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Old 08-14-2013, 09:30 PM   #16
Idarider
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Originally Posted by Gootch View Post
What has happened to westsiders? Everyone is getting too welcoming (maybe it's because you ain't from round here). We normally say that there are no jobs, housing is freaking expensive (which in many places it is, including Bellingham), it rains every day - except when it's only very cloudy and depressing, and traffic is miserable. That's the real northwest way to sell the place.
We just say "Welcome to Idaho, now go home"
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:29 PM   #17
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Don't know if you saw this recent thread asking a similar question. For your convenience, my opinion about the climate is attached, below. It doesn't address the socioeconomic or cultural scenes out here. In general, the wet side of the Cascades enjoys higher salaries but the cost of living is a fair bit higher. Along the I-5 corridor, south of Olympia is the least expensive living, but opportunities are fewer. I'd strongly consider looking at life in the Portland area...it's a great city that is central to an amazing array of both professional and recreational opportunities. The greater Tacoma/Seattle/Everett area has some interesting stuff happening, but I could absolutely never tolerate any commuting in these areas. It wouldn't be bad if you could avoid commuting, however. North of Everett, the Skagit Valley is one of the most lovely places out there, but, again, it's small town USA. Lots of folks enjoy living there and commute south to Everett or Seattle. The Bellingham area has a good-sized university and, yes, lots of healthcare (my field). Be warned, however, that the cost of living in this area is ridiculously overinflated. You pay to be in the paradise that is a 90-minute drive to Seattle, a 60-minute drive to Vancouver, BC, and a short hop to the Cascades or to the San Juan islands.

Like many areas, the quality of education varies quite a bit. I've moved twice now with school-aged kids and both times made my decision of location based upon the school district; educational quality varies surprisingly even within our county. A lot of this info is available online.

I can't compare employment opportunities here with what you folks are seeing in eastern PA these days. I wouldn't make a leap without really being sure about the career thing. I would differ strongly with the notion that Bellingham is a sure bet for healthcare. The hospital is suffering tremendous financial and administrative pains and I can't encourage anyone to consider working there.

BTW, I grew up in the Washington, DC area and on the Jersey shore, but have lived out here for most of my adult life. Here's the weather editorial I wrote for the other thread:


The eastern two-thirds of Washington really should be a different state; the dry side is pretty much on a different planet. The wet side is why we're The Evergreen State. Most locals agree that this isn't because of the conifers that abound, but rather because of the mildew and moss that cling to every house, fence, and slow-moving vehicle. Here are some additional thoughts on our weather for potential residents contemplating a move.

Cloud cover: gray and formless. Not lovely, white, puffy clouds like most of the country. Just gray. A dim void overhead. Take vitamin D3. No kidding. And when we get the odd sunny day during the winter and spring months, we go kind of crazy, get rather giddy, do silly things, babble a great deal; it's a kind of happy hysteria.

Cloud cover #2, our skin: We are by nature fishbelly white if of the Caucasian persuasion. This leads to a couple of interesting endemic phenomena. There are those folks who sport oddly deep tans during the winter months. They tend to be realtors and other people who drive large SUVs. They spend a great deal of time on tanning beds and can always be relied upon to tell you about their mid-winter trip to Maui. Gold jewelry accompanies this phenomenon. When they retire, they spend half the year in Arizona and half the year at the dermatologist's office. The other local tradition is for the fishbelly folk to strip down whenever the sun comes out, frantically absorbing as much UV radiation as possible. When the Great Blazing Orb In The Sky favors us with an appearance of a few days' duration, you can count on seeing a lot of people at the grocery store who are sporting dramatic sunburns. These contrast startlingly with the glaring white patterns caused by their tank tops and sunglasses.

Rainfall: drizzle. Not great gully-washers and toad-stranglers like most of the country. Just constant, omnipresent drizzle. Throw on the GoreTex and do your thing. We don't use umbrellas much. If you stay inside because it's raining, you will soon sink into the depths of a depression such as any amount of alcohol and/or God won't help. In fact, they just make it worse. Rainfall is never measured in inches as in other parts of the country; we measure it by weeks.

Rainfall #2, Soil Stability: we have none. Every third house is built on an unstable slope, and virtually every mile of Burlington Northern Santa Fe track is at the base of a potential mudslide. Homes routinely slide downhill, although, since everyone expects this, no one is ever killed by it. Savvy folks always have their video cameras primed and ready to capture their neighbor's home plunging down onto the railroad tracks below and, happily, the neighbors always make it out alive and manage to rescue their chihuahua, which makes for great television. Don't plan on any meaningful amount of rail traffic during these months as the tracks are constantly under repair.

Rainfall #3, Rivers: An odd thing is that the locals who live in these amazingly fertile river valleys don't seem to understand why the soil is so fertile. Two out of three people actually have hands-on experience making a sand bag levee. Anyway, it makes for great television.

Daylight: Hey, we're at a higher latitude than Maine, folks. When the Winter Solstice hits, you ride to work in darkness and you come home in same. Get a full-spectrum light and have the family sit around it for breakfast and dinner. No kidding. But then...the daylight starts to return and when that Summer Solstice hits it's amazing. We're all sleep deprived because we stay out playing until 10:30 pm and the sunlight streaming in our windows wakes us up at 5:30 the next morning. And we know that as soon as summer starts, the days will start shrinking back away from us, so we frantically try to cram as much sun worship as we can into those precious months. Of course, there's the big tease factor: the endless month of Juneuary tests our patience as we wait for the rain to stop and the temps to rise somewhere in early August.

Temperatures: There's a reason that the stereotypical northwesterner is depicted wearing (a) an Eddie Bauer vest and Pendleton plaid shirt if a Star-Bellied Sneetch or (b) a hoodie if of the plain-bellied variety. Of course, the flip side of the cool temp thing is that it rarely gets very cold. We enjoy the interesting phenomenon of the plain-bellied Sneetches wearing shorts and flip-flops year-round. Very classy. Very few homes have air conditioning, and people start keeling over when temps exceed the mid-seventies. Interestingly, we complain all year about how cold and miserable we are, and when we occasionally hit 80 degrees we go on endlessly about how hot and miserable we are. Let's just say that it's "cool temperate" around here. Bring your fleece.

Snowfall: Oh Jesus, native northwesterners are positively hazardous when the snow occasionally flies. In fairness, it's a very wet and slippery snow, none of that dry, crunchy stuff that actually allows for some traction. But an inch of snow will bring us to our knees much as it does our nation's capital. Schools close, government shuts down, essential services are cut off, food banks run dry, the governor urges us all to stay home and shelter in place, relying upon our disaster supplies until the emergency has passed. Happily, these snow events are rare; we often go years without any white stuff on the ground. When it does come, the media refers to it as "Blizzard '99" or "Superstorm '02" or something ominous like that. Of course, if there comes more than an inch or two, it becomes "Winter Disaster Crisis '06." Then, when we get a few snowfalls during the same winter, they carve that year into the big granite slab of collective memory as one of those winters to be remembered and handed down to our children. Seriously, folks, just stay off the roads if there's any snow. The ditches are littered with Subarus and lifted 4x4s whose drivers, every time it snows, seem to forget that steering and braking are not aided by four wheel drive.

Wind: It blows here sometimes. We do occasionally see hurricane-force winds. Travel near the coast and you'll see all these signs proclaiming "Large-Scale Wind Disaster Deforestation Wipeout 1996, Replanted 1998." Unfortunately, because the ground is constantly saturated with water during the wet and windy months between November and Juneuary, the nightly entertainment on the evening news includes endless helicopter shots of lovely homes with large conifers lying across them. Sadly, at least ten or twenty times each winter, one of these big trees squashes some poor dude on his way to the mailbox. Bad luck for him.

Natural Disasters: Happily, we're free from hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons and electrical storms. You will be perfectly safe if you live in a mobile home. Bear in mind that we do get the occasional stroke of lightning and distant rumble of thunder. Although you may only see this once in five years or so, you are well-advised to use quality power strips with overvoltage protection for your electronics. Although these will address the infrequent power surge as a result of lightning, they're much more useful in the winter as power lines are virtually continuously being hit by trees and knocked over by dim-witted drivers, resulting in constant brownouts and dramatic flares of light as a few hundred extra volts surge through your home. Now for the bad news: at some point you may be entirely wiped off the map by a volcanic eruption, major earthquake, and/or tsunami. This is virtually guaranteed, and the anticipation is killing us.

Everyone knows a family who was here visiting in August, fell in love with our coffee and decided to move here. Unfortunately for them, they didn't really understand all of the lifestyle implications of the above-described weather and they now suffer miserably and/or stumble about in stunned disbelief, asking over and over how we deal with the suffocating claustrophobia of living under a wet rock. We all chuckle at this and yet feel truly sorry for them, much as we secretly envy our friends and family members who are able to somehow find their escape and live the Arizona Sunshine Dream.

Many folks will smile and tell you that the weather doesn't bother them a bit or even that they love the weather here. They're full of shit.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:08 PM   #18
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Lol. Saber. Hands down one of the best descriptions I've ever read of the PNW.

BRAVO

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Old 08-15-2013, 05:57 AM   #19
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Western Washington description.
Makes me glad I live in Eastern Washington.

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Old 08-15-2013, 02:19 PM   #20
kimel
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Excellent prose! And accurate! Glad I live on the dry side.
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #21
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Lol. Saber. Hands down one of the best descriptions I've ever read of the PNW.

BRAVO

+1

There's a lot of truthiness in there.

On the plus side, I think we have some of the best "Rain Riders" in the country up here (We get lots of practice). If you were to wait for clear weather to ride, you better find a new hobby (or buy a Cruiser and spend 3 monts of the year rubbing it down with a diaper). Some of my best riding days have been on days with "Rain Showers" ~ 4 hours of clouds followed by 15 minutes of warming up in a starbucks. Oh, and, invest in heated gear as part of your "moving expenses".
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:30 PM   #22
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The only thing you failed to mention regarding the fashion of Westsiders is the inexplicable socks and sandals phenomenon.

But honestly, I love to visit Western Washington, but prefer the Eastern Washington desert.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:19 PM   #23
Gootch
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The only thing you failed to mention regarding the fashion of Westsiders is the inexplicable socks and sandals phenomenon.
I think Pemco has forced some guys to do it. Of course Pemco wasn't behind the equally inexplicable early nineties grunge fashion trend of shorts worn over long johns.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #24
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You also should add that in Washington you can you marry anyone you want, smoke dope and there is no state income tax.

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