Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 843 Fall Road Trip

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

A road trip calls. Every fall season we get the urge to head out on the open road. I never want to go and talk badly about it but my wife knows enough to push ahead. As soon as I leave the house on the trip I won't want to come home. We have done this every year for some time. It has become part of our retirement routine.

It is beautiful in the fall where we live - the Pacific Northwest - and it is difficult to leave. But we have found that it is beautiful everywhere this time of year. We miss none of the nice weather when we choose to drive away. Nice weather and fall colors seem to be universal with rare exceptions. 

In the old days I used to look out the window in the fall when the sun was still warm but not hot. The kids were in school. And I would yearn to roam free on roads less crowded. Once retirement came our way we did not hesitate to head out and that is just what we are ready to do again within the week.

I have talked about road trips before in this podcast series. You can find links to the stories of previous trips on my web page. We have wandered from coast to coast always in our rather small SUV with two bicycles strapped on the back.

We have tried many different methods of travel on trips including bicycle, motorcycle, VW Van, car, and train. We love the road trip in our small SUV the best. Our approach has always been the same and has always been celebrated as an important part of each year's activity. We try to always include the three phases of enjoying life: anticipation, actualization and reflection.  We are now in the closing phase of anticipation.

Our anticipation or planning phase seems to always be a little better with each trip. We get out a map. We look at where we have been. We look at some of the places we might want to return to and places where we have never been but have an interest for some reason. It is like we have completed the big picture of the road trip and now we are able to drive into the details. And it is the details where we find hidden gems.

A few years ago we planned a trip involving home exchange. We have traveled this way for several years and always find it providing the very best experiences. We used our membership in to arrange for homes or condos in Bozeman, Montana, Sun Valley, Idaho and Hood River, Oregon. These were all non-simultaneous exchanges and our exchange partners would be free to come visit our place  some other time. Believe me we have tried hotels, motels, tents, and campers but we find these exchanges the very best accommodations. It is just so nice to be in a regular neighborhood and not in a tourist area or along some commercial strip. 

When we arrived at these places we  unpacked the car, bought some groceries and enjoyed the local scene. We biked the town streets and trails, explored the local coffee shops and tasted the local cuisine. In between the major stops we drove slowly. Listening to audio books. Stopped often for photos, hikes or bike trails. We always managed to go slower and cover less distance with each trip. There seems to be a correlation between going slow and enjoying a road trip - and everything else in life.

We drank coffee at local coffee shops and not in the car. We took  naps while stopping in scenic places. We did not trade off driving so we could cover miles. We started late in the mornings and stopped early in the evening or late afternoon.

This trip was anticipated to take us two and a half to three weeks. I did not want to come home when it was over. I'm not sure if that is a problem or a blessing. I seem to be happy wherever I am, be it at home or on the road. I think I am lucky that way.

We have friends who still enjoy camping in tents and sleeping on the ground. They are in their seventies and eighties. They seem to be tougher than we are. Today when we travel we are always looking for a chair to sit in and a bed in which to sleep. We have sold our condo that we used for exchanges and thus are relegated to hotel/motel facilities.

If you have experience with road trips you would like to share contact me. You could write up the story and read it via the phone for a recording or I would be happy to read it for you.

At any rate, enjoy whatever you're doing wherever you might be. The season shouldn't matter and neither should the location.

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.






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