Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where oh WHERE to retire?

First off, I have to admit that I'm making DISMAL progress on my backpacking writeup. And by DISMAL, I mean not very much. And by not very much, I mean zero. It's already fading away into another one of those 'did it really happen' vacations. Sure, between Greg and I we have like OVER 700 pictures. But unless I go to the file and LOOK at them, I can barely remember being up in the high Sierra less than a month and a half ago. I PROMISE that I will get working on it. Someday. When I find time (HA!).

But in the meantime, it seems we have a rather popular subject that has come up....WHERE to retire? It's a HUGE question. Jeannie and I have touched on it more than once, and up until her brother blew our "Hawaii" retirement out of the water by selling his condo and buying the VA farm, we had a plan. Now that plan is gone. The NEW plan is that when I retire (8 years from now, HOPEFULLY), we move to Richmond VA so she will be somewhat close to her brother. She will still have 5 more years of work, and she's pretty sure that won't be a problem. As for ME, the Richmond thing was NEVER in my plans. So I'm not very thrilled with the change whatsoever. I can do summers out there, but I have no intentions of doing winter. I grew up in Wyoming and Montana, and have already had enough winter for the rest of my life. I'm a "tropical" kind of guy. I like the ocean. WARM ocean. I like hills. Mountains. I like to be able to AFFORD to live (knocking out areas like San Francisco. San Jose (Silicon Valley), Washington DC....area's like that. Places where a shack cost's a fortune. And I don't want to live in a big city anyway. I like a lot of things about the San Diego area (specifically, Ocean, warm weather, hills/mountains in the area). But the high cost of living knocks it out of contention.

And so...we've been discussing some places, so today I'll list them, and start tracking temperature, WIND (I HATE WIND! After we leave here, I'll have had a LIFETIME of wind, and would like to go somewhere that it DOESN'T blow nearly every single day!). Feel free to toss out any places you've heard of or thought of....I'm WIDE open here, and can use the help! So...without further adeiu, here's the preliminary list (I've added some that I thought of since we began the topic to the list), not in any particular order:

Austin TX
I've been there twice, both for fairly short periods of time. Liked it. Hilly, hip-town (SUPER bike friendly, at least in town). 
Day/night temp for Friday: 83/63
Greeneville SC
Never been there, don't know anything about it other than what I've heard/read (cycling oriented, due to it being the home of Big George H). I did read an article the other day on Velo News about George's upcoming Gran Fondo, and how he's gotten a bunch of ex Postal/Discovery guys to come ride it (including the Devil, that is if USA Cycling decides he can...the ball is in their court). 
Day/night temp for Friday: 72/47

Scottsdale AZ
Never been there. Just know (from articles and such) that it attracts a lot of retirees. A bit further down in elevation than Flagstaff (ie: a bit warmer)
 Day/night temp for Friday: 92/65

Flagstaff AZ 
Same as Scottsdale, well...I have passed thru. I recall hills/Mountains in the area (good for Mt biking). Gets snow but doesn't last, one of the sunniest places in the US. 
Day/night temp for Friday: 70/40

Sedona AZ
I think this is near the Scottsdale area....somewhere in the middle of  Flagstaff and Phoenix. Good in the summer and winter I hear.
Day/night temp for Friday: 82/51
Portland OR
Been there for a week or so (my ship was in drydock). Liked it..but not entirely sure what it's like in the winter. It's been listed in more than a few articles about great places to retire.
Day/night temp for Friday: 60/50

Bend OR
Another place I've never been to, but I hear it's got GREAT mt and road biking. 

Day/night temp for Friday: 51/43
St George UT
Again, never been there. But Fatty (you know, FATTY? THE Fat Cyclist)...his friends Kenny and Heather live there...and Fatty and Hammer go there during the winter to escape the cold and ride it can't be too bad in the winter. I have a friend who goes there to hike around and such nearly every Sept (he went this year the week before my backpacking trip...if that had been called off I would have met him there to scope out the area). I'm intrigued by this it has WICKED AWESOME road and Mt biking! 
Day/night temp for Friday: 77/53

Any other places to add to the list? Any reason to take any of these off the list? I'm all ears!

I didn't have time to find the wind and such for these places. Also I already noticed (it's mid Oct) that Bend OR might be pretty chilly's the coolest of the list (so far). But I'll watch it for a while before scratching it from the list. And actually I'm totally up for more places on the east coast, as I'll likely be commuting to/from Richmond to escape the cold...and driving clear across the country might be prohibitive, even if my car gets 50mpg.


  1. The retirement place is on my mind these days too. i am in the same time frame, about 8 to 9 years. As it stands right now I will probably be a snow bird because Estes Park is pretty nice for the summer. I have a place in Albuquerque that I own with my sisters that was a hand-me-down from the parents. Albuquerque is pretty good although the wind does blow there, especially in the spring. I went to school in Ft Collins and spend time there with my kids who also went to school there and live there. Pretty nice there most of the time and a very strong bike community present. But winter does rear its head there at times. I have a friend that moved to Austin and really likes it.

  2. Hi Jim, thanks for chiming in! I do travel to Colo Springs a few times a year and really like it there, but it's a pretty big city w/ the traffic to prove it. And they do have winter (tho not the same winter they get just 60 mi north in Denver). The golfers and Mt bikers say they can get out about 350 days a year...and when they do get snow it's usually gone the next day or 2. But it does get cold and windy (but in the SUMMER....oh golly gosh...WHAT A PLACE! The MT biker in me REALLY would like to go there and live!) Never been to Estes Park, but I bet it's beautiful too. I believe I have a cousin who lives in Ft Collins...but no idea what they go thru in the winter. And Albuquerque...only passed thru a few times...have a step-brother in that area, but don't know him nor what their winter is like....I do know they get snow. I have done some work a few times down in southern NM (Las Cruces)...which is nice in the spring and fall..summers are melt-your-face off hot. And I have friends from my local bike club who just moved to Silver City this summer...I'll be following them thru Strava all winter...I bet they ride the entire time down there (tho summers are pretty toasty). They're both REALLY strong riders, and I think they already own every KOM/QOM w/in 100 miles...the locals must already hate them!

    I think the snowbird thing is the way to Mom is a snowbird...Minnesota in the summer and Yuma AZ in the winter (Yuma is listed as one of the sunniest places in the US). Thankfully I've got lots of time to figure this out...but starting to plan now is a good thing.

  3. My daughter went to college in Flagstaff and as I recall, it was quite pleasant in the summer and fall, but in winter it seemed about the same as here. There wasn't too much interesting in the town that I recall, other than the trails. Oh, and I suppose there would be the possibility of classes at NAU. It is a really small city.

    It is funny how you have come to hate wind. I love a windy day, it is energizing to me! But I am not always trying to do the rides that you do, against the wind, and it is not a constant thing around here either.

    I've a co-worker who did travel assignments for a time (while in her 20s) and she loved Austin. I suppose being there as a temporary visitor is a bit different from living there, but she was there for 6 months so that is a pretty good sample. I have visited San Antonio in the spring and really liked it, but again, I was only there for 4 full days and pretty busy at the conference so really didn't see much of the town, just loved seeing the different birds and scenery as I walked to the convention center from my hotel daily.

    I have heard many positive things about Portland; Seattle, too, but once my friend told me that they can go on 6 weeks without a sunny day in winter, I crossed that city off my list! I need sun!

    My brother lived in Atlanta for a while and did not like it, mostly because of crime issues. I don't know if that was related to one particular area and wouldn't be a problem in a suburb.

    I am finding that as I think about a place to move to, I first think about the hospital and what it would be like to work there! I haven't wrapped my brain around the concept of NOT working yet!

    Financially I am not sure it would pay off to move. My house is paid for, and in pretty good shape -- I need to put some money into improving the basement but other than that I won't need to sink much more into it (barring any disasters or unforeseen problems). Cost of living here is moderate; and the weather is mostly tolerable. Still, I would really like to get away from the deep winter and also the plague of mosquitoes that have made life unenjoyable for most of the summer the past few years.


    1. Rae...I can't tell you how much I HATE the wind! Never used to feel that way, but then it never was blowing pretty much EVERY SINGLE DAY. Today was above average...glad I wasn't planning a would have been miserable!

      I think the problem w/ moving somewhere is that unless you've been there for all 4 seasons, you don't know what you're getting into (other than Hawaii that is...LOVED that place from the VERY MOMENT I stepped off the plane around midnight, March of 1984). I've only been to San Antonio once...for a wedding, in July. OUTDOOR wedding. Wearing a suit. OMG! I think it was around 106 in the shade, around 4pm when the wedding began. I was truly afraid I might burst into flame at any moment. That's all I know about San Antonio. Oh..the RiverWalk was pretty cool...I only saw that for about a half hour, (time for a quick beer w/ friends) then had to get dressed for the wedding.

      I'm afraid most of Oregon won't really be considered...I also MUST have sun. Seattle just won't do. But I'm not sure about southern Oregon..don't know anything about it really. Other than it's pretty.

      Deciding to move when your house is paid for...that's a tough one. I guess it comes down to "are you willing to live there the rest of your life?" I figure we only get this one go-round...and I hope to be able to get somewhere (somewhere's actually, as we will likely have 2 places) that we ENJOY ourselves. As Jim mentioned...the snowbird thing. Find a place for the winter, and a place for the summer. Unless it's Hawaii...which is pretty freaking GREAT year-round! But it's pricey...and a long ways from family. And not dog-friendly (as in taking them back and forth like a snowbird would).

    2. Temperature updates for Monday:
      Austin: 86/63
      Greenville: 81/52
      Scottsdale: 86/61
      Flagstaff: 62/30
      Sedona: 75/49
      Portland: 60/49
      Bend: 55/35
      St George: 73/45

  4. Oh...also mean to mention that as I was installing new recessed/dome-LED lights in our master-bathroom this weekend (7 ceiling cans worth), I watched the 4th quarter of the Penn State/Ohio State game on Sat. MAN-OH-MAN was I a-rootin' for PS (sorry Rae)! And they ALMOST pulled it off...took it into 2nd overtime. Can't help my rootin' against OSU...(as a Michigan fan, the enemy of my enemy is my friend). Rats.

  5. High/Low temp updates for 10/28:
    Austin: 81/66
    Greenville: 81/52
    St George: 77/48
    Sedona: 75/47
    Flagstaff: 65/35
    Scottsdale: 85/60
    Bend: 62/46


  6. I've been trying to get here since last Friday but work hasn't cooperated! Should be able tomorrow!

    Just 1 thing today - Matt, your old Monte Carlo - I took my Drivers test on a early-70s model! Was my Aunt's car which she bought used (she always bought her cars used & that is why I have never & will never buy a used car myself, stories for another day!). Anyway, that car was a TANK! No "power steering" or front-wheel drive as I don't think they existed back then. I ended up taking my test during a HUGE thunderstorm. I was 1 of only TWO testees in the whole place as what other idiots would choose to take a driving test in those conditions?! I didn't have a choice - my Aunt came & got me at camp on a designated day, we drove 150 miles back to Hagerstown, I took the test (passed, natch) & we drove back to camp. What I'll never forget is the tester-guy getting in the car & he was wearing a full-length yellow rain slicker complete with one of those Horton's Fishermen hats. He grunts, looks at me & says "sure picked a FINE day!" I was so nervous, I almost puked & ole grumpypants didn't help matters. The rain came down in almost horizontal sheets & just trying to SEE the damn course is what I think KEPT me from getting hysterical (as I had to concentrate so hard). When I passed & took the guy's form into the office area to get the actual license, the woman behind the counter was shocked I'd actually taken the test. She yelled out to the everyone in the place & they all clapped! I also remember shaking as I was driving ALL the way back to camp - ecstatic & relieved but nauseous all at the same time. And then about 10 miles from camp, I started laughing like a hyenna & my Aunt joined in as it really was pretty damn funny that I took my Driver's test in a virtual monsoon! Of course, for years my family joked that I passed because the tester couldn't see out of the car & couldn't tell if I did anything wrong! HAH! Like Rainman - "I'm an excellent driver!" LOL!

    1. Susie, that is absolutely HYSTERICAL!!! I can't even begin to imagine taking my test in a 'tank', letalone during Hurricane Andrew!

      My first car was a VW Rabbit (Front wheel drive thank god...we got a LOT of snow in Montana...& I never used snow tires). Loved my 85 Monte was kind of a beast, but unlike your aunts, it had power steering/brakes...but it surely was a tank in all other regards. Got a lot of respect from the yuppies in their expensive beemers & suych in that baby...still miss it (but not it's mileage).

      I've had a lot of used cars, never yet had a lemon (I can do most repairs myself...other than taking the engine or tranny out...that's beyond me). Besides...I'm a "tinkerer"...older cars are fun to mess cars not so much (not that I have a "new" "new car" is an 03).