Johnny and others,
Let me preface my remarks by saying I love my new (8 years now) home in Southern Indiana (near Louisville), and find that every time we talk of moving back to SoCal, the advantages of our life here far overshadow the benefits of returning to SoCal.
That doesn't mean I don't miss some of the things we enjoyed in our life on the High Desert.
1. I miss the long-distance vistas of the 'wide-open spaces'. The San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains stand between our Former home and the Los Angeles Valley. It is roughly 40 miles from home to the tops of those mountains, yet daily we could watch them in detail. Views of 40 to 50 miles and more are common all around the desert area. Not having that 'view' here in the hilly area along the Ohio River is something I miss.
2. I am a Railfan. Watching and studying rail operations interests me. There are very few places within a days ride where one can get the perspective of multi-train operation on the same line here in the east. I can point out several places along old Hiway 66 in the California Desert where you can see far enough to see several trains on the same track going the same direction, with the proper safety interval of a couple of miles between them. Here the woods tend to obscure the ability to see a "whole" train at one time! I will say that the treat of watching Street operation, where a rail line (in operation) runs thru the middle of a town with vehicles sharing the space with the trains, is something I had never seen in the west. That type of operation is a daily happening in nearby New Albany,IN and LaGrange,KY.
3. Foods?- We can't find any BBQ places (or Steak Houses) in this area that do "Tri-Tip". We have a bunch of "fly-by-Night" Mexican Places exploding onto the scene here, but somehow we haven't found some that equal some of the older Tortilla factories or Tamale parlors we had in our desert town in SoCal. We have replaced our SHASTA soda with the Kroger brand. And it is fun taking part in the Bourbon Tours found here. We had a much wider range of ethnic food choices in SoCal than we do in our small town-city environment. Our friends here think we are nuts to consider a hundred mile ride (on-way) to go out to dinner, something we did often in SoCal. It is a very different life-style here, compared to there....Not better or worse...different.
4. Lots of folks from this area say they are very afraid of the threat of earthquakes, so they would never live in CA. We experienced several major quakes in SOCAL..living less than 10 miles (as the crow flies)from the San Andreas Fault and find the experience less fearful than the constant Tornado Warning Sirens/TV alerts here.
All in All, There are always plus's and minus's to living anywhere. If you are really dissatisfied with Sacramento (I have a brother in Granite Bay) then head east again. Life is too short to be unhappy about something as important as where you choose to live..