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Vidalia
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 4:09 pm 
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I plan to move to the Northwest from Georgia in a few months and need some advice. I have been trying to decide where to move and I can't think of a better group to ask for opinions and advice since I love the same things most belonging to this group do, the Northwest and the outdoor activities there.
A little background. I have been a member of this group for over 15 years and have enjoyed the discussions, trip reports, photos, advice etc found here. I am 64, male and recently divorced. I am addicted to hiking or sauntering as I like to describe it. I have hiked the AT, Wonderland Trail and sections of the PCT, CDT and many areas in Oregon and Washington over many trips in the past 30 years. I am completely retired, no children and since I found myself divorced I decided that it is time to spend the rest of my life pursuing what I love best, hiking and being in the Northwest.
I am leaning towards finding a place in Portland or Vancouver because I am a bike rider and like the culture of that area. I have consider someplace like Enumclaw due to it's proximity to well, everything. I have looked at Seattle but it's just gotten too busy and crowded for my long term tastes. I would love to find a place in a smaller city that has good public transportation, is not too too expensive and has a culture that would be friendly to a very active 64 year old. I am not rich but with absolutely no responsibilities I have enough resources to live almost anywhere.
My plan is to travel to Portland in a few weeks for a recon of the city and surrounding area but I have not completely decided on any place yet, that is why I am posting.
Thank you for reading this far and I would appreciate hearing your opinion or suggestion as to my options.

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RandyHiker
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 4:24 pm 
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FWIW:  Seattle is busy, crowded and real estate is the most expensive in the region -- but there also a lot of outdoor oriented people and organizations that facilitate getting to getting like minded folks together -- all week long -- Including stuff organized by and for retirees.

https://www.mountaineers.org/activities/activities#b_start=0&c4=Day+Hiking

https://www.cascade.org/rides-and-events/free-group-rides

https://www.meetup.com/topics/hiking/us/wa/seattle/

https://www.seattlerando.org/

https://www.seattlecanoekayak.club/

https://wakayakclub.clubexpress.com/

I also know folks in the Wenatchee / Leavenworth area that find a ton of stuff to do outside.   The Methow valley (Mazama, Whintrop, Twisp)  is another mecca for outdoor pursuits -- but it is more isolated and far from advanced medical care.
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Schroder
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 4:34 pm 
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I'll offer my opinion. I was born in Seattle and grew up between there and Everett and then lived for 40 years near the town of Snohomish, which was just about ideal for getting to the mountains - just over an hour to Stevens Pass on Highway 2, half an hour to get to the Mountain Loop Hiway and 2 hours to get to the Mount Baker area.  We bailed out of the growing population and traffic and moved to Whidbey Island. It's an hour longer to get to the Cascades but now we're in reach of the Olympics. We're as tied to getting to the water as to the mountains and do a lot of kayaking.  I was determined to get away from the I-5 corridor but we have a growing need to be within reach of doctors in Seattle.  You have the right idea to stay out of the Seattle suburban area if you don't have to be there.
I can't speak about Enumclaw but it doesn't appeal much to me.  It's close to the North side of Rainier and Crystal Mountain but Hiway 410 is closed for half the year and you have to drive some distance to get anywhere else.
Have you looked at the cities east of the mountains - Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Chelan? That seems to be where all my retired friends are migrating to.
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Riverside Laker
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 5:42 pm 
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I'm biased, but don't think the hiking near Portland is as interesting as the "north cascades" (northern half of Washington state). Consider something like Bellingham, which has wonderful bike riding opportunities, or the very northern part of the Puget Sound area, which also has some good roads near by. You won't find the Portland culture though since these areas are near rural areas. So you might prefer Portland. Take a look at Bishop CA.
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RandyHiker
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 8:17 pm 
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Before you move to Portland -- be sure to watch at least some Portlandia

Settling into a specific ground based location make sense if one of your goals is to develop a new set of friends.

If a new set of friends isn't on the list of goals -- why be stationary -- get a #VanLife capable vehicle or a motorhome and live out of that...    There are so many great places to explore at various seasons.     

Honestly November-December-January-Feburary in the PNW are pretty dreadful weather wise -- I've had a number team members from places like Texas and California quit after a couple years because they couldn't stomach another PNW winter.

Seattle's rain is what gets talked in the media -- but it's not the rain so much as the gray and the short daylight that is challenging.     

Mid-winter there is only 8 1/2 hours of daylight -- sunrise is around 8 AM and sunset 4:30 PM  -- Plus it is really dreary -- sometimes there will only be a handful (less than ten)  sunny or partly sunny days between Mid-November and Mid-February.   Many people get depressed.   

Many folks cope with the gloom by participating in snow-sports in the mountains -- the constant rain clouds in the city result in frequent snowfall in the mountains.    Seattlites and Portlanders have the somewhat unique experience of living in a place where they don't need to shovel snow off their walk and driveway -- but can go skiing within an hour or two drive from the city.

If you aren't a skier -- snowshoeing is a way of keeping up hiking in the mountains during the winter.

But if you are living #VanLife or in a RV -- there is a lot of sunny hiking in Southern California, Arizona and Baja during Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb and you can work your way north as the snow melts.   of course once you lay eyes on the eastern Sierra -- you might just want to hang out there.

Hiking trails in the Cascades aren't fully melted out until early July, some trails it's more like August before snow-free conditions prevail.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 9:17 pm 
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Portland has a lot of the same problems as Seattle, maybe on a smaller scale, but still there.  Rapid growth, horrible traffic congestion, etc. etc.

As mentioned the hiking opportunities near PDX and SEA are not the same.  I grew up near PDX and I love The Gorge and Mt. Hood, but there's probably close to a 10:1 ratio of miles of trails, particularly in the alpine, within reasonably close proximity of the 2 cities, w/ SEA ahead in that regard.
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Bosterson
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 9:18 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Before you move to Portland -- be sure to watch at least some Portlandia

FYI, that Portland died approximately when the show began. The "dream of the 90s" gave way to tech yuppies, just like everywhere else. I would assume there is little functional cultural difference between Portland and Seattle now. We have less traffic than you, and maybe our housing prices are still lower, but we're trying hard to catch up on both fronts, honest.

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 9:20 pm 
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Bosterson wrote:
FYI, that Portland died approximately when the show began. The "dream of the 90s" gave way to tech yuppies, just like everywhere else. I would assume there is little functional cultural difference between Portland and Seattle now. We have less traffic than you, and maybe our housing prices are still lower, but we're trying hard to catch up on both fronts, honest.

Portland is way ahead in ANTIFA riots, so you have that going for you.  doh.gif
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Bosterson
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PostSun Nov 17, 2019 11:01 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
riots

rolleyes.gif

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RandyHiker
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 1:03 am 
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Bosterson wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
Before you move to Portland -- be sure to watch at least some Portlandia

FYI, that Portland died approximately when the show began. The "dream of the 90s" gave way to tech yuppies, just like everywhere else. I would assume there is little functional cultural difference between Portland and Seattle now. We have less traffic than you, and maybe our housing prices are still lower, but we're trying hard to catch up on both fronts, honest.


My daughter lived in Portland in 2018 and her perspective is that Portlandia hits the mark pretty close, from her experience growing up in Seattle suburbs,  Brooklyn for 7 years, Harlem for 2 and SFO for 1.

If you're from Portland you'll notice all the little details they got wrong.

Oh and Portland rents and real estate are far more affordable than Seatlle, not to mention NYC or SFO.
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treeswarper
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 6:36 am 
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DON'T!

The PNW has too many people moving here.  Real estate is priced out of reach, roads are crowded, we can't get around like we used to.

Are you aware of the natural disasters that occur here?  The Big Earthquake that will level the west side of Oregon and Warshington?  Volcanoes?  Smoke from forest fires?

Then there are the ice storms in the Columbia Gorge.

I worked briefly with a guy from South Carolina who was planning on relocating to Oregon.  He soon decided that our way of life was too different and changed his mind.  I think it was the politics of the region that got him and our secular ways.  He thought the people to be unfriendly.  The chilly wet weather also played a part except he was here in the summer.

I live in a less populated part of WA, 'cept even it has grown what with folks relocating here who can't afford the prices to the west.  But, it is near the Canadian border and this time of year I tell myself, "Only another month and the days will get longer."  It is dark and gray even on the sunny side of the state.  Hope you can deal with short dark days and drizzle should you become one of the many who are crowding into our part of the country.

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cdestroyer
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 6:54 am 
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I no longer hike but I will add in two bits worth. Move to montana. We aint gots nutin here, realestate is plentiful (cept for the californians, nevadans, new yawkers, etc) summer is short and hot, winter is long and sometimes very cold with lots of snow. Lots of mountains to hike in fish in hunt in and no traffick cause it is a long wayz from thar to hereya. Most cars I see on the freeway have washington license plates.
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neek
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 9:13 am 
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Vidalia wrote:
I would love to find a place in a smaller city that has good public transportation, is not too too expensive and has a culture that would be friendly to a very active 64 year old.

You are describing Seattle exactly.  (By world standards, it's a tiny city.)  It was recently ranked #1 in public transportation by an obscure Internet source.  Traffic is fine if you bike and/or avoid commuting hours. Compared to the Bay area, housing is a bargain.  Water, mountains, and OK biking roads all around.  Top notch medical facilities.  Also, a huge factor for me at least, access to high quality produce, although good farmers markets and co-ops have been popping up in smaller towns.  After having lived in Portland for 7 years (and Seattle now for 15) I can say that the road biking is better in Portland, but the hiking inferior.  Stay north of I-90 for the best mountains (you'll get tired of Rainier and Goat Rocks pretty quickly).  Public schools are the only thing really keeping us here for the moment and we'll probably move north, as far as Bellingham, in 10 years, for lower cost of living.  Can't imagine living east of the Cascades but some people enjoy the dryness.  Really though if I wasn't tied down by family I think I'd do the nomadic thing - a year in southern Utah, then Montana, California, etc., but if you want to settle down you can't really go wrong in the PNW.  Just make sure you have good neighbors (residential as well as corporate and industrial).
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moonspots
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 10:43 am 
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Vidalia wrote:
Thank you for reading this far and I would appreciate hearing your opinion or suggestion as to my options.

Well, I grew up in the PNW, and the months and months of continuous clouds/rain, etc don't bother me a bit. Actually, I like the weather there.  However, my wife (who grew up in the "sunny" midwest) goes nuts after about a week or so out there in the winter. So what this means is: I like it just fine no matter the time of year, and it drives her nutz (depressingly so) during the winter months when we visit.

If you're a retiree, I'd offer the suggestion to etablish permanent residency in someplace like SD where you can have a mailbox as an address of record, and only have to stay there a couple weeks/year to continue this residency status. Look into it, and see if the rules are still as I stated.  Wife's cousin did it this way many years ago when she and husband retired in Seattle. Bought a large motor home and went where/when they wanted. So, there's that, maybe.

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Cyclopath
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PostMon Nov 18, 2019 11:14 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
Seattle's rain is what gets talked in the media -- but it's not the rain so much as the gray and the short daylight that is challenging.   

Mid-winter there is only 8 1/2 hours of daylight -- sunrise is around 8 AM and sunset 4:30 PM  -- Plus it is really dreary -- sometimes there will only be a handful (less than ten)  sunny or partly sunny days between Mid-November and Mid-February.  Many people get depressed. 

The long darkness can be hard.  It doesn't rain as often as our reputation makes it sound like, but most days it looks like it's about to any second.  As a cyclist that can be off putting.  It sucks to ride in the rain to begin with, and when it rains in the winter here it's usually 40 to 45 F, which is a challenging middle ground to dress for.

If you're willing to drive you bike around, we have fantastic road and gravel riding, with stunning scenery.
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