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Old 06-19-2018, 12:33 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,773 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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There are so many nice smaller towns nearby your choices (that will be less expensive / less traffic)...

Colorado has HUGE growth and associated problems, but is a nice climate / place to live (FAR from the coast!) (water / infrastructure / PRICES / availability / population pressures on recreation / suburban sprawl...).
CoS is quite nice, but a political battleground, (i consider that a negative to QoL / relationship building / community support) Consider some lessor expensive CO destinations (perhaps western slope).

If you can deal with the 'expense' of being retired in Oregon... Eugene sounds about right, or McMinnville, Corvallis, Forest Grove, Newberg

Vancouver / Camas WA are pretty handy to Portland (10 - 20 min) and that offers a LOT of choices (If single / retired...I would live on the site of Ft Vancouver (they rent historical properties) or as close as possible (close to everything and a NICE quiet place to walk (except on 4th of July)
Spokane would do as well (Maybe Spokane Valley) if you don't mind being 5 hrs from coast.

Moscow ID is a really nice small city nearby!
I would add Boise (nice downtown and similar climate to Colo)
What are your top 5 hobbies . interests / likely things to do frequently? (sounds like dog, parks, walkable shopping, access to medical / groceries...)

Do you garden?
Do you volunteer?
Do you seek cultural events? (college presentations . drama / music
Potential desire to be Car-less in the future?
Are you eligible for VA medical?

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 06-19-2018 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:54 PM
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Thank you, Count David, for all the information! That helps more than you know!
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:30 PM
Location: Monterey County, CA
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Originally Posted by Count David View Post
What you described here:

is a more happening, thriving, progressive type city; which these two are not.

Sure, you'd be able to find most of those things in Spokane and Colorado Springs, but some of the offerings could be pretty disappointing IMO.

The hiking and biking in/around Colorado Springs is pretty darn world class, but in Spokane anything on the same level would be found a bit further out (even with all of the nature IN the city).

Both cities are lacking in restaurant variety. Spokane wins on fast food, Colorado Springs wins on chains. Spokane has CA style Mexican food, Colorado Springs has NM style (aside: Mexican food in Pueblo is VERY Americanized and may disappoint you if you ever make the trip).

All of this being said, I think you're looking for Boulder, Fort Collins, Olympia, Bellingham, type cities....but you may be able to make these two or Eugene work.
I have to agree with CountDavid on most of these things regarding Colorado Springs which is where we lived with our kids and aging/retired parents. All those things sound like a completely different place from our experience while living there. It also contributed to our decision to sell our homes and move out.

First of all, no matter what anyone told us about the weather being 'mild' we found it extreme. There are really only two seasons in CO: Snow season (or cold enough to snow) and thunderstorm season. Neither of which can be taken lightly either. You are basically living a mile high plus on the continental divide. This keeps the weather very unpredictable and unstable. The old saying is 'if you don't like the weather in CO wait 10 minutes.' It changes that fast and in the winter, spring and fall typically for the worst. This makes it more dangerous and even deadly for folks going out into the mountains hiking, etc... People die every year from lighting strikes even in town. And when thunderstorms come it literally shakes your house. Everyone takes it very seriously. Kids sporting events get canceled immediately. Most everyone have broken windshields from the hail storms. And pity the fool that has to walk in it. Spring and Fall are known to get the largest blizzards. With winter months dropping down into below freezing temperatures on a regular basis. I had never experienced sunny and 5 degrees out until living there. So sure it may be sunnier more often than some places, but windy and very cold at the same time. That's not to say there aren't some days that warm up in the winter. But its not normally warm out even if sunny. That is why during the winter months most folks go into hibernation mode. The lakes and rivers are frozen and the trails in the Rockies are covered in snow and/or ice. Since I love the outdoors I would go out there and hike even in winter unlike most folks I knew - young and old. But it was really cold! My retired mother or father-in-law certainly didn't go out in it. Black ice is no joke whether walking on the sidewalk or driving in it is risky business.

Food was the worst unless you like Hometown Buffet or chains. There is no real ethic food or anything original unless you like Barbecue ribs and cowboy type themed places. The cowboy subculture is huge there and very midwestern in nature. I hope you love cowboys. They do have rodeos for entertainment and big malls.

You also have to adjust to living a mile up where there is less oxygen. It means you may get more light headed while hiking, etc... It also means your skin will be constantly dry and cracking, especially your hands. My eyes were always bloodshot and dry while living there. The sun is also harsher higher up. So I dreaded the sunny days as the sun felt oppressive not for warmth but for intensity and glaring brightness. As a result I longed for more cloudy days like the PNW with less dry conditions.

Nature is beautiful in CO even if harsh. I used to work right next to the Garden of the Gods and would photograph it before work in sub freezing temps until I couldn't feel my fingers and frostbite was setting in.

A cold winter hike to a frozen lake not for the faint of heart:

A 'mild' day in October:

Another snow day in April:

Our house in October. Break out the snow shovel and be ready to scrape ice off the windshield many months out of the year. I hope you don't park on the street!

Then thunderstorm season. I don't recommend going out and walking or driving in it:

If you're ok with extreme weather, living in the 'high' desert, bitter cold winds and hunkering down when its freezing out or during thunderstorms and don't mind homogeneous mid-western food then COS may be for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere like the western side of the cascade range. That is where we are looking now (Vancouver/Camas, Corvallis, Albany, etc...). BTW, not much of COS is walkable unless downtown and the weather isn't turning on you. Downtown COS is actually pretty boring. Most of the time its a gamble or it requires a drive to get to where you 'really' want to go. Even though Denver is only an hour away during perfect conditions, there are many times it takes much longer, especially during the winter with snow/ice on the roads or thunderstorm season. And Denver is a large city with lots of traffic. So depending on where you want to go it will usually take much longer once you reach Denver's outer rim. Getting to Boulder or RMNP where we enjoyed going takes longer yet because of all the traffic and other factors, typically hours. Thus, we didn't go as much as we would have liked even though we have family in Denver.


Last edited by MtnSurfer; 06-20-2018 at 12:44 AM..
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:58 AM
Location: Seattle, WA
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Excellent all-around post Derek (I love the pics!), but I'm out of rep for ya!

Derek brings up an interesting point about the climate. The climate in the two cities we're talking about here is not terribly similar; and even as somebody who has spent most of the last 11 years in Denver (which some would argue has an even harsher climate than Colorado Springs {Denver gets more snowfall, colder temps, but less severe T-Storms}, I do agree that its climate should not be taken lightly, and that Front Range CO is severely undersold by many on its level of extremity....I think simply because it is sunny "often".

Yes, while it is true that we don't get the thick blanket of snow and prolonged dreariness during "winter" that the Upper Midwest and Northeast can be known for, we *can* get heavy snowfalls (as Derek pictured) in all but 5 months of the year (it does melt between storms, however), and the early summer in particular can bring damaging wind, hail (see what happened today), tornado watches and warnings (today as well), locally heavy rainfall, flooding, etc. It ain't no picnic. My own roof and front window were destroyed by hail last year.

Today was cool (in the 60's), windy, and rainy, while last week we had mid 90's. Nothing is consistent.

On the other hand, Spokane is pretty darn consistent. Spokanites like to think they live somewhere with weather as wild as Colorado, but you could look at a ten day forecast or actuals for Spokane any time of the year, and I guarantee you that at least 70% of it will be seasonal. Colorado forecasts and actuals look like they were made by somebody with a lost mind.

During summer, Spokane is warm to down right hot, with not much (if any) rain. T-storms are virtually non-existent, and most summers won't see any (this one being an exception). Falls are cool and crisp. And then it snows, and stays and piles up for the duration of winter (and has the dreariness/wet/cold/drizzle to go along with it). Then it melts and gets muddy and transitions back into summer.

Even with the relative consistency, one thing to note about Spokane is that random unseasonable warmth can occur during the non-summer months (this is pretty true for most of the west coast though). I was there for four days in February 2017, and it was buried under snow and snowed the ENTIRE time I was there. I was there again the same week in February 2018, and there was no snow around at all (it snowed pretty heavily the day after I left, however).

Spokane, February 2017:

Spokane, February 2018:

My Colorado Springs album (some summer, some winter):

My Spokane album (summer 2009, June 2015, Feb 2017, Feb 2018)

Some Post Falls/Coeur d'Alene for good measure (June 2015, Feb 2017, Feb 2018)
Moderator for Los Angeles, The Inland Empire, and the Washington state forums.

Last edited by Count David; 06-21-2018 at 03:57 PM..
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:41 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
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I'll chime in. I've now lived in Colorado Springs for 41 years.

Yesterday, the thunderstorms hugged the Palmer Divide, a 7352 ft ridge between Colorado Springs and the low lands of Denver at just 5280 feet. The hailstones generated by the updrafts to 50,000 feet were about the size of golf balls. The winds pushed them eastward. Fortunately, they missed us.

I'll agree that the weather here has extreme variability. The first time I felt a front come through in July and experienced the temperature drop 40 degrees in 30 minutes I was astounded.

But I love it.

I always park my cars in the garage and in the summer, If storms are coming, I'm home by 1:00 PM.

I love the clean tap water, the fresh air, the cool mornings and the dry climate with a minimum of bugs. I moved here from Phoenix to escape the heat.

So OP, you are doing the right thing. Think before you leap.

Different strokes for different folks.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:16 AM
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Arghh.. I accidently deleted your post! I'm still learning how to use this site. (I was trying to use the "quote" feature, but didn't want to quote everything you said). Thank you, Derek for all the information on Colorado Springs! Your pictures are beautiful! But what you are describing weather wise is exactly what I am trying to move away from now. I live in the U.P. in Michigan now and we usually have snow on the ground for months and snow in April. I think now, I am going to concentrate more on Oregon and the Eugene area and cross Colorado Springs off my list.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:29 AM
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Awesome photos, Count David! Thank you.
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:43 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,773 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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Originally Posted by Epiphany61 View Post
... I think now, I am going to concentrate more on Oregon and the Eugene area and cross Colorado Springs off my list.
While you are in the neighborhood... look 2 minutes north of Oregon (OR is quite high taxed for seniors, depends on your income and home value)

~30 yrs in CO
30+ yrs in PNW (Border dweller, in both OR and WA many times / week) friends and relatives on each side.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:06 PM
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Thank you, StealthRabbit I'll look north of Oregon as well.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:13 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Originally Posted by Epiphany61 View Post
...I'll look north of Oregon as well.
You can sign up for senior centric info online

94 YO FIL is just waiting for the day the evil Stepmother passes away, then he will flee OR and head north 5 minutes. (he was previously in Colorado for 50 yrs)
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