“This is Temecula? It’s Beautiful.” -Carrie Horner
In the last year of my family medicine residency, I was looking forward to graduation and the prospect of my first job as a doctor out of training. All those years of school and training took so long yet, that last year seemed to go by very quickly. I had gone to many a lecture and listened to my attendings discuss their own career choices and now it was my turn.
In the summer and early fall, I started opening up PracticeLink more often and tried to find something out west to be closer to my family. Sure, there were jobs in San Diego and LA but do I really want to LIVE in the metropolis and barely afford housing? When visiting LA in the past, even from a thousand feet up in an airplane, there were housing developments as far the eye could see . It was nauseating. No open spaces.
I scrolled across an ad for Temecula, California and immediately called my parents. For most of my life my Aunt Doris had lived in Temecula and I have heard my parents describe it as: “All the way out in Temecula”. I had thought of Temecula as a hick town on the outskirts of the middle of nowhere. The general attitude was that it was unappealing so, it came as quite a surprise when I called them and the following conversation took place:
My Dad: “Son, I think you would really like Temecula.”
Me: “Really? It seems kind of remote.”
My Dad: “Temecula has really grown. People have been leaving San Diego to move up there for years. When Aunt Doris moved up there 20 years ago, it was small, but now there is probably close to a quarter million people in that whole area.
Me: “Really, because Texarkana (where I completed residency) and the surrounding areas are only around 75,000-100,000”
My Dad: “Really. My buddy was complaining the other day that it takes 30 minutes to get from one end of Temecula to another. I just laughed and told him it is not a small town anymore.”
My Mom: “Davy, I go up there for work quite often and it surprises me to see houses where there was nothing years ago.”
Although I was surprised by our conversation I was still skeptical about LIVING there. I put in an application just to see what would happen.
This map illustrates where Temecula is located in relation to LA and San Diego.
Here is a map of Riverside County. Temecula/Murrieta are the southern most cities in the county. Going any further south will land you San Diego County and any further north is San Bernardino County.
I am using the real names of the people that helped me get to where I am today. I am not getting paid to write this blog. All I want is to give props to the people who worked hard so I could live my dream in Southern California. Cool? Cool.
I received a call from Holly Garcia who is a recruiter for UHS which is the corporation over Temecula Valley Hospital. Come to find out that the advertisement in PracticeLink was for several positions and that there is a desperate need for primary care physicians in Riverside County. I thought, “Surely there is a need in Riverside County because no one wants to live there.” I set up my first interview with reservation because I was still not sure if my family wanted to LIVE “All the way out in Temecula”.
Well guess what? Temecula is beautiful and well populated.
On our way to my first interview we pulled into a gas station right off the 15. “This is Temecula?” my wife said. “It’s beautiful”. Again, we were at a gas station right off the freeway. And that was the theme of the entire day.
After my interviews, we took a tour around the area with Karen Summers who later became our realtor. We could not believe how many neighborhoods there were throughout the Winchester, Murrieta, and Temecula area. It was impressive not only how many neighborhoods but also how nicely planned and built they were. There were parks, lakes, and gorgeous landscaping.
Karen Summers: “And to your right is the Red Hawk neighborhood.”
Me and My Wife: “This is Temecula? It’s beautiful.”
Karen Summers: “And to your left is the Paseo Del Sol neighborhood.”
Me and My Wife: “This is Temecula? It’s beautiful.”
You get the picture.
We were also surprised to find out that Temecula is the “Wine Country of Southern California”. What does that mean to a Mormon guy who doesn’t drink alcohol? It means there is gorgeous open space, farm land, and ranches almost next to your local Super Walmart.
These are the stone arches leading into wine country on Rancho California Road.
As we drove around town we kept saying things like “This is not what I expected” and “I was wrong about this place”. I GET WHY PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE HERE. Lots of people want to live here because the housing prices are so much cheaper than in LA/Orange/San Bernardino County or San Diego County yet there are open spaces next to all the shopping and entertainment of a big city. Our minds were completely changed about the area and we quickly could see our family LIVING and loving it here.
Since we have moved here we have found other hidden gem communities all up and down Interstate 15. For example, the city of Hemet. Hemet used to be a retirement community and it has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Hemet has a super Wal-Mart (I have a big family so we set up our life to the closest Wal-Mart and Costco) that is actually closer to our house then the other one in Temecula. We are frequently in Hemet shopping and even visiting the DMV. Its less crowded yet has most of the shopping and amenities you could want. Going further up Interstate 15 you’ll find awesome lake towns all in the Inland Empire. Lake Elsinore is a beautiful city with housing options from lake front houses to full scale neighborhoods. These cities are just to name a few. As we explore the area more, I will update you on more nice cities (and skate parks) I find.
I have been pleasantly surprised living in the Inland Empire. Even though I grew up in San Diego I never really ventured into Riverside County. Even if I had, what was there, has changed dramatically. I will discuss housing prices in another blog post. Until then, think about Riverside County as an awesome place to LIVE and practice medicine.
Skate and LIVE!