Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 351 Road Trip Reflections

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

According to the cult of happiness the last phase to be practiced is reflection. We look back and consider what we have done or what has happened and hopefully enjoy the memories. We just completed a road trip and we have reached the stage of reflection.

One great advantage of retirement is that we do not need to go to work the day after a trip ends. My local barista just told me of a trip she returned from last night. Today she is on the job. Yesterday she drove a road that we took three days to drive just a few years ago. Time is limited.

Going slow was the best part of our trip. We stayed with our daughter 5 days and were driving for 10. We were on the road ten days. We averaged a little less than 200 miles on those days.  We talked about how important this distance played in the enjoyment of the trip.

For us, driving from A to B is one thing. Taking a road trip is something else. We love the freedom it brings to the trip by being able to stop at any time and at any place. We love to stop for photos, or coffee and a chat with the locals. There is no rush.

Then there is the pleasure brought by changing direction or destination at a moments notice. There were several times when we pulled up to a junction and changed our mind about which road to take on the spot. We always opted for the road less traveled and were never disappointed. One of these choices led to a drive along Abert Lake in southern and eastern Oregon; it was an unforgettably beautiful drive on a very lonely road. And it took us to the John Day Fossil Beds; one our favorite places in the west. Frost was right when it came to the road less traveled. It does make all the difference.


After spending the night in Mitchell, Oregon we drove a few miles out to the Painted Hills in the John Day National Park. We were the only ones there. The painted hills are so very unique. The various colored rock were laid down in layers over 35 million years. I took a 360 video of the area while Brenda did a little dance and I sang happy birthday to her. It was one birthday celebration she will likely remember.

One thing we did do on this road trip that was a bit different was take videos of various locations and posted them to Facebook. Our friends seemed to really like them as did we. Video has come a long way in the past 40 years. They are easy to take and easy to share.

We also really enjoyed our audio books. It is so intriguing to put a disc in the player and be mesmerized by some well read prose. We had paid a visit to the Vancouver Public Library and checked out five audio books for the trip. We listened to one and then part of a second and then two more as we moved down the road. We intentionally never listened to news, weather and sports. We did throw in a bit of music on occasion.

Having our bicycles on the trip was a real plus. We would pause in the afternoon to ride down some lonely country road that led off from the seldom traveled highways. Sometimes we biked in the morning before breakfast. It was a good time to explore a town when there is little traffic and little noise.

We mixed out lodging with some beautiful old hotels and some modern comfortable motels. We always tried to find the old renovated hotels that popup fairly regularly. We spent some money on the lodging but we know that taking on ownership of an RV would be much greater. Plus we love the comfort of a good shower, firm bed and no cooking or cleaning

We did reflect on this method of travel and thought that an even better way is to include some of the home exchanges that we have used in the past. We love to drive for three or four days and then settle in for five or six days in someones house, condo or apartment. That is always possible through home exchanges which I have talked about in other podcasts.


The weather was one concern. It is beautiful in the fall where we live - and I would bet where you live. Fall is that way - wherever. Thus there is no reason to stay home. You don't miss any beautiful days. We love the idea of seeing the beauty in other parts of the country as the foliage turns.

All road trips must come to an end and it was with this in mind that we drove  an extra 15 miles just thirty minutes from home to a coffee shop in the Skagit Valley. We wanted to prolong the trip just another hour or two. It was worth it. As was the entire time enjoying the classic American Road Trip.

This is Retirement Talk.



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