Retirement in California and Retire USA blog


What?  Not another shameless plug on my personal blog for our great Retire USA project?       Well, not shameless or even shameful because RETIRE USA is a great blog with over a dozen excellent writers and a post almost every day featuring topics of interest to retirees all over the nation.

Marty, one of the partners in the project, has been blogging about retirement in each state – Retirement in California is the latest series.    In those posts you’ll find a lot of links and information about retirement in general as well as Retirement in California.

Here are some excerpts from several of our latest retirement blog posts:

  • RETIRE IN CALIFORNIA – Part 5 of 5 PLACES TO RETIRE – CALIFORNIA RETIREMENT – Part 5 of 5: Costa Mesa, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Palm Springs. COSTA MESA RETIREMENT Costa Mesa, with a population of 109,960 as of the 2010 census, is located 37 miles southeast of Los Angeles …
  • RETIRE IN CALIFORNIA – Part 4 of 5 PLACES TO RETIRE – CALIFORNIA RETIREMENT – Part 4 of 5: San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Lake Tahoe, El Centro, Newport Beach. SAN LUIS OBISPO RETIREMENT San Luis Obispo, with a population of 43,685 as of 2011, is located inland a bit from the California…
  • WHAT’S IN A PICTURE? TRAVEL AND PHOTOGRAPY – BILL FERRY- At first glance, this is a nondescript photo. Maybe it isn’t even apparent that it is a drydock. Walk closer and details begin to emerge that stand on their own. I’m guessing that you might see even more pieces that sta…
  • RETIRE IN CALIFORNIA – Part 3 of 5 PLACES TO RETIRE – CALIFORNIA RETIREMENT – Part 3 of 5: Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Santa Maria. SACRAMENTO RETIREMENT Sacramento, with a population of 466,488 residents as of the 2010 census, is the oldest incorporated …
  • FOLLOWING THE THREAD TO ELDER   ACTIVE RETIREMENT LIVING – MADELINE HILL & FRIENDS–by Madeline- Recently some neighbors here at Mountain Meadows (MM) hosted a screening in our Clubhouse of Dot: An Ordinary Life, an Extraordinary Person, a fine short documentary film about…

Yosemite Hiking – Half Dome Hike Death Risk Calculation


Hurray !
My family and friends just survived a top ten dangerous hike in the most dangerous National Park in America! http://www.backpacker.com/october_08_americas_10_most_dangerous_hikes/destinations/12631

Half Dome Cables, Yosemite

Well, technically, Linda isn’t home yet …. but the odds are in her favor.  : )Of course our odds of survival were always very good, but Yosemite has been a dangerous park, especially last year 2011 when  18 people (!)   died there :  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/us/06yosemite.html?pagewanted=all

Spooky description of a 2007 fall off the cables:
Book about Yosemite deaths.
Base jump off the place where we took pix:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdxU2tDbL54

Of course you have to compare the small number of deaths on that hike over many, many years (20 on dome, 60 on trail) with the huge number of people who *survived* their hikes, as I think we did (assuming no parallel universes where we didn’t survive), to get a reasonable risk calculation.   You also need to compare that risk to other risky things we do, such as *drive to Yosemite*.I wanted to try a shot at calculating which is more dangerous – the drive to Yosemite from Oregon, or the most intense part of the hike up Half Dome – the cables.

Obviously there are many confounding variables.  Nobody was drunk driving, our hiking experience is higher than average, for simplicity I’m not using the entire hike death stats  (60 deaths but many millions more hikers on the entire 8.5 mile trail – this would give a *safer* number for sure, but would reflect hikers and deaths who never made it to or beyond Vernal falls).   So lots of confounders, but here’s my shot at a risk number:

Let’s assume that the  20 dome deaths are since cables were installed by The Sierra Club in 1919  (hey, THANKS Sierra Club!):
Now we need to estimate the number of people who have made it up there as we did.   Ranger guy below the dome and internet tells us it is now about “350-400 per day”.   That would be current high season with permit restrictions so hard to know the past until I can find more records.  But we know that the low season (winter) is about 0 per day.   Probably far fewer people in 1919 than now, so let’s *wildly guestimate* that on average, since 1919,  100 people per day go up, and that almost all that traffic is during the high season of June, July, August, September when cables are elevated with the metal rods  (in the past and in winter they lay flat on the surface).  100×120 days = 12,000 people up per year.  90 years of cables x 12,000 =  1.08 million ascents of half dome over 90 years.    ROUND THIS WILD GUESTIMATE to one million people up  half dome over all of human history.
We now have 1,000,000 people who went up and 999,980 people who come safely back down.  20 of the million, sadly, died on half dome.   Thankfully, every single one of us remains in the 999,980 group of happy Half Dome hikers.
Your chance of dying on the final half dome portion of the hike is, very very approximately, if our assumptions are reasonably accurate, about 20 / 1,000,000 or one in  50,000.    We could also state this in this fashion if our assumptions are correct:
“For every 50,000 people who go up the final portion of the half dome hike … one will probably die”.
For extra drama we might note that we had 6 people on the hike so the (pre-hike) odds that one of us would die were 6/50,000 or 1 / 8333.
 
Now we need to compare this to our 900 mile car trip home.   Car travel is one of the more dangerous things we do on a regular basis.   VERY ROUGHLY in California there are 1.21 deaths per 100 million miles travelled
We did not travel 100 million miles so we need this calculation to figure out deaths per Yosemite trip:
The chances of dying during 900 miles of car travel in California:  900 x  [1.21 / 100,000,000] =   .00001 deaths per Yosemite trip.
So, on average of all drivers and cars and circumstances, the chances that somebody will die on a trip of 900 miles in California are about one in 100,000.      Put another way this means that, very approximately:
” For every 100,000 people who take a 900 mile trip to Yosemite by car, one will die ”  
 
So if all these assumptions are pretty reasonable, than we can state that the half dome portion of the hike with its one in 50,000 chance of death, is about twice as dangerous as the car ride with its 1 in 100,000 chance of death.  

Top Ten Retirement States? Well, eleven actually… plus my personal favorite, Oregon!


Retire USA keeps on growing, mostly thanks to some great posts by our many retirement bloggers and guests at the website.  Our goal is to become one of the top online sources of retirement information for the USA.

We now have excellent city profiles on about 225 US cities with a focus on the information you’ll need to plan a retirement in those states/cities.  There are over a dozen great bloggers writing articles for the Retire USA Retirement Blog, and over four thousand  individual retirement records, sorted by cities and into four key retirement categories:  Health Care, Financial Services, Retirement Communities, and Real Estate.

Thanks to the magic of Google’s custom search we have a Retire USA  “retirement search” (see top of page) that will allow you to search our site and the greater online universe for more retirement related information.   |

At the very least you should be following RetireUSA on Twitter for Retirement information so you’ll be alerted to the new blog posts as they appear online:   Twitter Retirement Information

So, what are the TOP TEN RETIREMENT STATES?     This is a *personal view* by yours truly Joe Duck based on limited research, but I think this is probably close in terms of the states to which most people retire among those who are *changing their home state*.   Obviously most people stay put for retirement, so simply asking “where do most people retire” is the same as asking “where do most people live”?      If you are searching for a new home our site is a great place to start, and here are the states I think you are most likely to be searching for.

If you think this is  NOT a good list, please let me know in the comments why!    Some day when I’m not as lazy as right now I’ll research this topic, though it’s often hard to find good data since most states are all trying to promote their virtues – I’m guessing there will be many “self serving” studies by economic development or travel groups to “show” that their state is THE place to retire.    I think the best test is probably to find the states that get the most people to *change their residence*, as this is a very good sign that you are doing something right … retirement wise.

California Retirement | Colorado Retirement  | Florida Retirement | New York Retirement | Nevada Retirement | North Carolina Retirement | Oregon Retirement | South Carolina Retirement | Texas Retirement | Utah Retirement |  Virginia Retirement  | Arkansas Retirement

Oregon Coast Travel


The Oregon Coast is our state’s most recognizable travel destination.   Highway 101 – a National Scenic Byway – winds 363 miles from the Washington state border in the north to the California Border in the south.

At our Oregon Coast Travel website we have a mile by mile guide to Highway 101 that covers ever mile of the journey and the cities and attractions along the way.

This list is NOT all inclusive yet – I’ll be adding more over time… also feel free to leave any  travel or relevant information in the comments.

Astoria to Seaside

Near Astoria is Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent the winter after their incredible journey across the US as part of Jefferson’s expedition to explore the newly aquired Louisiana Territory.     Seaside remains a popular hotspot for visits to Oregon Coast beaches.

Cannon Beach to Manzanita

Cannon Beach is a very popular beach destination.

Manzanita to Tillamook

Popular attractions in this area include the Tillamook lighthouse and Tillamook Cheese Factory which offer a fun and educational factory tour.    The Cheese Factory is an excellent family attraction and located right off of Highway 101.

Tillamook to Lincoln City

Lincoln City to Newport

Newport to Yachats

In Newport you’ll want to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a world class facility that was once home to Keiko the Whale.    Be sure to check out the Jellyfish exhibits where these amazing and beautiful creatures float in special lighting, and the walk through shark tank.    Allow at least several hours at the Aquarium.   If you are on a very tight budget and don’t have kids (who will love the aquarium!) the Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center is nearby and I think it still offers free tours of this Oregon Coast and sea life research facility.

Yachats to Florence

For many the central Oregon Coast offers the most spectacular scenery and the most sublime of the many great Oregon Coast Experiences.   Devils Churn at Cape Perpetua is an amazing sea feature where water rushes into a narrow channel several hundred feet long.   From a short hike you can stand right atop this combination of surf and a collapsed volcanic lava tube to watch the massive surges of water rush in.    Above Devil’s Churn is Cape Perpetua Visitor Center which excellent hikes and interpretive exhibits.

Florence to North Bend

Florence’s “Old Town” is a very popular Oregon Coast destination for dining and shopping with charming shops and several excellent restaurants all within a few blocks of beautifully remodelled buildings that formerly were at the heart of the fishing industry here.

North Bend to Reedsport

Coos Bay to Port Orford

Coos Bay along highway 101 remains a major shipping point from Oregon but thanks to an extensive urban renewal project along the waterfront and the Mill Casino Coos Bay now offers attractive tourist features right off the highway.

Here, 101 diverges from the coast until Port Orford, so if you have time head west on the Cape Arago highway to Shore Acres State Park with some excellent coastal scenery and wonderful coastal gardens.

Port Orford to Brookings to California

Port Orford’s Battle Rock Park is right off of the Highway and the view is spectacular.   There’s an excellent information center here as well with helpful staff.

Brookings is a very popular coastal destination for Oregon’s heading to the beach from Medford and inland Southern Oregon.

Vikingsholm on Emerald Bay. Lake Tahoe, California


Vikingsholm

Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, California

Vikingsholm, Lake Tahoe
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay is one of the most scenic areas in California – some would say this is the prettiest place in the whole state. Vikingsholm is a nordic mansion built on the lake almost 100 years ago, now managed by the state park system. Inside the mansion is fully furnished with mostly original furniture and other historic artifacts, including a Steinway Rosewood Piano commissioned especially for Vikingsholm.

Mark Twain visited Lake Tahoe long before Vikingsholm – in fact I wonder if his writing may have influenced the choice to build there.  Here is Twain on Tahoe in second of two chapters in “Roughing It” that talk about his trip from Nevada to the Lake.
(thanks to Horatiox for the tip!)

Google Dance 2008


The Google Dance Google Party at the Googleplex was great as usual, with excellent buffet BBQ, the most prized T-shirts in the business, and a lot more. Having trouble with Flickr uploader so I can’t put up all the photos I took yet but this really is a great event. It was fun this year to attend with my college bound son Ben and 4th one with my great pal John though I had to keep reminding Ben that Google is not your typical corporate environment, even in his chosen field of computer science. Of course he’s got four years to go and a lot’s going to happen in that time, though if the extravagance of the party and healthy conference booth attendance are any indication Google’s going to be the big player for some time.

Google Dance 2008
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Opens


SES San Jose Exhibit Hall Opens

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

The SES San Jose search conference hosts dozens of providers of internet business services who exhibit on two of the conferences four days. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft are all here as are many search optimization firm, search analytics appications, and even some consumer focused websites.