A Sound Decision

July 26, 2018

by Steve

As you probably have figured out by now, if you are an occasional or regular reader of this blog, this is not strictly a chronological account of our travels. We write more occasionally than regularly, and we don't necessarily summarize or review all the places where we have been. We try to find something interesting to write about, and if we skip a few places, well that doesn't really matter to us.
If you want to see where we've been, you can view the 2018 Travels map in the banner of this page, as shown here.

In one of our early posts, called The Big Idea, we talked about finding out where we might want to live in retirement. I (Steve) had been thinking that the Pacific Northwest might be a good choice, as it has both oceans and mountains, as well as a moderate climate. So we determined that sooner or later we should get to the PNW and see how we like it.  Last summer, we found out that if you want to stay for a length of time along the Oregon or Washington coastal areas, you have to plan ahead. Parks fill up in advance, particularly on weekends. So we summered in Arizona and Colorado last year, and planned for Oregon and Washington this year.

We've just completed a five-week stay in Washington near Puget Sound. We spend a week in Sequim, and a month in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. Technically we are not on Puget Sound, but on the Salish Sea, of which Puget Sound is just one part. 

We didn't know exactly what to expect. We wondered whether five weeks might be too much time and we'd get bored.  As it turns out, summer begins here on July 5, and just like clockwork, it got sunny and warmer then. Not that the weather before that was bad, just cooler.  Both Sequim and Anacortes are in an area known as the "blue hole," a region that is significantly less cloudy and rainy than other parts of the PNW.  So now I'm trying to sort out how to summarize our time here. Bottom line is that we liked it a lot. The scenery is great; the climate, at least in the time we're here, is good; and there's lots to do.

We visited lavender farms.

We went to the Olympic National Park.

We went to Mount Rainier National Park.

We went to Seattle to see friends.

We gave our motorhome its first ferry ride.

We went whale watching.

We went to the San Juan Islands.

We went to Victoria Canada and Butchart Gardens.

We went partway up on Mount Baker.

We hiked a variety of trails in several of these areas.

We got ourselves in the town picture of Anacortes on the 4th of July. Go ahead, find us!

And I even got in a few games of pickleball.

So now we ask ourselves the questions that we always do when we leave a place:  Would we come back here? Would we want to live here, all year or part of the year? We don't often find ourselves saying "yes" to these questions, but we definitely would return here. There's so much to see and do, and the views just don't get old. Whether we would live here is a different question, and the answer is not so clear. The cost of living, particularly housing, is quite high. And while the climate is moderate year-round, it can be pretty cloudy and gloomy in months other than July and August.  

But one thing that really bothered us both is our knees. We haven't been in places with humidity (even moderate humidity) for a while now, and the return of knee pain for both of us was unpleasant. So if we do decide to live here, it will likely be for just a couple months a year. But until then, we've got more traveling to do.

Next time I'll write about the San Juan Islands, and the pig that almost started a war.

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