October 10, 2015

White Mountain RVing

This has not been a good year for RV travel. Except for a week long trip to Palm Springs in January, the RV has been sitting, unused, in a storage yard about 15 minutes from our house. Two short adventures and our summer-long trip were cancelled for reasons detailed in earlier posts.

So, it was with a great sense of satisfaction that Betty, Bailey, and I loaded up R.T. ( the name of the RV - Road Trip) and spend three nights at our favorite state park in Arizona, Follows Hollow, just outside Show Low. At 6300 feet the area is 20-25 degrees cooler than our desert home, a blessing.

The camping sites are spaced far enough apart for a very private feeling. Situated above the beautiful blue and shimmering lake, it is hard not to relax. A picnic table and fire pit are perfectly placed for meals and evening fires. Bailey has miles of trails to explore and smell new smells. 


Betty getting the fire ready
She is loving it
At night we experienced a sight that is almost impossible at home: untold thousands of stars and even the white smear of the Milky Way overhead. The slight reddish tinge of Mars, the North Star, and both dippers were easy to spot. There is complete quiet except for night time insects and the crackling of the fire.

During the day we hiked, read, talked, napped, played games and made plans for our grandson's upcoming birthday party. In the evening, fire pit time was followed by more game playing or a movie brought from home. Winds were gusty, sometimes reaching 30 mph during the day which made for the constant rustling and swaying of trees.

Importantly, I had the time and stillness to think about adjustments to my schedule and direction this fall. I saw this time as a end to summer and the beginning of the new season with all that might entail. I came home feeling as though I had flipped the calendar page to a fresh start.

A while back I wrote about my "need" to become involved in some volunteer activity, to do something that served those who are less fortunate or somehow marginalized in our society. My initial step is to become part of a steering committee being formed by United Way to find ways to get seniors more actively involved in service opportunities. The first meeting is next week, as part of a Connect day, a regular event when hundreds of folks get access to help with housing or medical issues. 

My time in the mountains also helped clarify the importance to me of a schedule. I am finding it much too easy to drift through a day, putting off chores or activities for no particular reason than because I can.

I am going to take a page from my business days when I had to juggle dozens of different responsibilities and deadlines: have a daily schedule that has definite time slots for various things that I know are important to me: exercise/gym/bike riding time, writing, and guitar practice. 

It might seem strange that retirement requires a more rigid schedule, but that is what I think will be best for me at this point in my satisfying journey. I will let you know how it works.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit, even for just a picnic and a hike, I can't say enough good things about Fools Hollow State Park. Arizona may have some problems with governance and its budget, but Betty and I have yet to be at a State Park that wasn't clean, well maintained, and well run. I am guessing the dedicated and friendly volunteers who man these places are responsible for much of what we experience. 

In the meantime, enjoy these photos:


Our home away from home



View of fire pit and lake




Stored until Spring

If we caught any fish, Betty was ready!















The family that camps together........




20 comments:

  1. I think that's a great idea -- to find ways to get seniors more actively involved in service opportunities. A lot of seniors want to volunteer, but they don't know where to start. And there certainly is a lot of need. (Just as one suggestion: do you know about volunteermatch.org -- might be a place to start.) Just .. when you arrange your schedule, make sure to pencil in some time for more RVing!

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    1. Yes, Tom, I get emails from Volunteer Match on a regular basis, alerting me to opportunities in my area. In fact, that is where I learned of the United Way effort to involve more seniors.

      RVing is important for us as a way to break to normal routine, though I think the days of 2 month long trips are over.

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  2. Ditto to Tom's remarks. I know most seniors would like to volunteer for worthwhile causes, but it's not always easy to match up individuals with opportunities. Plus, most of my friends want to serve, but they don't want to be locked in, long term. I'm sure it's a challenge to find flexible slots for seniors because, let's face it, we have special abilities, but we also hear the clock ticking, so we want some freedom to get away, too. Bet you'll enjoy working on the committee--you have much to offer.

    What a beautiful camping spot! Glad you, Betty and Bailey were able to get away for a few days. Enjoy this lovely fall season!

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    1. We are off this morning to a farmer's market and then, Barkotober...a huge doggie event not far from our home. Even though the afternoons are still too hot, the mornings and evenings are beautiful.

      I have high hopes for the effort to give seniors more opportunities. I am looking forward to the meeting on Friday.

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  3. Its funny Bob that I am finding that I need to go the opposite way and now do more freestyle living.Depending on my mood I sometime spend six hours straight writing blog posts. I just can't seem to schedule these creative spurts. Sometimes I just spend hours sitting on the swing glider on "my mountain" in solitude thinking about this or that. Sometimes its reading, sometimes something else. Without a schedule I find new things...

    I am going to go on an overnight uRV (micro-RV) trip myself to a local State Park the middle of next week. The temps are down in the 40s at night now but I do have a small heater that will adequately warm up my 36 sq ft living space.

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    1. Interestingly, RJ., I will have a post on freestyling as an approach to retirement next week!

      A mini RV trip....can't wait to read about it. Have a great time of solitude and reflection.

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  4. Beautiful photos, as always! I was never one to handle strict schedules well. Now, with no specific schedule I find myself feeling more creative and free. It's a great feeling. But, I understand the need for some, like you and Dave, to have more of a schedule. Could it be male/female differences? Maybe.
    b

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    1. A fixed schedule for all day would not work. But, with a set schedule for taking heart pills, and for some things I find too easy to skip, a blend works best for me.

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  5. Beautiful RV park, Bob. I always enjoy riding through them to see the various setups that people have, like the nice one we have at Cumberland Mtn State Park a few miles from our house. Even though we probably won't go the RV route with over 1M Wyndham points a year, I still keep up with it. We'll probably drive down to the huge show in Chattanooga in Feb to see the latest and greatest models. Never know; could pull the trigger someday.

    Now that fall is coming in and the leaves are falling in earnest, I can get to the outdoor chores like moving tons of rock that is tough to do in the TN summer heat. Lots of indoor chores to do as well, so working on stuff in between extensive travel will keep me busy. But I echo the need for structure in our days; without them we can get into a rut that becomes permanent behavior. And while I agree with previous posters who spend time basically kicking back; that cannot be a long-term solution. Humans are not meant for such behavior, since we pay a price for it physically if we do it over the long haul.

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    1. The old retirement model of endless rounds of golf, or sitting in the easy chair holds no attraction to recent retirees, and that is likely a reason for increased longevity. A body in motion is healthier and a mind that is active last longer.

      I don't envy you the rock moving chore, regardless of the temperature!

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  6. There are two things I try to do each day; meditate and practice the guitar. And I still find that at the end of the day, sometimes "I just don't find the time". When I was working - just retired four months ago - I could get them both in. Meditation when I woke up at 4:30 and guitar practice when my wife was making dinner. So, like you, I'm going back to a more "fixed" schedule. By the way, what style of guitar to you play? I play classical.

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    1. I play acoustic guitar, and everything from popular tunes to Beatles but no classical, and not very well without enough practice.

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  7. I spent a week in St. George UT recently and both the state parks and city parks were very well kept, clean and accessible.
    Much appreciated!

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    1. St. George is in a beautiful area. The red rocks are stunning and the city has become very well equipped over the last several years.

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  8. After having a very structured life for so many years I thought "freestyling" was what I wanted. But I find that it makes me a little nervous and I definitely drift. Sometimes not having to think about what to do next is more relaxing, and I do accomplish more, but I can drop everything for unexpected pleasures. I sort of fell into leaving weekends for "freestying". Old habits never die, do they?

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    1. I have tried both approach over the last 14 years, but a schedule for certain things works best for me. I would never want to go back to having all my time determined like I did when I was working. But, neither would I enjoy simply drifting.

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  9. One of the gifts of retirement is the ability to change up how we do our days. Very scheduled, to totally loose. Travel for two months to staying at home for a year. I find that I shift from time to time, as the way I do it becomes not a good fit.

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    1. Exactly, Linda. The fit keeps changing based on circumstances and desires. The great thing about retirement is the ability to make those adjustments as needed.

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  10. Hi Bob,
    Glad you're back online. I'm not sure when you returned - I haven't looked for your blog since last spring when you signed off for a while. Sounds like you've renewed and recharged during the summer months. Really liked seeing your photos of the Arizona spot where you camped (the subject of this blog).

    I'm a believer that having routines and a schedule (which you can feel free to depart from) are essential in retirement. It doesn't work for everyone, and some spend years trying a schedule and then not having one. I guess it's all part of the journey.

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    1. Thanks for coming back. I restarted blogging in July when I understood how important it was to my creative self to keep writing and after I found a sightly different direction with the shift to a Satisfying Journey. That allowed me to expand my content a bit by not having to have every post centered on a retirement topic.

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