Tell me about the Lotus experience around Denver - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2015, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Tell me about the Lotus experience around Denver

Hello,

Future potential transplant from the Chicago suburbs. I'm trying to think ahead on places I may move to in the next several years and looking for some feedback on the Denver area. Of course there are sites like city-data, but I'm curious to get some feedback from people a little more like me...

So a little about me

- got bitten by the track bug and I'm lucky enough to have two tracks I can regularly go to within 2hr drive. 8-12 track days in a year from late may through sept

- live in the burbs, I spend my time on projects (house/car/etc) when then weather is nice... generally a bit outdoorsy and not so much in to social scene, shopping, what have you

- overall dislike that all of feb is 0 or worse every year
- overall dislike that when the rains come they stay for several days or a week

- typical vacation involves either mountains or beaches and is spent entirely outside

- ideal housing situation is a medium sized house, a big garage (I do all car services myself), and 1-2 acre of land.
---------------------------------
Can anyone talk to what life's like out in CO? Anyone do track days that could say how the season length and number of events compares? Anyone spent a good chunk of time in the Midwest for comparison? Anything that really really stinks (gov't wise, cost wise, etc)?

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2015, 01:16 PM
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- got bitten by the track bug and I'm lucky enough to have two tracks I can regularly go to within 2hr drive. 8-12 track days in a year from late may through sept

- live in the burbs, I spend my time on projects (house/car/etc) when then weather is nice... generally a bit outdoorsy and not so much in to social scene, shopping, what have you

- overall dislike that all of feb is 0 or worse every year
- overall dislike that when the rains come they stay for several days or a week

- typical vacation involves either mountains or beaches and is spent entirely outside

- ideal housing situation is a medium sized house, a big garage (I do all car services myself), and 1-2 acre of land.
I regularly track my Elise at High Plains Raceway, Pueblo Motorsports Park, Pikes Peak International Raceway, and the Colorado State patrol training facility on South Table Mountain. The farthest of these from Denver is PMP. Track day prices here are probably lower than you're accustomed to. Open lapping at HPR is $150 for a full day. Club days with CECA (Colorado Exotic Car Assn) are a bit more, typically $160-$199.

Weather here is generally nice. We're desert, more or less, with about 15" of precipitation a year. We get as many days of sunshine as Phoenix, AZ, but it's not nearly as hot. I've been snowed on in every month, yes, even July and August (had to go above treeline for those), but even in the depths of winter the snow will be off the streets in a day or two. We get a week or two of bitter cold each year, but that's offset by very nice days. This year we had a week of upper 60's in Feb. Note that you may have mid-60's and snow in the same day.

We just had our wettest May in history, raining nearly every day. But this was unusual. In summer, you may see thundershowers every afternoon, but they're scattered and brief.

No need to take vacations here to visit mountains. I'm 90 minutes or less from the most popular trailheads in RMNP and make it a point to hike in the park 12 or 15 times a year. Note that we're about as far from beaches as you can get in the world.

For an acre or more of land, you'll need to be 30 minutes from downtown. I'm 15 minutes out but only have a quarter acre.

Note that housing prices here are going nuts. If you're buying right now, you'll likely get in a bidding war.

Are you attending LOG this year? If not, why not?

Feel free to visit my blog. It's pretty much just car events and hikes, including track days in January and hikes in February.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2015, 01:23 PM
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I lived in Denver and then Fort Collins for most of my life. I am in total agreement with everything Grunschev noted above. In addition, I'd add that there are fantastic mountain roads very nearby that offer entertainment and scenery. In addition to the incredible housing price bubble that is currently going on (make no mistake, it's a bubble and it's going to be ugly), the traffic in Denver, like every other big city, sucks.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2015, 02:49 PM
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I really enjoy the Denver area. Moved here from Montana and plan to be here a long time. I first lived in Summit County, between Keystone and Breckenridge. If you move to the mountains the cold might be more than you want if 0 in February is a problem. The weather in Denver is not an issue though, I can take the Lotus out every month. Plenty of mountain roads here to enjoy and a few tracks around as pointed out above, hit up @rosscarlson if you want more information on the various clubs that track more often than not as he instructs with a couple of them. Come to LOG and talk with more of the LOCO members, I’m not sure many of them are active on this forum. The housing market here is great for sellers, not so good if you are looking to buy right now though. It seems like the Lotus community here is growing.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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thanks.

Still a little ways off from actually making a move of any kind, I need to bake a little longer in my current position before someone would be willing to hire an out of towner for what I do. As far as housing goes of course its the old rule of "location, location, location", but for 4bed/3 bath with .5 acre (hard to find anything above .25) you're looking at $350k - $500k for a house around here. I'd be perfectly ok with smaller if I could find it with good sized garage.

Its not that I have strict aversions to cold weather, its more that when cold or wet comes in chicago, it stays.

Those track days are much cheaper than what I'm used to... how much time are you spending on track for that cost? Here you spend near $250 - $325 for 1.75-2.5 hours usually.

I called a number of places home growing up, and one thing I learned is that every place has its warts. Its easy to find the good things about living somewhere, but not always so easy to identify the warts ahead of time (unless really big). Comments?

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 05:57 AM
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Your car will feel noticeably weaker, especially in the mountains and especially if it's naturally aspirated.

I had to retune the upper 20% of my car when I got to Washington because I'd never used that part of the map in Colorado.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 06:12 AM
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Those track days are much cheaper than what I'm used to... how much time are you spending on track for that cost? Here you spend near $250 - $325 for 1.75-2.5 hours usually.
Running with CECA, it's 4 half hour sessions, although at some tracks drivers may need to work corners for a session. On open lapping days at HPR, you'll typically be able to run a half hour every hour, 8am to 5pm in summer and 9am to 4pm winter. Oh, and winter lapping is $110/day.

I don't think I've done more than six sessions in any one day. They have race fuel on-site but the nearest gas station is 18 miles away. Filling up in Byers and carrying an extra 5 gallon container, I'm about out of fuel after six sessions.

HPR also runs open lapping on Thursday evenings all summer, from 5pm to 10pm. I haven't done this yet, but hope to this year. I've never driven on a track after dark. If you've been bitten really hard by the track bug, HPR offers an unlimited season pass for $1000.

There are other tracks in the vicinity as well. PCA runs events at La Junta and if you want to take a weekend you can do Hastings, NE or Miller in Utah. I have not done any of these, but they're on my wish list.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 06:44 AM
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HPR Thursday Nights are perfect. I think I've been to 4 so far this season. $110, 15-20 car turnout and there are rarely (if ever) slow and fast sessions, so you could drive straight through all 5 hours. Even fewer bozos than normal HPR lapping days (which I think are pretty good) and often the track completely empties out by total darkness, because most people just drive 5-8 like I do. You could probably get effectively a private track night 9:30-10 on many nights.

Bring good sunglasses as you get a lot of glare right around sunset.

The more people I tell, the less awesome they'll be for me though

The only warts of living in the Denver area I can think of are:

- Housing is $$$. The housing market is going nuts right now. Again, it's a far cry from "big city" prices but you might have trouble finding your .5 acres in the 'burbs for a good price anymore.

- Government is messed up but no more messed up than Chicagoland. We do have state taxes almost a full percent higher than Illinois and not much to show for it though.

- Traffic. It's not bad as bad traffic goes, but if you have a common commute like to/from Tech Center or 9am Denver to Boulder you will be spending a lot of time in gridlock. Ski weekends in the winter and holiday weekends in the summer can back up a few hours to/from the mountains on I-70 as well.

- Dry air and altitude. I grew up here so none of it bothers me, but transplants often have health issues they didn't have nearer sea level.

- Density. It sounds like you might be someone who "likes having your space" but also wants to live close to your job. Depending on industry this might not be possible in the Denver area as it's pretty filled out at this point. You won't get a house on a giant tract of land 5 miles from the office like you'll find in some parts of Illinois.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 06:59 AM
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There are a few things I do not like about Denver, but I’m guessing they would be the same items I wouldn’t like about other big cities.

The traffic here is stupid for this size of city. The roads are not well designed and it seems like so many people just zone out on their commute that it takes longer than it really should. The public transit is also not good here, they are expanding the Light Rail but it still takes the long way to get anywhere. It does snow here and that really makes your drive anywhere take forever, at least it is not a constant here. We do have several red light cameras and a few speed cameras. Only one toll road in the area but it can be avoided if you hate tolls.

Broncos fans are annoying, and I even have season tickets.

The mountains are still a couple of hours away if you want to ski, mostly because everyone heads up at the same time and goes home at the same time. Really just a complaint of mine as I used to be 5 minutes from the lifts.

Property taxes are going up quickly. I’m guessing the prices of houses will level or go down some but property taxes will be up there for a while.

There are some laws about how taxes are increased and what not, just seems to lead to more “fees” instead of tax increases.

I do not like emission testing and there is one company here that has been given the ability to test cars. They have made some changes recently but most cars still have to go on the rollers driven by one of their employees while it is tested. Seems to be better than some states and worse than others.

The biggest change might be the active culture here. There are plenty of outdoor activities here and plenty of people that live very active lives. Not really an issue for most, but some can have an attitude that their lifestyle if better than others, guessing you can run into these people almost anywhere though.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 07:23 AM
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I was in Boulder for 18 years. Relocated back to San Francisco about two years ago.

Man, I MISS the Denver metro area.

Great place to live. The good outweighs the bad by a LARGE margin. Great place to raise a family. It isn't a Tier 1 automotive market, but their is a pretty decent core of enthusiasts, etc. some crazy stuff comes outta the woodwork at Cars & Coffee, etc.

Track time is easy and plentiful (especially compared to my current SF Bay Area histrionics and costs. Painful.). So much open lapping available during the week it's laughable. I ran an open day at HPR (such a GREAT track BTW) back in May of 2012 and got 230 miles of on-track lapping... 90 laps! You'll get plenty of track time at a pretty good value. Also, the logistics to get to / from tracks and the cost of nearby food & lodging is pretty darned good.

Definitely a great place to live.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Looks like I should say a little more about current situation.

Currently 13 miles from work, commute is 40 minutes one way on a good day, construction/winter can double the time. As long as I'm not going to make that situation worse, I'll be happy.

Property taxes in IL are crazy, for 4/5 of an acre I pay the same as my parents do for 16 acres in MO.

I assume the desert climate is better for those with allergies?

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2015, 08:50 AM
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My commute is about 11 miles and 30 minutes consistently. When I worked downtown it was about 45 minutes for 10 miles, about double on snow days unless you learn back roads well.

I have bad allergies but they are by far better here than anywhere else I have been. Some the dry climate and some the elevation. I still have allergies but it is better here for me.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 12:46 AM
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Looks like I'm late to the party and rather than restate everything that's been written I'll just add that I moved here from Atlanta in 1999 and would NEVER consider the east coast again. While I may move again in my life it won't be anytime soon and I can't imagine where else I'd go given how fantastic it is here.

If/when you do make the move be sure to hit me up and I'll be happy to discuss the local track scene. I probably track my Exige more than any other Lotus owner in Colorado and usually get about 20-25 days a season. As LostPawn said I instruct with many of the local clubs, namely BMW and PCA and usually wind up instructing with the smaller clubs that don't have official instructors. Have probably had 50+ students over the past several years so I not only get a lot of time in my car but lots of time on track period.

In short I can't see how you'd regret moving here in the slightest, it's rather amazing.

-Ross

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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whatever happened to Genoa Motorsports? The NASA page says "its our home track when its built" and the website appears not to have been updated since 2009

"Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-29-2015, 08:44 PM
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Great place to live. The good outweighs the bad by a LARGE margin. Great place to raise a family. It isn't a Tier 1 automotive market, but their is a pretty decent core of enthusiasts, etc. some crazy stuff comes outta the woodwork at Cars & Coffee, etc.
I'd have to say my only gripe with Colorado is that it is not a Tier 1 automotive market. But... it is becoming one with all other people moving here.

In addition, Cars & Coffee, yeah, some awesome stuff shows up randomly. Like a '52 Allard J2X, 1 of 83 ever made, and raced by Carol Shelby that I saw last year.

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