Old Drives and Old Computers


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Yes. 11.

11 old computers. Old Macs, PCs, laptops. Even an old Toshiba netbook.

5 old tablets. A dozen or so old cellphones.

And over 20 external hard drives. Of various sizes and configurations.

Why so many devices?

Well, they were acquired over the past few decades and never discarded. Until now. As part of our downsizing activities, we are downsizing all of our tech. All we will need when we retire is 1 laptop, two tablets and two smartphones. And a NAS. Oh and a couple of Apple TVs. A router. Okay, I’ll try and stop there.

The old Apple products will make their way to the Apple Store as part of the Apple Recycling Program. The rest of the old products will go to an electronics recycling depot in town.

But first?

I have to go through every drive and every computer just to make sure that there isn’t any data that we might need to keep. I am mostly worried about digital photos that did not find their way into my Lightroom catalog.

I’m almost done this part of the downsizing effort. It’s silly in a way that digital downsizing is almost as much work as physical downsizing.

I purchased a 4-bay NAS to hold the bulk of our digital data while we travel. I have another set of disks that I will use to keep a rotating set of incremental backups offsite to prevent any catastrophic data loss. Over the past several months I have been scanning and digitizing memories and storing the data in Evernote. That data resides locally and in the cloud. 1 copy local on the NAS, 1 copy in the cloud and 1 copy offsite.

The photography collection is also in three places. 1 copy local on a direct access storage device, 1 copy on the NAS and 1 copy offsite.

Most of our other files, things like spreadsheets, word documents, presentations, courseware, music, movies, will live on the NAS with 1 copy offsite.

Fascinating to turn on all of this old hardware. Old operating systems. Old browsers.

The sad thing is that they all still work. I feel a bit sad that the machines will go into recycling but then again most of the machines have been sitting gathering dust on our storage shelves for the better part of 10 or 15 years.

Time to let them go now.


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.


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


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.


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


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.