The Truth About Olympia, Washington

Updated on March 7, 2018
The capitol city of Washington State
The capitol city of Washington State
An incredibly rare sunny day in Olympia
An incredibly rare sunny day in Olympia
Where most of us shop!
Where most of us shop!
A view of the world as we see it most days.
A view of the world as we see it most days.

After reading this hub would you like to visit Olympia?

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Don’t you just love the word ‘debunking’? It’s one of those words that sounds exactly like what it does. When you debunk something it’s no gentle slap on the wrist but rather a full haymaker designed to leave you with a jaw badly in need of wiring!

If you are expecting an article about self-fulfillment and growth then stop right here. This is just some FF…for those of you who have not followed along, FF stands for funny fluff, a natural occurrence for me when I have been serious for much too long and I need to break free. Now that you have been warned read on if you dare.

I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for sixty of my sixty-three years and I can tell you with no uncertainty that there are some serious misconceptions about our area of the world. Some amuse me; some just piss me off and it’s never a good thing when this normally peaceful soul has had enough and registers high on his Pissed Off Meter. Have you ever seen a former flower child completely lose it? Ugliness in motion my friends…ugliness in motion!

So in order for me to have a tranquil afternoon I am going to DEBUNK several of my favorite misconceptions about my town of Olympia.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OLYMPIA?

Well get a map if you want to know bad enough! That’s what I used to tell my students and that’s what I’m telling all of you who have no clue where the capitol city of Washington State is. I am feeling a bit generous today, though, so I will tell you that Olympia sits at the tail end of Puget Sound, about sixty miles south of the only city in Washington anyone ever talks about, namely Seattle….and that is the first misconception we need to talk about…there are more cities in our state than just Seattle!

True, Seattle has the Mariners and the Seahawks and Bill Gates; true they have some great theaters and the opera and a Starbucks for every person who lives there (I made that up), but there actually are people living in this state who don’t wear clothes from L.L Bean and don’t sport five-hundred dollar haircuts and don’t drive SUVs.

See, I start talking about Seattleites and once again my Pissed Off Meter starts to spike. Sorry about that; a slight diversion but I’m back on track thanks to my Starbucks non-fat soy latte that cost six damn dollars and seventy-damn-five cents.

IT’S PRETTY DAMN RAINY IN OLYMPIA, RIGHT?

Well, that depends on your definition of rainy! Talk to just about anyone in the United States and quite a few in foreign countries and their first impression of Washington is that it rains a lot there. Well not so fast Bucko!

Olympia has on average 50.85 inches of rain per year. Sounds like a lot, right? You just might be interested to know that New Orleans has 62.7 inches per year; Miami has 61.9 inches per year and nobody ever talks about that. Birmingham, Alabama gets more rain than we do as does Memphis, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Florida and running neck and neck with us is Orlando, Florida.

I think someone needs to start a new ad campaign for Olympia explaining to the world that we get less rain than most of Florida! No, wait, we don’t want to do that; with our luck the campaign will be successful and more people will move here and most of them from California and that just would not do. The last thing we need is more transplants from Crazy Land!

SO WHY DO PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ALL THE RAIN THERE?

Well, earlier I said it depended on your definition of rainy. The fact is that is rains quite often in Olympia, as in drizzle and light rain seemingly every damn day of the year. In fact we are sixth in the nation for most rainy days per year with an average of 149. Without a calculator handy I can eyeball that and tell you that we get rain about 40% of the year. No wonder Olympia residents act like their brains are waterlogged. It’s because they are! The only major U.S. cities that have more rainy days are Rochester, Buffalo, Portland, Cleveland and Pittsburg and seriously, who cares about any of those cities?

If that information wasn’t enough to keep you Californians from moving here then consider that in Olympia we suffer through 228 cloudy days per year. Let that sink in for a moment: 228 of the 365 days in our little slice of heaven are cloudy and the sun doesn’t shine. When the sun does shine we immediately crash into each other while driving because we are literally blinded.

Here’s a great fact for you, and you can look it up if you think I’m lying: Seattle, and by extension the Puget Sound area, leads the nation in the purchase of sunglasses. I will stop right here so you can laugh for awhile; get it out of your system and then I’ll continue.

Are you done laughing now? Can you figure out why an area that rarely sees the sun would have so many sunglass purchases? It’s because we forget where we put the damn things and we have to go buy new ones like ten times per year. We never find the old ones until the day we move and we are packing up the house…then all of a sudden we have ten pair of sunglasses and off we go to Goodwill to donate once again.

I never claimed that we were real smart here in Olympia!

PUT AWAY YOUR PARKA GRANDMA, IT AIN’T THAT COLD HERE!

People think because Olympia is so far north it must be cold all the time here with frigid winters and snowbound residents. Sorry, Bucko, but we only average eight snowy days per year here. I don’t even have to look it up to tell you that Flagstaff, Arizona and Taos, New Mexico have more snow days than we do in Olympia.

How can that be you ask? Well, we have this big puddle to our west called the Pacific Ocean, and that puddle greatly affects our temperatures. Air flowing over warm waters will become warmer and the Pacific Ocean, along our coast, is relatively warm. No, not warm like the Gulf of Mexico, but still warm enough to moderate any weather we do receive from the west. So no, we do not all walk around with goose-down parkas and ski masks; for the most part we wear whatever is on sale at Goodwill. We in Olympia take great pride in our ability to adjust to the rapidly sinking economy. That’s why when things really tank in the United States those of us in Olympia will rule this nation. We have a master plan and we will not share it with you. I can give you one small hint, though: when we take over, people in California will not be allowed to vote. Just sayin’. We will allow them to keep making movies down there but voting will not happen as long as they have this tendency to elect actors as their governor.

HAVE YOU SEEN ANY COWBOYS AND INDIANS LATELY?

This is my favorite misconception about the West in general. We in Olympia really do look just like the rest of you. We don’t have six-shooters strapped to our waists and in sixty-three years I have never seen a gunfight at the old corral. I have seen guns in cars in Idaho but they really don’t count; Idaho is just a place you have to go through to get to Yellowstone. We have cars and trucks just like the rest of you; for the most part we leave our horses in our barns and we only chew Redman on weekends when the women folk are at church praying for our lawless souls.

Wait! We do drive Mustangs and Pintos! Does that count?

WHAT DID I MISS?

Well, only half of Washington deserves to be known as The Evergreen State. The other half is desert and wouldn’t know green if they were slapped alongside the head with it. We let that half of the state vote but their vote will never count for much as long as Seattle is on the western side of the state. Sorry, Spokane, but you are much too close to Idaho and you know what that means.

Our state bird is the goldfinch. I’ve never seen one of those little darlings in my life; I’m guessing the next time I go on a snipe hunt I’ll run into one, unless all of the wild Indians have killed them.

Hope to see you all soon. If you are planning on visiting for summer vacation make sure you book dates between July 5-10; we can almost guarantee sunny weather during that five-day stretch. Just remember to bring sunglasses because our stores will be sold out.

Questions & Answers

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      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Well, Nancy, welcome to Washington! In another twenty years we will completely ignore where you are from, so hang in there. lol

      • profile image

        Nancy 

        4 months ago

        Hubby and I recently bought a great home on acreage in S. Shelton. Where from? Yep, SoCal. We've only been here a month, but we really love it. We've already acquired WA plates lest anyone realize where wer'e from. Mostly we try and lay low and keep to ourselves. Enjoyed reading your musings though!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 months ago from Olympia, WA

        LOL...welcome, Kris! Give me a holler and I'll buy you a cup of coffee when you get here.

      • profile image

        Kris 

        4 months ago

        I'm from CA and I'm moving to Olympia just to piss off Bill...ha!!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        12 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you Christine...I think they are real...LOL...is there something that bothers you about them?

      • profile image

        christine 

        12 months ago

        hi Im 10 years old i just want to ask .is all these word you say is real and have a nice day bye

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        12 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Hi Lynn! That's pretty funny what your sister said. Maybe if she is a staunch Republican, her opinion is accurate. LOL This is definitely Liberal Territory. No, no real tips...enjoy the experience. I think he'll love Evergreen. It's a pretty safe city, but it helps that we are small. Bring a raincoat....fleece is the primary garment here....no umbrella (he'll be labeled a wimp if he uses one :))...if he has any questions, or if you do, you can email me at holland1145@yahoo.com

      • profile image

        lynn 

        12 months ago

        Thanks for your input, my son is moving there in January this year. attending school at evergreen. he is moving from Wilmington NC, to finish his studies in Marine Biology. My sister is beside herself she thinks he is going into the temple of dome. I think its a good adventure for him. He is 21 and loves the outdoors. Any tips for him

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        19 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Rebekah, thanks for stopping by....I was actually being a bit silly, for the amusement of some friends in Spokane. I don't have anything against Idaho....really....why don't you like it?

      • profile image

        Rebekah 

        19 months ago

        I'm curious as to what your opinion of Idaho is as you mentioned it towards the bottom of your article. "Sorry, Spokane, but you are much too close to Idaho and you know what that means." I am from Idaho, but I actually don't like the place very much.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        23 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I don't think it's weird at all, Mary, and you would be welcomed here. :)

      • MarySmith58 profile image

        MarySmith58 

        23 months ago

        Sounds like a good place to retire. I'm in Utah now and I really miss trees. Sounds weird I know, but I'd love to be able to smell pine trees after a rain again.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        24 months ago from Olympia, WA

        Jessica, why don't you email me at holland1145@yahoo.com and you can ask me specific questions....make sure you put something in the subject line or it will go to spam and be lost forever. :)

      • profile image

        Jessica 

        24 months ago

        Hi billybuc! My fiance and I have been thinking of moving to Olympia from.....California! We can't stand it here either! I would love any information about Olympia and if it's changed since you originally wrote this awesome article :D.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        2 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Thanks Gg! I appreciate your candor.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        2 years ago from Olympia, WA

        AJoye, you seem to have the attitude we appreciate and embrace here. Come on down and join us! LOL Too funny...thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        AJoye 

        2 years ago

        Well Billybuc this article just what I was looking for. I have a friend living here and I'm considering it as a retirement location. Since I hail from LA, by way of Virginia, do I have to sneak into Olympia undercover of darkness? Looking for a nice town to live in, volunteer my time for a useful purpose between traveling and visiting grandsons in Portland area. I'll keep reading your posts.

        Arlene

        PS I didn't vote for any actor to be governor ... does that get me a pass on being from LaLa Land?

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Cesar, I don't blame you for wanting to leave Los Angeles. I think you'll enjoy it here. You can email me with any questions you have holland1145@yahoo.com

      • profile image

        Cesar Suarez 

        4 years ago

        Billybuc thanks for all the info here I enjoyed reading your article about Olympia. I live in the very overrated city of Los Angeles and I'm fed up with the expensive housing here and overall over population. Please let me know a bit more about Olympia as my wife and kids want to move there early 2015

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        It is a good city, Matt. I've been here for 22 years now and greatly enjoy it.

      • profile image

        MattD 

        4 years ago

        I've lived in Washington for almost a year and have been to Olympia a few times. It's such a pretty city. What I like most about it is that it reminds me of my hometown of Austin, TX (Before the boom). Very similar feel.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Very true, Brian. It is a geographical division as well as a political one.

      • B. Leekley profile image

        Brian Leekley 

        4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

        I lived for a few years in Moscow, Idaho, and got to know people in western Washington state. When they spoke of "going to the west side" and "coming back to the east side" they meant of the state, with the Cascade Mountains being the dividing line.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Luke, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We have to be able to laugh at it, right?

      • profile image

        Luke Zoukauski 

        4 years ago

        I was born in Everett but lived most of my life in Olympia. I moved away in 03 at age 25. This article was real funny. Thanks for clearing up the mistreated of our city. It is appreciated.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Thank you Michael.

      • profile image

        Michael 

        4 years ago

        A great read!

      • AEvans profile image

        Julianna 

        6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

        Funny along with interesting facts, I was not aware of. I did not know there was less snow in Olympia than there is in Flagstaff. As for the sunglasses that made me laugh so hard that I had to stop reading for a minute! lolo! Love the article. :)

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Tom, what you say is true, but those of us in Olympia don't recognize Lacey and Tumwater as cities. :) A little jurisdictional jealousy in this area. Drop me a line when you come through and we'll have that cup of coffee.

      • Tom Koecke profile image

        Tom Koecke 

        6 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

        Hey billybuc, I thought you might mention that Olympia isn't that small of a town if you consider the Lacey and Tumwater towns on its borders. I'll bet with those three towns put together, it's almost as populated as Auburn!

        We'll have to get a cup of coffee one day when I pass through on my way to the outlet stores in Centralia.

        This was a fun read!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Audra, it really is lovely here with so much to see and do; it's just that nagging little problem of rain, rain and more rain! Hope you make it here soon; if so I'll buy you lunch and we will spend some time laughing.

      • profile image

        iamaudraleigh 

        6 years ago

        I found my sunglasses Bill...lol!!! Great hub! I would like to explore the Puget Sound area! Learned new things today Teach!!! Thank you! Voted up!!!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Mark my friend, thank you! I just have to get silly occasionally. I'll let you know if I run across any honest to gosh Indians with painted war face on.

      • Curiad profile image

        Mark G Weller 

        6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

        This was fun to read Bill, I have spent a lot of time in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia during my engineer days.It is beautiful country and you are right, I never saw an Indian or a six gun there!

        great writing!

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Scurlock is somewhat of a legend here my friend, and when you do come visit you for sure have to let me know so I can buy you a well-deserved dinner!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        I'd love to go there, and damn near moved to some expensive coastal resort town a few hours away a few years ago...twas a domestic thing that didn't happen, not me having money, or anything like that...Port Townsend was the place.

        I've a good friend I've not seen in years that used to live in Olympia, and whenever I get a vehicle again, I'm going to go visit the guy, he's not too far away from where I am.

        I wrote a massive hub about William Scott Scurlock, the "Hollywood Bank Robber," who's probably a well known former citizen for lots of folks there, he had a three story tree house, tons of buried cash on the property, and robbed more banks than anyone in American history until his megalomania got too far out of hand, and he ended his life.

      • billybuc profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        b. Malin, I guarantee that your hair would become ultra-curly after a week here...but in the process you would see some beautiful scenery. Thanks for taking the time to visit. I appreciate you following me.

      • b. Malin profile image

        b. Malin 

        6 years ago

        This was a Fun Hub to read and Enjoy Billybuc. Lots of Information to think about, so much I didn't know...Yes, I aways thought it Rained a lot there... and I Loved the Movie "Sleepless in Seattle"...And I had a cousin who lived in Seattle for many years, and LOVED it. Olympia, Washington sounds like it could be a nice place to live if you don't suffer from Depression, when it comes to the Weather...ONLY KIDDING! But it does sound like my Natural Curly hair would be extra Curly!

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