Monday, July 26, 2010

The Cumulonimbusuckulus Season

Snow in Bend on July 26? Nope -- although that's not outside the realm of possibility.

That white substance on the ground is hail. The photo was taken during a rip-roaring, roof-rattling, toad-strangler of a thunderstorm that ripped through my side of town starting around 2:15.

I'd estimate that three-quarters to an inch of rain fell, and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 15 minutes. (That's not a guess, it's what my thermometer recorded.) As I write this the rain and hail have subsided, but the sky is still as dark as the ass of a black cow at midnight and the thunder is still rumbling.

One thing you've gotta admit about Bend weather: It's often very dramatic. Usually dramatically bad.

We're in a typical Bend summer weather pattern now: hot days (in the 90s) that generate severe thunderstorms in the afternoon. The cumulonimbus clouds start piling up over the mountains to the west and south around 10 or 11 a.m., and by 1 or 2 p.m. they're letting loose.

As he has said before, ol' Blackdog enjoys an occasional good thunderstorm, but having thunderstorms all afternoon, every afternoon kind of interferes with the enjoyment of that glorious "outdoor recreation paradise" we all supposedly moved here for.


Anonymous said...

Why do you live in Bend if it supposedly sucks so bad?

blackdog said...

Sigh. I've answered that question a hundred times, but I'll answer it once more.

When we moved here more than 25 years ago Bend was a very different place and I was, obviously, 25 years younger.

Now that I'm older the endless winters bother me more. And Bend no longer has the laid-back vibe and small-town charm that attracted us in the first place. IMHO.

So we're working on getting out of here. But when you're a grownup with property and responsibilities you can't just drop everything and thumb a ride out of town.

Anonymous said...

"although that's not outside the realm of possibility" LOL!

Yeah, great photo btw, nice garden too. The wife and I have that same patio set, wears like iron!

Right, love nothing more than to be able to just "thumb a ride out of town" but... easier said than done? It's actually a multi-step process. Firstly, you've GOT to get past that Denial Stage and open up to the fact that you've made a very bad decision w/ your life? In my mind, this step is the toughest. In fact, most of us never get that far.

Why? Because we're smart guys and smart guys don't make DUMB decisions! Why.., we DID our research before coming ( or coming BACK ) here and everything "appeared" to be perfectly 'fine'? Over the years I've seen a lot of ppl make this very mistake in the stock market. I mean, "I" bought it and "I" am a smart guy, so if it doesn't go up it just means that everyone else is an idiot and will take time to come around to 'my' way of seeing things? ( Right! )

Next is.., the Where the Hell ELSE are you going to 'go' and still be able to make a living?

Then you need to figure out how to ethically ( and economically ) wind down your current position. If only sticking out your THUMB could do all that?

blackdog said...

"Firstly, you've GOT to get past that Denial Stage and open up to the fact that you've made a very bad decision w/ your life?"

I don't think I made "a very bad decision" in coming to Bend more than 25 years ago. It was a good decision at the time. But as I explained to the previous poster, Bend has changed and I have changed, and so remaining here would be a bad decision.

Anonymous said...

"and so REMAINING here would be a bad decision" ( emphasis mine )

Right, and even with today's access to some ( admittedly ) pretty nifty technology ( email, internet, work from home etc. ) there is -still- a lag time between arriving at the correct resolution to an issue AND being able to execute that decision!

Personally, I don't feel ( in 1977 ) that I made a 'bad' decision by leaving Illinois? Missed many a bad winter and a level of local taxation that can't be 'good' for anyone? You'll notice that IL is one of 'those' states in real financial peril, right along w/ Cali.

And any of us can only make the best dec. we can at the time w/ the information we are provided. Who knows? Perhaps there will come a time when Bend/Salem makes perfect sense for us at some point in the future? ( I fear just 'not' in our lifetimes... )

Anonymous said...

I asked the original question. I appreciate you answering it. I've been following your blog (and others) because I am considering moving to Bend and want to hear about it, warts and all. I moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago and am ready to get OUT. So I understand how you can outgrow a place. Thanks for the blog and for keeping it real. The positive I've read about Bend so far heavily outweighs the negative. But it's still nice to hear both sides. I too am looking for that "laid-back vibe and small-town charm" though, so if you know of any other places that offer that better than Bend, let me know! haha - Rachel

blackdog said...

Anonymous: Thank you for your courteous response.

The negatives of living in Bend, as I see them, are:

1. Climate, specifically the gray, chilly winters that seem to drag on forever.

2. Isolation -- you're at least a three and a half or four hour drive from the nearest real city.

3. Lack of cultural amenities or almost any other entertainment besides outdoor recreation.

4. The predominantly conservative/Republican political climate. (Of course, depending on your own ideology that might be a plus.)

5. A woefully inept city government combined with a good-old-boy (and girl) network that basically controls it.

6. Last but definitely not least, a lack of economic opportunity. If you move here you'd better have either a good-paying and secure job already lined up or a substantial income from investments or other sources. The line about Bend is that it offers "Poverty With a View," and that was true long before the real estate bubble popped.

Anonymous said...


In a different life, my family and I lived in SoCal. Long Beach to be exact, mid/late 80's. No amount of nice weather could offset the crime, traffic and pollution.

When we moved to Oregon in the late 80's, our summers were no damn different than any other place in the country. Certainly nice by Memorial Day, typically all the way thru mid/late October.

Well that all changed. Even July is no assurance you'll have summer-like weather and to be truthful, we now have as much crime, drugs and traffic as anywhere else?

Visit here in mid/late Oct. and let us know what you think.


I think your post is accurate but I'll have to take 'slight' exception to #3. Like most, I used to feel that was a leading criteria, but in the end, we really are responsible for our 'own' entertainment. The Opera and Symphony are withering even in PDX.

blackdog said...

Two homes were struck by lightning in Bend yesterday afternoon -- including one of my neighbors', less than 100 yards away from mine. Nobody hurt in either case, fortunately.

Anonymous said...


Given the light show we were 'treated' to on Sunday and the regularity w/ which you describe their ocurrence ( it would strike us odd that it doesn't happen more often? )

Good to hear no one was hurt ( but I'm willing to bet a good amount of home electronics were fried! ) Would you say, this is typical of your summers or another case of an accelerating "bad scene man!"?

I've just -now- begun to get modest traction in my fitness program. After the sheer punishment last year, I vowed not to let it slide to the last minute this 'go round. Welcome to the best laid plans of mice & men. It doesn't matter how successful you are or salt of the earth etc. ( having a little good weather at your back never hurt anyone! ) Just ask a farmer.

blackdog said...

"Would you say, this is typical of your summers or another case of an accelerating "bad scene man!"?"

Violent thunderstorms are not unusual at all here -- in fact in a normal year I would have expected more of them by now.

Anonymous said...


Well... either WAY I really have to commend your courage in taking on a topic that clearly has been nothing short of a "sacred cow" in OR for years!

I don't think I was off-base in rec. Rachel come see for herself, but to do so at a time of year when it's more of a roll of the dice? Basing what is not just a major move but a major change in lifestyle predicated on a week in July would be misguided.

In fact, if May and October were to improve sig. ( I wouldn't be pegging out the Complaint-O-Meter nearly as much? ) I mean, aren't 'most' places in the Lower 48 'nice' during the summer?

Anonymous said...

"I mean, aren't 'most' places in the Lower 48 'nice' during the summer?"

Um, no. Humidity and heat are not my idea of 'nice'. And, this is what you get in the majority of the lower 48.

Anonymous said...

Yet another disappointing weekend in the Salem area. Overcast and chilly much of the morning and not really breaking up until late in the day.

For some, it may not have cleared up enough ( 'early' enough ) to even salvage the day? We trekked Silver Falls and given how out of shape I still am.., it was a bit of a saving grace, but disappointing nonetheless!

What 'good' is "Summer" when you feel like you really can't 'count' on it? It was actually in the mid-50's when we first arrived around 11am and only 69 by the time we left around 2:30. Not exactly what I'd describe as "sweltering"?

Friday and Saturday evenings were so chilly we were chased off the back deck. Gotta' love it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice on when to visit guys. I think I will make it a Halloween visit. I was leaning towards a time when it snows because, never having lived in the snow, I thought I better see if I could handle it. But if late October is the most sucktastic, I'll try that. haha

"Perfect" weather is overrated in my opinion. It's been 75-95 all Summer here and I still think it sucks. ;-)

(Every time I post on here I try to do it with my google account but it wont let me. So, alas, anonymous remains my new alter-ego.

blackdog said...

Rachel: Handling the snow shouldn't be a problem. Heavy snows in Bend itself are pretty unusual -- maybe two or three of them a year. It often snows in the mountains and rains down in the city.

Anonymous said...

"...but having thunderstorms all afternoon, every afternoon kind of interferes with the enjoyment..."

Come on now. I counted THREE thunderstorms that produced any amount of precipitation in July and August! That was in-between absolutely perfect 80-90 degree days with low humidity. I agree Bend's weather isn't perfect, but the summers are as close to perfect as anywhere in the world I've been. If you can't admit to that positive aspect of Bend, it's hard to trust your opinion of the rest of Bend's year. :)