Coping: Where IS Perfect?

We stopped (as promised) at the Outback for lunch Monday and while talking with our server this time, different fellow from before, that he’d recently returned to Texas from Iowa..up around Des Moines.

How’d you like Iowa?” Inquiring minds want to know.

Well, turns out that it’s a pretty nice place – but that’s after you get past the winters. Those, we were informed in more polite verbiage pretty much suck.

I don’t mind cold weather myself. With enough firewood and coffee (plus back up power and a good library) it’s really not much different that living in Texas.

The main thing is in the Frozen North, there are two or three months when going outside is plum loco/crazy.  Too damn cold.

Texas, has three months when going outside is also plum loco/crazy. Except people here call it “summer” and turn on AC instead of a fireplace insert.  Too damn hot.  The North and South have never worked out a good compromise, except Hilo and there’s a volcano, earth slide risk.

But you see the problem.

A long-time reader of ours (since 2000’ish) sent in a nice email as she is also on the quest to find the perfect place to live the next chapter of Life, The Adventure.

“So reason #1 for writing today is because out of the blue I decided to visit your site to see what has been going on during my long absence. I read your headlines and went to the article referenced in the Subject of this email. 5 paragraphs down I see the words Ocean Shores, WA which is exactly where I am looking at beach property since visiting there about

2 years ago. I am planning to relocate and buy a home by next summer.

What are the chances I would after years away, see the city name of a small little known place in the first article of yours I peruse. I just laughed and laughed.”

Then she got to the point:

“Given you know the son of the guy who developed Ocean Shores, any thoughts on whether this location would be a safe bet under any

circumstances? I have been up and down OR coast, as well as WA coast south of Ocean Shores but simply was drawn to it unlike any other area as the rightful location of my next life’s chapter…”

Yeah, damn fine question there. Let me share some of our thoughts because there are many things that argue in favor of Ocean Shores:

The wildlife is great. And, if you do the next big inlet south (Willapa Bay) there is also spectacular wild life and damn fine oysters, too.  Island Center Bakery rings a bell, but those could be bats, too.

Ocean Shores has a very special place in my heart: Our family used to go out Saturday mornings from Seattle, drive down to Oyhut (near Ocean Shores) dig a limit each of razor clams, and drive home.

Except on one of these trips, I spied a $300 watch that someone had left behind, having taken it off to grab a clam. I treasured that watch – as it was an early electronic watch and I don’t have to tell you what $300 in 1957 would be worth in today’s funny money.

Sundays were then spent with a pound of bacon, 3-4 onions, about 10 pounds of peeled and diced potatoes, half pound of butter, some pepper and all the minced clams.  Served with fresh French bread. We ate – and loved – razor clam chowder.

Back to the point, Ocean Shores has evolved as a fine community. Periodically, someone would propose they put in Vegas style casino gambling, but with an Indian Casino nearby nowadays, not much point to that.  My late mom loved that casino when we took her.

The only three or four concerns I have are of a practical sort.

For one, there is always the risk of the ocean. We may not have another Molokai run-out collapse out in Hawaii driving a killer wave toward the northwest for another 10,000 years. Or, it could be tomorrow.  Doom porners will insist it’s any minute…but we still visit the ocean.

Next is the little matter of Japan. Fukushima is still a mess, still polluting, and although the levels are down from peak, there is still stuff washing up on the coast, or so people up there tell us.

Wherever we land (if we don’t stay here in Texas as is the current plan) the things we are serious about are healthcare (Texas is very good in the larger cities) and internet connectivity.  Then space and privacy,  Hint:  Privacy costs money.

I don’t know as I mentioned the complaint I filed with the FCC a while back. But it involved out terrestrial links (2) that are technically HDSL.

The basis of the complaint was that we were getting repeated bandwidth exhaustion errors and yet the (alleged) phone company kept signing people up for new service. Somehow, that just didn’t see right. And it has kept us – and times – from being able to use the internet as it should be – a reliable public utility.

Which gets me to the Ocean Shores deal point (or wherever you land): Make damn sure you have super high speed internet connectivity. I mean fiber and good enough to stream four 4K streams at the same time.

We have some friends that just built a new home in a 55+ community near Phoenix and they love it. Besides being a new palace (seriously nice) they have fiber to the house and that gives them 50+ MB up and down speeds.

Not to be missed though, Excede (which took over from Wild Blue) for satellite services here in the Outback of East Texas, is now providing us 1.5 MB uplink and 5 MB and better down speeds for $59 bucks a month.

The problem that comes with Excede, however, is something back in my microwave field engineer days was described as “precipitation path loss…” When it rains heavily, or a thick layer of thunderstorm goes over, you lose the ‘net.

This only matters if you need to use the ‘net on a schedule, as we keep to around here, although someday, if I grow up and retire we’ll be done with schedules.

Elaine’s skeptical. Ure a type A is how she sees it.

The only other things that rule out Ocean Shores to me are the relatively long response times to a first class hospital.

Aberdeen and Hoquiam are up river a ways, have better hospitals, more people, and yes, some modest hills in the couple of hundred foot class that might be useful.  Not yet overpriced.  But give it time.

They also have an airport and a prevailing wind from the West. But countering the cheap flying is the lack of easy ditching (pattern is largely over water) and lots and lots of gray weather.  Salt air is hard of aluminum.  Hangared and waxed in Texas is fine for it.

My family used to joke about Aberdeen being about an equal mix of bars and churches. When the area grays out the time to sunshine can measured in months. If you like fog, there’s no better place.

The Long Beach Peninsula of Washington is nice, too, though further south. I mentioned Willapa Bay, but Long Beach has more of a tourism vibe to it.

It’s also not far from Astoria, and there’s plenty of elevation to be found there, a bit less gray (prevailing weather up and down the Columbia gives a bit more circulation).

Most of the real deals in Astoria real estate have been soaked up, but there was a time when an old ready to restore Victorian era home could be had for less than $50K. Times were, huh?

If the leave the Washington Coast, the next place to look would be up the Columbia a ways, around Longview/Kelso. Granted some pulp mill smell, but it was not terribly expensive, good airport, good hospitals, and fairly cheap.  Thing of the mills smell if it’s still there like living in a high fart density area.

We found a couple of homes up there in the $250K range that looked interesting, but my buddy pointed out the  pictures looked a little too “photo-chopped” if you know what I mean, so we didn’t pursue it.

We have taken a very close look (on paper) at much of the territory from Goldendale, Washington, down to Washougal, which is just up the Columbia a short snort from Vancouver/Portland.

I used to love Portland to death. The Rose’s Deli sandwiches and gnosh are still delish, but the traffic? Yee gods…That’s something else.

Portland has grown people faster than concrete, and consequently, the first place you get into bargains (and out from behind bumpers so much) is down around Eugene, or at least south of Salem. State Capitols are often overpriced for what you get.  In office holders and homes.

Oregon has two screaming superstars, where a home would likely be a good investment for a young family: Eugene is great and green, while Bend (and Redmond) Oregon up in the high desert on the other side of the Cascades are very nice.  If I were a young professional, Nampa and Twin Falls Idaho would be on my list, too.  Fortunately, I;m no longer young or professional so much…

I also like Deschutes River territory, south of Sun River, Oregon but until we get into the hard living part of the Second Depression, I’m waiting for prices to come down.  Even then, there’s the medical response issue.

Which then gets me to the sneaky-Pete]s.

This includes places like Cascade Locks, Goldendale, and places like that along the Columbia River Gorge.

With a few wind machines as an up front charge, and a whole bunch of 2 by 6’s, a person could build a phenomenally well insulated home with wind power for lighting and such with some expectation that it would work. Always blowing in through there. Some waterfalls on the Oregon side are nice to look at, but an hour from Portland up river is like a different country.

And one more place – though off the wall a bit: Baker City Oregon. Last time we were through, it was beautiful, nice mix of climates, but again, they do have winters, which sort of makes up for the tsunami risk going to zero.  Unspoiled by bureaucracy,  at least on the surface (see earlier Salem Disease note).

Every place we look, though, it has come down to more mulling than action.

It’s like the old Three Bears story co-starring Goldilocks.

“Ocean Shores is close enough to the kids, but too gray, and too far from services….”

Cascade Locks and up the Gorge is nice, but we worry about Oregon taxes and left of rational state government. Not that Texas isn’t going down that road, but for now, it’s not there…yet.  The Bolsheviks of Austin are in the organizing stage.

Bend, Oregon is already big enough that rush hour traffic causes sleep disruption and PTSD (post traffic stress disorder).

Eugene is nice on all counts, we know the perfect airport and mechanic (at Creswell, OR), but it’s a day long ordeal through the Portland Traffic Gauntlet for the kids to come visit.

The Bellingham Washington area is already over-run with Canadians.

The San Juan islands are great, they have the airports, but what would they be like without waterfront or should a Ferry Strike happen, again? Which they do every so often.

Mason County (Shelton, WA and environs) is mostly second and third growth logging country. First class medicine is down in Olympia, and Shelton is not (how to to put this mildly?) kind of downscale compared to what we’ve seen in big cities.

Remember, Elaine’s experience since we’ve been married has been a) Seattle yacht scene, b) San Francisco yacht clubs, c) Boca Raton, FL, and Meisner Square concerts  d) Burbank, CA studio scene…and now we’re here outside of Palestine, TX. (I am one hell of a salesman, huh?)

E likes the shopping and misses the nightlife in years of then.  We both suffer extreme nostalgia for the “good old days” when people went out to party and listen to music.

Today, you stay home,have your own studio and don’t dare drive after anything stronger than mouthwash. In terms of dressing to the 9’s? These are my dress Carhartts, dear.

The other afternoon, having a toddy in the sunroom, I asked Elaine “What do you want to give up?”

“The shop with every power tool on the planet?”

“A choice of places to set up your easel and paint?”

“Having no mortgage?”

“Having 29 acres to do whatever we want with?”

“Give up the recording studio and drums…which may not place nicely in a crowded urban setting?  Rules our condos…”

“Expect me to give up my 60 foot ham radio tower and wide-spaced beam?  HOA hell.”

“Or that 900 foot long wire antenna on the drawing board?  Take a city slicker govercrat 4 seconds to find some bs rule against it…”

“Give up a guest room with shower and privacy in the other building?”

We add this stuff up every so often, and so far, Texas wins.

Elaine’s fond of saying “But I don’t want to die HERE.”

Yet when I ask here “Where EXACTLY do you WANT TO DIE?” we never seem to get that part sorted out.

About here (and perhaps on the second martini) I suggest the old family sayings on the relocation question.

Home is where you is.

And if you need a different place to be happy, then you’ve got a software issue more often than not.

Happiness and joy can be created from anything. It’s not the location that makes it. It’s the attitude.

That is, as long as it’s not over 90, not under 50, not raining and gray every day, and you have a long growing season, and the local people are complete idiots, and the roads are… well, you get the idea.

Can I Stop Being Right, Please

From reader Alan:

I know this is not news to you but I did read the following blurb on the Fox News website today:

“Wendy’s, one of the world’s largest fast food chains, says it will replace human employees with automated self-service kiosks in many of its approximately

6,500 restaurants. According to Wendy’s CTO Todd Penegor, the sweeping move is an effort to counteract minimum wage hikes.”

I believe you have been forecasting this trend for awhile :)

Yessir, buckeroo…there I go being right again, but I don’t take all that much pleasure in it.

Well, maybe later this week when I do the victory lap on CoastToCoast with George Noory.  Not to kick sand at the professional doomsters who would have had us all sucking wind by now, but the market did bottom in Feb and we may hit our new all times highs in May.  But someone is bound to be right…so I volunteered.

Write when you get rich,


Coping: Where IS Perfect? — 26 Comments

  1. Well George, a couple things to think about in finding the perfect location. Number One: Live anywhere near the pulp mill smells, as I have for some years in extreme N Kalifornia? Well better do some serious research on Dioxin. We got rid of it here by running the pulp mills out, Number Two: Oregon. Don’t overlook the Uber Leftie State Govt. Also don’t overlook they are in love with and implementing Agenda 21 far and wide. Putting people in jail for disagreeing.

    So I am in agreement with Mike who posted 5/17. a) Your obsession with medical care is way overdone. Stop worrying about it. You die when you die, its your karma, you aren’t going to change it. Relax and enjoy each day you have. b)You already live in a very nice situation. Stop trying to find “paradise” somewhere else. Enjoy what you have.

    My two cents.

  2. The first perfect place to live will be found in that moment when you learn to get over all of the emotional prejudices of what makes a perfect place and are able to open your eyes to take in what really is, as well as getting over yourself and realizing what you really can and can’t do, and learn to be happy that you can at all.

    There are many who keep searching for that life that they want, despite the fact that they are not likely to become equipped to successfully live that life in a satisfactory manner. In those instances they need to learn how to live vicariously through others. Really old people do it all the time, if we let them.

    Make a list on a piece of paper or two, start with where you are, what you have, what you are likely to have in the near future, what you are capable and willing to do, turn it all into an equation, and substitute the places you think you want to be on the other side of the equation, those that balance, or weigh heavy on the supply side, are your correct answers.

    To make the process much easier you can search deep within your being and find the Place of Supreme Happiness, in which all places are the perfect place.

    • “Make a list on a piece of paper or two, start with where you are, what you have, what you are likely to have in the near future, what you are capable and willing to do, turn it all into an equation, and substitute the places you think you want to be on the other side of the equation, those that balance, or weigh heavy on the supply side, are your correct answers.”

      Nicely put. Good advice.

  3. Live Maui, Hi! Beautiful place, but go to our second home in Palestine, Tx., when we get bored here!

  4. We live in Washougal, Wa and love it. Close to Portland, Or. and not far from Seattle. Weather has changed. Not as much rain as we use to have.
    Can drive to the Columbia River Gorge within an hour.

  5. George,
    I have no ideas where Perfect is but there is a rumor that it is the home of the economic man.;-)

  6. If you don’t have to earn a living, I’d suggest Cortez Co. 4 corners and the Indian nations to the southwest and high mountains to the northeast. I’m nor sure of the medical care, but, it is a market center for a large area.

  7. Pahoa, Hawaii Island. 20 miles south of Hilo. 150 inches of rain per year on the windward side of the island… jungle grows even from lava rocks there. State sponsored fire (lava) insurance for the house costs $2650/yr, but I’m taking the bet the lava will not come that way again in my remaining lifetime. County must agree as they plan to spend $10 Mil. on parks and road improvements, and business plans new shopping center right where the last lava flow stopped. A big enough lot for fruit trees, veggie garden, and ham radio antennas. Pure heaven after living 40 years in a concrete box in the big city!

  8. George,
    You might reconsider Iowa. Once I figured out how to dress properly for winter (layers and thinsulate boots and gloves), I stopped trying to avoid it. In fact, I know a lot of people who prefer being out in the winter because (1) no bugs, and (2) can add/remove layers as needed (try that in the summer!). And our winters seem to be getting milder and milder with our growing zone having recently moved from a 4 to a 5. In fact, this winter, I noticed that the construction work (and concrete laying) continued all winter long (except right after each big snow dump – which we had 3 of last winter). And there is snowmobiling (though not enough snow anymore for this), ice fishing, hunting, cross country skiing, etc.

  9. George – You mention west coast seafood and Fukushima. Some of my earliest days (I’m now 68)were spent in Seattle. My Grandmother had a house, built by her Father, in the Mt Baker district. I still remember going to the Captains Table at Pier 92 for my favorite ‘fast food’, Fish and Chips. I would just about kill for some really good alder smoked salmon, and I can, at least, get the salmon here in Rhode Island. My problem is, I hear that the radiation level is way up, and I just don’t like the idea of glowing in the dark, or having some necessary, anatomical item fall off at a most inconvenient time. What do you hear?

  10. How can you still recommend moving to the Northwest when the upcoming big earthquake is still on the books?

  11. I’m curious as to why you recommend so many places in WA and OR that are near where an overdue Cascadia subduction debacle is expected to take place imminently, to say nothing of the Cascade-range volcanoes likely popping as is happening with increasing frequency along the Ring of Fire. I presume you’ve been following the wild weather events all over the world, so why isn’t your danger radar on high alert?

    • I was wondering the same thing. That is not the location or part of the country I would ever consider moving to. George needs to get up to speed with zetatalk, there is enough good info there to know where to go. Hint: 850′ minimum elevation. 160 miles from any coastline. Steer clear of any volcano’s active in last 10,000 years and keep clear of major lakes, rivers and creeks. For starters.

  12. Morning from Gig Harbor, George,
    Today’s missive is of great interest to me. I grew up in a little town called South Bend, WA that was a good place for a young whipper snapper to grow up in. We had a small place right on Willapa Bay, (a high tide over 12-13 feet filled the front yard) and and a brother to explore the logging roads with on small, well used, somewhat dependable motorcycles. Most of the time, we stayed clear of the local lawmen as much as we could. Worked in the oyster beds, and some logging related jobs. And drinking. My oh my. Glad those days are in the distant past…
    Thanks for the good read today, George.

  13. No matter where you go in the USA, you are still in a country where your president just renewed an executive order of sanctions against Venezuela, and its designation as a threat against the security of the USA. This stroke of the pen is going to cause the deaths of at least a million Venezuelan people.

    But don’t worry, this will not be in your media, and since it wasn’t you that signed that executive order, it’s not your fault.

    But if you send even a box of corn flakes to Venezuela, your government will consider you a criminal.

    For years, it was America, good people, bad government. Don’t hear that any more. Wonder why?

    • It is still true as you well know. Maybe it is time to get your hearing checked.

  14. I live within an hour of Albany NY in the northern Catskill Hills. The medial services are phenomonal. They will collect my corpse for free, check for whatever, cremate and bury me free of charge. They will even mail me back to this town via postal service. Village people are very friendy,neighbor plows my driveway before I ask. I will be happy to die here.

  15. Heaven or hell depends on you.
    You are what makes it that.
    Huntington West Virginia, not too cold winters, good water, fair rain good spring and summers not often above 90’s.. College town now with Marshall University, Med school there too.
    But from the beauty of my childhood memories they have built over all the area’s I use to hunt,play and camp or fish. All spread out,too much traffic but weather is almost ideal.. Think I will stay in Sidney,MT. Nice folks, great area to live raise kids, walk across street to work, fuss at grandkids. In a word,HEAVEN, LOL..

  16. In my twenties, I realized that I was bored in the great “fun capitals” of the world. It’s the people that make your life what it is, and access to hobbies, no matter where you roam. However, what a shock it was to miss snow and cold when visiting the dual-season Queensland: hot/dry or hot/humid. I consider it and much of the southwest US to be Hell On Earth, and cant figure out why anyone would want to live in a desert, or other land which cannot support human life by natural means. I’m waiting for a climate change which gives Wisconsin the perfect weather of Melbourne, Australia.

    • I hear ya.

      I spent time working & living near Phoenix a while back – no, thank you. Happily back in the northeast now with all 4 seasons.

      That area in the southwest US is referred to as “desert” – figure that means it should be “deserted”

      Yet millions live there. I can’t figure it out, either, Roberta.

  17. FYI, an exede story. In the cornfields with no dsl line at all so we rely on exede. Couldn’t get into my paypal account while everything else was working. Paypal told me to call exede. Sure enough “some” of us were unable to access paypal while everything else was working. Took them maybe 12 hours to get the connection back. How the heck do they only lose access to a specific website? Trust level light is now set on low, I just do not have another option.

  18. George, using your logic of where the ideal place to live, even those in heaven are looking to relocate….to where?

    • As it turns out, there is a warmer climate available. Whole booksd have been written about it…

      • George,

        I visited with your meetup a few years ago in Tyler, and I can’t even imagine a warmer climate, even down elevator.

        If you’re comfortable there, I think it’s right that you stay and enjoy it. I’d suggest to Elaine to worry less about dying somewhere than to focus on life each moment, though she probably does. I do think your concern over medical “care” may be overdone, but that’s just me. I figure I’ll probably die at a most inconvenient time and place with nobody there. Not wishing for it at all, but those are the odds.
        Good luck with your eyes!