September 6, 2016

Building Your Next Adventure


Yesterday, Betty, our dog, Bailey, and I left on our RV trip. We will cover over 5,000 miles while driving through 11 different states. We will meet up with family and friends, one of whom we haven't seen in 40 years. We will spend time with folks I have only met through blogging. 

Already this year we have had a tremendous week with friends at the Palm Springs Film Festival and taken our first Alaskan cruise. We have been to Flagstaff for cool weather and a cute B &B experience. We rented a house three blocks from the beach in San Diego for a fabulous week of family experiences. We discovered a great getaway place; Silver City, NM. In early December it will be back to Disneyland with the grandkids.

Now, a long RV trip. It has been a busy year. But, there are things we give up. We will miss family. Our grandson will have his 10th birthday before we get home. Our youngest daughter will be packing up for a move to a different part of the Phoenix area. A lot of life will have happened at home that we won't experience.

That is a tradeoff we are willing to take. The time we spend on the road, seeing new places, gathering new experiences, taking (thousands of) photos, and spending it together in very close proximity, 24 hours a day for 7 or 8  weeks is time we value. The reality is our health is fine now, but won't be forever. When I am no longer comfortable steering 15,000 pounds of metal and fiberglass down the road is when we park the motorhome for good. So, we burn up the miles while we can.

All of this is to get your travel and creative juices flowing.  It seems appropriate to ask you to think of what your next adventure in your satisfying retirement might be. Do you have plans, a road map, a dream that waits to be fulfilled?

Importantly, the scope and cost of that great adventure doesn't have to break your budget. Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. What Betty and I have been able to experience this year is due in large part to the financial cushion from my parents' estate. In a "normal" year, we would not have had the freedom in our budget to do nearly as much.  

What qualifies as as an adventure? Certainly a trip to Europe or Hawaii would make the list. A cruise, a long RV trip, a road trip to visit family in some other state. But, what about adventures that take less money and less time away? I will suggest a few, and then ask you to add to the list. You may give somebody an idea or the motivation to turn your comment into their next great adventure. 


Most of us live within driving distance of a National Park, National Monument, or National Historical site. This year is the 100th birthday of our National Park Service. What better time to pull out a map and spend a few days visiting these tremendous examples of what makes America so beautiful. If you are over 62, the Senior Pass is the best bargain in the country. For $10 you get a lifetime of free admission to over 2,000 Federally managed sites.

Pretend you are tourist to your home state. Pick a section you haven't been to, and go. Do some Internet research to find out what tourists do, and then play along. I use Trip Advisor as a tremendous resource to point me toward things to see in each town we visit.

Would you ever consider a long distance bus trip? Modern coaches have WiFi, movies, and bathrooms. The fares are low and the chance to meet interesting characters is pretty high. How about Amtrak? It has problems with schedules and equipment, but long distance train travel is a very special way to experience the country. 

Volunteer at a a National Park or Historical site for the season. Workkamp at an RV park to earn money while you enjoy nature up close and personal. Volunteer at a local concert hall or kid's museum. Go back to school for that degree in law or English Literature or nursing that you have always dreamed about. At our age, attending classes, reading, writing, and studying at a college level is quite an adventure!

Set aside a week or two, pick a general direction, and just jump in the car and go. Let your whims, sights, and interests determine the route. When your time is half over, turn around and come home a different way. Are you a hiker or biker? Plot a route that stretches your limits and do it.

The opportunity to build an adventure into your life is limited by your imagination and willingness to take a bit of a risk. Budget  plays a role but don't let that be an excuse. Family responsibilities may limit, but don't eliminate, what you can do. 

Tell us...what is your next adventure? Can we tag along?

37 comments:

  1. May I share two upcoming adventures I'm particularly excited about?

    Currently we are in Minnesota, headed to Grand Marais, where we will catch a boat over to Isle Royale National Park for a week of backpacking. We expect to see moose and loon as we go, and hope to hear the faraway sounds of wolves by night. We've been training for this trip for some months, and feel good to go!

    Alternately, next summer we are hiking across northern England along the famous Coast-to-Coast trail, about 225 miles in total. We'll be sleeping in hotels instead of tents, beds instead of sleeping bags, and drinking beer instead of filtering water!

    I find that adventures that push us in some manner generate the same kind of tremendous highs now, in our 50's and 60's as they did in our 20's and 30's. We relish those highs, and will keep on adventuring until our bodies tell us otherwise. :-)

    P.S. - Yes, absolutely you can tag along! Both trips are/were organized using third party vendors and there's room for more!

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    1. Tamara,I really miss reading of your adventures..wish you would revive your blog!! Till then I'll read snippets when you comment her eon Bob's. Your outdoors stamina inspires me!!!

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    2. Yes, Madeline, Tamara and husband, Mike, have very few boundaries they won't attempt to stretch. Their walk across England sounds especially fun...it doesn't involve tents!

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    3. We did something similar in the Cotswolds and loved it. Can you share the vendor you're using?

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    4. Hi Jim, sorry for the late reply - been in the woods! We are using Sherpa Expeditions, formerly Sherpa Walking Holidays. Website is sherpaexpeditions.com

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  2. Oh, this sounds like a great trip! Wishing you, Betty and Bailey a safe and adventure filled time. Can't wait to read your posts and see your pictures!

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    1. We are in Heber, AZ this morning. Shortly, we will pack up and head for New Mexico. The weather is perfect so far: cool mornings, not a cloud in the sky, and highs around 80. Bailey has already found her comfortable spot.

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  3. We are not long-range planners but we generally have an idea of what's next. We spent the month of June on a week-long cruise to Bermuda, followed by a three week road trip up the East Coast with multiple destinations along the way. It was mostly a sight-seeing trip, with some activity thrown in to keep up with the caloric intake. In October we will take a ten day drive from South Florida to the hills of North Georgia to experience Fall colors and many Festivals in the region. This is a repeat of last year's trip that we enjoyed so much. The hotel is booked with points, so cost is kept to a minimum for this one. Another repeat and total indulgence will be the Gasparilla Inn Food and Wine Festival in January. That is just 3 hours from home, but across the state in a completely different environment.

    We are watching two cruises and will book one of them when the price is right for April. One is a South Pacific cruise out of Sydney, while the other is a Translantic from Ft. Lauderdale to London. Very different, but it will come down to price because they are equally desirable to us. We will tack on a land portion to whichever one we choose and plan to travel for about 6 weeks total.

    As you know, we did the Amtrack thing a few years back and loved it. We boarded in San Francisco, hopped off at three destinations for a few days in each place, and exited in Chicago. We turned the typical 4 day train ride into a 15 day journey. I highly recommend, but it does require careful planning. Some stops are in the wee hours of the morning and might not be convenient to transportation, hotel, etc.

    One of our most economical and satisfying get-a-ways is to "staycation" in our daughter's place in Miami when she is out of town on a business trip. I'll take any opportunity I can get to have an adventure.

    Enjoy your time on the road. Looking forward to Betty's beautiful photographs.

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    1. You and Malcolm are giving Mike and Tamara a run for their money! What a great itinerary of adventures. The cruises out of Sydney have caught my eye, too, but the 14 hours in a plane to meet the ship are a bit much for me. There is a 25 day cruise through the South Pacific that leaves from L.A. that is calling my name.

      Yes, I remember the Amtrak trip. The idea of not going straight through but using the train to get you from spot to spot is a good one. I am a train guy so that is appealing to me.

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    2. To be fair, Tamara did leave a few things out - Spain and Portugal next month, Peru, then a Caribbean cruise in November, trekking in Norway after England . . .

      Can't be seen as resting on our laurels!

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    3. Mike, that sounds like a "throw down" but I'm not going to bite. Malcolm and I could NEVER keep up with you guys. LOL

      Bob, keep an eye on that cruise out of LA. You will not be disappointed with the itinerary.

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  4. We just returned from a week long family trip to Sevierville,TN. We stayed in a beautiful cabin and visited the Smoky Mountains.
    Our next big adventure is a family trip to Disneyworld in February.
    Then in July of next year, my husband and I, along with our single daughter, will be joining a large group of friends for an Alaskan cruise. We've never been on a cruise and we've never been to Alaska so that will be a big adventure!
    Wishing you, Betty and Bailey the best on your trip!

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    1. We will be meeting a long time family friend near Douglas lake, just outside Sevierville, on this trip. Plus we have 4 days in the GSMNP and then the hills of western North Carolina.

      You will love the cruise. Alaska is beauty and majesty on steroids.

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  5. Bob, continued safe travels to you and Betty. Sounds like a tremendous trip you guys are on across this great country.

    We have stayed around TN for the summer to enjoy our weather, but getting ready to ramp things up. To get ourselves into the swing of things we took this past weekend to travel to both the Shiloh Battlefield National Park, as well as Pinson Mounds State Park. Many people unfamiliar with the battle that took place in and around Shiloh Church do not realize how critical that was to the outcome of the whole Civil War. A sad place to visit when you think about the suffering endured by Americans on both sides, but it is important to understand what occurred. And if you want to see history that goes back to the very earliest civilizations in the US, visit Pinson Mounds and its architectural sites.

    After visiting with Jess and Chris in Sevierville in a couple of weeks, Deb and I prepare for two large trips. We will be gone in the later Fall for eight weeks to SC and the ocean, and for all of Jan, Feb and most of Mar to NC, SC, and FL. And while we might slip in an overseas trip one of these days to burn up unused airline miles from the working days, we still love traveling the good old USA.

    Stay safe and enjoy the travels, Bob. See you down the road.

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    1. That's the second reference to Sevierville in two comments. I am anxious to see what is attracting folks. I will take a look at the civil war battlefield if it is close to our route.

      Your road trips sound fabulous. Getting away from the daily routine is so important. I know when we get home our home will seem huge and full of luxury, and family even more prescious.

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  6. We haven't planned any long distance trips for the coming months,yet, but at the end of the month we will enjoy a spacious suite inside a mansion in Sedona which was, in part,designed by Walt Disney (75 dollars a night!) .You find some unusual properties when browsing around airbnb!! We'll stay for 4 days 3 nights. We still haven't run out of trail for hiking in Sedona,each one being spectacular in its own way.We'll take a hike and a swim at Buddha Beach inside of Red Rock State Park (Crescent Moon area.) Another day will be a swim and picnic at Grasshopper Point. The waters up north are getting pretty chilly already, so it should be..exciting! We have a favorite Indian Buffet restaurant in Sedona.Usually easy to find some flute music or other music somewhere local. One day we will drive over to Cottonwood, a charming town with an interesting book store,wine tasting venues, and a great Greek restaurant we love.

    Today,we'll take a drive up the Beeline Highway and check out our house which is for sale.. we're still undecided, we saw a lot of interest over the labor day weekend..we'll see..will use it till something gives..and on our way we'll hike in to Ellison Creek,which is a deep green emerald pool of water for swimming..with a small waterfall. The best part of retirement is having the time and freedom to just pick up when we want! I'm also eyeballing some cruises on vacationtogo.com.. for the next year.. ENJOY YOUR ADVENTURE!!

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    1. Old Town Cottonwood is turning into a destination worth the drive. The restaurants and antique stores draw us north at least twice a year. And, it is impossible to get tired of Sedona, especially after most of the summer tourists have left.

      FYI, the lineup of cars, RVs, and trucks heading into Payson yesterday on Route 260 at the end of the holiday weekend was stop and go for at least 15 miles. We were very happy to be heading east with just a few other folks.

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    2. We STAY AWAY on holidays and weekends now!! Another nice perk of retirement..we can travel on weekdays!

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  7. After a trip to California, we will be snowbirds in Arizona for the winter months. We purchased a small Park Model last April and now will learn how to live in close quarters. We're excited, but will miss the grandkids and my elderly parents who are in a Nursing Home. We're excited as we leave in a couple days!

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    1. I know you will enjoy a winter season in Arizona. There are few places prettier or more plesant from Mid-October until early April. Something about having Christmas dinner on the outside patio never grows old.

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  8. I'm keeping an eye on a river cruise. I would love to do the Danube or the Seine. We will likely head to Key West for at least a week over the winter. Nothing big and exciting is actually planned but, now we are enjoying the beautiful shoulder season here in Cape May.
    b

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    1. You dodged the worst of the hurricane that just went through your area..that is a good think. Like you and Dave, Betty and I will do a river cruise in Europe someday. It looks beautiful.

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  9. I just got back from taking our middle daughter back east to college, and visiting my mother in Colorado on the way home. It was an exhausting trip and not much of an adventure but everything went well, and I can't ask for more.

    But . . . next year we/I have plans for two trips to Japan, and a "Mystery Vacation" in the fall. We have a new granddaughter arriving in October, but the first my husband and I can get over to meet her will be next March. We're taking our youngest daughter with us during her spring break, and will be staying at the military hotel in Tokyo, which is just a few minutes walk from our son's home. The military hotel is 5-star, and VERY affordable. We're in the hunt now for some good airfares. In June I will return to Tokyo with our oldest and middle daughter to visit again and to support and participate with our son in a fundraising walk he developed. A few of my friends will be going as well - we'll stay in an AirBNB rental, and when we're not walking will be sightseeing and shopping in Tokyo. Finally, in October my husband, youngest daughter and I will be going on a "Mystery Vacation." They allow me to plan all the details and then I reveal all about a week before we go. This past year we took a Mystery Vacation to the Grand Canyon and Sedona and had a wonderful time, and I'm pretty sure they'll be happy with next year's destination as well!

    For me, planning a vacation and thinking about traveling is almost as much fun as traveling itself! Safe travels to you and Betty!

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    1. Living on Kauai and lining up trips to Japan and a mystery destination..sounds perfect to me. I'm glad your trip back to the Boston area went well and you got to see your mom in Colorado. I assume the two hurricanes that were supposed to skirt the islands did so, and all you got was rain and wind.

      I like that mystery idea. I may ask Betty to surprise me with one of those. Oh, we are likely to be on Maui for a few weeks in May, in case you will be island-hopping!

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  10. I fit into the group that enjoys good health, a happy marriage, a dog, no debt and financial freedom. I THINK it's the American dream we all work for. But my main challenge is about money and my thriftiness is partially how I've arrived at this point in life.

    The comfort and contentment I feel in being secure is greater than the desire to buy or to experience things. It keeps me from spending on things that I feel not worth the VALUE. And my answer to the line that, "You can't take it with you", rings hollow cuz I won't know or care what I missed out on when I am dead.

    Maybe you can blog more about loosening the purse strings and helping those of us who have been savers all our lives.

    Thanks so much for your guidance and counsel

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    1. That would be a great idea for a post. I fit the same category. Betty and I want to leave a substantial sum for our kids, but they keep reminding us we should do what we want while we still can. It is an interesting balancing act.

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    2. My kids say they would rather us spend the money now. We take them on as many adventures as we can. We all develop memories and we spend the money :)

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  11. We do the coast to coast for family for one more year. I am leaving in two weeks for Disneyland with my grandson (meeting up with my son's family). My husband will stay home- he loves his wood shop.
    The entire family will meet in Monterey (our son's home) for "Christmas in November". May will see my husband and I driving our son's cars to New York- visiting the Idaho and Nevada family along the way (and our Midwestern friends).
    Otherwise trips are close to home. I try to get the grands (the ones who live in the East near me)into DC on the train and metro. We are planning to do Monticello in October. The beach- lots of times. Philly in early November, before the weather changes!
    Once our son's family is on this coast, we will be doing lots of exploring north of us. We haven't been to Niagara Falls yet.
    International travel is on the way back burner. We did lots of the world when we were young. Glad we did.

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    1. Wow, that sounds like a full schedule. I am mixed on any more International travel. Europe, in particular, seems to be a magnet for some major malcontents. But, I think I would really enjoy a river cruise. Should I roll the dice?

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  12. We're headed for the Big Island in October and will also fit in a day trip to the Pearl Harbor memorials and Punchbowl. DH has seen them, but I haven't, so I couldn't resist once we've come that far. We loved Kauai and Maui, but I've never seen the Big Island. (DH was in Hawaii for biz multiple times before retiring...lucky dog.)

    Middle daughter is doing a post doc in the UK, so we'll likely make our way there next year, although nothing solid yet. I visited her last fall for medical support (all is well, thankfully), so decided to do something different this year. And I still have Italy on my bucket list. As well, there are SO many wonderful national parks here, and we LOVE the Sr. Pass. Best deal going.

    Enjoy your trip. Looking forward to the pictures and stories!
    ---Hope

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    1. Your husband and I should exchange stories. I had business clients on Maui and the Big island, so several trips to paradise. Pearl Harbor is a must. The Arizona is still leaking oil, 75 years later.

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  13. Hi! My husband and I really enjoy reading your articles! We are retired and although our destinations are not exotic (for financial reasons) for many years every summer we have perused the map of our Province where we choose a few small towns and spend an entire day visiting these areas. We leave around 8 in the morning and return around 9 or so at night. We've visited an opera house named after a famous Canadian suffragette. We've touched a portion of the Berlin Wall. We've been included in the centennial celebration of a small town. We've seen a grotto dedicated to The Virgin Mary, built to save the town's children from a polio epidemic. We've seen a full size dinosaur skeleton named Bruce, a mosasaur (water dinosaur) found in our Province. We've seen a rare native cemetary where all the graves are covered with houses. It's absolutely amazing what we have seen in the small town museums, the fantastic meals we've eaten in the little family restaurants, the beautiful scenery, the history in the cemetaries. There is no end to what you can experience within a 100 miles (give or take) of your own city if you tear yourself away from the television and give up mowing the lawn for one weekend! No, it's not Europe or Disnyeworld or a Hawaiian cruise but it's fun and interesting and gives us lots to chat about with friends and family and between ourselves. We have a niece who has accompanied us a few times and others who ask for our itinerary so they too can experience our day trips. Your own Province or State can be a great source of adventure too! Enjoy your adventure!!

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    1. You are absolutely right. We have lived in Arizona for over 30 years and still find places and areas to visit and marvel over. Your tour in your Canadian province is a perfect example. What a treasure load of sights.

      Thanks for your comment and I am happy you enjoy the blog.

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  14. Hi Bob! You and Betty and Bailey have a great time on the road! There is so much to see in this great country of ours and now is the time to do it while all the body parts are working and you can enjoy new faces and new places!

    Sally and I just returned from camping in our pop-up A-liner trailer with our dog Henry. We had a great time at Trillium lake that is just past the Timberline Lodge near Mt. Hood which is about an hour east of Portland. The Lodge was built during the Works Progress Administration and was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. It is a National Historic Landmark just an hour and 20 minutes from our home and the road there is scenic and breathtaking.

    In May we boarded the California Zephyr In Emeryville, California and went all the way to New York. We had a sleeper car and the views from the observation car, dining car and club car were amazing! You actually see so much out the window that you miss when flying! You can relax, nap or make new friends along the way and you have wifi and charging outlets at your disposal. We changed trains in Chicago and walked the city since we had a 6-hour layover. Then on to Penn station and we used Uber to our Air b&b flat in Queens. Getting to Manhattan was just 4 subway stops! We visited all 5 boroughs of New York and saw the 911 Memorial and Museum and the One World Observatory. We took in a Yankee's game in the Bronx and rode the Staten island ferry to Staten Island past the Statute of Liberty. We took in a Broadway show and went to the top of the Empire State building and of course just ate our way through the Boroughs! Of course, we had to walk it off with a walk through Central Park!

    Then after returning home we embarked on a 10 day camping trip down the coast of Oregon to California to visit old friends and neighbors. We just found places to stay along the way that was part of this adventure!

    My suggestion is to even take short day trips where you live if you have budget limitations. Now is the time to Freestyle and shake things up and create new adventures. It makes life so engaging during this time of a Satisfying Retirement Journey! Russ

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    1. Oh my, I am so envious of your trips. How was the Amtrak trip? Their equipment is not very well maintained because of budget cuts and I know they are usually hours behind schedule. But, on the trip you took it probably did't matter much. I would love to take a long distance train trip; it has been years since I did that.

      Betty and I have had dinner at the Lodge on Mt. Hood- what a beautiful building and setting.

      Thanks for your detailed recap, Russ. I love it!

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  15. Well, you got our retirement journey juices flowing. We are currently spending the night in Canton, NY, very upstate NY, heading to Stowe, VT. Then down hwy100 thru the state, visiting little towns and hamlets headed to Bennington and on to Lenox, MA. and then to Stockbridge, MA where Norman Rockwell painted for many years. Then on to New Hope, PA / Lambertville, NJ where many of the appraisers on Antiques Roadshow have their bases of operation and present many of their wares for sale.

    We live in Charleston, SC and we have done 90% of the trip OFF the Interstates. Longer travel but not bad traffic. We are surprised. Staying in very pleasant motels for between $50 night- to $80 night, many with a very substantial hot breakfast but all with free coffee.

    Anyhow, we are being as safe as possible. You, Betty and Bailey (Travels with Charley) have a safe and pleasant retirement journey as well.

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    1. Betty and I were looking at the map on the side of our RV and were reminded that the whole Northeast section of the country is still virgin territory for our trips. Last night we met a fellow from Connecticut who told us we must do his part of the country.

      So, we immediately talked about a trip similar to yours: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, upstate New York, and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Of course, it would take us 2 weeks to get there from Arizona, but what's the rush!

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