Let me just walk you through the process for choosing Idaho as a part time retirement refuge... far from the maddening crowd. The first set of criteria for choosing a part time retirement refuge was that the land was secluded but close to a hospital, fire station, and near a medium size town that had a quality supermarket and gas station.
The second criteria was the land itself had to have a plethora of water (in this case a well), with the lots large enough that I would not have neighbors too close, a view of water (creek, river, ocean, lake, etc.), mountains/hills, and a natural source of water like a creek or a river on the property.
The third criteria was the property must have electricity to it and a good road easy to access year round, preferably in a gated community.
The final criteria and perhaps the most important was the neighbors. The neighbors had to be quality people that care for each other and most importantly don't care what you have but only care who you are. Giving, honorable people that believe in honor, integrity, and the value of keeping your word.
Nancy and I began our search at the top of the "panhandle" in Northern Idaho. Oregon and Washington were too expensive and suffered extensive droughts. Oregon had a drought in 2011 that lasted 270 weeks and Washington had a drought in 2014 that lasted 116 weeks. Idaho has suffered some drought but that was in the southern part of the state and not in the area we were interested in possibly looking at.
I had never been to Idaho before our search. I didn't (at that time) remember anyone that was from Idaho and had never spoken with anyone about Idaho. This was a completely blind search. I did know that my beliefs were more in line with those of Northern Idaho with my perception of those people being kind and generous. I also remembered that Sandpoint Idaho had received in 2015 by SmartAsset.com the moniker of "the best place to retire". With that limited knowledge I proceeded with "the search".
Before I arrived in Idaho I contacted a realtor that I'd been in email communication with and asked her to recommend realtors in Sandpoint and Lewiston Idaho. Geographically she was located in the North/Central part of Idaho near a small town called "Potlatch".
The Potlatch Lumber Company, as it turns out, was at one time the largest white pine mill in the world. I stayed in the small town named after the lumber company in a B&B which was located between Sandpoint and Lewiston. And so it began...
I realized quite quickly that the area around Potlatch revolved around even smaller towns and didn't meet the criteria I had assigned to this task. So, I drove up to Sandpoint located 52 miles north of Coeur d'Alene. The entry to Sandpoint is spectacular as it involves a two mile bridge across Lake Pend Oreille which is Idaho's largest lake with 111 miles of shoreline. Cascading down into Sandpoint's main street you'll notice the wonderful planned, quaint, expansion proposed for this beautiful town.
I was shown a myriad of properties that met some of the criteria I mentioned above but missed the mark on some very important requests. This town was impressive so I asked the realtor in Sandpoint to target other properties in surrounding areas that might fit the bill. And so it was back to Potlatch to spend the night and get started on looking a little farther south in the Lewiston area.
The next day I drove to Lewiston to meet a new realtor named Russ whom was introduced as a local. He was supposed to know the in's and out's of the area and could possibly help me in my search based upon the criteria I've already mentioned. Russ had great stories about local history and drove me all the way to Kamiah passed Orofino and beyond looking at many different types of properties.
Well, I found nothing that really hit all the marks and so I went back to Henderson with the belief that there was something out there in the state of Idaho that would be just perfect. I came back twice more, actually making an offer on a property that was already in escrow, but missed out on that one above the Priest River near Sandpoint. The final time before actually purchasing a property was with Nancy looking for that perfect home or land that would check all the boxes.
So in late September of 2019 (after I saw an advertisement for a development above the Dworshak Dam) Russ drove us up to Tie Creek. Tie Creek is a development built by the Potlatch Lumber Company that includes electricity, phone, a very good road right to the property and a gate to dissuade potential thieves. This property is 30 minutes from the medium size town of Orofino, 20 minutes from the hospital, and 10 minutes from the fire station. The final two selling points are that the parcels are 20 acre lots and there is a creek on the property. We now own lots 13&14 looking out to the Dworshak Dam. We found our landing spot, our future part time retirement community, and by next spring the home will be completely finished.
Of course under the ever expanding category of, "its never easy"... there was a scamdemic, two of the three lenders backed out at the last minute, a well that was supposed to be 250 feet was actually 605 feet, and finally the difficulty in accessing all materials (in a timely fashion) to finish this build. Oh yes, and a heart attack thrown in for good measure. However now we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a train coming our way.
The greatest part of finding these lots are the people we've met (before committing to this transaction) that live near us. These people are the kind of quality people that provide the most wonderful insight into what the most important part of life is, family and friends.
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