Funny you mention this, because I can relate to a certain extent.
I live in the 818, I know you know where that is, probably no more than 20 minutes from you.
I have my eye on the Denver area, seems like a nice city and I love the outdoors. It would be tough getting used to not being near a beach, but I could deal with it.
I also like that it's centrally located in the US.
Seraphim, for the price of some crapper here, you could have a nice fucking house paid in full. There is no reason a fixer should cost upwards of $400k or more. I think we have been fucked too much with the cost of living being so much, your dollar (or should I say our dollar) does not go far here.