Coping: Another Periodic Trip Report

(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?

Quickly answered:

“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…

“Hiya chief!

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.

imageLest you Westerners get confused, they use the common “squat” toilets found ’round these parts (see photo attached), and not the throne type you are used to.

(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. 

imageWhy? 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.

Bon apetit!

P.S.- the photos are from my house, not the restaurant.

Best regards,

Bernard Grover  Executive Producer

Jakarta, Indonesia – 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.) 

25 thoughts on “Coping: Another Periodic Trip Report”

    • I live in that I-5 vicinity – it is a traffic nightmare … as bad as Los Angeles

  1. Take Hwy. 20 out of Port Townsen. At Hwy 101 look for a place called Fat Smittys. Best Burger you will ever not be able to finish.

  2. I have enjoyed the Sequim area. I hope that you stopped at the John Wayne Marina! It is one of the most beautiful and well kept marinas that I have ever been at. The Port Angeles (sp?) is also not bad.

  3. How do elderly Indonesians use those squat potties? I am 70 and that combined with arthritis means I never squat for any reason. Just wondering how that might work out.

    • Don’t your pants get wet with the rinse off. Oh thats right, they wear those long shirt things they pull over there head to do there business.

  4. Have you looked at the Bend OR area? Had an uncle who recently passed who lived there.

    The past week with daytime temps above 100 at 60+% humidity gives me pause to reconsider retirement here at El Rancho de Chaos. I found outside activites in that environment not a good thing since I have been adding years onto the 60’s. Not being an inside type of guy doesn’t help.

  5. The Olympic Peninsula is a beautiful place to live. I would only pick Sequim if you like moving slowly through not only traffic, but store shopping and whatever else you have to do. The other problem is that there is only one road in and one road out, so traffic up and down the peninsula does get backed up, especially for an event like the Lavender Festival. If you like wind, it’s a nice sunny place that is known by the locals as the ‘blue hole’. The wind is hard for me to take, so we went a bit more south and guarded by the Olympics, which is what I see out of my kitchen window and the bay is only 1 mile down the road. Perfect little micro climate to live in. Been here for over 10 years and have never been happier. Fat Smittys at Discovery Bay is good for burgers like Shayne says, AND just a block down is a new place called the Detour which has local craft brews along with ciders and kombucha. Very nice addition to the area since they opened a few months ago. This is the nicest area of the world to live in imho.

  6. George: I was going to suggest the Southern Oregon coast but thought about all the people who would read this. Nah, don’t come here…horrible place.

    • Cat is already out of the bag ! :-) We love the scenic beauty of the Southern Oregon coast and Oregon in general. Part of the draw for us is that Southern Oregon seems to have more sunshine as well.
      Fortunately for you, the income tax has kept us away. :-(

      • Curry county has one of lowest property taxes in Oregon, no state sales tax, power and water are cheap, most fees like car registration run less, Oregon is pretty liberal with deductions…back it all out and the bite of the income tax isn’t so bad unless you’re bringing in the big bucks…and you have to pay something for the scenery. Plus a lot of positives for when things get frosty.

  7. If BHil get in there will be plenty of interns to go around. So screwing people won’t be a problem.

  8. We retired in Sequim in 1999(age60), everything you say is true & we enjoyed a decade there. This included a boat at John Wayne Marina for cruising North like you have done. Then moved to Saddlebrooke,Az. which is not for you as it’s a 55+ thing,other areas nearby are nice. Why the move? The older you get the warmer you like it, not too much rain in Sequim, but often damp & cold maritime climate. Great medical in this area as many good Doc’s like Oro Valley……all within 30 minute drive. Not 2 hours to the “dark side” as we called SEA area. All & all Sequim is a great place!

  9. I fail to see how Hildebeast could ever function as a president after the utter incompetence and treason evidenced from her stint as Sec’y of State. She was a no-account carpetbagging senatress in NY but since CONgress does nothing these days, I suppose it didn’t matter. Her mess after State DOES matter, and she seems to have no sense of what’s necessary for our country.

    With her zero charisma and horrible nasty voice, I can’t see anyone taking her seriously or following her orders/edicts. That may well include the military. If she’s suffering from a fatal disease, we may be stuck with her new sidekick VP, about which we know nothing.

    I like my home here on the southern tier, but I am planning for an alternate country if that one ever succeeds in gaining the White House again. We may well become the next Libya.

  10. myrtle point, oregon. elders are making it come to life. lots of beautiful well kept homes, a nice hospital and a population that has stayed much the same for fifty years. wine is moving into the valley slowly, prices are low. minutes drive from total wilderness, forty minutes through the valley to the coat, bandon. also nice but too cold. all this area would be called the ‘banana belt’ of oregon. have fun.

  11. Just got back from a weeks vacation at a cottage on Lake Sutherland a little west of Port Angeles. Nice area with moderate temps. Spent some time driving around the Olympic National Forest, Port Angeles,and Sequim and found it lovely, although we did get caught in the Lavender Festival traffic on 101. If you are looking for inland water living, Lake Sutherland had a few nice waterfront places for sale. 73

  12. If “Readers L & L (Scandinavians)” are going to plant a filbert (hazelnut) orchard in the Willamette valley, then, as a kindness, please point them to these people or others like them to maximize profit from their effort.

    “New World Truffieres produces truffle tree seedlings (oaks, hazelnuts and other species) inoculated with Tuber melanosporum and other truffle species in North America.”

  13. george,

    just wondering that you buddy in jakarta needs to get another showerhead or whatver is is that you call those hoses that you wash you ‘butt’ with….his seems to have some kind of brown residue all over the head. now would you use that if you were a gust at his place??? i would e embarrsed to show you that pic it were me. woould you let your wife use that buttshower hose???

  14. George,

    Squim is pretty and the rain keeps it green most of the time. However, if you like temperatures that are quite cool, Squim fits the bill. Squim is about 18 degrees colder 7/24/365 than Montalba Texas where you currently live. 5 months of the year the average night-time cold is about freezing. Only one month of the year does the average high even get to 70 degrees. AND that trusty cold breeze is always blowing.
    The rain comes down in small fractions of an inch over long time periods. So the rain feels like like it is a lot more than the annual rainfall.
    The Olympics are beautiful, the ferries are fun to ride, but you would get pretty tired of the dreary gray skies and persistent cold breeze if you spent other times than summer there. You probably already know this as you spend some considerable time living in the Seattle area where I was born.
    There also seems to be a fair amount of do gooders leftists residing in that locality. A far cry from the freedom of Anderson County Texas.

  15. Squim is indeed a gorgeous place. However, you will get depressed if you move there, due to the near constant grey skies and drizzle. Those cool wet temps will chill yer arthritic bones to the core. Stay in the Southwest so when we move there, The property prices will be lower for us!

  16. What so do you think of Silverdale? It’s small and modern. Don’t have to travel far to get to nature either. Almost purchased a house out there but the job wasn’t what I expected. Toll bridge is the only downside. New hospital in the area too.

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