Checking out Ashland

Who would have thought that retirement would be so busy? I somehow thought that I’d have lots of time and would be looking for new projects. The trouble is; I’ve been saving up things to do and things to read, and there just always seems to be more to do. Reading in particular is taking a lot of time. With the “ripening” cataracts, reading had gotten downright painful. Now one eye is fixed, and the other isn’t really so bad, so I can read again. I’m picking up all of the books that I didn’t finish and working my way through them. And that doesn’t mention the stack of journals and papers sitting by my desk.

But back to Ashland. One thing we are doing is looking for a place to enjoy our retirement, and Silicon Valley is not it. The Valley is a great place for work, partly because it’s full of smart, active, people. Note that “full of people”. Though there’s a lot going on here, getting to where it’s happening is almost always a long and difficult journey. I don’t want to travel to Berkeley to see a play! So we’ve decided that Ashland is a good compromise, having enough smart, active people to be interesting, but not enough to cause problems. This last week we took a trip there to look for a house and check out the winter weather.

We waited until there were no active storms along the way, since we didn’t want to travel in rain or snow. The trip out of the Bay Area was painful, as usual. There doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid at least an hour of slogging to get in or out. The Central Valley was filled with a moderate but cold tule fog. It was not bad enough to make driving dangerous, but it sure made things bleak. Believe me, the Central Valley does “bleak” better than almost anyplace else. As we started to climb out of the valley, we got into the inversion layer, which was shirt-sleeve weather; warm and bright and sunny.

That was the last we saw of warm weather for the week. Once we got into the mountains it was clear but snowy and cold. Snow on the Castle Crags was amazing. Ashland weather was clear but cold, the coldest they’d had all year. The highs were in the low 30′s and standing water was frozen. Clearing the frost off the car each morning was quite a chore.

We spent the time in Ashland looking at houses. We found a realtor to help us, and spent a day driving around on our own, and another day visiting the likely ones. one of the houses would almost have done, but it was really too large for us, and it had a long flight of stairs in the middle. We’ll have to keep looking.

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