OK, remember what I said in the last post about deciding on Park City? More practical professionally, easier to get to, etc? Yeah, disregard that, we’re going to Bend.
We’re moving to Bend! Final answer.
What happened is this; we just could not find a Park City house. And we found quite a few in Bend. As our self-imposed deadline to make forward progress rapidly approached, Tacco and I both flew solo out to Utah to look at every house we could. Near the end we found one that we thought was going to be “it.” It looked gorgeous from the pictures, it has a large yard bordering on open space, and as a bonus sits right across the street from the elementary school. It was pricey, very much so, but we figured there was some wiggle room there, and managed to justify to ourselves how we could make the finances work. I was first to fly out, and it was the last house I saw that day. What’s more, the sellers coincidentally put in a significant price reduction that morning. It was a sign – it had to be.
And then I checked it out…
I REALLY wanted to love it. I did. But that entryway and living room – why so oddly laid out? And the kitchen – completely jammed in between the stairway and back wall, with no way to expand it. That’ll bug me. Dining room in what looks more like a hallway. And the back yard – whew, not nearly in the state of repair that the photos showed, and what on Earth is that big trellis thing doing on what appeared to have been a basketball court? And all those dark downstairs rooms – no light down there at all… will they work as bedrooms? Plus it’s big. Possibly too big. The garage isn’t though. Shoot. Can we do this??
I’m going into too much detail, but with some hindsight it struck me that the story of this house was a microcosm of our Park City house hunting story in general, and it sealed our fate.
I tried not to poison the pot too much with Tacco because she still had to fly out and take a look herself. I wanted her unvarnished opinion. In addition to the one I referenced above, she looked at 8-10 houses on her visit, and came back with a similar impression to mine: “We cannot buy that house for anything even near that price.” There you go.
And so we did what we often do when we’ve agonized over the facts, data, and details of a decision for long enough; we went out to dinner, popped some wine, and talked about what our guts were telling us. Our guts said Bend. We had known this on some level for quite a while, but finally gave ourselves permission to overlook the impracticalities and go for it. The relief was almost overwhelming.
Here then, is the final phase of Plan Moon: Drive Davista back up to the Bay Area to stay one more quick stretch with my parents and give the mechanics another shot at the flashing Check Engine Light of Death. OK, maybe not that, maybe just the flashing Check Engine Light of Severe Annoyance. Continue north into Oregon, and camp out in Bend for a month or so while we finalize our home search and put in an offer. Head into Washington thereafter, and spend prime summer time up in Anacortes, dealing with any last details on our home there, which would hopefully be under contract by then. And finally, turn back south and ride triumphantly into our new home and lives.
We’ve done the first three, up to and including Bend. The Ford service coordinator in the Bay Area that we had liked so much before turned out not to be quite as accommodating as we had originally thought. He made it pretty clear that he wasn’t especially happy to see us again, and after sending us off with replaced coils and an assurance that this was what it needed all along, he opted not to take our calls when the problem, predictably, came back once we got on the road again. Ah well.
Tacco also managed to pick up her Doctorate somewhere in there. I had mentioned her online studies previously, well, she kept at them diligently and despite often difficult circumstances, and was able to walk for her degree on May 10th in San Diego, with her proud family beaming at her from the audience. Dr. Tacco!! She rocks.
We also squeezed in a stop in Eugene, where we have a family of cousins we hadn’t seen for several years. They’ve got quite the setup there, to include several acres and lots of toys. We hiked, we biked along the Willamette, and we slaughtered and ate their rooster – a first for all of us involving YouTube and no small amount of dark hilarity in the “ok, so how exactly do we do this?” vein.
It is very much uncool to talk this way about an animal you slaughter and eat, but just to give an example of how it went: Often chickens headed for the dinner table are put headfirst into a cone, which holds them still and upside down while their carotid is sliced and they quickly bleed out, with minimal suffering. Thinking that was a solid approach, we grabbed one of my orange road cones from Davista’s bowels and I set to work at cutting the end hole to size with my utility knife. After far too much time spent and several bright orange rings of plastic littering the area, I thought we had what we needed and put the rooster carefully inside. Instead of a docile, restrained rooster hanging there with his head outside of the cone and a neatly exposed neck, we ended up with an inverted cone with two chicken feet sticking out the top, the head nowhere to be found on the other end. His body was far too wide for the cone’s shape to allow his upper reaches to emerge. When I looked through the other end I was treated to the sight of his rooster face about 2 inches from the end, his eyes regarding me quizzically, judgmentally. “Dude. What are you doing.” Eventually though, we succeeded! I thank him sincerely for his sacrifice. But I can’t say he was tasty.
Over the Cascade range we drove the following morning, and made our jubilant entry into Bend. It became obvious pretty quickly that this was our place, if it hadn’t been obvious already. Check it out.
We hiked a lot.
We biked a lot.
Twenty minutes of driving and you’re deep in the mountains.
We ate really well, often outside in the sun. Sparrow Bakery and their luscious Ocean Rolls. The food carts everywhere. And the beer – hoo boy the beer. I knew it was good, but what I hadn’t yet grasped was not only how insanely good, but how pervasive it is. I went to get my hair cut – “want a beer? Keg’s over there. Boneyard IPA.” Have you tried this stuff? Anything else by Boneyard? Probably not, because they don’t bottle it; you can only get it locally. And it’s spectacular, like all the local beers. I went to the bike shop, and of course there’s a small bar with a half dozen local taps right there in the middle of the bikes and equipment. Free, as far as I could tell. I went to the gas station. THE GAS STATION. And while they happily pumped my gas for me (because you’re not allowed to do it yourself in Oregon), I wandered into the Circle K to grab some tissues for Keeper, who had a stuffy nose. Went to check out, looked up, and saw about two dozen taps on the wall – growler fill station, of course. “You’ll have to go over to that register to buy the Kleenex. In the meantime, do you want to sample a few beers?” Well… sure I do, but I’m not going to, as it’s 11AM and the family is out in the car at the pump and we’re going about our day…. Whew, what a town!
We’ve found our place. No looking back, either. I wondered whether either of us would second guess our decision once we had made it, and we’re not, not even a little bit. I received further confirmation when Keeper came up to me and asked “Dad, do you mind if I ride my bike down to the river and explore a little bit?” “NO!!” I could hardly contain myself. “No! No, I don’t mind at all – go, GO! Have fun.” It may be the first time the mode of entertainment that first leapt to his mind didn’t involve a screen. He went, and then he went again the next day, and then he asked if he could take his sister along with him and went again. YES!
It’s the right place, and we’ve narrowed down our search to three houses. Any of them we’d be thrilled to live in. I think we’re going to make this work.