It doesn’t seem possible, but at the end of this month (technically a month later for Karen) we will have been retired for 5 years! What the hell have we done?
Retirement, for those uninitiated, is when you shovel your driveway down to bare pavement two hours after a major storm. Being anal retentive helps.
Retirement is when you cannot possibly schedule more than one activity in a day. “Sorry, I can’t join for lunch on Tuesday because I have to drop off a letter at the post office [5 minutes away].”
Well, one thing we haven’t done is look back. I don’t think either one of us has given more than a cursory thought back to our working lives. And we both loved our careers!
That lack of reflection may be because we are living in the present, not the past – which is probably good! In our case, a lot of our thinking and activities have been around travel – primarily in our RV.
If you are so inclined to read on, here are a few highlights from the 5 years we have been retired. Note: You can click on the year (ex. 2014, 2015…) and you will see all our posts from that year. Or, just type whatever you are interested in within the search field in the upper left corner of this blog page.
2014, our first year of retirement, was a “partial” year, since we worked the early part of the year. Nonetheless, we made a couple of trips – one down to the Florida Keys, and another up to New England.
One of the year highlights (for me) that did not involve travel was attending Sam Huff’s BBQ University at his Wits End Farm in Marietta, GA with my buddy Kyle (Dr. Feelgood). Due to its popularity and limited seating, it is described by some as harder to get into than Harvard.
2015 kicked off with a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Parade! Oh, you have to do this if you get the chance. The day after the parade you can visit all the floats up close and personal.
From the Rose Parade, we noodled around the southwest for a couple of months, visiting Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, Palm Springs, San Diego, the Salton Sea, Grand Canyon, Phoenix and Tucson areas – you get the idea.
Of particular note this year, I had received for Christmas from wife and kids a ticket to experience operating an excavator in Las Vegas! Can I get an amen? This was a most awesome experience. RRR.
In the spirit of trying something new, Karen signed up for and trained this year for RAGBRAI, which is a bicycle ride across the entire state of Iowa, from Sioux City to Davenport. We drove all the way to Sioux City, and Karen was ready to ride, until a biking incident shortly before the ride caused her to be unable to participate.
This was a bummer, but we made the most of it – and traveled the route instead of by bike, by truck and Airstream. Personally, this would have been my weapon of choice anyway, but I felt bad for Karen.
And like every year, we celebrated Halloween – at home. Don’t judge.
2015 was also the year I had shoulder surgery after tearing my rotator cuff in a kayaking activity. Jeesh. Note to self: don’t do that again.
In 2016 we opened the year with the “Canopener”, an Airstream-related rally held for the last number of years in early January down on the panhandle of Florida. This is always highly entertaining and a great way to see old and new friends.
Since we were already in Florida (out of the cold), we headed west from there towards Arizona and California, and traveled half-way up the coast of California before heading east.
Later in the year, on a two-month long trip to New England, we made a visit to Damascus, VA with friends and rode the Virginia Creeper, a 20-something mile bike ride down an old converted railroad track that ends up in Damascus. This is a great activity – highly recommend!
We departed Damascus to go to West Virginia for Bridge Day, over the New River Gorge. If you are unfamiliar, Bridge Day is where people with more youth, money and equipment than good judgment jump off the highest bridge in WV. For me, this event is a photo opportunity, not a participating event, if you catch my drift.
2017 was an amazing year. We spent the early part of the year mostly in the southwest (TX, AZ, NM…), and had an extraordinary time.
But clearly the “main event” for 2017 was our four-month trip to Alaska. We posted well over 20 posts just related to this trip and took literally thousands of pictures. I won’t even try to recap this trip except to say if you have any ability to make a trip to Alaska – no matter how you do it – this will be a trip of a lifetime.
2018 was a very interesting year for us. We actually started off the year with a month-long visit to Palm Springs, to an RV resort! This is so not us, but we did it. Palm Springs is stunning, I won’t lie.
A big trip we had planned for the summer was a trip out to Santa Barbara for a wedding, and all the surrounding stops associated with that. We visited Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks, numerous stops up the California coast, to Crater Lake and as far as Bend, OR.
We had planned on going further north up to Olympia National Park, west of Seattle, but we got an invitation to a cookout in New Hampshire, and that is where our story in 2018 went awry. Long story short, we went to the cookout – bought a house in the sea coastal area of New Hampshire, traveled home, and sold our house in Georgia – all in about two months’ time.
What can I tell you: in retirement, you need to stay flexible. We seem to have proven our capacity on this point.
We have travel plans for 2019, but so far, we have been staying local and focusing on getting a few gnarly medical issues behind us. Stay tuned – we hit the road in a few months!