I'm Rick, a Boston boy transplanted to Key West, Florida. My
life's resume is long and varied -- teacher, coach, bartender, graphic
designer, fitness trainer, engraver, writer, photographer -- but the
best line on the whole thing
is: Ultimate Frisbee Instructor
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yup, I can
truthfully say that I was on the faculty at M.I.T. As long as
nobody asks for details, that sounds purdy impressive.
More about me later,
That's me steadying Delicate Arch, by the way.
OK, so, why Road Life?
Well, retirement is coming. Unshackled from the confinement of the work force, I can unleash myself onto the roads of North America. A static retirement home is not for me, Lee. I want to roam with my buddies Whim and Fancy again. They’ve served as my navigators and spiritual guides in numerous roadtrips through 50 states, 9 Canadian provinces, and 18 European countries, kingdoms, and municipalities (and whatever else they call themselves).
It’s a year or so away, and I am E-A-G-E-R to get back out there on the open road: no more monthly rent, no more electric bill, no more water bill, no more sewer bill, no more cable bill.
It won’t be
bill-less, I know that. Insurance
(vehicle and health) and phone (and internet) will still be picking my
pocket, but that’s about it. Oh, yah, there’ll be petrol to
pump, chow to chow down, libations to quaff, and the inevitable
maintenance and repairs, but that’s OK.
With no rush to be anywhere, I can moderate my fuel
consumption at will, I’ll opt for groceries over restaurants (I do
that anyway), and the libations, well, we’ll just see how the flow
So, anyway, the finances seem doable.
My roadtrips have too often been like a challenge: how many great places can I see in two weeks (or three, or four). I’d plan my route with Google Earth and Excel. In my 20’s and 30’s, I was a high school teacher, and I had summers off. Now, I could have been responsible and mature and all that malarkey and gotten summer employment, but screw that, I wanted to get out and explore my country! The National Parks beckoned. Mountains that were rocky, canyons that were grand, plains that were great. They were all out there waiting for ME! And I wanted to see them all.
Rand-McNally showed me routes and distances, I crunched the numbers with pencil and paper -- yeah, it was that long ago -- and rationed out reasonable driving days with maximum scenic indulgences. For easy math, I use 50 MPH. A 500-mile day is 10 hours of driving time. Now, I’m not “one of those” on the highways. Far from it. On the Zoomer-Roller-Crawler (ZRC) Scale, I slide between Zoom and Roll. 75-80 is my typical highway pace. But I plan for 50 because, over the course of the whole day, it seems to work out. There are bathroom stops, fuel stops, curiosity stops, lunch stops, congested areas, construction zones, side roads, and even, yes, the occasional missed exit. When it’s all factored in, 50 MPH is a good fit.
And if I plan for 10 hours and get there in 9, well, hoo-freaking-ray for me. I got an hour of Bonus Time to do with what I will.
That all sounds pretty structured, but that’s where my navigators come into play. If I’m angling for White Sands National Park in southwestern New Mexico, and I see the tiny dot named Roswell about 40 miles to the north, well, Whim tells me to go for some alien action cuz we got a little check-it-out time in our pockets.
But, still, even the longest roadtrips were finite. I never really “stayed for a while” anywhere. There were always more places to see. I didn’t want to go home and admit that I missed Yosemite because I lingered too long in freaking Reno.
Now, though, if I want to hang for a week in Reno, I can. I won’t; I’ve been to Reno. But if I want to spend four days instead of four hours exploring every crook and nanny of Fisher Towers and the Colorado Riverway in east-central Utah, I can. Or if I want to sit from sunrise to sunset in the Valley Of The Gods, instead of just driving through it, I can.
And I will. No need to be filling the tank twice a day because I gotta check all my scenix off my list. I might fill it twice a week. Hey, I might have to pace my self that way, just to keep the budget happy.
So, with finances and attitude seemingly aligned, and the when’s and where’s and how’s generally concocted, the Biggest Decision then is… What Vehicle Should I Call Home?