If the Dream is Big Enough… The Facts Don’t Count!

Over the course of the last two years many of you know that Nancy and I have been on a quest to search for a property to build a home for retirement. It started with a simple criteria:

    1. A state that had plenty of water.
    2. Location of the property near a fire station and hospital no more than 30 minutes away.
    3. The view had to overlook water.
    4. Electricity on the property and a road to it.
    5. Enough land so that there will be few neighbors or no neighbors within sight.

I started looking for said property a little over two years ago. I looked at Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming. I looked at all the criteria above and added two more elements. This had to be a state that believed in our constitution including the personal right to choose. This new criteria immediately eliminated Oregon and Washington.

Another criteria (as I don’t ski) was to live in a place that was not too cold, this eliminated Montana and Wyoming. That left what is fast becoming my favorite state… Idaho.

And so the process began. After searching the net I settled on the pan handle in northern Idaho. My geographical definition would be a location somewhere between Lewiston Idaho to Sandpoint Idaho and East of Lewiston going up the Clearwater River to Montana. I started the search in a small historical town named Potlatch.

This town of Potlatch (the name of the largest lumber company in the country at one point) is located in the middle of the pan handle closest to Moscow Idaho just to the south and an hour from the northern city of Cour D Alene, Idaho. I stayed at a very small B&B in Potlatch plotting my routes as I had set up appointments with realtors in Sandpoint Idaho and Lewiston Idaho.

The small towns around Potlatch were a bit too small and didn’t offer the type of services regarding health and safety I required. In addition to that it was more expensive to live there because the grocery stores were small with limited products and the cost of gas was a bit more expensive than the larger towns in Idaho. Believe it or not there was no property available that over looked water for sale. Any water… a creek, a pond, a river, a lake… anything!

So I traveled north to places I’d only heard of but never had visited. I went directly to Sand Point Idaho. The first thing that was very impressive was the two mile bridge that leads into the quaint downtown of Sand Point. The bridge cascades over Lake Pend Oreille with a surface area of 148 miles it is the 38th largest lake in the country and the largest lake in Idaho. The views drew me into comparisons of Lake Tahoe. One difference is that the navy for decades has tested unmanned model submarines in the depths of Lake Pend Oreille.

There are so many beautiful towns around Sand Point (Priest River, Ponderay, Athol, Bonners Ferry, Dover, Bayview, etc.) with Sand Point being the largest. Its down town area includes many boutique furniture stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and beauty salons. There is a very unique shopping and restaurant experience in Sand Point called the Cedar Bridge Public Market Place. If you get a chance this is a must see. The weather in Sand Point and surrounding areas is a bit too cold for me but the beauty is really special.

The day I visited there was a street fair in the park near the center of town. I navigated through all the fair patrons to find the realtor I made an appointment with. We got in her car and proceeded to explore the many properties for sale in Sand Point and the towns I mentioned above.

I actually made several trips during my exploration of Idaho to the Sand Point area. I even made an offer on a 5 acre parcel with a spectacular view of the Priest River. Unfortunately this property was already under contract and did not fall out. So, several days later after exploring from my home base of Potlatch I went to Lewiston to meet realtor Russ Martin.

This meeting with Russ proved to be a great omen of things to come. Russ and I traveled down the Clearwater River all the way to Kooskia and Kamiah. These are two small towns with properties for sale (that we looked at) from 5 acres to 20 acres.

Then we stumbled upon our future home in Orofino with a population of 3,000. We looked at several lots in developments entitled “Huckleberry Butte” and “Tie Creek”. The later was the place that really caught my eye… and so it began.

During the “Pandemic” there were lending issues, supply chain issues, and everything else in between. Within Tie Creek there were many lots for sale at that time. We looked at all of them and anticipated the cost of excavation, electricity access, and potential for water. I decided lots 13 and 14 were the most accessible, best views, and had great potential for well water as one of the nearby neighbors had found water only 250 feet down.

We broke ground at the end of May. Here we are in January with the finishing touches for completion being administered by general contractor Mark Fowler (simply the best). This project turned into a journey which involved many hardships and many times when I thought it wasn’t going to happen. However because of a great team determined to make it happen our dream home is just a few weeks away from completion. If the Dream is Big Enough… The Facts Don’t Count!