It’s Hard to Leave Cache Valley

While the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were progressing in Utah, my wife and I were moving into our home in Logan, Utah in the beautiful Northern Utah Cache Valley, about 85 miles north of Salt Lake City. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We left Portland, Oregon where we’d spent 25 years raising our children, building sales forces for various medical device companies, and involving ourselves in a variety of other activities that couples do while raising a family. My wife graduated from Portland’s OHSU as a nurse while we were there. My sons graduated from Jesuit High School and either ran for the track team or skied for the ski team. We gained two pets while we were there, Oliver the Cat and Holly the dog. Oregon was our home.

My wife’s family was concentrated in Logan, Utah in the middle of the Cache Valley. About once a year we would visit her family and the valley, usually during the summer months. It was always green and breathtakingly beautiful when we visited. We often commented: “This would be a great place to retire to.”

While we’ve lived in Logan my wife has held various positions at the Budge clinic, a large Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) clinic next to IHC’s Logan Regional Hospital. She has steadily progressed in responsibility within the clinic. She has loved working there. It’s a high quality organization staffed by excellent doctors and other professionals that deliver amazingly high quality healthcare. She has spent the last week saying tearful good-byes. She loves the clinic and the people who work there. It will be hard for her to leave as she’s poured her heart into that work.

After eleven years in what I call the “emerald city”, Logan, we are leaving. My wife received a nice promotion to a position in Salt Lake City with Intermountain Healthcare. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse. So we’re going, but not without feelings of loss. Living in Logan has been a happy, satisfying, mind expanding, experience. It has been a spiritual experience too.

Though I’ve complained that Cache Valley doesn’t have enough restaurants (though they have about 300) and that the winters are too cold, now that it really comes time to leave I’m finding it hard to do so. Separation anxiety has set in and we haven’t even moved yet. I’m sure Salt Lake City has plenty to offer as well, but it won’t have the small town charm of Logan.

What a great place to make friends this city is. I’ve made more friends here, and made them easier, than almost anywhere else I’ve lived. The people are open, friendly, loyal, honest, and interested in the new people who join their ranks. We’ve been pulled into various associations of people almost since the day we moved in. A great social life is available in this valley. And, although you can find all kinds here, if you want to associate with high quality people, there is no better place to do it than Cache Valley.

Cache Valley has been steadily adding good new restaurants that offer me more of the food variety I desire. Besides, we seem to drop down to Salt Lake City about once a week anyway. There is so much more the valley and the surrounding area offer, that any lack of diversity in food and in entertainment are made up for, and then some, by the natural beauty that surrounds us.

The mountains surrounding the valley and the valley itself are always beautiful whether in the winter, spring, summer or fall. We love hiking the many trails that are so close to us in the mountains. We can be in the mountains within a few minutes. We love biking on the diverse country road routes we have mapped out for ourselves. Kayaking on the lakes, reservoirs, and rivers has been great fun. The Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, “the Beave” is just 30 minutes from our home. The cost of a season’s pass for each of us is reasonable. We are always up skiing during the winter. It’s never crowded and we have few memories of waiting in a line more than a couple of minutes to get on the lift. “The Beave” is one of Utah’s best kept secrets.

The people of Cache Valley are among the best and most friendly people on earth. The County has one of the lowest crime rates and highest employment rates in the country. I attribute a lot of that to the LDS church. Many of the residents of the valley are members of that church and try to live their lives as they are taught by the church to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. For the most part, they are hard working, thrifty, friendly, kind, generous, sober, moral, and loving people. This valley is a little piece of heaven; to a great degree this is as a result of the commitments these people have made to their religion.

In the mornings I drive off the foothills from the Shadow Mountain Estates, a 55+ community we live in. As I drive west down the hill along Center Street, the Logan LDS Temple sits atop a hill in front of me. Whether it’s dark, sunny, rainy, snowing or foggy, the temple always stands out in front of me and reminds me of the commitments that many of the members of this community have made to serve God. It reminds me of my own commitments to serve God. It’s a great way to start the day.

I’ve come to know many of the young adults of this valley, most of them students at the Utah State University (USU), through my volunteer service in a Young Single Adult Stake and Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, commonly called the “Mormons”, or the LDS church. Although these young people come from all over the country and from around the world, they are similar in core beliefs, character, and standards. They have built my faith in the rising generation. I didn’t know there could be so many young men and women of strong character in such a small geography. They are a delight to associate with.

There is always something going on in Cache Valley, whether it’s the Little Red Riding Hood bike ride, the Grande Fondo bike ride, the Top of Utah Marathon, the Cruise-In car show, the 4th of July celebration, or a hundred other outside and inside events, there is always something exciting to be a part of. I’m never bored here, how can I be?

The cost of living is lower than many other places in the West. It’s much lower than it was in Portland. For instance, the property tax on our home here is about 1/3 what it was in Portland for about the same sized home. And even though the property tax is lower here, I think the public schools that are funded by the tax are as good or better than those we left behind in Portland. The fact is, we pulled our children out of the public schools in Portland and sent them to a Jesuit school so they could grow and learn in a better environment. The schools aren’t perfect here in Cache County, but they are well run, and discipline does exist in them.

Logan has a small zoo and lots of parks to visit. There are great places to feed the ducks, have a picnic, hunt, or to go fishing within a short distance from downtown Logan. I was surprised to find that huge fish are pulled out of the Bear Lake, just 45 short miles through the picturesque Logan Canyon. The American West Heritage center hosts many events that celebrate the history of the old west, a history that Cache Valley is a part of.

The University and other organizations add a depth and a richness to the culture that don’t exist in many counties the size of Cache County. The art and musical talent that exist in this county are amazing. In addition to that, world class performers go out of their way to perform in this valley even though they may not earn top dollar here. Many of them just want to visit because of the reputation this beautiful place has.

A couple of nights ago I stood out on my deck watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen spread out across the top of the Wellsville Mountains and across the Cache Valley sky. Hummingbirds were whirring around me. It was quiet and peaceful and it smelled like I was living in a national park. I thought, “I’m going to miss this.”

The population density is low and the traffic moves quickly most of the time. Relative to Portland, where I came from, or Salt Lake, where I’m going, Logan is a very convenient city with very little in the way of traffic problems. I can be almost anywhere I need to be within 10 minutes in the Valley.

My wife and I feel safe enough to walk the streets at any hour. It’s not that there’s no crime, but there is comparatively little crime. It’s wonderful to live among good people, people you can trust. We often walk out into our neighborhood in the early morning or late evening to find a small herd of deer feeding almost within arms reach. Wildlife are part of our life. We see moose, elk, bald eagles, coyotes, huge hawks, buzzards and other creatures on a regular basis. You do have to be alert to rattlesnakes when hiking in the mountains, but that just adds to the adventure.

While we were here Tew by 4, LLC, a small company I own with my brother and sisters, built an office building in Providence using the brilliant building and development skills of Sorenson and Gnehm.

“The Firehouse Group”, a private equity real estate investment company, was formed with a small group of my most trusted Cache Valley friends across a table at Firehouse Pizza. Greg Chambers, the owner of Firehouse Pizza, is always there to make us feel at home, and to serve us more of his great food. I never would have been a part of this group if I hadn’t lived in Cache Valley. Generally, I won’t get involved in partnerships, as I’ve been betrayed too many times by partners. But here, in Logan, I found men who can be trusted. I’ve been happy to partner with them.

We discovered that Cache Valley is a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs are everywhere.

While in Cache Valley we came to know Dr. John Lawson, a successful chemist and entrepreneur, who has discovered and is developing a family of safe opioid pain killers. His company, Phoenix PharmaLabs, Inc. is something that I will always be involved in. John is another person who is living his life in a way that will make a big difference to millions of people. (See: https://www.area-info.net/articles/show.php?cty=Logan&st=Utah&article_id=417)

Lee Everton introduced me to Area-info.net, the on-line newspaper that I write articles for. Lee gave me the opportunity to be a citizen journalist, to write about that which I feel strongly about. Since being introduced to Area-info.net I’ve written over 100 articles that have seen about 3,000,000 views. This association has inspired me to write my first book which I hope to see published soon. Lee is another Cache Valley entrepreneur and friend who is making big things happen in Cache Valley and around the world.

Steve Suhaka’s LivFit training has probably added years of healthy living to what might have been a shorter life. He has been a friend and a fitness consultant who has also enriched my life. (see: https://www.area-info.net/articles/show.php?cty=Logan&st=Utah&article_id=1871&t=Steve_Suhaka,_A_Great_Personal_Trainer_In_Logan,_Utah)

I could go on and on about people I’ve met here who have added to my life with their brilliance. There are a host of them. I can not mention them all by name, but I am grateful for them. Those who have been part of the little businesses I’ve been a part of, those who are just my friends, those who have bought from me and sold to me, those who have served with me, all are good people and friends.

We are toying with the idea of keeping our home in Logan and just buying a condo in Salt Lake City, so that we can often come back to Logan for the recreation, arts, cultural events, and friendships.

Since coming to Logan we have become “empty-nesters”. Our children have married and given us grandchildren. Our dog, Holly, and our cat, Oliver, are buried here (see: “Our $100,000 Dog” https://www.area-info.net/articles/show.php?cty=Logan&st=Utah&article_id=3257 ). It’s a good final resting place for our pets. Our children and grandchildren live in nearby Salt Lake City and Provo. My parents and my brother’s family live in Orem. One good thing about the move we are making is that we’ll be closer to those parts of our family.

I’m not the only one who finds it hard to leave Cache Valley. Perhaps my wife finds it harder as she grew up here. Thousands of people have lived their entire lives here. Many others return after a sojourn for a while somewhere else. They call that process: “Learn, earn, and return.”

This was the place where I met many Cache Valley Tea Party Patriots and joined them in the effort to restore our Constitutional Republic and to defend the Constitution. What great patriots I have met and served with here. Cache Valley is blessed with them.

Monday we’re meeting with our realtor, Eric Jensen, to possibly list our home for sale. Before then we have to decide if we’re really going to sell our home. Family economics will probably require it, but that may not be enough to make us sell. If we do sell, some older couple is going to enjoy the heaven we’re leaving behind. Maybe we should raise our price.

See: The Star of Northern Utah–Cache Valley is No Longer Utah’s Best Kept Secret https://www.area-info.net/articles/show.php?cty=Logan&st=Utah&article_id=1977

See my home for sale here (selling at a discount to market price): http://www.utahrealestate.com/search/public.search?accuracy=4&geocoded=Logan&box=%257B%2522north%2522%253A41.79733890000001%252C%2522south%2522%253A41.6928089%252C%2522east%2522%253A-111.77973099999997%252C%2522west%2522%253A-111.90187600000002%257D&htype=city&lat=41.7369803&lng=-111.8338359&geolocation=Logan%2C+UT&type=1&listprice1=289900&listprice2=289900&proptype=&state=ut&tot_bed1=&tot_bath1=&tot_sqf1=&dim_acres1=&yearblt1=&cap_garage1=&style=&o_style=4&opens=&accessibility=&o_accessibility=32

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