One of the more egregious bits of propaganda promulgated to deceive the unwary would-be emigre into believing Bend does not suck is the claim that our Paradise in the Cascades enjoys "300 days of sunshine a year."
In point of fact, Bend enjoys 365 days of sunshine a year (366 in leap years) -- if you define a "day of sunshine" as "any day in which the sun rises above the horizon."
But if, like most folks, you define a "day of sunshine" as "a sunny day" or "a day when the sun shines most of the time," the picture is not quite so bright.
For a more realistic idea of Bend's sunniness, go to the city-data.com web site, enter "Bend Oregon" and look at the little chart labeled "Sunshine."
The dark green line is the percentage of daily sunshine in Bend, charted by months. The pale green line is the US average percentage of daily sunshine. You will notice that the dark green line (Bend) is well below the pale green line almost every month of the year. The only period in which the Bend line is at or above the national line is a brief period from mid-July to mid-August.
In Bend, we call this period "summer."
Why does Bend suck so hard when it comes to sunniness? It isn't hard to understand. It's true that Bend doesn't get much rain -- look at the precipitation chart at city-data.com and you'll see Bend is well below the national average in every month. But "dry" doesn't necessarily equal "sunny." What happens is that storms sweep in from the Pacific and drop all their moisture on the west side of the Cascades. By the time the clouds get over the mountains they're dried out. But we still get the clouds.
So Bend's sucky climate is a lot like Portland's, only drier. And a lot colder. But we'll describe that particular aspect of Bend's suckiness in a future post.