Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
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                   Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 3:43PM CDT

It's St. Louis!

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It is official! My new home is the St. Louis area. New Baden, Illinois, to be specific - a small town on the eastern edge of St. Louis' "Metro-East" suburbs.

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New Baden is 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, features small town life on the flat and open Illinois prairie (just like the Great Plains), is 7 hours closer to Plains trip targets and within the Midwest's severe weather zone (with great road options in all directions), has plenty of conveniences just down the road in the O'Fallon-Fairview Heights areas, and is within a reasonable drive to friends and family back east. I signed the lease on the new place today - and am making this blog post as the first from my Midwestern living room. Some photos from my new home town:

Panorama of New Baden from the south, looking north. My apartment is immediately off of this road down near the horizon.

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Zoom of New Baden from the south, showing the town's two tallest structures - the water tower and church steeple - typical of Midwestern and Plains towns.

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These two images show why I chose this location. In less than 30 to 90 seconds by car in every direction (and a couple of minutes within walking distance), I have views like this!

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Almost Texas Caprock-like! My apartment itself is on the edge of town, with a wide-open view to the west within a 15 second walk.

Downtown New Baden, looking east down East Hanover Street (the town's main street):

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This church is one of the town's landmarks, with a high steeple visible for miles:

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A Norfolk Southern mainline into St. Louis runs a block away from my new place:

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Here is a view from my living room window:

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This has been nearly four years in the making, a decision that I've considered, prayed about and planned for all of that time. If you have been paying close attention to my web sites, you may have noticed the changes happening to the address information and references to St. Louis popping up. On the business side, Appalachian Skies Media is no more, renamed Midwest 64 Multimedia (after the highway that brought me here). I have a new local (314 area code) St. Louis phone number (listed on the left sidebar). My old WV number will always remain active as a virtual forward to the STL line (so friends back home can always call me without long distance issues). As for work, I will be staying onboard with CIS - in fact my current position and duties will be largely unaffected by the move, with the only implication being I'll be conferencing into meetings rather than being there in person.

I'm planning on being here long-term, at least a year. I may consider a semi-permanent residence later depending on how I like it. Otherwise, I may end up trying out more new cities. For now though, I'm planning for this to be a long-term residence - I've spent plenty of time pondering this decision in the intent to choose a place I'd be most comfortable. The STL region definitely has fit that bill.

The prep work on my West Virginia house has been under way, and it will be on the market within a couple of weeks. I decided I wanted to move sooner than later, opting to accept the possibility of the WV house sale taking a few months. I felt the benefits of starting the process of getting established here now would be worth that risk. I didn't want to be moving in the middle of spring storm season, either. Probably most importantly, I've been anxious to make this leap after so long, I didn't want to postpone it any longer.

Everything is boxed and ready at the WV house (most of it has been for a while, as you know if you've read my blog for very long). I will be making 'the big drive' westbound with a rental truck within the week. By next week, I should have everything unloaded at the new place and be starting on the unpacking phase. A trip or two back east to take care of the WV house will also be in order, depending on how the timeline of the sale process goes.

This is a huge thing - the most significant event of my life in the past 12 years. It has not really hit me yet that this milestone is actually here, that Charleston, West Virginia is going to be a part of the past. Almost feels like a dream. A 'new frontier' for sure.

Lots of things to think about, and I'll be posting more in the coming weeks as I get settled in to the new place.

Welcome to Illinois Dan, wishing all the best to you in this new chapter of your life!
- Posted by J. Funfsinn from Illinois

First order of business: Find an overlook to an icy bridge. ;)
- Posted by Dann Cianca from Englewood (Inverness), Colorado

Thanks Jerry! Dann, I haven't seen anything like that around here - yet. Lots of bridges but no views of them! Looks like a borderline blizzard on Thursday for the first major wx event here - should be fun.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

Way to go man, looks like a nice place to relax and be able to breathe. Here's hoping that with local events that maybe our paths will finally cross. Maybe in March when the spotter classes begin again, you can swing up for a visit.
- Posted by Paul from Decatur IL

It's exactly like the Texas South Plains Dan. Looking at those pictures, it could be any one of the small towns around Lubbock!
- Posted by David Drummond from Lubbock, TX

Thanks Paul, I have to make a trip to Springfield sometime soon to get my business registration done - we'll need to try to catch up then. David - I always thought of Texas every time I drove through here. Illinois is one of the better 'secrets' of great chase terrain in the US :)
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

Welcome to St. Louis! Ever since my family moved to the area in 01, we've loved it here, and I know you will too! Rural IL is so very relaxing. :)
- Posted by Sarah K from Maryland Heights, MO

Wow Dan, I think it's great. I love small towns. My family lives in one in NC and I always love going there. Best wishes on your move. God will guide you.
- Posted by Cristal Bass from Portsmouth, VA

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