Welcome, from southern California! I really like northern California a lot...it reminds me of "home" (Seattle, where I grew up). Things down here are just a bit dry and brown for my liking. LOL But, home is where the heart is, and my heart is where my family is (which is here right now)!
You'll have to watch for any of the other California forum members... there are a few from up in northern California, and I'll bet you would have a great time getting together for a local "Lab-Fest!"