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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I have been paddling for a few years in MN/WI (we live in Minneapolis) and are planning to move to an area with a more active community, better paddling, and a longer season this summer.

We’ve been debating between the Southeast (likely Asheville) and the Pacific Northwest for well over a year, and I originally intended to post a “SE vs. PNW” thread. However, after much research and many emails with the NC Dept. of Public Instruction and some teacher groups in the state, we have all but eliminated NC as an option. Here are some details on the abysmal teaching situation in NC (no offense to those of you in NC) if you’re interested: Pay Cuts, End Of Tenure Put North Carolina Teachers On Edge : NPR. :shock: We are both relatively new teachers, so income is pretty limited to begin with. Moving to NC from MN would mean about a 10K (~25%) wage cut for both of us, which is untenable. The surrounding states aren’t really that much better for wages, and we really wanted to live in Asheville for the culture, music, beer (!), etc.

I’m open to suggestions for other SE ‘hot spots’ (i.e., fun, liberal, relatively small towns with an active/’outdoorsy’ community), but I’m now concentrating my efforts on the PNW. My question is where? Right now Hood River, OR/White Salmon, WA and Bend are on our radar. We don’t want to live in a ‘big’ city, so unless our jobs demand it, we won’t look inside Portland or Seattle. I’ve read every page of the SE and PNW sections of Lelands book, River Gypsies. It was helpful, but it focuses mainly (not entirely) on runs that are beyond our current abilities.

Might be helpful to know a little about us:
- Early/Mid 30’s; No kids
- Class II-III paddlers, though we both aspire for more, and are determined to keep improving
- Other interests: Snowboarding, Biking (Mtn. & Road), Camping/Hiking, Disc Golf, Live Music, Craft Beer

I was researching Mt. Bachelor (just W of Bend) last night, and was amazed at their annual snowfall, length of season, and % of Difficult and Extreme runs. This is a definite plus for Bend. My hesitation for Bend is that it’s a high-desert climate (relatively cool, esp. at night), and I don’t know how much Class II-III whitewater there is in the area (other than Deschutes, which I’ve read a bit about). My goal right now is class IV, but I REALLY believe in a strong foundation, so I work hard every time out on skills, not just getting to IV quickly. What I want to avoid is moving somewhere that has only easy stuff, or worse, only hard stuff.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and for any thoughts or suggestions. I’m posting this on BoaterTalk and Mountain Buzz since those are the forums I know, and I know they draw from all over, but I’m open to PNW forum suggestions too.
 

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places in the NW for paddling

Southern OR, especially in the Ashland area has great paddling close by in both OR & N Cal, the Smith river, Illinois, Rogue, Cal Salmon, Klamath, Sacramento...endless smaller creeks & tributaries. Mt. Ashland is the ski area there, I haven't skied it, but hear it's fun. Mt Shasta, in far N Cal, but a few hours inland, is a nice town with skiing at Mt Shasta, & great boating nearby as well. Arcata, CA, 3 hrs west of Shasta on the coast on the coast is a great boating mecca within the same region as well. Nicer climate around Ashland, it's pretty gray & foggy most of the year on the coast. The only downside of university towns for teachers are lots of recent grads from teaching programs who want to stay in the area, making for more fish in a smaller job pool. Packing up the car with the toys & taking a road trip to check out places you're interested in is a fun way to figure it out, best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks ranamafana. I'll look into Ashland area and the others you mentioned. I recognize Arcata as the home of Kokatat - my new drysuit arrives Tuesday! :)

Car trip is exactly what we have planned. School is out in early June, and we plan to head west, catching the North Fork Championships on the way out, then explore a bit. We had hoped to get back to ID for the Payette River Games the next weekend, but I don't think that's going to give us enough time out west, and we need to prioritize the move over 'fun' right now.

FYI to anyone reading:
1. Someone at BoaterTalk mentioned Professor Paddle as a good PNW/WA forum, so I posted there as well.
2. I realized that I failed to mention that we are kayakers (vs. rafters, etc.) in case it matters.
 

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boise?

check out boise on your way through, lots of paddling of all ranges close by, and skiing is not far away either. not sure on teacher pay in idaho, I am guessing it is not great, but not as bad as NC
 

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Thanks mprobst! Boise and Missoula are both on my radar, I just didn't want to add to my already lengthy email, and we are so free to move wherever that it feels overwhelming at times (too much freedom!?!?).

We will check out Boise on our way out or back. We'll be very close for the NFC.

Someone at BoaterTalk also mentioned Ashland, OR in the south end of that state..
 

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Ashland is pretty nice the Shakespeare theater is there, and summer long music festival is in Jacksonville, the Britt. Mt Ashland is a small ski area, but much less expensive than Mt Bachelor. Ashland is very supportive of their school system, their levies generally always pass. Real estate prices are sky high but there are many surrounding communities that are much more reasonably priced. House price difference between Ashland and Medford is about $100K. Every level of whitewater you can imagine and with a mediterranean climate you can boat all year. Bend is really nice but cooler high desert and more conservative than Ashland great whitewater nearby. You might also look at Corvallis smaller university town with a very active boating community lots of whitewater nearby it is in the valley in the grass seed growing area, so if you have allergies keep that in mind. Corvallis has a good school system their school levies generally always pass. Micro-breweries are big all over the state especially westside. Ashland has Caldera, Standing Stone and several others, Bend has Deschutes and a bunch of others. Good luck with your choice.
 

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I am a teacher moving to Seattle from Texas. Just a heads up that you kind of have to decide and begin a rather long and expensive process to get certified in another state...food for thought :)


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I can not believe I am doing this but I really like your avatar. Bozeman has a lot of what you are looking for. The skiing is definitely world class and lots of craft beer. Fairly good boating. So if you happen to be Going Down The Road Feeling Bad you should check out the Bozeman or even Livingston or Big Sky area.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks rivers2run for the additional info on Ashland and the surrounding area. I'll keep Corvallis in mind too. I have a cousin who did undergrad there, and I visited him once. I was there very briefly, but I remember it was a cool town.

Cbishop1, I know what you're saying about the bureaucracy that seems to permeate teaching (and so much of life)! That said, I don't know that I totally agree with you. Other than maybe getting job experience verified by previous employers or education programs, and having to do fingerprints, the process doesn't seem that long. Both OR and WA issue you a license and require you complete any testing requirement within a year (WA) or 18 months (OR). Oregon is even good enough to take the time to analyze your out-of-state content-area test scores to see if they are comparable. As far as I can tell, WA doesn't do this, and simply requires you take the WEST-E for your content area, but again, you have 12 months.

As far as cost, neither seems too bad to me. OR is $179 for application and fingerprint processing, and that gets you an Initial Teaching License, which is also valid for substitute teaching. In WA, it's $88 for the Residency license only, or $136 for that and a sub license.

One thing I will definitely give you is that the WA application (at 14 pages) does have a lot more hoops to jump through vs. OR (5 pages). For example, WA actually requires you to mail the form to the school where you earned your teaching degree, instead of just requiring transcripts like OR. WA also wants transcripts from all universities attended, whereas OR only wants them from places you've earned degrees. Lastly, OR has you get fingerprints done on FBI cards that most finger printers have, whereas WA wants you to either do it digitally - which can only be done in WA - or via their card, which you have to email them to get.

So yeah, I guess you are kind of correct, at least as far as WA is concerned. :-?

Here are some links in case you're interested:
OR Licensure Info: Initial Teaching License Info
OR Application: http://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Documents/App_Form_C-1.pdf
WA Licensure Info (they don't really keep it all in one place like OR): Teacher Assessments
WA Application: http://www.k12.wa.us/certification/certapp/4031.pdf
 

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...You might also look at Corvallis smaller university town with a very active boating community lots of whitewater nearby it is in the valley in the grass seed growing area, so if you have allergies keep that in mind. Corvallis has a good school system their school levies generally always pass. Micro-breweries are big all over the state especially westside...
Good advice there, consider this area as well as Eugene which has the Mckenzie just to the East.
Pick up a copy of Soggy Sneakers from the Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club.
Also, keep an eye on wkcc.org for a list of club trips for when you're in the neighborhood - someone is leading a Class II- III trip somewhere most every weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can not believe I am doing this but I really like your avatar. Bozeman has a lot of what you are looking for.
Thanks Sembob, you're a read Friend of the Devil! :twisted: I'll keep the Bozeman area on my radar, and hopefully your post doesn't result in mass population influx and subsequent cultural destruction. ;)

Malloypc, I've added Eugene to the list as well, and I just threw a copy of Soggy Sneakers into my Amazon cart - looks like a great book!
 

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Everything we have around here is pretty sweet. I never gripe about river use as I believe it is what ultimately protects the river. And people such as you and your wife never make our social places and happenings anything but more interesting. The only thing I worry about is the lift lines. The Gallatin Valley is absolutely beautiful. I am not sure what the teachers pay is as it differs between districts but it seems like the area is adding new schools and size to the existing ones rapidly. Bozeman will be breaking ground on its second high school very soon and Big Sky just added high school to there district several years ago. The kids were being bused 40 miles +/- to Bozeman prior to that. Good luck in your search of an awesome life. You two are at an enviable crossroad. I'd say have a great time looking and enjoy every bit of it.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Please. Dont even consider colorado. You would not like it. Liberal enough already.
Very helpful doughboy! Nice job of so succinctly showing your true colors, and simultaneously tying them to conservatism.

I spent quite a bit of time in CO over the years - ski trips, visiting FC, Boulder, and CO Springs, and even lived and worked a season at Winter Park back in 2001-2002. I've always enjoyed my time there, but I'll leave you to your conservative ways…so long as they are not Pastor Ted style conservative.:-?:x:twisted::shock::cry::lol:
 

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Move to Colorado Springs, we need more liberals.
 

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Ok, so I would also take into consideration regional climate. I moved from Duluth, MN to MT myself and have visited my many of the region's you are looking at. Do you like your seasons and to have a little time off from boating? Or do you want to boat 365 days in all seasons? PNW has all year boating but you're gonna see the sun less. Asheville is beautiful with great access/all year boating... it'll be muggy in the summer, and cross off the snow sports. But both are awesome regions with totally different characters (river and community wise). I personally like the inter mountain paddling (CO,MT,ID)... reasonably dry weather, dry heat during boating season, good powder in winter, and a long season (especially Boise!). I also don't mind a little time off from boating to keep me fired up in the spring, and winters a good time to go abroad. Also take into consideration play parks. I personally am more of a creeker, but having a wave/hole to go to for a quick after work session...makes you a better boater/keeps skills tuned.

I'm in the same boat (excuse the pun) and am looking to move as well. Anyhow good luck with the job hunt...that'll probably dictate your direction the most!
-Burgess



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Sorry to say this, but I guarantee you that Idaho's teaching climate is worse than North Carolina's.

We went through the whole end-of-tenure legislative battle a few years ago. Google "Luna Laws" to get an idea of the assault the right wing nut jobs in our legislature have put on education.

Idaho is already number 49 or 50 in students that go on to college; around that same rank for education spending.

New teachers were making $27,000/year to start. This session we passed a small "raise" for teachers, so I think this year they'll start at $29,000 or maybe $31,000. I wouldn't expect our legislature to spend much more on teachers or schools in the future. They're looking for every excuse to privatize education here, I think.

Their solution to "fixing" education has been to install wireless internet in all of the classrooms. The state superintendent then wanted to buy every student a laptop and have them take two online courses before graduating.

Oh, that wireless deal failed, and is not being funded because we found out it was a crony/sweetheart deal, the Feds aren't paying their share because the contract was awarded possibly illegally, and there is litigation between the providers. So it's unfunded. And the Super has business associates and campaign donors in the online curriculum industry... so go figure what is driving his policy.
 

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anywhere. If you go the PSW there will paddling everywhere. It might be a 1 hour drive tops, but it has everything with in reach of a day trip or even a sneaky play session after work.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You people are great!

This has been amazingly helpful so far, and I really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their thoughts and knowledge.

Good luck in your search of an awesome life. You two are at an enviable crossroad. I'd say have a great time looking and enjoy every bit of it.
Thanks for that sage advice Jim (Sembob). It often seems really stressful and I've been trying to keep your words in mind. It is exciting, but the unknown is often simultaneously exciting and anxiety-inducing!

Burnor, your thoughts about climate, and especially seasons, are something I definitely need to keep in mind. I've spent most of my life in the Midwest, so I'm not really sure how I would like not having distinct seasons. Though after biking to work throughout this MN winter (one of the worst on record - over 50 days below zero!), having no winter sounds pretty attractive! ;) I can also really see your point about a little time off to keep the fire burning. Lastly, I too prefer river running/creeking to PnP, but I think you're dead on about it being a great (and convenient) way to progress.

Wow Anchorless! That is some seriously disturbing stuff. I have been hearing so many shout-outs about Boise that I was really moving it up the list, but I haven't looked into the teaching situation there like I have the PNW and SE. Sounds like I definitely need to do so, and that it's like a no-go. THANK YOU!

Mark_vanis, your comment is actually what I'm just starting to kind of understand about the PNW. Other people have said (and they are likely correct) that we will probably go where the job(s) take us, at least at first, but it's good to know that as long as we land in the general area, we will probably be OK.
 

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Boise is seriously rad, but it's no place to find a career. I think extremely motivated, entrepreneurial types can do really well here, but for everyone else, it is a low paying grind, if you're even lucky enough to find work. For teachers... well, it might very well be the worst state in the US to be a teacher. Mississippi might be worse, I guess...
 
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