What we’re up to

That’s us 40 years ago – and we’ve hardly changed. Well, actually that’s not quite true.

We’re trying to cope with general disintegration in a cheerful and productive way and that’s where Sounding Line comes in.

We pretty much retired in 2000 from Boulder, Colorado to what had been a summer home we bought in 1997, in Deer Harbor at the southwest corner of Orcas Island, in the San Juans, northwest of Seattle.

With our kids away at school or starting their independent lives, we saw an opportunity to begin an altogether new life, an island life. Most of us believe we get only one life to live. We decided to try for two.

We quickly got acquainted and involved in Island life, finding ourselves at home in a way we hadn’t since our respective childhoods, Yvonne in Seattle and John in the Chicago western suburb of Lombard.

We loved Deer Harbor but our house wasn’t on the water and by 2006 we were considering moving – somewhere. But in October Yvonne saw a northwest-style, on-the-water house listed for sale on Crane Island, a private island that lies between Shaw on the south and Orcas on the north, not much more than a mile from Deer Harbor. We made an offer Thursday, it was accepted Friday, and we sold our Deer Harbor house Saturday. Those were the heady days before the crash. We moved to Crane, by barge, in early January.

Boats were an integral part of our life in the San Juans: sail boats, power boats, kayaks, row boats, inflatables, tenders. Because Crane wasn’t served by a ferry we had a commuter powerboat and traveled between Crane and Orcas almost daily, in daylight and darkness, good weather and foul.

By 2013 we were looking to move again, from our beloved beautiful Crane Island, to somewhere more convenient and less expensive. That took us to Olympia, Washington State capital, and close to one son and his family.

While in Olympia we bought a used Itasca Navion motorhome and over the next four years spent a total of 12 months on the road, crisscrossing the western US, and into Canada and Mexico. It was a wonderful experience: beautiful country, satisfying hikes, and friends here and there. We thought of this as our third life.

But when we started to repeat our routes, we decided it was time for something else, a fourth life, this time in the city, specifically the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, and now in an apartment rather than our own home, and near our daughter and her husband. We’d let someone else, the building management, take care of everything. We consider ourselves on a stationary cruise of indeterminate duration. And we love it.

Will there be something else later? I wouldn’t be surprised.

OK, all that’s nice – but what’s the point here?

We’ve been lucky enough or intentional enough or daring enough or foolish enough in our retirement to live where and how we’ve wanted. Along the way we’ve taken thousands of photos, collected scores of stories, and come up against unexpected reality. It’s time to tell some stories.

If you’re in or near retirement and find yourself attracted to island living, boats, RV travel, or city life you can sample it here. Not just the beauty, fun, and satisfaction but the problems, dangers, and costs as well.

If you have a comment or suggestion use the contact form to get in touch.

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