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  1. #1
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    Where to live in Washington for year round single track?

    We're moving from TN to the PNW. I'm in the middle of a job search, have some possibilities in OR and WA, the key issue for me is single track for after work rides, ie riding close to the town/city where we live.

    I'm a skier, but I can drive for skiing, the riding needs to be available year round. Clearly there are always gonna be days when it's too cold or too wet, but I don't want my trails to be snowed out or have to drive hours to ride in Jan/Feb.

    Where in WA or OR would you live?

  2. #2
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    We already live here....
    But, seriously, you can get all year round riding just about anywhere in WA. But, more so on the mild West side. Less snow days.

  3. #3
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    Bellingham and Issaquah should be high on your list.

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    Get some solid riding lights to ride all year after work (it gets dark hear at like 4pm part of the winter) and Issaquah, Fall City, Or Snoqualmie would be a good place to ride from town.

    But first off what kind of riding do you like?
    Epic trails get built in the Northwest by epic people!

    Sustainable quality trails please.

  5. #5
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    Traffic in the Puget Sound and Portland areas sucks.
    Live close to work unless you ride more often than you work.
    For skiing you don't want to have to take the ferries.
    There's a big difference between ripping and skidding. Those who skid don't know how to ride.

  6. #6
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    Snoqualmie
    Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so."

  7. #7
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    I strongly recommend you say on the east side of the mountains! The west side is so wet, dark, and gray.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    I strongly recommend you say on the east side of the mountains! The west side is so wet, dark, and gray.
    What jaybo said. I'd look at Spokane and Wenatchee over Seattle and the wet side.

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    Bellingham, North Whidbey Island and Anacortes should be on your list.

    Job prospects are a bit more challenging up North but great singletrack, less rain, no traffic and skiing at Baker : )
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  10. #10
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    I do love Wenatchee (I grew up there), but you have a temperate zone here on the west side that can't be beat, as long as you can stand drizzle and cooler temps. You can't ride the mileage we can over here, when winter comes calling. I can drive less than 45 minutes in any direction (or ride from my home) and get a good 20 miles on singletrack in any season.

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  11. #11
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    Looking for work in Bellingham, nothing yet...

    What about the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend or Port Angeles, are they good enough or will I get bored and need to travel?

    I ride muni, everything from XC to tech stuff, really no different than what bikers like. I also just started riding tandem with my wife, we pretty much ride anything I can talk her into riding

    Bellingham has the kind of riding I like, though it could use more XC... I suppose there is more outside of town.

  12. #12
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    Galbraith alone has a ton of XC - probably the majority of the trails there. And yeah, there are another couple networks nearby.
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  13. #13
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    Spokane does not have year around riding unless things are either a)un-usually dry or b)frozen. There is the possibility of fat biking in the snow or cold miserable road biking, but we have good skiing close by. Trainer riding (yuck) and snow sports are pretty much the best way to handle the off season over here.

    Wenatchee, Yakima, or maybe Tricities are better options for having Winter riding nearby. Wenatchee is a cool place and centrally located to all sorts of recreation options.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle509 View Post
    Spokane does not have year around riding unless things are either a)un-usually dry or b)frozen. There is the possibility of fat biking in the snow or cold miserable road biking, but we have good skiing close by. Trainer riding (yuck) and snow sports are pretty much the best way to handle the off season over here.

    Wenatchee, Yakima, or maybe Tricities are better options for having Winter riding nearby. Wenatchee is a cool place and centrally located to all sorts of recreation options.
    I agree with this guy. Living on the westside and riding in the rain for most of the year just isn't something I want to do. Wen, Yak, Tri, all are warmer, and much much drier. The summers can be extremely hot, but you dont have near as much rain or snow.

    Spokane you can ride a good 10 months of the year and then some days during the winter when there isnt much snow or too cold. But that is when I am up skiing anyway.
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  15. #15
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    It rains year round here and all the biking trails are one-way, uphill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I'm a skier, but I can drive for skiing
    And you'll need a boat, and a wetsuit.

  16. #16
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    One other consideration for you. East of the Cascades = more conservative; west side = more progressive. Spokane, Wenatchee, Bellingham have smaller city vibe/tighter biking community. Seattle area has, well, Seattle. All have great riding of all kinds close by. The only real exception is Seattle. You have to battle traffic to get to afterwork riding.

    All things considered, I'd choose between Bellingham and Wenatchee (but wife's work has me stuck near Seattle; in which case I'd choose Issaquah/Bellevue with two big hospitals nearby).
    Good Luck.

  17. #17
    Justin Vander Pol
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    Wenatchee is a diamond in the rough that is starting to get polished. Huge trail potential in that area, and it already has Sage, Devils/Mission, close to Leavenworth, easy drive to the high-mountain epicness of north Cascades (for 2 months a year). Not really year-round riding, but close to 2 good ski areas and lots of backcountry skiing for all you skinners.

    The town itself has so much potential, but hasn't really had that cool town vibe. Yet. I think it'll happen as demographics are starting to change. Not too many jobs is the problem. I think Wentachee could be one of the best riding towns in the country in 5-10 years. Right Matt&Matt?

    That said, I love big, vibrant cities so I live in Seattle. Lots of good year-round riding here, and Tiger is getting WAYYYYYYY better as we speak. Raging River and Mt. Washington/Olallie coming online in a few years, South Fork Snoqualmie/Hansen Ridge area about to get more trail converted. Lots of good stuff happening here. Live in Seattle if you like the city, and Issaquah or Snoqualmie if you want to be close to the trails. Live in Bellevue to split the difference.

  18. #18
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    Nothing to add here.

    We loved Seattle and our friends, but moved because of the traffic and the simple reality that it took us 30-45 minutes to drive to ride/build on our trails. In reality, we could've moved to Snoqualmie or Issaquah which would've drastically reduced that time and that zone is starting to reach it's potential due to the tenacious efforts of people like Juice, GGluv, and many more.

    It currently takes me 8 minutes to ride the 1.4 miles from my doorstep to Galbraith. Beyond that, I'm currently working on two planning projects (both within riding distance of town) that will increase trail mileage by 65 miles. Tack on the 45+ miles of trail on Galby and you can see where Whatcom County is heading.

    Be advised....when it's really wet, the culture up here is to put the bike down and pick up a shovel.

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  19. #19
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    I dunno Ben, if you're a Nurse who likes to ride Issaquah sounds like a good bet. Swedish just built a brand new hospital there in which case your commute would be...by bicycle. And the MTB riding quantity and quality has improved year over year for the last five years. For skiing, Alpental is only 30 minutes away with some truly incredible terrain and Crystal Mountain is 1.5 hrs away with huge terrain and higher elevation/colder snow. If you need more adrenaline there is Poo Poo point on Tiger Mountain that is a Hang glider/Parapente scene. And then there is Lake Sammamish for summer power boating, or Puget Sound for saltwater sailing, or...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by juice View Post
    Not really year-round riding, but close to 2 good ski areas and lots of backcountry skiing for all you sinners.
    Fixed that for you.

    Ancient Lakes is only 45 minutes from Wenatchee, so while you have to drive a bit for year-round riding, it's definitely available. Be aware that "after work rides" in the depths of winter in the PNW requires lights no matter where you live.

    +1 for your Bellevue recommendation, particularly for a nurse. The reverse commute to Swedish in Issaquah is easy, plus you have two hospitals in Bellevue and access to all the downtown hospitals.

    I'd still move to Hood River, Oregon with Wenatchee being a close second if I wanted a small town.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Sagebrush Slug View Post
    I'd still move to Hood River, Oregon with Wenatchee being a close second if I wanted a small town.
    Hood River is great, although you do have to deal with tourists and us "Shingtongs" during the summer, but there are nice places within riding distance of Post Canyon. You're also only a few hours from Bend.

  22. #22
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    Check out Island Hospital in Anacortes- They seem to be one of the best employers around. A-town has a nice small town vibe- you will want to buy a boat if you live here.

    About 50 miles of trails in town (ACFL) 30 minutes from Ebey and 40 from Galby near Bellingham.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasperilio View Post
    "Shingtongs"
    Ok, I'll bite. What's a one of those?
    Rolland

  24. #24
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    I'm a Nurse Practitioner, so jobs are a bit harder to find in smaller towns, so I have been doing a ton of cold calls and trying to stoke some interest. I would have thought the Affordable Care Act would push employers to add providers, but I think they're all waiting for the rush before they hire...

    I'll be out on the Peninsula for an interview, in a couple weeks, having some mixed feeling about being so isolated, not sure if the proximity to the natural will be enough to overcome the clouds and travel time to the big city lights.

    Would you consider PA or PT a decent location for year round riding?

    And yeah, lights are mandatory for after work Winter riding regardless of where I live.

  25. #25
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    I live in Olympia and very much enjoy close proximity to year round riding in Capital forest. That being said, I've been to and have ridden in most of the places discussed in this thread. If I could live anywhere in the state, I'd move to Bellingham in a heartbeat. Quality of trails, cost of living, access to baker, whistler, etc....I feel like that place is a solid option if you can find work there.

  26. #26
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    Bellingham would be my choice as well, depending on a job. If you need to live near Seattle, seems like Issaquah and the surrounding areas is the best place to be for riding year round. Duthie, Grand Ridge, Soaring Eagle, Tolt, Tapeworm, and Tokuls are all pretty close drive.
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  27. #27
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    Second vote for Issaquah

    Quote Originally Posted by squakmtn View Post
    I dunno Ben, if you're a Nurse who likes to ride Issaquah sounds like a good bet. Swedish just built a brand new hospital there in which case your commute would be...by bicycle. And the MTB riding quantity and quality has improved year over year for the last five years. For skiing, Alpental is only 30 minutes away with some truly incredible terrain and Crystal Mountain is 1.5 hrs away with huge terrain and higher elevation/colder snow. If you need more adrenaline there is Poo Poo point on Tiger Mountain that is a Hang glider/Parapente scene. And then there is Lake Sammamish for summer power boating, or Puget Sound for saltwater sailing, or...
    If you need to live in the Seattle area, I would totally second living in Issaquah. Going into Seattle is not so easy but there are quite a few hospital within reasonable driving distance. The new Swedish hospital is in the Issaquah Highlands and you are reasonably close to Overlake Hospital and Group Health in Bellevue and Snoqualmie Valley Hospital in Snoqualmie.

    As far as after-work riding options go, check out Duthie Hill Park in Issaquah & the Grand Ridge Trail that connects to the south end of Duthie. Doing an out-and-back on the Grand Ridge Trail will give you about 2000' of climbing and 7 miles one way. These are not going to be the most epic ride choices in the PNW, but more than enough for a regular after-work ride. Close-by living options with bikeable access to Duthie Hill and the Grand Ridge Trail would be the Issaquah Highlands close to Swedish Hospital, Klahanie or southeastern Sammamish next to Duthie Hill Park.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasperilio View Post
    Hood River is great, although you do have to deal with tourists and us "Shingtongs" during the summer, but there are nice places within riding distance of Post Canyon. You're also only a few hours from Bend.
    What the heck is a "shingtong"?
    Note on Spokane: the fat bike crowd seems to do just fine in those few months when we might have some snow on the ground in town. Seems like less and less of that (snow on the ground) every year. What I see in my FB feed is that folks are up on Beacon almost year round now.

  29. #29
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    I see a trend here for bellingham. Galbraith is one of if not the best. I feel the top three riding areas in the PNW are Anacortes, Galbraith and 300th. No three areas
    in the proximity of each other are as sweet. I live in Mt. Vernon, equi-distant from all three. If I could I would move to either Anacortes or Bellingham. But I'm extremely happy here in M.V. Just saying.

  30. #30
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    Bend, OR.

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    We're interviewing in PA now, rode the Adventure Trail yesterday, kinda tame, hoping to hit Dry Hill on Tuesday.

    The town is okay, kinda drive thru, so not so much a destination, which changes the feel. Also, it is waaay out here, so yeah, I feel a little bit isolated.

    It sure is beautiful though, awesome mountains, right on the water.

    The biggest downer for me was the suprisingly lack of mountain access for skiing. I am moving specifically to increase snow access, so in PA I lose some trail access and I don't improve my snow access; might be worse

    I'll see how Wenatchee strikes me... going from rain forest and ocean to high desert ought to be a shocker

    Also have an interview in Eugene, old stomping grounds, big city, kind of a middle ground, a tad warmer, a tad more culture, but access is all driving; good trails though (Oakridge).

    Thanks for all the feedback on Seattle and the surrounding areas. Though the riding is good, I just can't do the big city thing, I'm a small town guy. Hood River would be cool IF it weren't for the lack of jobs which would necessitate a drive into Portlandia.

    Bend would be number one, but alas there are no jobs for me there. If it weren't so dang expensive to live there, I'd consider going there on my wife's job and working temp until a full time gig presented, but it's $$$$ to live in Bend.

  32. #32
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    You might take a closer look at Spokane then - especially if reasonable access to snow is part of the ideal plan. Again our in town riding is sometimes year round; it will vary from year to year Between the bluff and beacon, which are both south facing, many people do manage year round riding. Many times it's clear or just a bit frozen in town, with skiing as close as 30 miles away at Spokane. We are a regional medical center (largest between Seattle and Minneapolis, serving WA,ID,BC, Montana and Oregon) with a new med school being built; five ski areas within 70 miles, plus we don't have that big city feel. The Powder Highway of BC is just a few hours North. For access to "epic/adventure" riding, we've got it pretty dang good here, whether it's WA, ID, or BC.

    Hmm, I wonder where Rocky Rider is. He rides year round. I tend to hang up the bike about November and get out my skis.

  33. #33
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    Wenatchee offers easy access to two okay (but not great) lift served areas. But, there is a ton of backcountry skiing to be had from that area. If lift-served is your deal, then you might also consider Bellingham (Baker, only a few hours up to Whistler) or the south of end of Seattle heading towards Tacoma for access to Crystal Mountain. As others have said, there is plenty of winter riding in the Puget lowlands, though back-door rides will require living somewhere like Issaquah.

  34. #34
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    Fwiw, here in Yakima the riding season is just getting good, especially if you have night lights. In the summer, night riding is the only option unless you are a man beast and can shred in the mid 90's w/ blazing sun. The main problem with Yakima is the lack of trail options - but that is changing

  35. #35
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    Port Angeles was interesting, the wife loved it, but access to snow is sketchy, rode the Adventure Trail and Dry Hill. Thanks to Scott for rescuing me from behind the locked gate (woops!).

    I'm in Wenatchee now, rode Foothills tonight, interview tomorrow, the riding here is awesome! And of course BC skiing is top shelf. I could live here for sure, just gotta convince the wife that she really doesn't want to live on the coast

    So what about Chelan, is it a place that one could live and ride/ski without too much traveling?

  36. #36
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    I think Wenatchee is probably a better bet than Chelan in that regard because it is more centrally located to multiple outdoor destinations. You might want to check out this page, and linked online-guidebooks for some ideas. Most of the linked stuff is within an hour of Wenatchee, though obviously not all are year-round.
    http://www.justgetout.net/wenatchee/

    Also, there are a number of point to point loops people have figured out for riding using the local bus system (ie, take the bus to Plain/Lake Wenatchee, ride up into the mountains and down Mad River, then take the bus back from 97).

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post

    Thanks for all the feedback on Seattle and the surrounding areas. Though the riding is good, I just can't do the big city thing, I'm a small town guy. Hood River would be cool IF it weren't for the lack of jobs which would necessitate a drive into Portlandia.
    I hear ya. We just moved to Kirkland/Bellevue and it's been an adjustment.

    If there were an significant software industry in Wenatchee I'd move there tomorrow. It sounds like you're in healthcare. My wife's a PT and could live anywhere she wanted. I work in software so am pretty limited with where I can live (for now).

    While you're at it, also take a look at Ellensburg.
    My wife and I meet at CWU in Ellensburg almost 15 years ago. We've spent the last 13 years (with a detour in SoCal) trying to get back.


    Wenatchee and Ellensburg are great spots. God's country.

  38. #38
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    The feedback from you guys was really helpful. I don't know that I would have ended up in Wenatchee so soon, and as i t turned out the timing couldn't have been better

    Yeah, Wenatchee is bit rough on the edges, but it more than makes up for it with nice people, good amenties, and great riding/sliding opportunities. Bend is pretty nice, but Wenatchee has more of everything and feels a lot more liveable.

    I rode Sage hills last night, then got up to Horse Lake tonight, watched the sun go down and the moon come up, it's perfect Fall weather. They have some good dirt here, not dusty silt, more like front range Utah. Too bad I couldn't get up into the woods, but there'll be time for that later.

    As part of my interview we drove up to Chellan, went all over Wenatchee, even went up #1 Canyon, there's just so much to do, and so much opportunity, things appear to be up and up based on the new road construction and redevelopment down by the river.

    So they said "Welcome to Wenatchee"

    Look for me on the trail riding a mountain unicycle or my wife and I bustin' it on a big black tandem mtb.

    See ya all in the Spring!

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    You can't go wrong it sounds. And, there's more to the Wenatchee area than Sage. I'd like to see that Muni on Xanadu or something like that though....

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    We do short vacations in Wenatchee, my family likes it there too. You're not far from Winthrop, I haven't been there in years, but there's a lot of great riding up that way. Do they still do the Mountain Bike festival in the early fall?

    Kellyc; I went to CWU as well, a few years before you, at that time (88-91) there wasn't much good singletrack close to town (I doubt that's changed), - the double track was fun. For a while there I was riding up to The Book and beyond, or up Weinass, or the road bike up to Lion Rock a couple of times a week, that place made me a pretty decent climber and racer for that time.

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    Nurse Ben, welcome to WA. I think I remember you from Telemarktips days. Same person?

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    Re: Where to live in Washington for year round single track?

    "...coming home to a place he'd never been before...."

    This has been an amazing thread. Well done everyone.

    Welcome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    We do short vacations in Wenatchee, my family likes it there too. You're not far from Winthrop, I haven't been there in years, but there's a lot of great riding up that way. Do they still do the Mountain Bike festival in the early fall?

    Kellyc; I went to CWU as well, a few years before you, at that time (88-91) there wasn't much good singletrack close to town (I doubt that's changed), - the double track was fun. For a while there I was riding up to The Book and beyond, or up Weinass, or the road bike up to Lion Rock a couple of times a week, that place made me a pretty decent climber and racer for that time.
    Agreed. Not much for out of driveway rides. I imagine it's still the same since there's a fair amount of ranch land between E-burg and the foothills. Ellensburg would be more of a base camp and a mtb'er will be doing a lot of "drive to ride" stuff. But it hits all the other requirements, small town, close to skiing, etc. We loved that town, but I imagine carving out a living there if you're not a professor or a rancher is difficult.

    Not to hijack, but we've been back for almost 6 months. Next step is to find a cabin somewhere on the dry side. Hopefully between Leavenworth and Wenatchee.

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    Ben. The weather on the coast is depressing and everything rusts there in no time.

    Wenatchee is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It would be awesome to have you guys at Mission.

    Good luck!

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    Good coverage at Mission Ridge.

  46. #46
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    Nice, congrats on the move! Totally jealous, I'd move to Wenatchee in a heart beat. Welcome to WA, enjoy..

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    Nurse Ben, welcome to WA. I think I remember you from Telemarktips days. Same person?
    Same guy, hope that doesn't bias you too much

    Re: Where to live in Washington for year round single track?

    "...coming home to a place he'd never been before...."

    This has been an amazing thread. Well done everyone.

    Welcome!
    Yup, great input, exactly what I was looking for, it led us to a wonderful playground with an awesome community, oh, and the job is sweet!

  48. #48
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    Where to live in Washington for year round single track?

    Wenachee has good riding and you're close to Winthrop! Bonus.

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