Weather: There is a lovely lack of humidity. So much so that when the dew point creeps above 50 (a low humidity day back east), it feels rather humid in Davis. However, in the summer the temperatures can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit or so. Even with the lower humidity still hot. A summer or two of that type of heat, we might even start wearing parkas when it gets down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Taxes: 8.25% sales tax in the city of Davis. Coming from Delaware, land of no sales tax (and shell corporations to assist you in money laundering and tax evasion), this was a shock. We rented, so we cannot comment on property taxes. You do get something for your money though. The community park network is extensive, bike trails cross the city, there is yard waste pick up, and the city is neat and tidy. So, we grump a bit when we pay the tax, but we actually see the positive effects the money has to the community.
Roads: With the money one pays in taxes, the gentle weather (think no frost, so no frost heaves), and a bike culture that cuts back on motor vehicle traffic, the assumption would be the roads would be pristine. Alas, they are not. Definitely a step up from what we experienced in Louisiana, but a far cry from the glass smooth roads in Texas (county routes included!). The best part is the manhole covers. It looks like the wrong size collars were installed, so these covers sit significantly above the road level and they city attempted to pave a grade up to the covers. An interesting experience driving over these things in Abby. Oh, and the other drivers. Very indecisive to the point of timid, with a complete lack of understanding of how to use a rotary. Hint, if you are in the rotary, you do not yield to traffic entering the circle. It could be argued that California has some of the worst drivers in the country. Not paying attention, not caring about any kind of order, just a big whatever. This may be a reflection of our east coast driving style as well.
Liberal/Conservative: Davis a college town in California. It is a wee bit liberal. This may be a deliberate understatement. Here is a link to the campus newspaper. The town loves regulations. In the park near our rental there are about 100 signs each with a different town ordinance with a summary of what you cannot do. Feels like when Bart joined the Junior Campers and got the book the 10 Do’s and 500 Don’ts of knife safety. Just remember don’t do what Donny Don’t does.
The People: Cordial, turning friendly as soon as one begins to brew beer in the driveway. Being a college town, it is full of college students, who making going anywhere near campus downright dangerous. It is stressful to drive a car near the college. Why? Bicyclists who believe they are permitted to ignore traffic laws, all while they are texting (not a single hand on the handlebars), ear buds in, completely oblivious to the world. UC Davis, please put some serious consideration into establishing a semester long mandatory freshman seminar called ‘Situational awareness: keeping you alive’. And a bicycling safety seminar. Transfer students have to take these seminars as well.
Parks/Community Recreation: An extensive park system with small neighborhood parks tucked along bike trails bordering communities. Lots of large parks for soccer or Quidditch tournaments (remember, it is a college town). We signed Alex up for gymnastics class (Diaper Daredevils, Creative Climbers) through the City of Davis and he absolutely loved it.
Bike Trails/Lanes: Ubiquitous through out the city. A 12-mile scenic loop around Davis and many more paths across Davis. Some challenges are the rough roadways for the bike lanes, and some of the bike trails provide a good challenge in dodging potholes and heaves. Also, yard waste tends to be piled in the bike lane.
What we will miss: Parks, bicycle infrastructure, the produce (farmer’s market is fabulous), restaurants (nothing 5 star, but solidly decent food), simply gorgeous winter and spring weather.
What we won’t miss: Living six feet away from our neighbors, oblivious college students, the summer heat, how expensive everything is.