We started talking about where we wanted to live when we retired back when we were in our twenties. We both wanted to live someplace that had all four seasons, rural, with trees, and a decent size plot of land. As we got closer to retirement age, we started researching which states would be best, financially. The Pacific Northwest offered the climate we wanted, and since Washington doesn't have State income tax, we thought we'd start there. Although, as we traveled the country, we kept an open mind. There were so many beautiful places, but it kept coming back to climate. We didn't want to live where it's hot and humid in the summer, or have to worry about hurricanes. I started researching Washington properties a couple of years ago. I was looking for property near a small town, maybe an hour from a larger town, not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter, with a low cost of living. A girl can have it all, right? Newport, Washington in Pend Oreille County, right on the border of Idaho was a place I thought would fit the bill. So, when we were heading west, we started looking at properties online. We weren't sure if we wanted to buy land, park the camper on it, and live in it while we built a house, or buy something already built. We knew we didn't want to buy an old house, and fix it up. We had had enough of that with our last house! We also wanted property with some kind of water feature. Be it a lake, river, or creek. I wanted something with enough room for a greenhouse and a chicken coop.
When we got settled into the campground in the area, we contacted a real estate agent to have him show us the handful of properties we wanted to see. We decided to look at existing houses first, and if we didn't find anything, we would look at land that we would build on. We had two different areas we were interested in, some on the Pend Oreille River and some farther west on the Columbia and Kettle rivers. The first four properties we looked at were on the Pend Oreille River. After looking at them, we ruled out two that needed too much work and one that was in the flood zone. The fourth property was by far superior to the others. It had a log home that was fairly new, a huge outbuilding, and six wooded acres, right on the river. We had an appointment a few days later to look at the properties on the Columbia and Kettle rivers; After looking at them again online and weighing out what they had to offer, compared to the one we liked on the Pend Oreille, we decided to not even waste our time. We made the decision to putan offer on the log home we both liked. After a little negotiating, we settled on a fair price with the seller.
We decided to stay in the area while the property was in escrow, in case we needed to do anything. We extended our stay at The Blueslide Resort, just up the river from our new home. It was the longest we have stayed in one spot since we left San Diego. The spaces are small, but the owner and staff were very nice.
The seller didn't use the house much since it was built in 2009, so it is like new. They allowed us to stay on the land in our camper the week before escrow closed. The day we drove the camper to the property, we saw a big black bear about 100 feet in front of the driveway. (I shit you not!) It was crossing the road, stopped and watched us pull up, then ambled onto the vacant land that is just to the south of us. Dammit, I didn't have the camera handy! In all of the wild places we've been throughout the country, we didn'tsee a bear until we are pulling the camper onto our new property, ending our full time RVing lifestyle, (for now). It was like the bear was welcoming the Homeless Bears to their new den.
We have been in the house for a few days now, and are getting settled in. We have been slowly working on clearing the debris and weeds. Since no one has lived here, there is a lot to be done on the land. The house needs some finish work and painting. Luckily, I have extensive painting experience! The outbuilding needs some roof repair, before the snow comes, and the dock needs a section added. Those things should give me plenty of stories to blog about!
With no neighbors on either side, and only a few houses visible across the river, it's really peaceful, and so quiet! The only noise we've had is some wildlife at night. One night there was something large walking through the trees in front of the house, and last night we had a bear eating the crumbs out of the bottom of the small camper BBQ. He ran off when we shined the flashlight on him. So far we have seen turkeys, bald eagles, deer, bear, ducks, and geese. That's just in one week! I'm sure there will be more to come!
We are less than five miles to the small town of Ione. The population is less than 500, but there are 6 bars. Destiny? I think so! The next larger town, Newport, is about an hours drive away, and Spokane is only an hour and a half. The Canadian border is about 25 miles north, and Idaho is about 15 miles, as the crow flies, to the east. Even though we aren't traveling full time, I still plan on writing blogs. I'm sure with the change in lifestyle, I will have plenty of crazy stuff to share. Plus, we aren't done traveling. There are still lots of places we want to see.
THERE ARE LOTS MORE PHOTOS IN THE PHOTO SECTION UNDER SNAPSHOTS 2, CABIN SWEET CABIN!