We’ve been living here on the Oregon coast for almost 13 years — the longest I’ve lived anywhere — and it’s been great. So close to the ocean, clean air, everything’s green, bald eagles, whales, seals and sea lions abound. Beautiful vistas wherever you turn. Mild temperatures. Nice neighbors, neighbors who feed the cat while we’re gone.
So what’s the problem? Who would want to leave this?
Well, the rain is a big factor. Sixty to 90 inches a year? That’s serious weather. Rain moving horizontally up the street? Gusts of wind up to 70-80 mph? That’s significant. An airport that’s 3.5 hours away? It’s proven inconvenient, requiring hotel stays, both coming and going. A major city that’s also 3.5 hours away? To go to Portland for any sort of event is an effort.
So where would be a “better” place to live? Where could we go and still be in a maritime environment? A more benign climate? A rural area with easy access to a big city? A place where there are a few more options for exploring? A bit more property around us? Fresh air, a cool climate, but less rain? A sort of artsy place?
We gave all this a lot of thought. We’re 13 years older now, moving is a huge deal. And we have a lot
of stuff — tools, books, computer paraphernalia, camera gear, and art supplies. Oh, my.
Plus, I have all my CalPhoto research material, all those binders of wildflower reports, all those articles I've written about where to shoot in California. My career of 30-some years and all its attendant paperwork. Do I just dump it all into recycling? And what about all those slides? Do I just toss ‘em out?
Thinking of moving is daunting. To physically do it will take a toll on the old bodies.
What to do, what to do?
We decided to move. We bought a house and escrow closes this Tuesday. We are prepping the Oregon coast house to show and sell. And we hope it will sell fast. It should. It’s in good shape (except for that one time the raccoon broke into the back yard shed!), and you can see whales from the kitchen and living room windows. And at night, the lights on fishing boats twinkle offshore.
Are we insane to leave this? I guess we’ll find out.
So where are we moving to? Whidbey Island, located in the Puget Sound, just north of and a 15-minute ferry ride west of Seattle.
But isn’t it cold and rainy up there? It’s not any colder than here on the Oregon coast. And rain? Sixteen to 20 inches a year! Compared to the Oregon coast, it’s practically a desert! We are on 2.5 acres, can’t see our neighbors, and can’t be seen from the road. Ahhhhhh! (The photo up top is our back yard. We're gonna need a lawn mower . . .)
We’ll be living in Coupeville, a cute little town. The island itself is a nice combination of small touristy towns, rhododendron gardens, and rural/agricultural areas (great farmers’ markets throughout the summer). A Navy presence is at the north end of the island (I’ll feel at home). We have a distant view of the sound, nothing like we have here, but there are water views everywhere you go, and lots of boat traffic (sailboats, ferries, cruise ships, freighters, and more).
The Pacific Northwest School of Art is located in Coupeville, which is great. Exploration possibilities include driftwood- and pebble-strewn beaches, the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley, military bunkers, Vancouver Island, Butchart Gardens, Port Townsend, the Olympic Peninsula, and then there’s all of Canada!
So yeah, we have had a wonderful run in Oregon and are sad to be leaving the state. But this will probably be our last grand adventure, giving us a whole new palette of colors — quick trips to Seattle, a Costco that’s closer, the Seahawks, orcas, a larger studio for me, and room for Chris to make stuff and to cook with gas!
We will remain Oregon residents until we sell this house, gradually moving our stuff north, staying longer and longer each time.
So it’s official . . . FOR SALE
: 2BR/2BA 1,700 square-foot home with ocean view, light, bright, airy, and nice neighbors. Raccoons optional . . .