As we get closer to retirement we’ve been planning how that’s going to look. I clearly remember standing in dad’s sunny laundry room when he was about my age now. He was excited about the plans he’d made concerning his extra health insurance plan. He predicted (correctly as it turned out) that he’d end up in a nursing home, so he bought a special policy that would cover the cost.
Sue and I, on the other hand, have been looking closely at our stable of vehicles: a 2010 V6 RAV4, a 2004 two wheel drive Tacoma, and a 1991 Corolla. When we load them up with climbing, camping and painting gear there is no room to sleep inside. Our Corolla wagon is even worse. It’s a 370,000 mile beater for around town that’s drive-able but missing fourth gear.
Many folks in the climbing community are investing in vans that cost up to $200,000. Some news stories speculate that young people are priced out of the housing market and choose to make car payments instead. We’ve seen charming young climbing couples who have fixed up Ford and Chevy vans from last century. We saw dozens of them in our last climbing trip to Idaho. There were also a slew of climbers in vans and trucks with pop up campers on the back. There were even a couple sprinters with popup tops added. Do they really need that much space and luxury?
We camped up in BLM land in the RAV4. We had our little 20 year old 4 season Bibler backpacking tent. It leaks badly, so I staked out a tarp on top of it. It looked like a legit homeless encampment up there. During two nights of our stay our neighbors in the next campspot drank until 2. There was a drunken woman who had a very annoying laugh. She brayed, kind of like a drunk donkey with a toothache, and it went on and on. There is no campground host to call up there, and no such thing as a quiet hour.
Boondock camping has been compared to the wild west. Truth be told, it’s been me and my climbing buddies talking and playing music late into the night on past trips. So this was a bit of karmic payback.
On the second night, Sue slept in the RAV4 (better sound proofing) while I braved it out in the tent, wearing ear plugs and numbing my brain with whiskey. While climbing in the city, we kept seeing all the van life people driving by in their gas hogs. There were literally trains of them going up and down the rough dirt roads.
My 2004 Tacoma runs like a top, but with 270,000 miles it’s a bit gutless going over the passes with a full load. And it’s far too small to sleep in without a lot of extra luggage shuffling to the front seats every morning and evening. Both cars run fine, but neither serves our needs well.
We are getting older and feel like we’ve earned some luxury in our retirement. We spent a few days looking at new trucks and settled on a very rare model of the Tundra. They are extremely hard to find. Our dealer actually gave up on finding one, but I kept looking and eventually discovered a way to make autotrader.com filter by: new, Tundra, within 50 miles, low to high pricing. Hours and hours of searching eventually revealed the truck we wanted at a heavy discount.
I used the vin number to find the same truck at a much higher price on the dealers website. I called them and told them about the low price on autotrader.com. She confirmed the details but said it wasn’t yet available…that it was on a train and expected to be on her lot between the 12th and the 20th. Long story short we placed a deposit on the truck. Once we get the truck in hand we can look into canopies.
I have thought about building my own canopy from fiberglass or poor mans fiberglass (PMF). I just finished a test box to learn the process. I made the food storage box out of 1/8″ plywood…maybe closer to 4mm. PMF is not nearly as rigid as true fiberglass, but it was a good learning experience.
My son and his wife came over last week with some good news, but it’s not my story to tell.
Christine and I climbed at the gym with masks on yesterday. First time since Covid shut everything down. Tod and his family were there running the place. He seemed very happy to see a couple of us old timers in there doing our thing. They have a new juggy ten minus in the lead cave for all us rusty has beens to practice on. There is a whole community of climbers in this town who really miss our favorite local hangout.