Top 10 Reasons Living in Oregon is Awesome

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It’s been almost 9 months since our big move from Ames, IA to Medford, OR – and besides some fleeting moments of homesickness for our families’ cute faces, we have not looked back. After years of moving around, for once it’s become difficult to imagine ever living anywhere but in here. And here are the reasons why:

10. A few hours to everywhere

Giants game in the city or isolated in the forest is only a short drive

At first we thought we would be sad to walk away from a 3.5 drive to Minneapolis, four hour drive to Omaha, and five hour drive to Chicago. But then, as it always does, Google showed us the light:

  • Seven hours to Yosemite National Park or Seattle
  • Six hours to San Francisco, Mount Hood, or Lake Tahoe
  • Four hours to Portland
  • Three hours to Bend and Mount Bachelor
  • Two hours to Eugene
  • 90 minutes to the ocean and Redwood Forest
  • 30 minutes to the closest ski resort at Mount Ashland
  • Minutes from best snowshoeing, mountain biking, trail riding, hiking, and wine in the U.S.

9. The Pacific Ocean

Those Deadliest Catch dudes are nuts.

Commuting to visit the business owners I work with used to take me down Interstate 35 where I would then turn my wheel once onto Interstate 80 covering a territory within 5 hours. I cover the same distance now, but my commute takes me through the Redwood forest along the ocean on Highway 101. Corn vs Ocean – no contest.

8. The Redwood Forest

My brotha!

I’m fairly confident that in my other life I was a tree – something about being in the forest makes me feel at home and totally aligned in joy. If that is so, these bad boys are like my ancient ancestors. If you haven’t seen a redwood up close, prepare to add it to all of your top 10 lists of cool shit in your life.

7. The Race Scene

The hideous socks were the only way we could stand apart from the elite pack of racers. The only other way to tell is if you heard our start line conversation about strategizing the number of donuts and chips we would eat post race.

As kids grow into adults, often the superheros of our youth either disappear in cynicism and rage or evolve into either inspirational family members or our favorite public figures such as politicians, quarterbacks, or Will Ferrell in anything.  At our house, elite athletes from often obscure endurance sports like the Tour de France, cyclocross, the Ironman , and ultra-marathoning are the shiz. It wasn’t until we moved to Oregon that we realized a crazy high percentage of those peeps we admire actually live here, including Hal Kroener, twice winner of the Western States 100, who lives in the next town over and owns our community running shop. Not only are we amongst our heroes, but any day of the week if we want to run, ride, or tri with them in competition, it’s a cornucopia of options – we could do killer races every week if we wanted. Oh, and remember you are racing with a view of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

The venue for the 1st annual Enchanted Forest Wine Run. Luckily I was injured for this one and spent my time making friends over a few bottles of wine while basking in the sun on the front lawn. Bummer.

6. Beer

2012 Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival

While we are nestled in the middle one of the most popular and best wine regions in the world, there is also this supreme culture of home and microbreweries. Actually, I think it’s pretty close to being a state law that you cannot drink anything EXCEPT microbrews – oh, and no limit to the amount of alcohol content. Drinking beer here is like the drinking culture in Ireland …everyone’s doing it man.

5. The strange and unusual

And the best part? Someone sits in his head and talks to you through a microphone. I have so many questions…

I used to use Burger Kings and Shell stations as landmarks, now I use directions like “turn right at the Burl outlet and drive until you pass the second Sasquach carving. If you reach the Alpaca farm, you’ve gone too far.”

There are cars here that I didn’t even know are still street legal…and I’m rather confident we WILL own a Westfalia any day now. It is an Oregon right of passage.

Just when Evan and I thought we had seen it all, we pulled up to a stoplight last weekend and witnessed a BMX bike gang of dudes in their mid-forties, an obese woman riding a razor scooter, a teenager playing a guitar, and a guy dressed as Kiss properly and casually use the crosswalk all in the same field of vision. Most importantly (and I will speak to this later), everyone looked totally happy and self-assured. This. Place. Is. Awesome.

4. Playing Outdoors

Crater lake is GORGEOUS – and a few hours away.

The only way that makes sense to cross this meadow on top of Table Rock is Sound of Music, turning in slow motion with Baptist praise-jesus hands.

This one is no surprise  – I think everyone who thinks of Oregon thinks gorgeous scenery and endless things to do…but I never expected to be this overwhelmed with options for ways to play outside. We have been here almost a year and haven’t even left a six hour vicinity  – why would we need to? It’s not only the number of things to do but the people who live here, whether they are physically active or not, all seem to really enjoy and appreciate the outdoors…and that makes it feel like one, big, tree-hugging family.

Kayaking on the Rogue.

3. Friends

Housin’ vegan bar food at Standing stone

You may have seen pics of our peeps before, but our closest friends from Iowa, Sarah and Brian, were a big inspiration for us moving to Oregon. It works out great that they live in Portland and we are in Medford as the vibes are so different and each trip is a little escape. But as I’ve said, people are so chill here that everyone feels like friends, even the otherwise creepy people.

2. It’s a Vegan Mecca

Read our blog for a few days and you will see that we do NOT go hungry. Oregon, especially Portland, really is the mecca for vegan food and although we have been there dozens of times, there are always more places to try. Southern Oregon has some opportunity in this department, but at least when we tell someone we are vegan they recognize what that means and cater the best they can. In Iowa, we would either get a strange look or someone would bring us chicken with a side of mozzarella sticks with a proud look on their face.  They have a little catching up to do. (Be sure to check out our Restaurants tab as we will continue to update it as we try new places).

All vegan chinese. F yeah.

Stuffed pickled peppers at Portobello

1. Everyone is so nice. Like CRAZY nice. Crazy AWESOME nice.

There really isn’t a good way to truly articulate how serious I am when I say EVERYONE is nice. Yesterday, a homeless gentleman politely asked me if I had anything to offer so he could get a sandwich, and when I told him I only had change, he complemented me on my fashion choices and thanked me for my ‘unexpected kindness’. Whether the people drive fancy cars or are waiting at a bus stop, standing in long lines or in a hurry at the bank, look like they are from the runway or the side of the highway – EVERYONE has been kind, respectful, and giving of their time to engage in conversation. It’s not until you have experienced this kindness that you realize how it changes everything – you are happy so you treat others happy and the cycle continues.

Please come to live in Oregon. We have an extra bedroom and have become so extra nice that we probably won’t be creeped out if you want to stay. Believe me, you won’t want to leave.

P.S. Did I mention you aren’t legally allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon? Not only does it provide more jobs to keep down unemployment, it’s amazing to sit in your car on cold days and just relax. Come on – that’s REALLY awesome.

Me too babe.

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