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The Big Question: Then What?

Country side near Silverton Oregon

Baby Boomers heard Canned Heat sing Going Up The Country,

“I’m going up the country, babe don’t you wanna go.”

Maybe they heard John Prine sing Spanish Pipedream,

“Blow up your TV, throw away your paper,

Move to the country, build you a home…”

The dream to disconnect from city life and all it means is a powerful vision. Traffic jams, city rudeness, and time sucking necessities all go into the rear view mirror when Boomers leave the metro area.

For every cement pounding Portland baby boomer dreaming of a place where the deer and the antelope play, there’s a small town waiting.

But it’s more than that.

They don’t want to move one street off the Urban Growth Boundary with a view of a McMansion development out one window and a Christmas tree farm out another anymore than they want to sink their savings into a twenty acre land parcel of re-zoned pasture land.

Instead, they want to go all the way, but where is all the way?

It’s a feeder town off a two lane highway where you drive five miles out a dirt road just past the railroad tracks. You pay for the new telephone pole to bring electricity to your new house.

In winter your friends drive with a long stick in the car to gauge the depth of the mud puddles that might strand them if they visit. In the summer you drive slow to keep the dirt down. The only traffic jam is at a cow gate during branding season.

You study to fit in. You do the smart thing because that’s what you’ve always done.

The Greatest Generation dads saw cities crushed by artillery and carpet bombing and nukes. They moved to the suburbs after The Big One to calm down. They wore grey flannel suits and their wives dropped them off at commuter train stations before delivering little Jack and little Jill to school.

It was enough for them, but not for Baby Boomer. They want the country and nothing less.

You’ll know you’ve gone far enough when:

  • the local high school gets Deer Season Vacation
  • no one asks where Rocky Mountain Oysters come from
  • you find a high spot at night where you can see forever and only four farm houses are lit up under the stars.

Before you go hardcore country, ask yourself if you want to dig your own well and pump water. Do you want a one seated outhouse or two? Can you chop wood?

Raw country living sounds like a good idea, but it’s just another word for really hard work when done right.

And that might be just the medicine the doctor ordered.







About David Gillaspie


  1. Sounds a lot like LaPine. They actually do take time off at school for deer hunting!

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Central Oregon is great for hard core country living. So are the Southern Oregon towns like Paisley.

      One of my favorite country living stories is the boomer who moved to the country with open fields that turned into a suburban development, then moved again to more open space that turned into another development.

      Boomers are really good at adapting.

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