Friday, November 15, 2013


I live in kind of a weird spot.  I live in the middle of Washington State (sort of) in a county bigger than the state of Delaware.  The population of the town I live just outside of is about 20,000 people but there are nearly 50,000 who share the same zip code and almost 100,000 people in the county.  Yes, I know if you live in New York City there's probably 100,000 people within a few blocks of you.

This town is geographically isolated.  It's on Interstate 90 and if you go east on the interstate, the next biggest town you hit is 100 miles (160 km) away.  In fact, there is really two other towns between here and that larger town, and they are both tiny.  If you go west on I-90, you don't hit a bigger town until you get to the suburbs of Seattle, about 160 miles (257 km) away.  Yes, there is a larger town northeast of here about 70 miles (112 km) driving distance away and the "Tri-cities" are south about 70 miles (driving) and they are all bigger.

So, my point being, this is the largest town for quite a long ways around.  But we're isolated.  To get on a commercial airplane we have to drive minimum 70 miles.  To shop somewhere other than WalMart you used to have to drive, again, minimum 70 miles (actually, I usually did the 100 because it was all freeway and took about as long as going the 70 miles to the Tri-Cities).   The nearest 4-year university is, you guessed it, 70 miles away.  This town didn't have touch tone phones until the late 1970s.  And while the retail situation is improving, it's still pretty slim selection.

What inspired this post was I was looking at the National Weather Service website and our weather reports come from 100 miles away.  Why aren't they generated locally?

I have Facebook friends who live in smaller towns (in Idaho, of all places) and they have more shopping and restaurant choices than we do.  I think, for some reason, this town is so isolated that people simply don't know it's here.  We are another Starbucks stop on the interstate, and that's it.  And it's been that way for as long as I can remember (well, after we got a Starbucks, before that we weren't even a place to stop).

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