Author Topic: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....  (Read 13258 times)

PR Mustachian

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The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« on: April 05, 2017, 10:06:30 AM »
Point Roberts, WA    and here's why

1.  Within a half hour (off peak commute) from Vancouver, BC. 
One of the biggest and most liberal cities in the world where you have access to any necesssity, with plenty of offerings on Craigslist   and Kijiji and DIY clubs galore.

2.  Affordable land
I bought my third acre lot a block from the water half improved for 57k.  My brother bought one further inland and unimproved for 20k.  There is no other place in the country you can buy land that cheap that close to a major city that I know of.

3.  Everything is "on sale"
At least for the short term.  You just cross the border 5 minutes away and buy whatever you want at a 25% discount due to the exchange rate.  I'm hoping to save 30k on building materials for my house alone. 

4.  Outdoor Adventure
You name it, and you can do it.  You can rent a boat from the Point Roberts Marina (or even better build your own) for any water sport you want, or be on the ski slopes within an hour.  You can take a walk on the beach or in the forest right in town, or you can be on an incredible mountain peak trail in no time.  Bike lanes in Vancouver are as big as the streets!  If you prefer staying indoors, Vancouver has meetup groups for any activity you could possibly want to do.

5.  Mild Beach Climate
Never gets above 80 or so.  Never gets below 20.  Snows only once or twice a year (except for this year, of course)

6.  Other Retirees
It's true I'm probably the youngest of them but I don't mind hanging with an older crowd as long as they are active and liberal and most of them are.  My neighbor is almost 90 and still rides horses!   

The cons?  Yeah, it does have some.  You have to cross the border anytime you want to go to the city, which IMO is extremely easy with a NEXUS pass but some people get all complainypants about it.  If you need to go to the hospital you have to cross 2 borders, although there is an emergency clinic in town and in a REAL emergency I'm sure the Canadian ER 5 minutes away wouldn't let you die.  If you have kids, the only school is elementary so after that you have to cross 2 borders to get them to school.  It's a bit of a pain but plenty of parents do it and use the time to bond with their kid.  Not a lot of paying jobs to be had but plenty of opportunities to use your skills to help out your neighbors and barter.
           
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 01:09:21 PM by PR Mustachian »

the_fixer

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 02:12:48 PM »
Kind of cool how that little part is separated from Canada by an imaginary line.

Looks like it is about 3 miles wide x 2 miles tall correct?

PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 02:28:21 PM »
Yeah it's pretty unique.  Some people say its like a large gated community.  Your sizing is about right

cheapass

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 03:00:05 PM »
Hey what's the deal with healthcare for non-residents of Canada? If you get sick can you just drive across the border and see a doctor for free?
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PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2017, 03:18:40 PM »
In an emergency, I'm confident you could get help but besides that they won't help you.  You have to drive a half hour across two borders to Blaine, WA.  It's definitely one of the downsides but I figure most early retirees are like myself and into exercising daily, eating healthy, and taking good care of your body. 

stoaX

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 03:28:29 PM »
I thought Vancouver WA would be the best place:  no income tax in WA state, drive across the river to OR for no sales tax.  Either way, there's a lot to  like about the state of WA.

Bruizer

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 09:35:50 AM »
I thought Vancouver WA would be the best place:  no income tax in WA state, drive across the river to OR for no sales tax.  Either way, there's a lot to  like about the state of WA.

In Illinois, we're required to pay a "Use Tax" for anything we buy out of state and use in Illinois.  The out-of-state- tax is subtracted from the Illinois tax in those cases where you paid tax on out-of-state purchases.  The Use Tax was developed to combat internet sales which don't charge Illinois state tax.  It's mostly self-reporting, but the penalties can be hefty for major purchases such as a car.  Does the state of Washington have something similar?


dougules

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 10:24:10 AM »
Can you bike/bus into Canada?  I don't think the best place would be somewhere you're forced to drive for everything. 

I thought Vancouver WA would be the best place:  no income tax in WA state, drive across the river to OR for no sales tax.  Either way, there's a lot to  like about the state of WA.

In Illinois, we're required to pay a "Use Tax" for anything we buy out of state and use in Illinois.  The out-of-state- tax is subtracted from the Illinois tax in those cases where you paid tax on out-of-state purchases.  The Use Tax was developed to combat internet sales which don't charge Illinois state tax.  It's mostly self-reporting, but the penalties can be hefty for major purchases such as a car.  Does the state of Washington have something similar?

A lot of states require you to pay sales tax on stuff you buy out of state.  Alabama here has a line item for it on your income tax form.  I believe WA does something similar.  Enforcement is pretty lax in most states, though. 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 10:26:33 AM by dougules »

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2017, 06:05:40 AM »
Sounds like a neat place to live but I can imagine the multiple border crossing would get old after a while, particularly if you run into a border officer on either side of the border that decides you are the next contestant in 'tear your car apart searching for drugs and delay you for several hours asking you questions'.  I would guess most, if not all residents have Nexus cards to make to border formalities easier.

However, if you have any criminal convictions, including DUI, you may be inadmissible to Canada.  This is also true for any friends or family that want to come and visit you, as they will have to run the border crossing gauntlet as well.  I'd imagine if you also have a handgun, you need to do your homework before transporting it through Canada.  Also, marijuana which is legal in WA (and I'm sure Point Roberts as well) is not legal yet in BC and carrying any with you can be considered smuggling drugs into Canada.

mara

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 04:26:52 AM »
Hey PR, I've been enjoying looking at your town on Google Maps. The inland marina is really cool. It looks like there are logs strewn all over the beaches. Is that what they are? Where do they come from? Are they escapees from the local logging industry?

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2017, 08:01:42 AM »
Wherever is going to be affordable for you and make you the most happy.
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dougules

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2017, 10:33:56 AM »
Hey PR, I've been enjoying looking at your town on Google Maps. The inland marina is really cool. It looks like there are logs strewn all over the beaches. Is that what they are? Where do they come from? Are they escapees from the local logging industry?

Most of the beaches in the NW have driftwood.  Some of them are absolutely covered in it.  The currents come down from Alaska and pass a thousand miles of really thick forests growing on land that's all steep mountains, fjords, and rivers.  Some of those trees end up falling in the water, then a lot of those wash out into the ocean, drift south, then get washed up on beaches. 

PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2017, 12:46:31 PM »
Here's a nice pic for you Mara.  The logging answer sounds legit. 

Missy B

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 03:51:44 PM »
Sounds like a neat place to live but I can imagine the multiple border crossing would get old after a while, particularly if you run into a border officer on either side of the border that decides you are the next contestant in 'tear your car apart searching for drugs and delay you for several hours asking you questions'.  I would guess most, if not all residents have Nexus cards to make to border formalities easier.

However, if you have any criminal convictions, including DUI, you may be inadmissible to Canada.  This is also true for any friends or family that want to come and visit you, as they will have to run the border crossing gauntlet as well.  I'd imagine if you also have a handgun, you need to do your homework before transporting it through Canada.  Also, marijuana which is legal in WA (and I'm sure Point Roberts as well) is not legal yet in BC and carrying any with you can be considered smuggling drugs into Canada.

To expand on this further, it will still be illegal to cross the border in with MJ even after it is legalized here. Under US law it is still illegal for Canadians to bring MJ across the border into WA. Point Roberts has been involved in a number of drug-smuggling scandals, include one memorable one involving the daily school bus.
Re guns: I'd be very surprised if you were allowed to bring a handgun into Canada at all. There are some allowances made for hunting rifles, assuming you have all the neccessary permits and have paid the additional fees. If you try to cross without all that for your rifle, or with a restricted weapon like a handgun, your border crossing days are done. It's reasonably common to have Americans get caught doing this, and protests that they are exercising their God-given constitutional rights are the opposite of effective.

If Point Roberts feels to restricted for your taste, consider Belligham. Relatively low-cost, more going on, and an hour's drive into central Vancouver.

bacchi

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 04:19:17 PM »
If Point Roberts feels to restricted for your taste, consider Belligham. Relatively low-cost, more going on, and an hour's drive into central Vancouver.

Bellingham is no longer low-cost. Well, compared to Seattle, it's low-cost.

http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/washington/bellingham

Optimiser

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 05:16:44 PM »
Couldn't you hire a boat to transport your guns and marijuana on the rare occasion that you needed to do so?

Missy B

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2017, 06:03:27 PM »
Couldn't you hire a boat to transport your guns and marijuana on the rare occasion that you needed to do so?

There's customs for boats too ;)


Bellingham is no longer low-cost. Well, compared to Seattle, it's low-cost.

http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/washington/bellingham

[/quote]

Yeah, not as cheap as some places. But the interesting situation where there is no major US city really close, but a major Canadian city in your backyard, makes it quite cheap, relative to what's available in Vancouver. If the availability of that stuff isn't a priority to you, and/or if you don't mind freezing or broiling for half the year, then somewhere else in the US might be a better fit. Personally I think the PNW should be on everyone's short list to at least consider.

protostache

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2017, 06:13:40 AM »
I thought Vancouver WA would be the best place:  no income tax in WA state, drive across the river to OR for no sales tax.  Either way, there's a lot to  like about the state of WA.

In Illinois, we're required to pay a "Use Tax" for anything we buy out of state and use in Illinois.  The out-of-state- tax is subtracted from the Illinois tax in those cases where you paid tax on out-of-state purchases.  The Use Tax was developed to combat internet sales which don't charge Illinois state tax.  It's mostly self-reporting, but the penalties can be hefty for major purchases such as a car.  Does the state of Washington have something similar?

When I bought a car in Portland they required me to give them proof of address before we could sign paperwork even though I was financing elsewhere. If I couldn't produce proof of Oregon address they would have had to withhold sales tax. I don't know if this is a formalized statutory process or if it was because the dealership I was at had locations in both Portland and Vancouver.

mara

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2017, 02:16:29 PM »
Here's a nice pic for you Mara.  The logging answer sounds legit.

Beautiful picture... thanks!

dougules

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 10:24:35 AM »
Couldn't you hire a boat to transport your guns and marijuana on the rare occasion that you needed to do so?

There's customs for boats too ;)


Bellingham is no longer low-cost. Well, compared to Seattle, it's low-cost.

http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/washington/bellingham


Yeah, not as cheap as some places. But the interesting situation where there is no major US city really close, but a major Canadian city in your backyard, makes it quite cheap, relative to what's available in Vancouver. If the availability of that stuff isn't a priority to you, and/or if you don't mind freezing or broiling for half the year, then somewhere else in the US might be a better fit. Personally I think the PNW should be on everyone's short list to at least consider.

Why would you need to go through customs if you never leave the US/US waters?  Wouldn't it essentially be like going back and forth to an island?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 10:43:48 AM by dougules »

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2017, 10:32:10 AM »
Couldn't you hire a boat to transport your guns and marijuana on the rare occasion that you needed to do so?

There's customs for boats too ;)


Right, but if you use a boat to transport goods from somewhere else in Washington to Point Roberts without ever going into Canada or Canadian waters you should be okay.

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2017, 12:21:36 PM »
Bellingham and Point Roberts were both on my short list (with the Oroville area in WA, where I once owned a nice acreage) for places to retire close to Canada, but in the end, because of difficulties to obtain full-time US residency for Canadians, I opted for Gabriola Island on the BC side of the border. As many pointed out in this thread, the PNW is fantastic and offers so many opportunities for outdoor pursuits, and COL outside of the larger cities is still low even if prices have climbed in the past 10 years.
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ohmylookatthat

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2017, 05:17:14 PM »
northern nevada

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2017, 09:43:42 PM »
Point Roberts, WA    and here's why
..
If you have kids, the only school is elementary so after that you have to cross 2 borders to get them to school.  It's a bit of a pain but plenty of parents do it and use the time to bond with their kid.

Interesting, about the exclave and affordable land close to Vancouver. The school thing does sound like a PITA though. How far is the distance total? No school bus?
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evanc

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2017, 10:23:49 AM »
I thought Vancouver WA would be the best place:  no income tax in WA state, drive across the river to OR for no sales tax.  Either way, there's a lot to  like about the state of WA.

In Illinois, we're required to pay a "Use Tax" for anything we buy out of state and use in Illinois.  The out-of-state- tax is subtracted from the Illinois tax in those cases where you paid tax on out-of-state purchases.  The Use Tax was developed to combat internet sales which don't charge Illinois state tax.  It's mostly self-reporting, but the penalties can be hefty for major purchases such as a car.  Does the state of Washington have something similar?

When I bought a car in Portland they required me to give them proof of address before we could sign paperwork even though I was financing elsewhere. If I couldn't produce proof of Oregon address they would have had to withhold sales tax. I don't know if this is a formalized statutory process or if it was because the dealership I was at had locations in both Portland and Vancouver.

Yep, death and taxes, http://dor.wa.gov/Content/GetAFormOrPublication/PublicationBySubject/TaxTopics/OutOfStateVehicles.aspx


NinetyFour

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2017, 05:53:55 AM »
Following.
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lemonde

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2017, 10:14:35 PM »
Wherever is going to be affordable for you and make you the most happy.

Agreed, although I'd place a higher premium on happiness than affordability once it's FI-able.

wordnerd

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2017, 10:36:55 AM »
I find it amusing that the best place in America to FIRE is...basically Canada. :)

But, it does sound like a lovely place.

SnackDog

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2017, 04:47:17 PM »
Shockingly low diversity. Basically a white sailing club.
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Paul der Krake

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2017, 07:00:15 PM »
The WA sales tax isn't much of a burden for Mustachians. Food is exempt, and we don't buy many things.

I like the proximity to Whistler and Baker, but it's probably too remote for me.

cheapass

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2017, 01:17:15 PM »
The WA sales tax isn't much of a burden for Mustachians. Food is exempt, and we don't buy many things.

I like the proximity to Whistler and Baker, but it's probably too remote for me.

I'm thinking more and more about retiring near the southern border of WA. That way we can just drive across the border to OR for most of our purchases and avoid paying sales tax.

How are the property taxes in that area?
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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2017, 08:56:31 PM »
Interesting... hmm can a Canadian live there for half the year?

infromsea

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2017, 06:11:41 PM »
northern nevada

Please elaborate, I could see myself living there (don't mind the heat) but why do you suggest it?

Thanks!

nvtribefan1

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2017, 07:33:16 PM »
northern nevada

Please elaborate, I could see myself living there (don't mind the heat) but why do you suggest it?

Thanks!

While it's a tad toasty this week, northern Nevada is not like southern Nevada, weather-wise.  We have 4 seasons, all usually pretty temperate.
Pros - no income tax, reasonably good health care (and excellent care a five hour drive away), no traffic to speak of, great access to all things outdoorsy, reasonable property taxes, Tesla.
Cons - K12 schools worst in the nation, hipsters are invading, housing costs are rising, Tesla.

Chippewa

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2017, 10:01:54 PM »
northern nevada

Please elaborate, I could see myself living there (don't mind the heat) but why do you suggest it?

Thanks!

Like Gardnerville. I wouldn't mind retiring there. Nature. Tahoe is right there. It's a great place to check out.

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2017, 11:29:39 AM »

Cons - K12 schools worst in the nation, hipsters are invading, housing costs are rising, Tesla.

Hipsters are invading everywhere....
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PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in America to FIRE is.....
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2017, 01:05:57 PM »
Interesting... hmm can a Canadian live there for half the year?

Yes.  In fact the summer population triples because of all the Canadians enjoying the summer on the water. 

vertkurt

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2017, 03:20:43 PM »
Thanks for this....i'll keep it in mind. I'd have to find a job though as I'm about 10 years from FI. I'm in health care so maybe its possible to find work in Canada?

rpr

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2017, 04:08:33 PM »
Posting to follow.

PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2017, 04:39:33 PM »
Thanks for this....i'll keep it in mind. I'd have to find a job though as I'm about 10 years from FI. I'm in health care so maybe its possible to find work in Canada?

The British Columbia website has a list of which occupations they are currently in need of.  Looks like Healthcare Professional is one...
https://www.welcomebc.ca/getmedia/14a55c84-1301-4959-8a5d-888785a2ac2a/BC-PNP-Skills-Immigration-and-Express-Entry-BC-Program-Guide.aspx

v8rx7guy

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2017, 04:55:14 PM »
**Looks out window at weather*** (20 miles from pt. Roberts)

I'm not so sure I'd want to retire in pt. Roberts.  Wenatchee Wa... now that's a good place to retire.

vertkurt

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2017, 10:11:46 AM »
I'm not so sure I'd want to retire in pt. Roberts.  Wenatchee Wa... now that's a good place to retire.

I lived 3 years in Wenatchee and agree it is a nice spot. Plenty of hiking, skiing, and mtb to be had. Salmon run the Columbia if you're into that also. I'd say even Cashmere up the road is nice also.

Back on topic though. How is traffic getting into Vancouver from pt Roberts? Maps says it's a looong bike ride.

PR Mustachian

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Re: The BEST place in the US to FIRE is.....
« Reply #42 on: October 20, 2017, 09:08:59 AM »
I'm not so sure I'd want to retire in pt. Roberts.  Wenatchee Wa... now that's a good place to retire.

I lived 3 years in Wenatchee and agree it is a nice spot. Plenty of hiking, skiing, and mtb to be had. Salmon run the Columbia if you're into that also. I'd say even Cashmere up the road is nice also.

Back on topic though. How is traffic getting into Vancouver from pt Roberts? Maps says it's a looong bike ride.

It's so hard for me to understand a happy early retirement in such a remote place but I guess it really comes down to your personality type.  I like PR because it is so close to Vancouver.  I bike to the bus to light rail.  It takes about an hour and a half.  You can't bike the whole way because the Massey Tunnel doesn't allow bikes.  Public transit in Metro BC is really nice though.  Clean and efficient and bypasses any traffic.