Retirement Traveling – Part 1

My wife and I decided to put together a bucket list trip that included visiting many of the US National Parks in the western US. Our trip spanned 7 weeks and this article is an introduction to our trip.

One of the goals of our trip was to finish visiting all fifty states. We had already visited forty-six states to date, but we still had not seen North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Not only did we visit these states, but we also visited twenty-one others along the way.

Our tip started and finished in New Jersey.  I am not an RV guy, and I could not imagine driving one of those behemoths over 10,000 miles in 7 weeks (actually we drove 11,300 miles on our trip.)  I am perfectly happy driving our car and stopping at a mix of hotels, Airbnb’s, and VRBO’s. We planned our trip so every 10 days we stayed at an Airbnb or VRB. This gave us access to a washing machine, dryer, kitchen, and grill. After 10 days on the road, we found our laundry was piling up and our clean clothes were dwindling. It was great to get all the laundry cleaned and folded for our next 10 days. We also really enjoyed grilling and cooking meals in a real kitchen. After a while, the restaurants’ menus all seem to be the same and we found that most of them had limited selections and limited help due to the pandemic.

As I mentioned before, we wanted to visit US national parks that we have not seen. We have the lifetime National Park Service Senior pass which gives you access to the parks. We were lucky enough to obtain one of these at the old price – just $10. Now they are $80, but since most national parks charge $30 to $35 it still is a real bargain.

Here is a list of parks we visited during our trip. In future articles I will have an in-depth discussion of each park, a few pictures, and tips and tricks we learned along the way. The following is a list of parks we visited:

Badlands – South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore – South Dakota

Glacier National Park – Montana

Yellowstone Park – Wyoming, Montana, Idaho

Grand Tetons – Wyoming

Arches – Utah

Canyonlands – Utah

Zion – Utah

Bryce Canyon – Utah

North Rim of Grand Canyon – Arizona

White Sands – New Mexico

Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado

 

Each of these parks had many attractions and all were completely different. Check back later for future articles.

 

Glenn

Coping With Coronavirus

Well the stay at home mandate certainly affects many people in the country.  We’ve all had to make sacrifices with layoffs, working at home, and no social gatherings. 

What I am going to talk about here is coping with Coronavirus and the impact on not seeing your family.  We are very lucky to have 2 healthy children and 4 grandchildren that live close to us.  For years we’ve had dinner together as a family every Sunday.  Unfortunately, we had to put these on hold.

My 11-year-old granddaughter has an auto immune condition and has been diagnosed with Chron’s disease.  It is imperative that her exposure to other people is kept to a minimum.  She has a technician come to her house once a month for her IGG infusion and once every 8 weeks she needs to go to the hospital for an infusion of Remicade.  A side effect of the drug treatments has been loss of hair which can be devastating to a young girl.  The good news is the medications are making her feel much better and she’s has more energy and an increased appetite.

But what about the emotional health of everyone.  My grandkids are used to seeing us, their uncles and aunts, and their cousins.  This loss of contact can be hard to manage. 

I have always been a problem solver.  My solution to coping with Coronavirus was to get together using a video conferencing platform and play games for a couple of hours.  We use Zoom Video Conferencing software which can be downloaded for free.  You can use it on an iPhone or Android device or a computer.  Each grandchild uses their Chromebook they use for school.  My wife and I use an iPad.  It’s better to use these devices if available because you can see everyone simultaneously.  On a smartphone, only the person who is talking will show up on your screen

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Now that I can see and speak to everyone, I’ve come up with a few games that work great.  Here are some of my favorites:

 

  • Charades.  This is always fun.  Watching the grand kids act out the answer makes everyone laugh and chime in with their comments.  They kids range from 11 to 7 years old and all of them like to participate.  Our youngest granddaughter who is 7 came up with the list of activities we used last Sunday.  Everyone had a great laugh at her imagination.

 

  • Monopoly.  We pointed an iPhone at the board and everyone could see the properties and pieces.  My wife rolled the dice and managed the money for all players.  They simply told us if they wanted to buy the properties.  Monopoly is a great game that’s time honored while teaching counting money and making decisions. 

I’m sure there are other games you can play that will help you cope with Coronavirus.  Please leave a comment sharing your ideas on other games that can be used. 

While we’re missing the hugs, we’re grateful we can still see and talk to each other as a family.

 

Stay Healthy and Safe

Glenn

 

Welcome to Senior Self Reliance

My mission is to offer advice on ways to save money, product reviews, cooking, dining out, travel, and generally all issues that are important to Seniors.

My name is Glenn Smith and I started this site because I am a senior!  I’ve done quite a bit of research on different topics that effect seniors and will be sharing my findings with you.  I also would like this space to provide a forum for people to ask questions and provide answers and insights to the community.  I fully expect to learn new things from the community and prove wrong the adage “Old dogs can’t learn new tricks!” 

In addition to the educational value of this site, I hope to make the site fun to visit.  To that end, I have included links to crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word find, jokes, memes, and more.  There’s local weather on the front page, horoscopes, and sports scores.

If you’re interested in contributing an article, please let me know.  My email address is glenn@seniorselfreliance.com.