The 'Couv'

The 'Couv'

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Warm Getaways that are Close!

As we transition into the dark and gloomy fall and it's colder big brother, Winter, some of our residents begin to think about getaways to warmer climates. Sometimes a trip to Hawaii or the Caribbean are just a little too much dough or maybe just too long a trip. Sometimes a weekend getaway is just what the doctor ordered.

Here in Southwest Washington we have great access to one of America's favorite airports. From PDX there are many destinations that are less than three hours air time away.

Las Vegas, NV

753 miles flight @ 2:05 or drive 1054 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 39 low and 58 high. January averages just about a half inch of rain; so dry is almost guaranteed. Vegas can be chilly as it sits at an elevation around 2500 feet. It is high and dry and still much warmer on average than most of Washington State in January

Vegas is a great getaway destination. Flight times out of PDX run about two hours flat. Vegas isn't just about gambling. This town draws people from around the world for food, spirits, conventions, shows and yes even some gambling from time to time.

Los Angeles, CA

824 miles flight @ 2:20 or drive 970 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 48 low and 68 high. January averages just a hair over 3 inches of rain. Generally it all comes in one storm. So again dry is likely. And daytime temps in the upper 60s, Yeah, that doesn't happen here in January. LA is basically at sea level.

LA is huge, They have more people than Northern California, Oregon, and Washington COMBINED! I am pretty sure you can find something to do there. The area is served by multiple airports. It will be crowded however so keep that in mind.

Palm Springs, CA

868 miles flight @ 2:15 or drive 1075 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 45 low and 71 high. January averages just about an inch of rain. This is not high desert as many people think. Palm Springs sits at just 440 feet above sea level. It can get chilly at night but not as bad as Vegas and daytime highs averaging in the 70s in the dead of winter is tough to complain about. Palm Springs is not afraid of tossing around some 90s in January either.

If you like golf, then this is your ticket. This area has over 100 golf courses.

San Diego, CA

930 miles flight @ 2:25 or drive 1090 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 49 low and 65 high. January averages just shy of 2 inches of rain. San Diego has what could easily be considered the best all round weather in North America. Of course I like four seasons and San Diego has only one; pleasant. It sits at sea level.

San Diego is a big city with much to do. It is less crowded than LA but more so than Portland/Vancouver.

Phoenix, AZ 

1000 miles flight @ 2:35 or drive 1341 miles from the 'Couv'

January average temps run 46 low and 67 high. January averages just shy of an inch of rain. Phoenix is not technically high desert as it is situated just above 1000 feet. It can be a bit nippy overnight but temps will average in the upper 60s by day.

This is another great golf getaway but Phoenix is one of America's largest cities and if golf isn't your thing there are plenty of other opportunities for getaway relaxation.

There it is in a nutshell; five great getaways to consider when the cold, gloomy winter gets you down!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Washington Snowbirds Should Winterize!

Some retirees just don't like cold weather. Some of these warm weather only people are in a position to have a winter home in a warmer climate. If these snowbirds claim Washington as their home, they can have a winter residence in any state they want and they still enjoy the tax advantages the Evergreen State offers its retired residents.

Arizona from November through April and Washington from May through October! What a life! If you are new to Washington State and plan on leaving your home for the winter grounds in the south you need to be sure to follow important tips on winterizing your home.

These tips are posted on the Travelers Insurance Website.

If you are a snowbird heading south to avoid the winter cold, there are steps that you can take to help keep your home safe and sound while you are away. A little preparation can go a long way towards protecting your home against theft, damage from water, heating or electrical system malfunctions and other possible threats to your property. Here are some guidelines to consider before you take off.

Make it look like you are home
Your home should look like someone is still living in it. Forward your mail and stop newspaper delivery. Ask a neighbor, friend or relative to collect flyers or other items that may be left at your door. Arrange to have someone mow the lawn if the grass gets too high or remove snow that may accumulate on the driveway and walkways. Also, make sure your alarm systems are in good working order and have been activated. Motion-sensitive exterior lights are good for helping to discourage prowlers, as are lights inside the home. Put lights on timers and set them to come on at varying times.

Protect your pipes to avoid water damage
Take extra care with your plumbing and water before you leave. If a pipe bursts or leaks while you are away, it could cause significant damage. If no one will be home for a long period of time, consider turning off the water supply completely. Drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets and do not forget to flush your toilet to clear the water from the bowl. To help ensure that the pipes have been drained, consider having a plumber blow compressed air through the pipes.

Washing machines and dishwashers can also cause expensive water damage even when not in use. Shut off the water to these appliances, where possible, to avoid any leaks or broken hoses while you are gone. Consider draining and shutting off outdoor water faucets to prevent vandalism and freezing damage.

Keep your home and plumbing warm
If you decide to keep your water on, the best defense against freezing pipes is to keep the furnace running and the home warm. Leave the heat at 55 degrees or higher to ensure that the interior of the wall cavities, where the water piping is located, does not drop below freezing. Keeping room and cabinet doors open also helps heat to circulate and warm the outside walls where pipes are located.

Every year, have your heating system inspected and serviced before winter. Have your fuel tanks filled before you leave, and ask someone to check on heat and fuel levels regularly while you are gone to ensure you do not run out.

Make your home unattractive to pests
Cleaning your home thoroughly helps discourages new “residents” from moving in. Clean, defrost and unplug refrigerators and freezers, wiping them dry and leaving doors propped open to prevent mildew. Also clean the oven and give away or throw out any uneaten food.

The kitchen is not the only place where you can find unwanted visitors. Inspect your home for any openings where animals can enter. For example, make sure your fireplace flue is closed; bats, birds and squirrels are known to get inside this way. If there is any chance that someone will be using the fireplace in your absence, have chimneys inspected and cleaned to eliminate creosote buildup and make sure there are no obstructions such as bird nests. To help prevent against this, consider installing chimney guard screen caps.

Also, regularly check the insulation, exterior doors and windows, and any weather stripping to help ensure there are no openings where water or insects may enter.

Be ready for emergencies
Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or relative to keep an eye on your home and be available in emergency situations. Give them access to your home so they can regularly check for heating, electrical or water issues. If the weather turns frigid, have them also check the roof for ice dams, and inspect for leaks inside. Make sure they have your contact information and a list with numbers of local people they can reach if repairs or service are needed.

A few more ways to prepare...
Secure external doors and windows with deadbolt locks, security-type hinges and sturdy door frames that cannot be spread apart. Install slide locks or other equivalent security locks on sliding glass doors or French doors.
Do not post your vacation or travel plans on social media sites as potential thieves can then learn your house is vacant.
Have a licensed electrical contractor inspect your main electrical panel, wiring and outlets, and have anything defective repaired or replaced.
Store valuables, which you aren’t taking with you, in a safe deposit box or other safe offsite location.
Unplug all appliances and telephones before you leave.
Remove dead trees or large overhanging limbs that could cause damage.