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Old 10-10-2012, 10:46 PM   #1
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My wife and I test ride retirement

My wife and I went on a test ride of retirement. For the last 40 years we have gone on short vacations together or slightly longer vacations with other couples. We’ve also gone on vacations without the other going at all. We are contemplating retirement and subsequent travel. Would we continue to be compatible? Would we enjoy each other’s company for an extended period of time without the company of close friends as referees? We’ve been married for nearly 39 years, but we’ve never been alone together for more than a week at a time. Work has always separated us for at least 8 hours a day even when we weren’t on vacation. We also wanted time alone to discuss retirement and what it would mean to our relationship and to our lifestyle.

This post involves a van, a camper, a DRZ400 and the relationship between 2 people and may be in the wrong forum. If so, moderators feel free to switch without offending me.

The van: Tow vehicle for the camper. 13 years old and fairly high mileage. I wanted to buy a new vehicle, an F-150 ecoboost, but the LOML wanted to wait a little longer so we can pay cash without compromising our liquidity. An argument ensued and we haven’t even packed. Agreement: If ANYTHING happens to the van we will unload the bike and ride to the nearest dealership and buy a new vehicle on the spot. By anything, I’m thinking flat tire and she’s probably thinking rods and pistons strewn along the highway.

The Camper: We’ve always tent camped with the exception of a few vacations where we have stayed in motels. I like to hike. My wife likes to hike less than I do. My retirement plans include lots of hiking. She’s tired of staying in a tent waiting for me. A hard sided tent is in our future. We buy a used 16’ Casita from a co-worker as our first camper, with the intention of buying a new one if we (she) likes the experience.

The bike: 2005 DRZ400SM, bought 4 years ago with 12 miles on the odometer, now 15,000. My sometimes transportation to work. Our play bike. The one bike I would own if I could only have one. One of her favorite bikes ever since we got the $200 Seat Concepts seat. Chris, you owe me $200 for letting her know that there were options other than the stock seat.

The relationship: You only get the portion that I share in this post and past posts. I will share more than she would like.

Now the test ride begins. At day 2 of driving west. You know you’re close to the Navaho nation when you see signs for fry bread. As a nation, we confined the Navaho Indians to a small arid area with little game and gave them flour and lard. They invented fry bread and I’m glad they did. Also, our first indication that things are going to get interesting.


The roads get long out west.


Having a camper allows one to stop anywhere for a toilet break, even when traveling with a woman. This sure beats the view of an Exxon station.


I believe it was Texas T that suggested we stop at the Navaho bridge and I suggest you do also if you’re ever in the area. I wonder what the penalty is for jumping and who pays the fine.


The old, now pedestrian, bridge on the left and the new traffic bridge on the right.


Floaters were slowly coming down the river.


We made it to the north rim of the Grand Canyon before sundown on the 2nd day. This is about 100 feet from our campsite. Our original plan did not include the Grand Canyon but, the routes suggested by fellow TWTers took us within 45 miles and we couldn’t resist even though we had both been there before.


My wife, standing between me and “the edge”. Witnesses are taking pictures.


The next morning. Taken from near the visitor center at the north rim.




There are lots of jeep roads on the north rim and we explore a few.


Taken from Sublime Point. There is nothing Sublime about it. Normally, I would rate the road to Sublime as a 4, similar to Engineer pass in Colorado, which we have ridden several times, except without the switchbacks. It’s steep and rocky. On this ride, I rate it a 5 because of the 6” of newly applied gravel on the first 2 miles. Also, the next 2 miles had been recently graded to fill in deep ruts. The sand filled the ruts, but also hid them from view. The wife walked about 100 yards on this ride, about the same amount that she walks on Engineer pass.


She says, “I’ll stand out here, but I won’t look down.


The steed close to the edge.


We took a different route back to try to avoid the gravel and sand. It’s a little over twice as far but the second half is graded road like this. We stopped to add layers and admire the aspen.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

We put around 3500 miles on the van, 600 miles on the DRZ and 40 miles on our shoes. Gas ranged from 3.49 to 4.19 per gallon.

Zion, Bryce, Highway 12 and Natural bridges to come. Also, retirement decisions, christening the Casita and falling in the canyons.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:36 PM   #3
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Keep 'em coming, Denny!!!!
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Talking Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

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Old 10-11-2012, 02:19 AM   #5
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Your test ride mentality for all of this seems very sensible.


I support letting the air out of the van tire in the middle of the night to expedite the eco boost transition. They're pretty freakin awesome (I don't own one but have driven one). The other argument for it would be "what is the mileage like on the van?"

Oh, and more pics!!
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:35 AM   #6
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement


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Old 10-11-2012, 06:47 AM   #7
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit_McConnico View Post
Your test ride mentality for all of this seems very sensible.


I support letting the air out of the van tire in the middle of the night to expedite the eco boost transition. They're pretty freakin awesome (I don't own one but have driven one). The other argument for it would be "what is the mileage like on the van?"
Oh, and more pics!!
Slightly over 10 miles per gallon on the van. Not good.

Zion is next. Not as big, but just as dramatic.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:19 AM   #8
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Wow! Beautiful pictures!

Wife and I are darkening that same threshold - retirement. I'll be watching with great interest about this new truck shenanigans.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:33 AM   #9
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Nice pics. Keep the story coming.

As for the van situation - Consider a used Sprinter diesel. We are in the same situation minus retirement. We looked at Casitas but ended up with a 08 TADA. We pull it with the 06 sprinter and get about 18-19. MPG when not towing it is about 22-23 with the van partially loaded. Ramp and chock allows the scooter to ride in the van. Shelving on one side (thanks to Ed29's help) allows us plenty of storage to keep the small trailer relatively uncluttered.

Oh yeah, have fun.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:36 AM   #10
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Hey Denny, I hope you are not retiring from LSTD.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

great thread. Amazing pics. You're blessed to have a wife that will ride dirt with you.
You both look to be in remarkable shape for "retirement age" or did your ship come in early?
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:04 AM   #12
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Thanks for making this thread. My wife and I are also beginning to think about retirement. She is in a management job and she's getting burned out. I got out of the management rat race and I'm back doing technical work, and I'm still having fun most days.

Our vision of retirement probably won't include lots of travel. Instead, it will be hobbies and volunteer work that keep us busy. But I'll be most interested to hear comments from you (and others, of course) about keeping your days full and being happy in retirement.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeroy View Post
Hey Denny, I hope you are not retiring from LSTD.
Not a chance. We just had a 2 day event last weekend and I had 2 excellent students.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:19 AM   #14
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Houston View Post
Thanks for making this thread. My wife and I are also beginning to think about retirement. She is in a management job and she's getting burned out. I got out of the management rat race and I'm back doing technical work, and I'm still having fun most days.
Our vision of retirement probably won't include lots of travel. Instead, it will be hobbies and volunteer work that keep us busy. But I'll be most interested to hear comments from you (and others, of course) about keeping your days full and being happy in retirement.
Describes us to a T except she's not getting burned out.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:20 AM   #15
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

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Originally Posted by Tracker View Post
great thread. Amazing pics. You're blessed to have a wife that will ride dirt with you.
You both look to be in remarkable shape for "retirement age" or did your ship come in early?
We're both past the "retirement age". Old pictures.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:21 AM   #16
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Hopefully, not too much of a hijack, but a financial planner recently asked, "you have 7 days/week and basically morning, afternoon and evening. How do you think you want to fill those 21 timeslots with retirement?"
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #17
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Great read here, can't wait for the rest.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:47 PM   #18
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

We spent 3 days at the Grand Canyon. 2 nights spent in the organized campsite and 1 night spent in the woods. Total cost $19 not counting the Polygamy Porter (Don’t have just one, take some home to the wives) beer, but it does include 2 pay to use showers.
More on beer and park costs at a later date.

On the way to Zion we saw a sign and decided to U-turn and investigate.


The Mormons found a spring in the desert and since nobody had built a house over it, they decided to do so. The Paiute Indians were very peaceful and since wildlife couldn’t get water and the natural “crops” that the Paiute relied on didn’t get water, the Indians turned into peaceful beggars.
Sewing machine, ecologically powered.


The Mormon settlers had enough cows to justify making cheese and taking it to California. At least that’s what the ranger said. Anyway, they had a cheese press.


Ironing wasn’t quite as simple in those days. Why do it at all?


Rope bed: Instead of wooden slats, some beds had ropes woven under the padding. If the ropes were tight, the people didn’t roll to the middle and get cozy. That’s supposedly where the term “sleep tight” came from and it seems reasonable.


Our next camper.


Typical Paiute dwelling back in the day.


Onward to the main attraction, Zion and here is our 4th campsite, and what a beautiful setting. The Virgin river runs right through the park. That’s our little Casita looking out of place just over the bed of the 4X4 pickup.


The first day we decided to hike up to Angels Landing. Supposedly, when angels visit the earth, they land here first. Sounds reasonable to me.

Very early in the hike up. That’s the Virgin flowing down below. She’s responsible for all this beauty.


A little higher up and looking the other direction


A view of the path leading up. Yes, its paved but steep. The paved part changes, the steep part does not.


The road and the river far below. I think you can see why falling is the most likely cause of death in The Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce. As a matter of fact, a hiker fell in the Subway the day we arrived. We met the 2 guy that found him hanging. Hiking the Subway was crossed off our list. Another time, at least for me.


Looking the other way


Nearing the top. It gets a little scarier here.


The trail up, assisted by chains. Children and adults with minimal upper body strength are discouraged.


Looking back across the ridge we just walked across.


The valley below as seen by angels


This lady carried a chair up to this point and opted out of going to the top. For some reason she didn’t approve of me taking her picture.


Looking down stream from the top of Angels Landing. Those rangers pictured and several others behind me are there to remove graffiti scratched into the sandstone over the years. At least, judging by the quantity, I hope it was over many years.


Last look over the edge


This 10” diameter tree has been living in this rock for so many years that the rock has eroded away from the roots. I could stick my hand between the roots and the rock in some places.


This hill is along the main highway that runs through the park. I believe it is called Checkerboard Hill. If not, it should be.


My 2 honeys.


More Zion to come. We hiked up the river for 4 miles to the Narrows. Also,did a ride around the park, about 250 miles, ½ dirt and ½ highway.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:33 PM   #19
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Excellent R/R. Keep it coming, and thanks for bringing us along.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #20
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Re: My wife and I test ride retirement

Thanks and you're welcome.
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