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Unread 02-08-2011, 08:14 PM   #1
Mtnduey
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Join Date: May 2009
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Possibly moving to Greater Seattle area

Looks like I might be getting a job in the Greater Seattle area and was wondering what my fellow jeepers thought of it up there.

I was out there for a few days and really liked it but I was without a vehicle so I didnt get to see a whole lot.

Anything I should know about the state? Looks like there's some pretty good trails up there if you dont mind driving a bit to get to em.

Hunting/Fishing?

Any kind of motorsports up there? (motorcycle, roadracing, etc..)

What about insurance costs?

Do you guys do smog or vehicle inspections or how does that work exactly? Any strange vehicle rules that I might wanna know about?

I live in NH right now but spent most of my life living in CO.

Thanks in advance, really appreciate any insight you all can offer.

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Unread 02-08-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
McKBrew
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Plenty of hunting/fishing. Motorcycles and plenty of motorcycle trails in the national forests.

Insurance seems to be slightly higher, my rates went up due to a statewide increase, but again still depends on driving record, where you live, etc...

Vehicle inspections in the Seattle metro area, if you want to get out of those, your best bet is to commute from outside the city.

You might also do some reading over at one of the partner forums. www.cityprofile.com has some good information as well.
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Unread 02-11-2011, 09:55 PM   #3
jaminj
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Lots of great things to do!!

Smog checks are required unless you live way outside of the city limits one example is ravensdale, wa if you want to look that up.

I have lived out here for almost 5 years and I lived in Colorado as well. Prices I feel minus taxes are the same taxes are higher here but no state tax

Tons of hunting fishing sporting racing anything you want to do you can out here I know alot of people in on circles if you need to get hooked up or need some info ie I used to sell motorcycles and atvs out here.

My wife is also a real estate agent if you want she could guide you and give you info and she is very good at what she does if I say so myself

If you have any questions please feel free to give me a Call Jason 206-327-0075 even if you just want more info or just need what to chat :Cheers:
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Unread 02-12-2011, 01:21 AM   #4
lupinsea
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As a 3rd, almost 4th generation Washingtonian I'll readily admit I'm a bit biased toward the state. I like it a lot up here and don't plan on living anywhere else (though I do like traveling).

Here's a run down on the state.

Geography
The state is bisected north-to-south with the Cascade mountain range. On the western side of the state it is much milder weather with narrower temperature swings from winter to summer. It is also wetter. The eastern side of the state is in the rain shadow of the mountains and subsequently much drier.

A major inland water way, the Puget Sound, knifes down from the Canadian border and stretches almost halfway down to the OR border. This body of water connects with the ocean and helps moderate the weather in the Puget Sound region (Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia). It is also home to the San Juan Islands. The NW part of the state (cleaved off by Puget Sound) is known as the Olympic Peninsula with the Olympic mountains topping it off.

There are, I believe, 5 different climatic zones across the state. We have rain forests on the Olympic penninsula on the western side (150" per year, wettest place in the continental U.S., IIRC), a lowland forest area, mountainous alpine areas, high steppe, and desert regions (generally W to E across the state). And if you're in the Seattle metro area, all of these can be accessed within about a 2-3 hr drive in any given direction.

Of note, we technically have "active" volcanoes in the Cascade mountains, however, with the exception of Mt. St. Helens they have been inactive for a few thousand years. Also, the Puget Sound is criss-crossed with active geologic fault lines. Yes, this is earthquake country. It's not as active as California but it's active enough. There have been major quakes in the 40's and in 1965 which caused substantial damage to the city. The last semi-major quake was the Nisqually quake of 2001 which damage the state capitol building and knocked down several walls in the historic Pioneer Square area of Seattle as well as did major damage to Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct. . . and that earth quake was 60 miles away from Seattle. IIRC, I think we had a minor quake sometime in 2010. This all stems from the fact we have an induction zone off the coast of washington. The Pacific tectonic plate is diving under the Juan Defuca plate (which comprises most of the Puget Sound). As the Pacific plate melts it forces up material to create our Cascade mountain range. Lots of cool geologic history and activity in this region.

Weather
Despite Seattle's reputation for rain we actually get less rain fall than most major U.S. cities. The deal is, it's spread out throughout the year quite a bit. And there are a lot of overcast days where it may not rain at all for a week but you won't see the sun through the clouds. Some times there might be a sprinkling in the morning and that's it. Sometimes we get a deluge. Winter temperatures are usually "mild" compared to many places around the country. Lows are usually in the mid-to-upper 30's. Snow is rare in the low lands and when it does fall it doesn't stick around for long, usually gone in a day or two. Some winters we get snow, some we don't. As a result, most people don't know how to drive in the snow and the least amount shuts down the city. Well, that plus the steep hills all over the place.

If you WANT snow, the mountains are a 50 minute drive away where you can access ski resorts and snow parks for snomobiling, cross country skiing, snow shoing, and so forth.

Summers in Seattle are usually spectacular. We might get a "hot" stretch in the mid-to-upper 80's that lasts for 2-3 weeks at the height of summer but most of the time it's in the mid-to-upper 70's. So it's noticably and comfortably warm with out being annoyingly hot.

On the eastern side of the mountains things are much drier, on the arid side, really. The winters are colder and the summers are hotter, often reaching into the upper 90's and low 100's.

Humidity in the warm months is not an issue on either side of the mountains. So the high temps in eastern Washington are not bad. And there really isn't much of an bug problem, unlike other areas of the country. For that matter, I don't think there are any dangerous insect, spiders, or snakes on the western side of the state. In eastern WA you'll want to be aware that you could find rattle snakes in the drier areas, though in 34 years I've never seen one in the wild.

Demographics
Most of the state's population is in the King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties (Everette to Seattle to Tacoma) and flanks both sides of I-5 from the water front to the foot of the Cascade mountains. Most of this population is pretty well educated and liberal leaning. It also has a more high-tech economic base with a number of bio-tech firms, aerospace companies (ever hear of Boeing?), lots of software and computer companies, etc. This population base also tends to swing the whole state in terms of political direction.

Outside this area the state gets a lot more rural pretty quick and much more politically conservative.

Taxes (in case you're wondering)
We have property taxes and sales taxes and that's it. No income tax. Sales tax is close to 10% (9.8% or so, I can't remember). And property taxes aren't too bad from what I understand of other states. Say it fast I think we're paying about $3500 on a ~$300k house. Somewhere in there.

Cost of Living
Housing tends to be a bit higher here and we haven't had the scary crash that other states have suffered. That said, housing prices are down now. Figure on around ~$900-1000 for apartment rentals in the area. Of course, you can go higher or lower than that depending on what and where.

Auto Stuff
As mentioned, insurance tends to be a little higher here. For the metro ares there is an emissions test that needs to be done once every 2 years. It's not bad, they're just checking emissions. If you have an OBD-II equipped car they plug in the computer to the OBD-II port, put a sniffer on the tail pipe or gas cap and you're done in about 2-3 minutes. Granted, if you pick the wrong time you might be waiting in line for a while. If you don't have an OBD-II equipped car, then you have to rev the engine as they put the sniffer up your tail pipe (on the car). Otherwise, there are no other vehicle inspections required. Licensing tabs run ~$70-ish/yr in the King, Pierce, Snohomish counties due to some mass transit taxes we've levied on ourselves. out side of this area (RTA, Regional Transit Authority) tabs are about $30/yr.

The Outdoors
This is a major reason I love this state. We may not have the biggest or best of things, but we have a huge variety of outdoor opportunities. . . and they are very close at hand. Off the top of my head:

We have camping in all the 5 major climatic zones I mentioned above. As well as hiking and back packing. There is mountain climbing. There are winter sports which included at lest 4 semi-major ski areas plus more snow parks for snomobiling and such. Whistler is a few hours to the north in Canada and Mt. Bachelor to the south in OR is supposed to be great.

If you like the water we have the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands for exploration. Either by ferry, float plane, boating, sailing, or go sea kyaking if you want. There are islands big and small to explore. There are also tons of lakes and the Columbia River.

There is Pacific Raceways International which is a motorsport race track for drag racing and road racing. That's near Kent, about 40 min SE of Seattle. There's also Portland International Raceways in OR about 2.5 hours south via I-5. Plus lots of autocross opportunities as well as thousands of miles of back roads to explore and drive all over the mountains.

Offroading
And then there is the offroading. There are, about 9 or 10 major 4x4 jeep areas in the state. And there are more ORV areas if you include places specific to motorbikes or ATVs. Most of the Jeep'n areas are within a 1-4 hr drive of downtown Seattle with most about 1-2 hrs away. And they are in the nature of trail networks rather than individual trails. The ones on the western side of the state are very tight and twisty. They roam up an down the sides of the Cascades through lush evergreen forests with dense underbrush and get very slick when wet, which is often, especially in fall or spring. During the late spring to early fall the eastern trails are availble once the snow melts. These areas cover MUCH larger territory and you definitely feel you're out in the middle of no where. One of my favorites is Manastash Ridge which covers 115 sq miles of territory with about 90 miles of Jeep 4x4 trails (and more motorbike / ATV trails). You can go camping out there for 4-5 days and not get bored Jeep'n. And the scenery over there is stunning, especially once you get up on the ridge lines.

Wheel'n areas and travel times are:

1 hr from Seattle
Walker Valley
Evan's Creek
Reiter Foothill Trails
Tahuya

1.5 hr from Seattle
Naches trail (crosses the cascade mountain rnge
N. Cle Elum trails
Elbe Hills

2 hr from Seattle
Manastash Ridge (accessible via Naches Trail)
Liberty / Table Mountain

3.5-4 hr from Seattle
Rimrock
Moses Lake


Take a look below at some random photos of the Jeep'n opportunities around the state. All of these are from the list above.


Rimrock



Manastash Ridge



Evan's Creek (winter, duh)



Walker Valley



Manastash Ridge



Evan's Creek



Evan's Creek



Rimrock



Manastash Ridge, a place called Funnyrocks



Evan's Creek
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Unread 02-12-2011, 05:21 PM   #5
McKBrew
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Jay,

You are the man. I remember the list you gave me when I wanted to go the Gifford Pinchot National forest a couple years back.
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Unread 02-13-2011, 11:57 AM   #6
Mtnduey
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Thanks for the info everybod, esp Jay, thats some incredible info.

Jason, does your wife deal with rentals or just actual home sales?

I have the area we're looking to settle down in pretty well narrowed down and it looks like there are a ton of rentals available there.

Very excited about this, we're going to be in the area for a week starting this upcoming Wed. One of the things I want to do while we're there this week is find a good place to get some Wild Sockeye Salmon, the Atlantic Salmon out here is mostly tasteless but that Pacific NorthWest Salmon is incredible stuff.
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Unread 02-13-2011, 09:20 PM   #7
billzcat1
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Wow! Fantastic post, Lupinsea!
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Unread 02-14-2011, 02:12 PM   #8
lupinsea
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No problem. Glad to help.

Out of curiosity, what area are you looking at to settle in? And do you have a job lined up near by? I ask only because traffic around here can be nasty depending on your commute route. For example, if you live north of Lake Washington / I-90 and have to commute to the south (or versa visa) it's a major PITA. All North-South traffic essentially gets choked down to I-5 through Seattle and I-405 through the Bellevue corridor. So crossing that is sucky.

Also, if you have to cross either of our floating bridges, expect things to be sucky and, starting this spring, expensive. The cross-lake bridges are also traffic choke points. And starting spring of 2011 the SR 520 bridge (the norther most bride across Lk Washington) will begin tolling. The good thing at least is that it won't use toll booths but instead use electronic transponders so you won't even need to slow down. If you don't have a transponder, cameras will snap a picture of your license plate and mail you a toll fee request. With the transponders fee will be around $2.50, w/o they'll be ~$5. Each way.

Of course, by only tolling one bridge I'm sure it will effectively reroute a lot of traffice to the other bridge or around the north end of the lake making both those routes even suckier. And this is all in preparation for a bridge that isn't slated to start construction for several years.

Oh, and to highlight the active geology of the area, I just read about an earth quake near Mt. St. Helens this morning.

Welcome to the Northwest!
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Unread 02-14-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
Mtnduey
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my job is in downtown seattle presently. We're looking at the east side of Seattle in the greater Kirkland/Redmond area, as far north as Bothell and south down to Bellevue. We're also looking at Issaquah as it seems like a nice area.


Where I live now in NH my commute is 53 miles each way and sometimes 2 hours each way with no option for public transportation.

I lived in SoCal for a few years, hated it but not b/c of earthquakes, that wasn't a big deal, I just hated CA.

So far Washington seems to be a pretty good blend of all the things I like/love about both Colorado and New Hampshire, so I'm pretty excited about this move.
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Unread 02-14-2011, 06:24 PM   #10
lupinsea
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Ok. I work very close to downtown Seattle (west side of Lk Union which is on the northern edge of downtown Seattle.

I live up in Kenmore.

The commute for me isn't bad. South bound in the morning the reversible express lanes are open to southbound traffic. And in the evening they're heading north, same way I need to go to get home. Takes maybe 35-40 min in traffic. My wife works on the south edge of downtown near Safeco Field (the baseball stadium) and it takes her a bit longer, say an extra 15+ minutes.

The Kirkland / Redmond area is quite nice, one of the nicer Eastside cities (as the east side of the Lk Washington are known). But you'll have the 520 bridge tolling issue with both of those places, not to mention the bridge asa choke point. I wouldn't discount that area because of it, though.

If you're up in Bothell you'll have a bit more of a drive from me but you'll have the choice of going down through Kirkland / Bellevue and across the lake on the 520 bridge. . . . OR taking 522 through Kenmore around the northern tip of the lake.

Speaking of Kenmore, some civic boosterism to follow. . .

Kenmore is right smack at the tip of Lk Washington and halfway between both I-5 and I-405 freeways, offering good options to reach any of the areas major cities without the need to cross any bridges. It's nice up here. Not as fancy or polished as Kirkland / Redmond but it has its charms. Development wise, Kenmore is maybe 15-20 years behind Kirkland. . . there is a bunch of stuff on the planning boards that look great and I think things (development plans) are poised to take off once the economy picks up a bit. The city just built a new city hall, a new fire department, and a new library is under construction. They all look great. And there are a lot of great parks and water front access here. Probably the crown jewel is St. Edwards, a 365 acre water front park with deep ravines, old growth forests, and an old catholic seminary building still on the grounds. Lots of mountain biking trails. Adjacent to this is another 250+ acre parkland (albeit outside city boundaries, IIRC). Another favorite park is the Wallace Swamp Creek park. Very much undeveloped with nice walking trails and creek running through it. I love taking my son here during the summer. The Burke-Gilman bike trail cuts through town. This stretches to near downtown Seattle at one end and out to Redmond's Marymoore park at the other. And because of SR 522, there are good mass transit / bus options for getting into and out of downtown Seattle.

Here are some pix of the Wallace Swamp Creek park from this summer:


This is the only paved path through the park.



Most of the other foot trails look like this, very informal.



My favorite place in the city.


The city's website.

Oh, and it was recently honored among the "best places to live" by a couple of national publications, IIRC. One of which was Family Circle. I can't remember the other one.

If you have the time in town, check it out.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 07:03 PM   #11
Mtnduey
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after a week of looking around and checking everything out we narrowed it down to the Issaquah/Snoqualmie area as our favorite and found a great little place in Snoqualmie. We're really excited to move out here and get things going.

Thanks again everyone for the help and information, it really helped us out more than I can possibly say.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 08:36 PM   #12
RaggedOleMan
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Jay~

I've not been to Walker, but I have been to Evans, Elbe, Naches etc. How does Walker compare in difficulty & conditions?

On a side note, I'd like to take a minute to express a thanks to you for your write-ups & contributions. You always do a very professional job, and it shows. That said, I look forward to your posts, as I'm sure many others do, or someday "will". Thanks again.

~John/West Seattle
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Unread 02-21-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
lupinsea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtnduey View Post
after a week of looking around and checking everything out we narrowed it down to the Issaquah/Snoqualmie area as our favorite and found a great little place in Snoqualmie. We're really excited to move out here and get things going.

Thanks again everyone for the help and information, it really helped us out more than I can possibly say.
Awesome. It's definitely a nice place up there and you're close to one of my favorite camping places where my dad and I had been going for over 30+ years. Now I'm starting to take my sone up there. Let me know if you want me to give you directions on how to get there.
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Unread 02-21-2011, 09:22 PM   #14
lupinsea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaggedOleMan View Post
Jay~

I've not been to Walker, but I have been to Evans, Elbe, Naches etc. How does Walker compare in difficulty & conditions?

On a side note, I'd like to take a minute to express a thanks to you for your write-ups & contributions. You always do a very professional job, and it shows. That said, I look forward to your posts, as I'm sure many others do, or someday "will". Thanks again.

~John/West Seattle
By the looks of the photos and what I remember of Elbe I think Walker is much easier.

I'd rank the tough sections of the Naches trail about on par with the general trail conditions of Walker Valley, except Walker is a lot wetter and muddier and slicker.

Then Evan's Creek would be ranked tougher than Walker/Naches.

And I'd put Elbe toward the top of the tough scale of these places (again, based on my memory from a few years ago + recent photos from your thread).

Now, this isn't to say that there aren't tough sections of Walker. The newly gouged out trench on the lower mainline is a perfect example. I don't think I can get up it now with out a lot of winching. The bigger rigs the locals drive are really chewing it up. Last year I could walk up it without thinking about it.
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