But though fewer outsiders cherish California dreams — and some residents have soured on them — those who depart may soon mourn what they leave behind: diversity of every stripe, mountains, ocean, climate. Especially climate.
Eisenhauer, who was born in Northern California, still loves the Golden State. Like McCluer, he hopes to return.
"My personal goal is to move back there eventually. It's just a matter of making the finances work," he said.
John Husing of Economics & Politics Inc., a regional research firm, said, that although the financial decline is steep and recovery will be slow, the California lifestyle is too appealing for the state to remain down forever.