Ridge, Virginia.
- Drive to and from Huntsville to look for, find and buy a new home. It’s a 680-mile drive each way, and we took the dogs along.
- Organise some essential work on the old house to ready it for its new owners. The aim was to close with them in 30 days from their offer – on 10th December.
- Have Karen fly down to Huntsville and back for the buyers’ inspection of the new house.
- Get our goods and chattel packed up and moved.
- While they were en route, we drove back down to Alabama and closed on our new house on 11th December.
Moving house at any time is never fun. Doing it during the COVID 19 scenario is scary. A Government Relocation Group managed our move. They did the administrative and procedural heavy lifting along with our Realtors at each end.
Sweet Home Alabama
Our new home is in Owens Cross Roads, a small township about 8 miles SE of Huntsville. It lies over the Monte Sano Mountain from Huntsville in the Hampton Cove division. We are in a community called “The Meadows”. It has a gateway, i.e. one way in and out, but there is no gate or gatehouse.
Property prices are significantly lower here than NOVA. So is the cost of living in general. So our house is better, and our dollars go farther.
It’s a brand new house, we bought it from the builder.
- There were no window treatments of any type. We have some on order, but we are in plain sight for a few weeks more for anyone to see. That is except for bedroom windows where we have pinned up a sheet for the sake of decency and public order.
- There are no towel rails, door hooks, toilet roll holders etc. any place. These are on order too and in transit from Oregon with the US Postal Service.
- The back yard is waterlogged by natural runoff from the massive ridge behind us. Muddy dog paw prints are being mopped continuously from the floor. We are getting some restorative landscaping underway that will address this and other shortcomings.
But, in general, we are thoroughly enjoying our new surroundings. And frustrated too because bloody COVID 19 stands in the way of becoming more acquainted with them.
Living in Hampton Cove
A local real estate agent makes these videos about relocating to Huntsville. Borderline pretentious, but nevertheless he gives a good idea of the scene. The new guy in it bought a house in a neighbouring subdivision. Like most around here, the right schools for his kids is the main driver. For us, it’s a good score on the dog-friendliness index.
A Superior Commute
Karen’s commute to her office in Redstone Arsenal is about 15 to 20 minutes. She takes a scenic back road up and through Blevins Gap, down into Jones Valley and then on to the Arsenal. There’s still has a couple of miles to go once she gets through the gate.
A Better Workplace Too
Redstone is nominally a US Army installation. For instance, I went to the US Army Missile and Munitions Center and School in 1975 to train on a particular missile. It has another but similar title these days. NASA, the FBI and other Federal Agencies have long been housed in there. Just the other day, they announced that Space Force would be headquartered there in due course.