Spring

The Castaway is still there. Still in storage.

We checked on her several times during the winter. And, apart from filling up the batteries with distilled water, everything on board the coach was fine.

We will be taking our coach out of storage next Wednesday. Hopefully, the engine will start without any issues. After a full inspection of the coach, I’ll need to do the following:

  • Inflate tires to nominal levels, front tires to 110 PSI cold, rear tires to 95 PSI cold
  • Turn on the inverter and reset the charger
  • Turn on the engine and idle
  • Turn on 120V AC breakers
  • Close and secure fridge doors
  • Confirm interior cabin is set and ready
  • Bring up jacks and head out of storage

We will be taking the coach to the Hitch House on Saturday for service and warranty work. I am also getting them to detail the coach. I did it myself last year and it took several days for me to complete the work. As we are downsizing and moving in a few months, I will not have time to detail the Castaway this spring. The dealer assures me that they will do a good job (I tend to be a bit fussy about detailing).

Lorraine and I are very excited to be bringing out the coach. With the house now sold, we are much closer to our retirement dream. We will be in Canada for another winter and after that we should be snowbirds by November of 2018.

I can hardly wait.

Spring

With an unusually mild winter here in our part of Canada, Lorraine and I have started to think about bringing the Castaway out of storage.

We inspected the coach at our storage site just last week. I have been dropping by every six to eight weeks to check all the systems and to make sure that the batteries are topped up with distilled water. The coach looks great and the energy management system is working perfectly.

We are building our post-winterizing checklist for our coach which includes a service trip to our dealer, the Hitch House, in mid-April. We’ll be leaving the coach with them for a couple of weeks to do the service work as well as to perform the recall and a few other minor warranty items.

Our weather in February has been more like what we would expect to see in mid-March. Pleasant, spring-like conditions. It has us thinking about some of the wonderful memories we enjoyed on our coach from last year. One of our favourites was staying at the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan, a beautiful resort property about a two-day drive from our home in Canada. The picture above was taken from that stay. We are going back to Petoskey again this year, although this time we will be staying at Hearthside Grove.

We are hoping that our home finally sells this year. We have had it on the market since last March. I had expected somewhere between a year or two to sell the property. It is a wonderful home but it is an expensive country estate which narrows down the pool of potential buyers considerably.

When the house does sell, we will finally begin the process of getting ready to do a lot more travelling with our coach. We are quite anxious to make the transition to our new life. It may take another year or so.

All That Jazz

music

I do have a bit of a problem. I’ve been playing guitar for a long time now, closing in on 45 years. I have invested my 10,000 hours in practice. I have become somewhat accomplished on the instrument. I love to play.

And it shows. I have built up quite the collection of guitars over the years. Here are a few of them. I have 17 in all.

someofmyguitars

I won’t be taking all of them with me when Lorraine and I are travelling in the coach. Two, or maybe three. An amp. Some pedals. It will be tough to choose.

Music has been a very important part of my life and it is one area of my life that I will continue to develop during my retirement years.

Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend — Ludwig van Beethoven

Most of my playing has been in the area of contemporary music, rock, pop, with a little bit of jazz thrown in.

My hope is that I will still have enough capability in my hands to continue playing long into my retirement years. And I want to master the art of jazz guitar. Now, jazz is a long journey and I won’t fully master the instrument in my lifetime. In my first year of retirement, I will add one new piece every month into my jazz repertoire. And perhaps I will get a tiny bit closer to this incredible legend in the video below, Joe Pass.

Retirement goal number 2 down. 28 more to go.

The Waterfall

waterfall

I am an optimistic chap, and you should be, too. Much the best approach to life. But let us have another candid moment. Turning sixty can be awful damn bad if you don’t watch out. And even if you do. Think about it. Some people actually die in their sixties. Not hit by cars or fallen off their bikes. Just die, of semi-natural causes. Like heart failure and cancer-of-the-this-and-that. It is highly unlikely that you will die, of course; I understand that… But death is out there somewhere, and it can make you moody. You keep hearing the waterfall in the distance, and you wonder all the time, What’s that noise? As if you didn’t know. Scary. Very, very scary.

Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge.

As I think about our 30 goals for retirement, the sound of the waterfall keeps getting a bit louder.

Turning sixty can be bad. A friend that should be enjoying life in his sixties is now enduring the final stages of terminal cancer. He is only a few years older than me.

There is a fear. Not so much of death itself, although I hope that it won’t be a long, painful, drawn out affair. The fear? Time.

Not enough time to achieve the goals that we will set for ourselves during our retirement years.

One of the most important goals for me will be focused on physical fitness, and not the generic “I will be a healthy person” type of goal.

I love cycling and my hope is to ride as much as I can during most of my retirement years. I started into my winter training program a few weeks ago, spinning about 7 – 10 hours a week. Intense spinning. Hard, painful workouts.

But the goal is not to complete the winter training program. The goal is to prepare for specific rides and events.

In retirement, one of my goals will be to participate in no less than one Gran Fondo a month for the first year.

I will use this calendar to plan for the Gran Fondo nearest wherever Lorraine and I happen to be.

And, whenever I find myself thinking too much about the sound of the waterfall, I will think about why I need to keep pushing myself on a bike.

Riding gives me life and it keeps me living well.

Goal one down.

29 more to go.

A Vision For What Happens Next

vision

When we made the move to our current home, our plan, as vague as it was almost a decade ago, was to make this our retirement home.

We really weren’t thinking much about retirement back then. It seemed far enough away that we didn’t give it that much thought. Sure, I had financial plans and a notional idea as to when we might make the decision to retire but life continued without much focus on retirement. Until a few years ago. I had turned 57 and that was when I had originally thought I would be retired. I wasn’t quite ready then but I knew I wanted to transition away from a corporate career to retirement once I entered my 60s. More specifically, I did not want to work past 60 or 61.

It was around the time that I turned 58 that Lorraine and I spoke a bit more about our plans for retirement. And when I say plans, I mean just what were we going to do during that part of our lives? Lorraine was pretty blunt. She told me that I would go stir crazy if I just sat around the house all day. And I agreed with her. The idea of getting old hanging around the house did not seem very appealing.

The idea of traveling quickly came to mind. And, resurrecting a dream that we had many years ago of traveling around in a motorcoach, we decided that this would become a key part of our early retirement years, either full-time or extended-time, traveling in our coach for as long as we remained healthy.

Canada does not offer the same level of support for big rigs like our motorcoach and, as a consequence, it is more challenging to find the types of places where we would like to stay longer term when we are in Canada. So, we have decided that we will build a small house on a lot that can also accommodate our coach. We will become snowbirds with our coach during the winter months. We will do some travelling from our home base while we are in Canada.

These are all broad strokes mind you.

We have our house up for sale as we know that we need to downsize in retirement. Our house is simply way too large for the two of us. We have started to do some decluttering and simplification. We have a lot more to do on that front. And we ordered our coach last year and we started using it this summer. We love it and we can’t wait to get out and spend a lot more time exploring North America with it.

Retirement now seems like a very exciting place to be. It’s just not quite real for me yet.

We need something more specific in our plans for retirement. We need to answer a few basic questions like where will we set our home base while we are in Canada? What goals would we like to achieve during our retirement years, or at least in the first few years of retirement? How will we spend our days? What will we do to keep us healthy and engaged with life?

It is against this backdrop that we are currently thinking about our 30 goals for retirement.

I have some principles in mind. In no particular order:

  • Keep healthy, emotionally and physically
  • Be smart with our money — invest well and spend wisely
  • Stay connected with our family
  • Serve others well
  • Keep growing mentally and spiritually
  • Have fun
  • Be adventurous

I have some work to do to get at those 30 goals.