People often ask me why I moved to South Dakota… here’s the answer.

Many people have asked me why I moved from New Jersey to South Dakota,Two reasons – money and politics.

When New Jersey had the fiasco with Brett Schundler and Jim McGreavy I knew it was time to get out. For those who don‘t know, Brett Schundler won the primary against the Republican “machine” candidate. Brett was an “outsider” and a conservative who believed in smaller government and fiscal responsibility. Because of that the NJ state Republican party went limp. They did not endorse, support or help finance Brett’s campaign. In fact the senate majority leader (the senior man in the Republican party in NJ) would not even endorse him. That’s when I knew I had had enough. I tell people that is was not the Democrats that drove me from New Jersey, it was the Republicans. Add to that the traffic, the congestion, the taxes and the over regulation. (Some day I’ll tell the story about the letter I got from the garbage police.) I started looking for a place to use as an anchor point while Cheryl and I travel around the country. When the NJ Supreme Court chose to ignore NJ law and install Lautenberg as Senate candidate, I redoubled my efforts.

I have a friend who lives in Eastern Rural Iowa that I have known for many years and have visited several times. I liked the “Rural America” life style and even more so the people. When I was looking to escape “The Peoples’ Republic of New Jersey” I started looking in Iowa.

Unfortunately Iowa had become to pricey to allow me to do what I wanted. That was retire young, buy a small house and a motor home and tour the country. So, I started looking around where I thought I could do that. Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama etc. Cheryl kyboshed those places, “You are not going to move me where it is that humid and that buggy!” So I started again, I looked at Nebraska (Why Nebraska? It was the only state Bill Clinton never visited as President. I figured there had to be something good about it). Unfortunately it was also too expensive to meet my needs.

So, I moved one state north. I looked on a Rand McNally road atlas at South Dakota and chose Huron (pop 12,000) as a center point for my search. I figured that Huron would be big enough to meet any purchasing needs I may have. I went to and did a housing search with Huron at the center.

I found a nice old Victorian 5 bedroom house in the town of Alpena. The woodwork was beautiful and the house looked good in the pictures. They were asking $35,000 for the house (no, I did not misplace the comma). I contacted the realtor for more information and got back a note from the agent answering all my questions and more. I showed it to Cheryl and it was met with less than exuberance.

“It’s nice”, she said, “but its not what I want.”

“I don’t understand.” I said, “What’s wrong with it?” I was trying to learn what she wanted so I could refine my search.

“I don’t want to move from a town to a town.” she replied.

Still not sure what she was after, I said, “I don’t understand.”

“If you are going to move me to the country… Move me to the COUNTRY.”

Well… I can be rather dense at times… so I asked again, “What do you mean?”

She looked at me and said, “If I am going to live on the Plains, I want to live ON the Plains. I want at least five acres”.

NOW I understood, and with that understanding went the Alpena Victorian house. I started looking again. I changed the criteria of the search and added a requirement for 5 or more acres.

It was about a week or so later that I found this place. It was advertised as a 5 bedroom 2200 square foot house with two out buildings on 13 acres (more or less). The asking price was $37,500. I showed this to Cheryl and now I had her interest. I contacted the realtor that I was working with on the Alpena house (Pat Kisely). Pat drove out to this house and took about 25 pictures inside and out. She e-mailed them to me along with more descriptions, both good and bad. I had some vacation time so Cheryl and I decided to drive out to see what we had found. We spent four days here. We looked at this house and several others. We drove around the area, looked at the towns nearby and talked with many people. On the forth day we made an offer of $35,000. Then we had to leave.

On the drive back to New Jersey Pat called us and told us that the offer was accepted with two stipulations. One of them was upon survey the price would be adjusted to the real acreage at a rate of $600.00 an acre (the survey cam out at 17.4). The other stipulation was to my benefit an not worth mentioning here.

We went back to new Jersey, sold the house closed out our affairs and GOT THE HELL OUT!!!

Now, remember me telling you that the plan was to buy the big RV and tour the country? Well…. That didn’t happen. We got here and we loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave! We never bought the big RV and we never did travel the country.

We are living here on a small fraction of what it costs to live in New Jersey. We don’t need to lock our cars when we go to town. The neighbors are some of the finest people you can meet. We found a church we like and a community that truly welcomes us.

I can’t say enough about living here. It has to have been one of the best decisions of my life. I can honestly say that in the three and half years I have lived here I have never regretted my decision and I mean NEVER – not for one minute.

Well…. That’s it in 1500 words or less.

South Dakota in a nutshell:

No State Income Tax

No Personal Property Tax

4% Sales Tax

3% Use Tax (no sales tax) on automobiles (one time)

Drivers license $8 for 5 years

Vehicle Registrations under $50.00 (mine was $34.80 for each car)

LOW Cost of living

HIGH Quality of life.

The warmest most honest and friendly people on earth.

Published in: on October 2, 2007 at 8:24 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Rick,

    I am so glad that you both are here. You are wonderful people and you make South Dakota a better place. Thanks for being here!


  2. Rick,

    I have to say I’m happy for you. Many times my wife and I consider getting the heck out of NJ as it’s just crazy with taxes, traffic and everything else around here. Only thing keeping us around right now is our families as we are close with my mom and her dad as they are both 10 minutes away and we help out a lot both ways.

    Anyway, keep in touch and it’s nice to hear that your doing well as you deserve it!!!!


  3. It is a Win Win situation, SD got new residents and you love the Plains.


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