Looking Forward

Now that my New Year’s Resolutions have been made (see last week’s article), I am going to keep them by maintaining a positive spin on the future. It’s true that I still don’t know how I am going to earn enough money to travel – that, dear readers, is the source of my anxiety about retirement. I know we’ll have enough money to live on, but I’m pretty sure there won’t be enough for us to continue doing the road trips that we love. Anyway, I will continue to work at figuring that out. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on the good things, and focus on what I know is true.

Our summers for the past ten years have required us to make an annual trek 2,000 miles west to visit my son and his family in South Dakota. I hate it that they are so very far away from us, but we love the Black Hills area, (it’s the best motorcycling anywhere!) and so we are glad to make the trip. As soon as we can after school gets out in June, we normally head directly there; we don’t pass “Go” and we don’t collect our $200 in Monopoly money. Since the grandchildren have been part of our lives, our travels to see them tend to be hurried so we can get there fast, and we delay our departure until the last minute, and thus we end up hurrying to get home in time for school. Consequently it has been a long time since we’ve been able to do the wandering around, visiting national parks, which is our favorite way to see this beautiful country in which we live.

All that will change as of June 2011! And we know we’ll have enough money to travel at least for this summer. This week we made two camping reservations, so our plans are becoming more clear.

I took this photo from the safety of my car, which was considerably smaller than the beast.

One of our favorite places in South Dakota is Custer State Park. It’s the largest state park in the US, and it maintains a herd of about 1500 head of bison. Viewing these amazing, majestic beasts is right up there as one of my most favorite pastimes, and I can’t even tell you how many photographs and videos of them live in my iPhoto library; it’s a very large number. Every year, the last weekend of September is Round-Up weekend at Custer. Cowboys actually round up the entire herd, containing them in a very large corral, where they are “branded, tested, and sorted”  in order to make sure they remain healthy. They also cull the herd and in December they auction off enough to make sure the size of the herd outgrow the park’s ability to sustain it. The September Round-Up weekend includes celebrations such as an arts festival and chili cook-off, and we have always wanted to be there. This year we will be; we have reservations!

The second set of reservations we made represent an item on my husband’s “bucket list.” We will attend the Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week events in the middle of August. I’m not yet sure how excited I am about this, but I know I’ll enjoy it at least a bit. I do enjoy car stuff, although not to the same degree as my darling husband. My enthusiasm might not stay elevated for the whole four days, but I have a Kindle, my dogs, and our own motor home, so it will be all good.

We haven’t put anything on our summer itinerary yet that’s from my “bucket list,” so I get to think of that over the next few months, and it’s a lot of fun to plan and dream about all the possibilities. I’ll keep you posted!

About harleywoman50

I retired from teaching in June 2011, and now am enjoying the good things I never had time to do before: traveling, writing, and creative arts. I also work as an educational consultant specializing in professional development for teachers; in this capacity I teach educators about their personalities using the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Instrument). I teach a course on how to differentiate instruction using type in the classroom, and several other workshops. Life is good.
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6 Responses to Looking Forward

  1. billbirnbaum says:

    Custer State Park is great! It’s simply amazing how very near to your car the bison will approach. In early May of 2006, my wife and I arrived at the very opening of the season. We stayed in a cabin as it “just opened” for the season. We saw not only bison, but many antelope as well. What a wonderful park! Bill

  2. Thanks for your comment, Bill — I’ve been to your blog since you first posted here, and will continue to read. You have a lot to offer this “newbie” to the world of retirement.

  3. wanda says:

    When you become a famous author, you will not have to worry about money! Plus, you will be travelling for your book signings! Problem solved!

  4. Brenda Wright says:

    This blog about your quickly approaching freedom to travel aimlessly about this big country of ours makes me realize how little of the US I’ve ever seen. Maybe the summer after this one will be my big chance.

    As far as earning money to finance your trips, How about establishing yourself as a distance learning teacher at a virtual learning school like the Virtual Charter School in NH. You can live anywhere! There are more and more opportunities to do so on lots of grade levels.

    You could also apply for an international long term substitute company and spend a few months a year abroad! You might not make money, but you won’t be in debt either, I hear.
    Thanks for sharing my blog on your site. I opened up the possibilities for people to find me and comment more easily.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts and ideas, Brenda — there are so many possibilities!

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