(Tacoma, WA) — With two full days before we take off Sunday morning for parts south, we checked out another small town on our “possibility list” of places where old people with kin in the Pacific Northwest might move if/when the 30 acres if Texas gets to be too much.
Sequim – pronounced skwimm – is about 26 miles west of the Hood Canal floating bridge.
Its local is a mixed blessing.
Should there ever be a massive offshore earthquake, there will not be time for most people to get high enough (say 1,500 feet) to avoid pain and injury that goes with a geologically induced unplanned swimming lesson. And worse? The Bangor Trident Sub base is not far off and from a 5,000 air burst in our targeting suppositions, there would be many and very crispies.
Yet we are also optimistic: Fertile land, 300 days when there is at least partial sunshine as the area is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, and some of the best hiking, fishing, camping, outdoors things you can imagine are adjacent in the Olympic National Park.
Finding our lunch appointment was easy:
“I’m the taupe with black trim house at the end of the cul-de/sac….”
Like most men, my sense of “color wheel” could use a tune-up so I asked..
“What man color is taupe?
“Cute question. Light brown only grayer.
So somewhere between weathered barn color and fawn color, then…depending on whether the sun is out, or not.
A kind word or three about Sequim: 18 inches of rain per year puts it about on par with Phoenix. But afternoon winds on the Strait of Juan de Fuca ensure 90 is something for the record books.
The town boasts a “New Comers Club” and the former “senior center” has been named something less pejorative.
“Where else could I live and be two blocks from Safeway, two blocks from there is Costco, where Dungeness crab goes on sale for about $27 a pound fresh…while two (long) blocks the other way, there is a herd of belted Galloway cattle?
Those who are disadvantaged (e.g. not from Texas) might not know belted Galloway’s are the “Oreo” of cattle, being black on both ends with a white band in the middle.
They are also known to be prodigious producers of butterfat with local lore explaining how they must be milked slowly in order not to fill a pail or milking machine with butter or whipped cream.
Beyond this, the biggest industry in the region seems to be retirement. There is some industry – forest products, bring your own owls – and there are some software outfits. But by and large getting old is an honorable thing to do.
Sequim also has its own special kind of traffic signage. As you know, Texas is bike riding country if you don’t mind being armed to some level. It is wild country. Sequim is very gentrified with a fine system of bike trails.
When we came to an intersection with a small dinner-plate sized “Stop” sign, I inquired if the area was inhabited by low-slung sports cards with far-sighted drivers.
“No, that stop sign is only for the bike lane. Why are you stopping?
The rest of the sentence (…you dolt…) was implied…
Lunch at The Old Mill was excellent: Dungeness crab salad ands a crab and cheese melt on English muffins.
The property prices in the area seem reasonable, with a modest home in the $250K range being possible.
That contrasts with a several 3/2 homes on a quarter acre with pools in the Glendale, Arizona area we may look at on the mosey back to Texas. The major determinant is likely to be the presidential election: If Hil and the dems win, there will be no effective border and that being the case, we can get waterfront on the far side of the border cheaper. If Trump wins, we might have a border a while longer and that would make southern tier states (Tejas, NM, AZ, and California) less likely to be sure-fire financial disasters.
The Indonesia Bureau Checks In
Early this week, I mentioned that new restaurant in Jakarta (that’s in Indonesia if you are a congressman…it’s a city in a far-away country if you work in the State Department) that serve dishes from toilet bowls and such.
I threatened our Indonesia Bureau Chief, Bernard Grover with a “two scoop lunch” at the place…but as usual he was six steps ahead of me…
Way ahead of you. Went to the Jemban Cafe (toilet restaurant) in Semarang a couple of months back. The food is well above average and, not to fear, the bowls are off the shelf and never installed in a bathroom.
(About here, I was noticing the resemblance to my coffeemaker…)
The idea came from the fact that Westerners joke about rolls of toilet paper being only found on dining tables and never in the bathroom.
Why? Well, folks here don’t use paper. Instead, there are hoses, like the spray nozzles found on many kitchen sinks back home, or a gayung (big ladle) and cistern of water for tidying up (see other photo).
Takes a little getting used to, but hard to beat that just-showered feeling.
Oh, but getting back to the Jamben Cafe. If you find yourself in Semarang, Central Jawa, and want a unique experience with some damn fine sop baso (chicken meatball soup), look it up. Great food and a story to tell the grandkids.
P.S.- the photos are from my house, not the restaurant.
Bernard Grover Executive Producer
Jakarta, Indonesia www.augenguy.com – eyes wide squinted
Yes, it’s stories like this that come across my desk and make it possible for me to easily go on zero calorie diets at will.
Other “Retirement” Ideas
OK, so Indonesia is off my list. But there is more to check out in the PNW than time allows. Readers L & L (Scandinavians) sent along this idea:
Been reading your missives for quite a few years, and not too long ago you asked for ideas on where to live and what to do.
We chose, after looking at quite a few states, to relocate to the mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon. We are going to plant hazelnuts on 50-60 acres and in three years you start getting a small harvest and it increases from there.
Prices look like they are going to remain good. There are people that will sharecrop with you so you don’t have to do all the work, but the work is not that hard. It is mostly mechanized and low labor. Water where we are is plentiful.
As far as high income taxes, yes Oregon has an income tax, but with a farm deferral property taxes are low. And with farm expenses you can defray a lot of costs. We are approximately 1.5 hrs to the Oregon Coast, 1.5 hrs to Portland International Airport and approximately 4 hrs. to Seattle (all by car).
We feel this is something we can do well into our 80’s and we are early 60’s now. Something we hope to pass to our kids.
You were asking for ideas, so this is what we came up with.
Keep up the good insight we really appreciate your daily writings.
And I appreciate readers like you. It’s kind of a personal fact-check to see how crazy I really am.
And yes, people in Oregon are nuts…but this explains it. There is no explaining the affliction in Washington – the district of corruption).
Write when you get rich (or can appoint me to a fat government position when I can screw everyone who walks by…I hope to have a big future is taxtual predation if BHil wins.)