Everybody who knows anything about the Bend climate knows that the claim of 300 days of sunshine a year is pure 200-proof, double-distilled bullshit. But how many days of sunshine a year does Bend really have?
First we have to start by defining what we mean by "a day of sunshine." To me, and I believe to most people, the phrase "a day of sunshine" means a day in which the sun shines all or most of the time -- not a day when it peeps feebly out from behind the clouds for 30 minutes, or 30 seconds.
By the common and sensible standard, I'd guess that Bend doesn't experience even half the 300 days of sunshine the local boosters claim. And I'm going to put that to the test.
Starting today (New Year's Day 2010) I'm going to mark a big "S" on my calendar for every day that I regard as a "day of sunshine." I don't have any fancy high-tech equipment to measure the solar brightness or duration; I'll just be using my own eyeballs. But I will make every effort to be fair. If the sun is out for more than half the daytime hours, I'll mark that day as sunshiney.
I'll report back at the end of each month, and on the first day of 2011 I'll announce the total for the year. The results might not be scientific, strictly speaking, but they'll be at least as scientific as the "300 days of sunshine" claim, whose basis I never have been able to discover.