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Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?

Posted by Dorisan 
Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 05, 2014
Virginia Foxx won our district again. The cunt who said that the reason for Matthew Shepard's death was a hoax (his mother was in the gallery to hear that), the bitch who is as bad as any mysoginst on women's issues, will represent out area yet again. And then there's Tom Tillis, another Repug, who will be going to Washington for the first time.

NC has been a good home for our working years, but we are ready to leave once we are both retired. This election pretty much caps it. We had jobs, we paid taxes from that. Fair deal. Our retirement income - we don't want to see it spent here.

I spent summers in Seattle, as a kid, and loved it. We won't be able to afford that area, but the alleged liberality of the northwest (Oregon, too) has us thinking that we might pull up stakes and move to the left side of the country (figuratively and literally, heh smile rolling left righteyes2 )

Can anyone provide updated information on what it is like to live in that part of the country? The greyness - we're fine with that. We'll spend several months of the year traveling in Arvee and can get our ration of sun elsewhere, but are there areas that will suit a late middle-age couple of modest means?
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 05, 2014
I moved to the NW from the south and I LOVE it. Oregon is amazing. I would recommend checking out the coast - Astoria, Seaside, Lincoln City, even smaller towns like Long Beach or Ilwaco in Washington. There are also towns closer to Mount Hood like Sandy and Government Camp (the latter being mostly tourism-oriented I think but if you like living in the woods then it might be your thing). I'm just telling you about parts of OR I'm familiar with though. If you'd like more info, feel free to PM me.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 06, 2014

I was stationed in Whidbey Island. It depends on definition of affordable. WI has pockets near the base (but lots of whining about jet noise.) I lived in Anacortes which has some places but it is an island with water views. I paid 1100 for a 3 BR, 1300 sf townhouse with a 2 car garage. I also lived in Mt Vernon where I was lucky to have a landlady who had a clean apartment and pet friendly. She likes older tenants (at one point she made them 55+ to get rid of kids.) I paid 725 for a 2 BR, 900 sf, 1 car garage with small private and fenced yard.

From a bottle cap message on a Magic Hat #9 beer: Condoms Prevent Minivans
I want to pick up a bus full of unruly kids and feed them gummi bears and crack, then turn them loose in Hobby Lobby to ransack the place. They will all be wearing T shirts that say "You Could Have Prevented This."
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 07, 2014
MN is so democrat that we were the only state that Walter Mondale won versus Reagan. Democrats won again in 2014 as usual. It's just as hot as the rest of the nation in the summer, but like the arctic in the winter. The only natural disaster are blizzards. If you live in town, you get snowed out one day maximum. In the far north where I live, it's breederville. So it's a democratic paradise with an overpopulation of breeders. Also a lot of redneck trash and every other person is on foodstamps and or welfare.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 08, 2014
Thanks for the tips.

One thing I remember from spending summers in Seattle some 40 years (GACK!) ago, was I had the most beautiful, golden tan. Unlike the typical Midwest experience, where you get fried like you're under a sun lamp, peel like a lizard, turn brown and regret it decades later because of the freckles and leathery skin, a NW summer tan is like being slowly marinated in diffuse sunlight. Probably suffer the same bad effects down the road, but at least you could get a tan without the suffering of being fried.

Dh and I have the advantage of having Arvee, our RV. Xing fingers that I'm done working by spring of 2016, we'll probably head out that way after first visiting Montana (gotta see the glaciers before they melt!) and spend some time trolling that part of the country to see if there are any spots we'd like to settle on.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 10, 2014
I lived in Seattle (actually the Tacoma suburbs) for 13 years. Do I miss it all the time? Hell yeah.

There are two things I do NOT miss - the rain and the TRAFFIC. Would I go back? YEP!

If you're retiring, though, and don't have to go anywhere daily for work during the rush hours, then you should be fine. Keep in mind that the closer in you go to civilization, the worse it is during holidays and such while all of the idiots do their Xmas shopping.

Seattle is expensive but there is lots to do. I'd go into details but it was always out of my budget even when it was my hubby and me together. Burien has the best pizza anywhere ever but that's all it has. White Center - AVOID. I worked in Southcenter for 11 years. It's a madhouse during Xmas but otherwise just a lot of shopping centers. Des Moines/Seatac and Kent East Hill are all aging suburbs, 50's tract houses and 80's split levels, kinda crowded but some areas are very pretty. Downtown Kent is fairly charming and every year they have the Cornucopia festival I would go to, I'd live in downtown Kent near Spiros on 1st Ave or anywhere close into that to about a 2 block radius. I wouldn't go outside of that. Of course, this is just me. Some people might see the area and think, Hell no. There are biking and hiking trails along the Green River/Frager Road that can be very beautiful in summer, even though the area is industrialized. I saw two bald eagles once having a conversation on a power tower just off 68th Ave in Kent going into Tukwila one night after work as I walked the trail just north of 224th at the mile marker 7. There is a trailhead there right under the billboard that everyone misses.

The Tacoma area is probably a hair less expensive, and some of the suburb areas of Tacoma aren't a place I would really want to live again. I lived in Spanaway and Puyallup, and some people say Spanaway is a "bad" neighborhood which makes me laugh because I moved to St. Louis and Spanaway looks practically upscale compared to a lot of areas around here.(Not that STL is a shithole or anything, but it can be very iffy in places). There's not much culturally speaking on the east side of I5 once you get into Pierce County. All the good areas are on the other side of the I5 towards the water. Puyallup is without an iota of culture and trying to get anywhere around there is an exercise in futility (but Sumner is very very cute). I hated it. Meridian is the worst road in the state for congestion. North Tacoma is badass as is University Place but, I think they're a lot pricier. SKIP Lakehood (Lakewood) unless you are close to the water (Steilacoom, super cute), absolutely skip Dupont, Lacey, and Tumwater. They're worthless old moss eaten suburbs. Most of everything south on I5 after that point is worthless except some areas of Olympia which are fun, but again, it might be pricey. But worth a look. I have a girlfriend who lives in Oly. Chehalis has some outlet stores. Woop-dee-ding.

You could try west of Gig Harbor ($$$)...Areas along the 16 are very livable and I have a bestie in Manchester. Hubby and I got married on the shore of the Burley Lagoon. Purdy might be worth a look.

Bremerton/Silverdale may be more affordable? The Navy base keeps the area afloat economically. It's not exciting but there are outdoor opportunities to be had if you want to take advantage of the Olympic Peninsula. OT, heading out west...Wenatchee is pretty cool but I dunno if I would want to live there all the time. I've been twice and enjoyed my weekends there both times. Antiquing, fruit markets.

Heading back South again...

Longview is a logging area.

I can't comment on Portland but plenty of other people can, I heard nothing but good things but it's expensive because it's fucking awesome. Tons to do and see, craft beers, bookshops, art, etc etc. Never been except to drive through, would live there in a heartbeat sight unseen based on it's reputation.

Taking the Highway 30...The Astoria/Warrenton/Seaside area is one of the most beautiful in the country. Astoria is the fucking shit. I fantasize about retiring there and my hubby and I would take road trips there just because. The Hotel Elliot is incredible, the shopping is incredible, the Voodoo Room is incredible, the Fort George Brewery is incredible, and the smoked salmon from Josephsons is incredible. There are no jobs here but if I were to retire anywhere and this was where I retired, I could be completely happy. No joke. I fucking love Astoria, period, end of. Long Beach/Ilwaco is also badass but Long Beach is touristy. Beware. It really is one of the more incredible beaches in the world but a lot of places like it, including Ocean Shores, Moclips, and the ocean towns along the coastlines are known as being seasonal, and a lot of people rent their properties out as summer beach houses. Ilwaco to Astoria is just a hop skip and a jump. Hubby and I did some day hiking in Ilwaco and enjoyed it immensely. Cape Disappointment St Park is a must see, as is Fort Stevens St Park. This whole area is really worth deep consideration.

South along the 101 from Astoria...amazing scenery, anywhere in here would probably be livable. We used to go to Tillamook just for ice cream and cheese curds. Rockaway Beach and the surrounding area are pretty unforgettable. Do a Google image search. Dunno if livable but certainly scenic and drivable. Cannon Beach is not affordable for anyone, but Rockaway might be.

The 101 south of here is ridiculous. I wish I could take it all, bottle it, and keep it with me. We went to Bandon for a golf trip and much of the area north of there along the coast is enormous sand dune. I kid you not. It's fucking amazing. I would live anywhere in Bandon or north of there by the dunes.

Anyhoo, that is what I have for now. Sorry so much TMI. Lived in WA and the PNW for 13 years.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 11, 2014
North of Marysville is where it's at, just drive right on by all of the above...
winking smiley
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
November 30, 2014
I'm in the Portland area, and law's comment is not inaccurate. It's pretty damn nice. Hipsters are pretty thick on the ground in some parts of town, but there's also lots of art, culture, night life, community events, and good public transit. It was hit pretty hard by the economic downturn in terms of job loss, and competition for jobs is still tight at times, so depending on your field you might wanna make sure you have a job nailed down before moving here. Strong bike culture and lots of bike lanes, so if you're a bike commuter or someone who just likes to ride, you might like that. Strong queer community & generally a good town for sexual minorities. Lots of cuisine and food options, as well as farmer's markets.

Downsides: There are about three months a year when it's reliably warm and sunny. We don't get quite as much rain as Seattle, but it's very similar. If you have SAD you might want to keep that in mind. Days in winter are overcast and often rainy, and it gets dark EARLY here in winter, too.

Oregon income tax is a bit steep, as I understand it. But no sales tax!
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
December 09, 2014
So jealous! I'd love to move up there, but my husband could not deal with that much rainy weather. He'd definitely have issues with SAD.

Shrieking babbies are the most effective birth control on earth.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
December 12, 2014
Thanks to everyone for the detailed info. At this point, I'm frowning over searches on realtor.com and some of the particular web sites of realtors.

What we'd like is to find an rv park where we can buy a lot large enough to build a small cottage on (like 500 sq ft). There are a number of snowbird sites down south where that can be done, but we are sooo not interested in places like Texas and Arizona. Might as well stay in NC. Not only the red part makes them unappealing, but the climate. We will at some point likely not be on the road as much as we hope to in the next few years. We don't want to settle in TX or AZ.

The rv parks I'm finding in OR and WA are typically out in the boonies and seem to get a lot of snow in the winter. Not a good place to be if Dh has another stroke sad smiley An alternative is to buy a small 1/4 - 1/2 acre lot in an area where we'd feel secure enough to leave our place for 5-6 months at a time while we traveled. Problem with that is size restrictions on building. Has to be at least 1000 sq ft in most of the areas that appeal to us. Note - we have looked at condos. Just - no. We need to have some air around us and don't want to store the RV when it's not in use.

Barring the NW (I showed Dh some of the real estate and he remarked "you know that we'll be living on savings, our 401Ks and my Social Security, right?") I'm also researching liberal areas in otherwise red states. College/tourist towns tend to be bluer. I have a niece who attended Mizzou (University of Missouri) in Columbia. She's doing a lot of ra-ra for that place and wishes she could have found a job opportunity to apply her Master in Psychology in that city. The fact that her minor was in LGBT studies and that there is a strong organization covering that issue attests to the liberality of the city. However, I reminded her that 5 miles outside of the city, along the east and west bound lanes of I-70, the pro-liar billboards stationed about every 10 miles means that Columbia is a very small spot in a red wasteland.

This has been a helpful article, unfortunately, the cities at the bottom (most liberal) are too far north, too expensive for us, or we've lived there and have no interest in going back (St. Louis area).

Dh is developing an "oh screw it, we're kind of hermits anyway" attitude toward the choice and wants me (yeah, he's leaving it up to me. I feel like giving him a thump for dumping such a big responsibility on ME moody smiley ) to just find us a place that fits our budget, has a not-too-awful climate, and is convenient with amenities. HE would like western Kentucky - somewhere around Louisville. I'm countering with "well, how about Kansas City? fairly close to one another in climate characteristics, my family live there - my sisters would be happy to have me closer since we were separated when young, and it's a decidedly less red place than Louisville!"

This decision is getting to be a paiiin. I was squawking to Dh the other day "yanno, back in 1990, our then-employers (in St. Louis) gathered us together and said "hey folks! we're moving to North Carolina! ya'all are welcome to come. If not, good luck on looking for new jobs in this crappy economy!" We thought about it for about 5 seconds and said "sure, we'll move with you!" It wasn't the prospect of replacing our jobs that swayed us, but a sense of a new adventure. The company paid for moving the household goods, but it was up to Dh and I to get our own butts down here, along with 5 cats, a dog, and a cockatiel. We drove down in late August, in a single cab pickup with no AC. Bought a cover for the bed of the truck, left the window connecting that to the cab open and our windows rolled down to get air back to the critters. Headed out at 5am and made it to NC at 10pm that night. Fucking hell of a drive, but we survived. Almost 25 years later, and I would totally refuse to do something like that again. I'm having to take into account our aging in the decision process, which seems to make it harder. We definitely want to get out of NC. Really, we're just tired of this state and want to find something new, but seemed to have lost the flexibility of spirit that made it so easy to leave the Midwest.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
December 12, 2014
I can understand getting less flexible about just picking up and going. I think I'm past the "throw all my worldly belongings in my car and go" stage. I still own WAY less stuff than most people my age, and my cat could weather another move, but I'm just over it.

When the economy hit the shitter a few years back DH and I were seriously thinking about pulling up stakes and moving elsewhere, but we just like this part of the country a lot. We knew we could weather the storm...we could pay our bills, but things were awfully tight for a while. Still far from rich, but things are a bit more secure now.

My aunt and uncle live in Columbia, and it seems to be an oasis in a sea of red.

Also, the strategy of finding college/university towns and tourist areas could get you some areas that are politically bearable. I lived and worked in tourist areas a few times...you have to have the right mindset for it, I guess. It's a love/hate thing. The crowds of tourists come thronging through seasonally, making a lot of traffic and mess and in some cases being spectacularly ignorant (no, you may NOT stop on the highway, get out of your car, and stand on the double-yellow whilst photographing the elk. True story). But the area depends on those tourists for a shit-ton of $$ too. Double-edged sword.
Eugene, Oregon has good medical facilities, is a college town but there are a lot of RV parks and communities in the nearby spread out areas. It does get snow, but then you could roll your RV to the southern coast (about a 4 hour drive) where it seldom snows and you could be very near the ocean, either boondocking or at RV parks where some folks stay for months at a time for reasonable cost.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
January 24, 2015
OK. So opinions are solicited on the factor of "familiarity" - especially in the area of medical support.

This has become a big thing for us in the last few weeks, as Dh's medical condition has become more critical than had been previously thought. He had a test and a couple of doctor visits last week that has lead him to be assigned to a neurologist, more invasive tests, and possibly another operation. He is expected to survive and be OK, but still ... when you go through what he (and I, by way of support and massive amounts of worry) went through and will go through, we feel more secure and confident of the doctors and hospitals where he is being treated and it just doesn't seem smart to move around, trying to find other doctors to become acquainted with and start the whole explanation and transfer of records to a brand new bunch of people.

:smn If this is what getting older and dealing with declining health is about, it suuuucks. We'd like to try something new; perk up a life that has existed in one spot for a quarter of a century; but there are down sides that we would never have even imagined when we were younger.
Re: Gotta get out of this red state. How's the northwest?
January 27, 2015

I read your last post the other day and have been musing on this.

One idea I had was - why not stay there then? Maybe - your Liberal voices can change things? I was thinking sim for myself, too - because I have been thinking about moving back to MI. Which was Liberal but has gone more 'red' lately. Which I still can't really fathom how or why that happened. I am now leery of going back there - but on the other side of the coin - maybe they NEED more people like me there?

As example - I will go ahead and mention particular areas for geo political illustration (and these areas may be of interest to you too) - I 'came from' Grand Haven, MI, which for all intents and purposes is the exurbs of Chicago. SW Lower MI. Within commute distance, part of This Mass. But yet - it is mostly Republican. Because it's money. And that may have made sense when Republicans made more sense. It's a 'split' area too, where the near shore people are more 'Liberal minded' where as the 'in town' - going towards Grand Rapids are more Conservative Biz types. There is a friction between the two. Shore people are viewed as shifty miscreant Margaritaville types. However - the entire region depends on tourism so they have to let those people be. Or else you'll shoot your nose to spite your face and lose alot of income.

Enough of people ARE getting a bad opinion of MI lately - and this is a big problem for tourism. It's an uneasy balance there and for the most part the state was traditionally more liberal.

Also, if you look at anything to do with hunting there - hunting and fishing and outdoors in general are a big part of the tourism - on anything you look at - it's all hard core tree hugging environmental. Because - pollution. It makes the hunters and outdoors people *extremely angry*. Even the Conservatives there are "Tree Huggers". People get flaming MAD over all this!

Michigan has a mix of people and ideologies going, it's a weird place. But also a fairly 'easy going' sort of a place. Relax and fish. Enjoy the scenery. Big tourism state. I myself cannot believe it went Republican. Maybe because of too much money going to Detroit? Propaganda maybe getting to the older people? For that matter - I can't believe WI went Red either. But - keep in mind - some of this stuff has to do with Gerrymandering. The people in these places - for the most part, IMO anyway - are Left to Centrist. NOT hard core crazy right wingers. I'm not entirely sure what has happened ~

My point being - maybe if people like me go back to MI - we WILL vote Democrat / Liberal (or for a good Centrist person if one ever pops up) - and we do stand for personal rights, and women's rights, so maybe if more of us are there - we can make a difference.

Maybe you could look at your area that way too. It doesn't sound too bad - and maybe you can effect some changes?

I did look at MI this way. My Mom is getting older so I was thinking of moving. Getting sick of Chi also. Was exciting when I was a kid. Living in this grind is another matter. But then again - going more rural, even exurban - has its issues too. More work on your house and yard, more snow, you'd need diff vehicles, I have to weigh it all out. And then of course was the idea of - well - if MI has gone red - FUCK THAT! But then again - it is not what it seems and maybe someone like me could 'add to the thinking people' etc.

I was looking at Manistee, MI, this is a bit farther N, up shore. I can't afford GH, I can't afford the place I grew up in ~
A tale many will tell all over, anywhere.

Manistee is more affordable and they WANT people like us! From what I can see - they wish to be like their neighbors to the South and attract tourists. They went 50% for Obama too. Who'd have thought it? The more rural, hunting, wilderness up there - they chose Obama. While Grand Haven, last election, went like 80% Romney. The hicks in the sticks wanted Obama. Go figure. MI is a weird place. But maybe that's the hunters, the enviro people, those who wish to 'build up' and want the fed money to flow in -
There's lots of die hard enviro people in MI. It's alot of unspoiled wilderness and any type of pollution makes many people there fuming mad! (That's where I got it from, ha.) The rural people of MI are not stupid.
That's my guesses, anyway.

So - maybe look at your present area the same way? Surely there are like minded people and it might actually be a *positive* to stay and fight. Even your simple vote means something.

You could look at it that way.

I was thinking along sim lines about moving back to MI. Doesn't seem - presently / on the surface Lib friendly - but what if more of us are there?

My Mom is set to retire soon, and is not adverse to moving 'here'. She does not want to live in Chi proper. Likes it, doesn't want to live in it,. Too congested. But - here's where you can pop off to any store on a minutes notice, the roads are always clear, you can always easily get what you want or get to where you need to go. It's a trade off. Any area I suggest around here she does not like. Gah. Her latest suggestion was Beverly Shores, IN. OK - uh - did you win some giant lottery prize that I don't know about? Yeah, that *would* be nice - nice shore area, very rustic and unspoiled, right on the beach, but that's because it was designated a 'national wild life area' or some such and because of that the RE there is stupid expensive. Yes, that's nice, and you can get everywhere too! Yes, Mom, I do know it, I did look at it, it's waaaaaay too expensive! Go buy some lottery tix.

How about Winthrop Harbor, IL? Again - do you have hidden millions that I don't know about? Pffffft. I was living up there on the North Shore - but close to Zion which is polluted as fuck which is why it is cheap.

Anyway, yes I hear you, you have my commiseration. It's hard to make a decision. So many things to consider. And if you are on a 'mid range budget' - well, there's that, too.

How about a Ghost Story to take the mind off ~
It's a sad tale, but I like to hope that Alice (her name was Alice, not Diana) lives on, swimming happily, free in the wilderness ~

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