Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 348 Road Trip Ideas

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

How many ways are there to cross a river? Taking a road trip also presents an endless variety of choices. In the last podcast I talked about our present plan to venture out on the highway in the fall. I am now in my seventh decade and perhaps that plays a role in our method of travel. Since retiring we have used a wide variety of ways in which to take a road trip. The all had their unique qualities. Perhaps age has something to do with the way we travel today.

Two days after we retired we flew from Anchorage to Seattle and picked up an old BMW motorcycle we had shipped down earlier. We had never taken a motorcycle trip and this was what we chose as an inaugural to retirement.

We had panniers stuffed with a few clothes and an orange canvas bag strapped to the back of the bike. We were riding two up as we headed out for the Oregon Coast. Brenda had booked B&B's all the way to Palo Alto every two to three hundred miles.

We dressed in leather every day; ate huge breakfasts for which B&Bs are famous. We were on the road each day by 10am. After a casual lunch we always found some grassy or sandy beach for a nap. Then it was another 50 to 100 miles to a coffee shop. A short ride and early evening found us at another of her B&Bs. They were always to fancy for me but she liked them. A little fluff to counter the leather and iron.  

This method of travel is so much fun. Especially along a coast road or in twisty mountain country. If you have time and the inclination for an exciting road trip this is a great way to travel. The limited storage area simplifies your life. And the wind and weather rejuvenates your soul.

After riding along the coast into California we returned a week or two later and I threw away my ticket to fly back to Alaska. Brenda boarded the plane alone and I headed north without a map or a plan other than eventually getting back to Alaska. It was the first of four motorcycle trips on the highway. I know some retired folks dream of this type of trip and I would strongly encourage it. All you need is a motorcycle and a piece of plastic. Restaurants and lodgings are all along the way. The road is nothing like it was in the ol' days. It is paved and generally good. Plus there are few stop signs and seemingly endless miles of mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes. It is long enough that you can get into the zone so to speak and just be.

Road trips on the motorcycle gradually evolved into several road trips with the motorcycle and the car. Brenda would drive the car with the dog and my guitar. She rode in complete comfort. I stayed on the bike. We followed one or the other and even took a tent and sleeping bags. This was also a great way to travel. We could stop at a hotel, motel or a camp ground. She enjoyed the solitude and comfort of the car and I enjoyed the outdoor experience that only happens on a cycle. We roamed and rambled across the west, midwest and to Alaska several times this way: fond memories. If you have been considering doing something different but have varied opinions this may be just what you are looking for.

Then there were several road trips in a VW van. They were fun. We could stay in campgrounds or feel right at home in city driving. It seemed to always be tempered by a breakdown of some sort or another. The van has such a mystic about it that we still have fond memories.

For the last ten years or so we have adopted the sedan or SUV and a good bike rack. We try to always go a bit slower than we did the time before. We have some friends that have the opposite attitude. They put on the miles and then enjoy time at wherever their destination might be. We are always amazed when they talk about how far they drove that day: eight hundred miles in one day or even more. We can't imagine. We like to think in terms of 300 mile days and if we can we will cut that back to 250 or even 200. That old bush pilot's words took permanent root in my mind, "No need to rush life".

And of course there is the RV method of taking to the open road. Of this I have little to no knowledge. I know that people like it. Friends tell me it is great to sleep in their own bed each night and eat at their own table each evening. They also love the comraderie they find in campgrounds. They meet people from all over the country or the world in these parks or campgrounds. They also love the remote campgrounds in which they can camp and get away from it all. The also tell me that it is not a way to travel on the cheap. I have been told it is more expensive than staying in a hotel each night and eating in restaurants. The rig costs tens of thousands. Then there is gas, insurance, maintenance and camping fees. There are probably other costs of which I am not familiar. Though we have never gone the RV route there must be a lot of positive reasons to do so. There are millions of them out there.

If you love this mode of transportation for a road trip I would love to hear from you. We could do a Skype call and record for a podcast. Others would probably love to hear your story.

This is Retirement Talk.

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