March 25, 2009
RV Camping in Mountains and Near Lakes
By Bob and Pam Stephens
North Central Arkansas is composed of Ozarks (meaning “rounded hills”) with three large lakes: Bull Shoals
http://www.bullshoals.net/ , Heber Lake http://www.heber-springs.com/content/ and Norfork Lake. http://www.lakenorfork.com/ All of the lakes are great for boating activities, and all kinds and fishing. While you are at Norfork Lake, check out the Hand Cove Resort and RV Park! http://www.handcoveresort.com/index.htm The White River flows out of the Dam just below Bull Shoals. Bull Shoals-White River State Park is a wonderful Arkansas State Park; a must see area, if you can but make reservations early. Near the State Park is a restaurant called Gaston’s. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/park-finder/photo-tours.aspx?id=8 It’s great to enjoy the river and have a good meal. Sit by the three-sided glass windows and enjoy your dining experience and views of the White River. The White River area is known for some of the best trout fishing in the country. There is a small airport located at Gaston’s, and people fly in from all over the county to fish.
Near the northern end of the state of Arkansas is the Buffalo River Basin. This is a stunning place http://buffalorivergallery.com/index.php?cat=8 Take a float trip down the Buffalo River. http://www.ozarkmtns.com/buffalo/bfg.html The scenery is great and so is the fishing. Don’t come to Arkansas and miss the float trip. Paddling over the course of several hours can be very tiring, so be sure you are up to it! There are several different float trip lengths to choose from! Drive the upper Wilderness area of the Buffalo basin and you will find it is stunning, too. What about a motorbike ride? Grab the Harley because this is a wonderful area for motorcycle riding with curvy roads and great views. Don’t miss the town of Jasper off Hwy 7-scenic! http://www.arkansas.com/city-listings/city_detail/city/Jasper It sits in the upper Buffalo wilderness area and there is a wonderful view from the restaurant there, and good cobbler! There are several primitive camping areas in the Buffalo area. If hiking is your thing, this area is a must see. Want to see a campground location for your RV before you pull in? www.campgroundimages.com
Near the Bull Shoals Lake and Norfolk Lake are some very nice small towns and places to live. Mountain Home is a very nice area situated in the Ozarks, so it is a very pretty area. Mountain Home has golf courses and it is near the Lakes. It is in the north end of the state so the weather in the summer is better than the central or the southern part of the state. Stop by and see the small towns of Yellville and Flippin, Arkansas! Ranger Boats are made there! Yes, there really is a Flippin, Arkansas. http://www.flippinweb.com/
Traveling east along the north end of the state you will come to Mammoth Springs, which is a very scenic area. The Red river flows here too, which is a great area for fishing and floating. Riverside Park is set on the banks of the Red River. The only drawback for us was traveling on a dirt road for two miles and there is a railroad tracks close by, but it’s a very nice grassy RV Park.
Continuing East and South you will come the Crowley Ridge Area, which is very beautiful http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/crowleysridge/ . If you like to go horseback riding or mountain biking in the Ozarks, this is a must area to come see. This is a great area for hiking, fishing, boating or just taking a nice ride in the car. There are several State Parks in the area to meet your needs as well as Corps of Engineers Parks. Further east of here is the Mississippi Delta area is the town of Jonesboro. It’s nice for shopping and dining out.
Heading South and then back toward the middle of the State you will come to Heber Springs. This is a very popular Lake. It is large and is great for fishing and hunting. It is surrounded by the greenery of the Ozarks. If you’re into water and boating this is a must. North of Heber Springs is the town of Mountain View http://www.ozarkgetaways.com/index.html It a very old town and is known for its folk music. Throughout the year they have folk music and Blue Grass festivals there. http://www.ozarkgetaways.com/things_to_do.html Stop by and spend a few days …you will be in for a real treat!
Tell them Bob and Pam Stephens, Bob@CamproundImages.com sent you!
March 24, 2009
Camping in the Beautiful Ozark Mountains
Written by Bob and Pam Stephens
Northwest Arkansas is a beautiful area to see! http://www.nwark.org/northwest_arkansas_section/northwest_arkansas It has an abundance of greenery, water, and rolling hills. The Ozarks are the main influence of the area. In Northwest Arkansas you will find the communities of Eureka Springs, Ft. Smith, Fayetteville, Rogers, Bentonville, Bella Vista, Beaver Town, Springdale, Van Buren, and Berryville. Two large lakes are in Northwest Arkansas: Beaver Lake http://www.arkansas.com/lakes-rivers/lake.aspx?id=1 and Table Rock Lake http://tablerocklake.net/ (which separates Missouri and Arkansas). You can enjoy great fishing and water sports on these lakes. Branson, Missouri, located on the shores of Table Rock Lake, and Lake Taney Como brings many visitors passing through Arkansas on their way to Branson, where they see many family oriented shows and other forms of entertainment. Roaring River http://www.roaringriverstatepark.com/about_us.htm , with its fish hatchery finds its origin here through underground springs. Roaring River offers a great campground, hotel/conference center, and terrific fishing.
In Eureka Springs http://www.eurekasprings.com/ , which is known for its historic Victorian homes and wonderful shopping, you can spend hours visiting antique shops, restaurants and spas. The Crescent Hotel http://www.crescent-hotel.com is a wonderful get away for honeymooners and travelers. Eureka Springs boasts an abundance of activities for people to see and enjoy throughout the year, including marvelous Fall Color! While in this general area, you won’t want to miss Beaver Town http://www.beavertowninn.com/, with its old railroad trestle over the Lake, and its sway bridge! The area is fit for canoes, kayaks, and all types of boating. Bring your RV and park at Beaver Town RV Park, sit under the tall canopy of trees, while you fish, and watch the wildlife! Visit the “new” castle “Rogue’s Castle” newly constructed http://www.castleroguesmanor.com/main.html.
For culture and college life, visit Fayetteville, Arkansas, http://www.uark.edu/home/ where you can “call the hogs” alongside the Arkansas Razorback fans! They have some terrific athletic facilities. Visit the University of Arkansas not far from Dickson Street, where much night life is available http://www.fayettevillear.com/ . Plays, music, and college sports abound in Fayetteville. Every fall, “Bikes, Blues, and Barbeque” http://www.bikesbluesandbbq.org/ is hosted in Fayetteville! Want some “scenic drives-tours”? You will not lack for great scenery and history! http://www.experiencefayetteville.com/tours.php If you happen to be in town after Thanksgiving, be sure to visit ‘the square’, where thousands of Christmas lights are displayed beginning that week; pony rides and carriage rides are available for all!
Just up the road, north of Fayetteville, are the communities of Bentonville (Wal-Mart Headquarters) http://www.bentonvillebellavistachamber.com/ , Rogers and Bella Vista. Located in Benton County, these communities are some of the fastest growing in the nation. Also home to this area is Tyson Foods and JB Hunt Trucking. Don’t miss seeing the Crystal Bridges Museum, http://www.crystalbridges.org/main.aspx established by Mrs. Walton, housed in the Massey Hotel for now, but is under construction now in its permanent home very near the square in Bentonville. Bella Vista http://www.bellavistapoa.com/index.asp is this writer’s personal preference because it is our home. Bella Vista has eight lakes and seven golf courses and is situated on rolling green hills, which have rocky cliffs. Golfers love Bella Vista! While not a retirement community exclusively, it is home to many who’ve retired to play golf! Some have purchased homes or second homes, or condos in this area because of all the wonderful amenities Bella Vista offers to their community! This area of the Ozarks is colorful in spring and fall; in spring flowering trees abound, and in fall the colors of the hardwoods are a site to behold!
Between Rogers and Bentonville is a large lake called Beaver Lake http://www.arkansas.com/lakes-rivers/lake.aspx?id=1. It is a Corps of Engineer’s Lake with campgrounds and some are right on the lake itself, such as Dam Site Park, which is a terrific RV Park. Beaver Lake is beautiful and can take many days to discover. If you love wildlife, be sure to make the trip and watch for American Bald Eagles, as there are many nests high in the trees. Tours on the lake are given for just that purpose! Call Beaver Lake to find out more about when they do these tours to spot Eagles! Don’t miss the craft fairs of Northwest Arkansas, happening all over in October and Spring, but most famously in Bella Vista http://nwacraftfairs.com/Bella_Vista_Festival.asp and the War Eagle Caverns and Mill. http://wareaglemill.com
We’d love to see you in Northwest Arkansas…and YOU will love it! Spring is here, the redbuds and Bradford pears are blooming, the leaves are coming back, the grass is greening up, the rivers are flowing and we are just waiting for you! Contact us at: Bob@campgroundimages.com
March 17, 2009
By Bob and Pam Stephens
From Alligators to Diamonds…I know which one I’d prefer! Southern Arkansas is more of an agricultural farming area, with fields of cotton, soy and rice. There are Cypress trees growing out of the water and many dead tree stumps sticking out of the water, reminiscent of Louisiana’s swamps. The lakes are not for waterskiing in some cases or swimming. Some of the lakes have dangerous residents: alligators, snakes. Whatever you choose to do in or around the water make sure you check with the local officials for safety precautions.
The South Eastern area of Arkansas, adjacent to the Mississippi river, is a great area The Community of Lake Village was very nice. There were several Campgrounds in close in: Lake Chicot State Park http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakechicot/ and Chicot County Park http://www.chicotcounty.com . There were no trees standing in the water so it appears to be ok for swimming and waterskiing, but always double check with local officials at the park. The downtown area has a great feel; historic sites.
Do you love steaks and grillin’? The town of El Dorado has the best steak cook off once a year. See: http://www.arkansassouth.com/events/ Enter your own, or pay a fee to purchase steaks to eat for dinner that have been entered in the cook-off contest. Many people come to this, and it is known far and wide, so have your reservations make early as RV Parks fill up fast! Magnolia is close by for campers and is very nice, with some RV parks available.
Along the Arkansas River in the Southern part of the state are several Corps of Eng. Parks. One area that is nice is the Pendleton Bend area. Park your RV adjacent to the river and have fun.
A very nice lake in the South West area is Millwood Lake. See their information: http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/millwood It is about 45 minutes North of Texarkana. It’s a big lake great for fishing. I’ve been told, but not confirmed, the lake has some alligators in it. The lake also has many trees in it. Around this lake are several nice Corps of Eng. Parks and a State Park. It’s a nice area, so go visit.
If the wife is asking for diamonds this year, try your luck at the Crater of Diamonds! You may find a diamond and you will pay for your whole trip! Or not! See their website: http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com
“In 1906, John Huddleston, the local farmer who owned this property then, found the first diamonds near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and started the diamond mining rush. According to the history of Crater of Diamonds State Park, after a series of ill-fated mining ventures, followed by tourist attractions, the site became an Arkansas state park in 1972” (from the Crater of Diamonds website). Contact us at Bob@campgroundimages.com
Written by Bob and Pam Stephens
You can’t beat seeing the state of Arkansas from the comfort of your RV. From the Ozarks to the Delta, this state is rich in natural wonders. What better way to enjoy it all than at a great Arkansas RV campground? The state is chock full of places that you can use as home base for your RV as you bask in the surroundings, and many of the Arkansas RV campgrounds not only offer a safe and friendly place to stay but many amenities like horseback riding and water sports on sight. For a great Arkansas adventure, give these RV campgrounds a try:
· For a family adventure in the Ozarks, pull up to the Shady Oaks RV Park and Campground http://www.camptheoaks.com This Harrison based scenic resort offers a swimming pool, shaded hook up, pull through sites and stunning views. It’s convenient to local attractions like kayaking in the Buffalo River, Silver Dollar City and shopping at the Branson outlet mall.
· Any fishing fan will love a trip to Lake Poinsett State Park http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2588/places/45288 in the Delta of northeastern Arkansas. There are tons of water sports to be had on site, lots of room for cookouts and picnics, and plenty of space for camping.
· To see the scenic Ouachita part of the state, near Hot Springs, Arkansas, go for the Cloud 9 RV Park http://www.cloudninerv.com (see our aerial slideshow here which Bob and I took), or Hot Springs RV Park. This family friendly RV resort is open year round and combines natural beauty with proximity to the picturesque town of Hot Springs. There’s something in Hot Spring for everyone from the art lover to the history buff – this is one Arkansas RV campground you don’t want to miss.A tip for enjoying these RV parks: they fill up quickly, especially during the summer months, so book ahead so you’re not disappointed! Contact us: Bob@campgroundimages.com
By Pam and Bob Stephens
The Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains are stunningly beautiful and offer views that are hard to beat anywhere else in the world, but nature is just where an Ozarks vacation begins. There are tons of things to do in this area, and one of the best ways to get a taste of it all is to pile into the RV and give RV camping in the Ozarks of Arkansas a try. There’s a little something for everyone in the Ozarks, making it the perfect family getaway.
Of course the natural beauty is what first drew people to the Ozarks in the first place, and there are many RV parks in the area that cater to nature lovers hoping to soak it all in. Places like the Denton’s Ferry RV Park, http://www.whiteriver.net/dentonrv give RV travelers with a love of the great outdoors a home base from which they can explore mountain trails, fish in one of that many rivers in the area, like the Bull Shoals and the Buffalo, go white water rafting or even scuba diving. Those who simply want to get away from it all can kick back at these nature loving resorts and take it all in.
For people who prefer a taste of local culture, RV camping in the Ozarks of Arkansas can be a delight as well. Pull into the White Buffalo Resort http://www.whitebuffaloresort.com or the Blue Heron Campground and Resort http://www.blueheroncampground.com , and head out from there to enjoy the high life in nearby Harrison or across the border in Branson. You’ll find great shopping and restaurants ranging from international to down home.Most RV parks in the Ozarks are in easy reach of local attractions, but they tend to fill up quickly during the summer months, so booking ahead is a good idea. If you’re traveling during the off season, call ahead and make sure your park of choice is open.
Contact us if you want any further information! Bob@campgroundimages.com
By Bob and Pam Stephens
Do you have your grandkids for a part of the Summer? When you are traveling through, stop awhile and let your kids go to camp. They will have a great time, traveling with you and attending a great camp!
Why not think about this:
Summer camp is a right of passage for many kids. It gives them a chance to have tons of fun away from their parents, but it also gives them a chance to learn new skills, make new friends, and become a little bit more independent – all in a safe environment. While summer camps for kids have been around for quite some time, in recent years there has been an explosion in the different camping options out there. No matter if your child dreams of being a professional chef, a movie star or just wants to spend some days on the lake in a canoe, there is a camp out there to cater to them.
In Arkansas, summer camps are especially popular, thanks to all of the beautiful countryside in which to have them. If you’re thinking of an Arkansas summer camp for your child or grandchild, consider these options:
· Camp Ozark http://www.campozark.com/ is one of the best known camps in Arkansas and is visited by around 500 campers from all over the country every summer. This nondenominational Christian camp is a traditional kind of camp that simply gets the kids away from the video games and outside, moving around and playing games in the great outdoors. Camp Ozark is located in Mt. Ida.
· For your little golfer, the B. Williams Golf School Camp http://www.iabv.com/iabvgolf.html in Bella Vista makes a great choice. This overnight camp invites golfers of all skill levels and gives them a chance to train with professional golfers and college golf coaches.
· Camp Subiaco, http://www.campsubiaco.org/ located in Subiaco, offers go-cart racing, archery, and more. This one is for boys only.
The choices for summer camps in Arkansas are almost endless. Keep an eye on your local paper in the spring when ads for summer camps start popping up so you don’t miss out on any. Or do a “google” search for camps in the state of Arkansas! Park your RV for a week or so, enjoy the surroundings and let the kids have a “camping” experience like no other!
Contact us at Bob@campgroundimages.com
Written by Pam and Bob Stephens
A vacation in Arkansas can mean different things to different people, but no matter what your ideal Arkansas vacation is, a good way to experience it all is by RV. RV parks are scattered all around the state to let you get a taste of the beautiful scenery and the local culture and heritage of the area. If you’re looking for a place to berth your RV so you can settle in right now, check out these Arkansas RV camp sites:
· If you are craving a completely peaceful, tranquil getaway with none of the distractions of the modern world, then Hog Heaven RV Park http://www.hogheavenrvpark.com in Jasper is the one for you. This camp site is on the famed Scenic Highway 7, which has been heralded in many travel journals as one of the ten most scenic spots in the world. You get the best of nature for a bargain price at Hog Heaven.
· If fine dining and shopping are more your cup of tea, then consider the Arkadelphia Campground http://www.arkadelphiacampground.com near Hot Springs. From this base, you’ll be able to take in beautiful, historic downtown Hot Springs, and you’ll also be well within reach of the major outlet mall center in Branson, Missouri.
· For water sports lovers and fishing enthusiasts, it has to be His Place http://www.hisplaceresort.net on the White River Resort. This place is all about the river, and they offer many activities on site to help you take advantage of it. There are also hiking trails and mountain bike rentals on site for those who prefer dry land. (We are so taken with this one! Check out their website and slideshow! Amazing fish, colors, oh let’s pack up the RV and go right now!)
Which Arkansas is your Arkansas? With these Arkansas RV camp site options, you don’t have choose just one – load up the RV, hit the road, and experience a sampling of everything Arkansas has to offer. Contact us at: Bob@campgroundimages.com
February 17, 2009
Have you ever noticed that road signs are a lot like life? We’ve gone down the road in our motorhome and sometimes I get bored, just sitting! Big surprise! Sometimes I am reading, sometimes I am crocheting, but sometimes I am lost in a daydream…others I am “observing” the signs of life!
• “Wrong Way” or “Do not enter”… are important signs when driving a 38’ motorhome! You really could end up where you don’t belong! A one-way road is definitely hazardous!
• “Watch for Falling Rocks!”—And what will you do if you see them falling?Hey, good one..I’d give that a 7.5! Yes, these could really damage our traveling home!
• “Dangerous Curves Ahead”—they are not talking about mine! Curves are tricky in a stretch limo and most certainly in a 38’ motorhome! I tell Bob to slow down!
• “Yield Right of Way”—to whom? Oh that 53’ semi truck barreling down the lane we are trying to enter! Yes that is a good thing to do!
• “Turn Lights on Next 5 miles”—is it dark for the next 5 miles? Are there drivers ahead that are worse than the ones we’ve dealt with so far? Well then what about the rest of our trip?
• “Run Away Ramp”—is this a ramp that is rebellious? Just how does a ramp run away? And why? Is this the ramp I take when I want to run away? I memorize its location!
It put me in mind of a book I had read quite some time ago, Milo and the Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Perhaps you’ve read it too! It was a fun read, and tongue in cheek humor absolutely, but it had so many real truths about life! For instance, there were some destinations on this road where the tollbooth was: A sign along the road said “Welcome to Expectations!”—We’ve all been there haven’t we? “Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you are going. Of course, some people never go beyond expectations!”
Or, “The Doldrums” was another area along this highway! “The Doldrums are where nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes…where it’s unlawful to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate, or speculate; where the daily schedule consists of: daydreaming, napping, dawdle, delay, linger, loiter, put off to tomorrows, loaf, lounge, dillydally with almost no time left for brooding, lagging, plodding or procrastinating!”
Perhaps “Dictionopolis” would be more to your liking? “A happy kingdom advantageously located in the Foothills of Confusion; caressed by gentle breezes from the Sea of knowledge, where the ‘word market’ does business and the Ministers Cabinet consists of the Duke of Definition, the Minister of Meaning, the Earl of Essence, the Count of Connotation, and the Undersecretary of Understanding. In Dictionopolis you can pick fresh if’s, and’s, and but’s and get ripe when’s and where’s—juicy words for sale!”
What about a visit to the “City of Reality”? Or to the “City of Illusions?” In the latter, there are “mirages- things that aren’t really there that you can see very clearly—often easier to see than things that are!”
Or then there is the “Island of Confusion”…so “how did we get here? You jumped, of course!—that’s the way most people get here…every time you decide something without having a good reason, you jump to Conclusions whether you like It or not. It’s such an easy trip, I’ve been here hundreds of times, but getting back isn’t so easy.”
I sense the quietness I haven’t heard for awhile, and realize we have stopped for a break. My husband asks why I’ve been so silent and where I’ve been: ”Oh, first the Doldrums, the City of Illusions, where I jumped to the Island of Conclusions…while I’ve been right here all the time!” He looked at me pretty funny, but then dismissed it…he knows me!
February 15, 2009
Written by Pamela Stephens
I’ve been thinking….I’ve posted a lot of our RV photos taken throughout Canada here on the FMCA (http://www.fmca.com) website, (see “Oh Canada” album) and it really made me feel like I had just taken the trip all over again! And it put me in a very nostalgic mood remembering some of the things that we spoke about in the days before it took place!
During the planning of our trip, all of us got together to consider what we wanted to do “as a group” to make it a terrific experience! It’s always good to do this when traveling in a caravan or shall we say RV-avan! We would have two fifth wheels and one 38’ motorhome and you just don’t turn these things around on a dime, you know! But yes, you DO know if you’ve been doing this longer than one time!
We’d not gone on a RV trip together any of us, however, that is not to say that we were strangers! You see, there were three siblings: two brothers and a sister and their spouses! Now, I want you to know these are not wishy-washy siblings. These people are decisive, forthright, not shy, and certainly no one need ever wonder what they are thinking! So to sit down and talk about where we were going and what we wanted to do, the only ones who were pretty laissez fair, were the three spouses of the three siblings! The Siblings– all had an OPINION about everything!
But in the end, we knew generally, where we wanted to go: the Jasper-Banff area, because “Lake Louise is wonderful we hear,” and Glacier Park, (after which we would all head for our separate home states) and anywhere in between! Now, one of these brothers (he is the oldest-therefore out of respect for him and his dear sweet wife, he shall remain nameless) has often regaled the others with his stories of adventures on vacations. Well, adventures might not be the right word! Think Perils of Pauline here! Not necessarily “Oh boy, we had a great time” stories, but the “OH my Gosh we were nearly killed stories!” This brother could have taken Robin Williams’ place in the movie “RV”..if you’ve seen it, you understand! In fact, it’s possible the movie was based on his life! If we were writing about his escapades, some of the chapter titles might be: “December’s Festival of Lights in Newport”—or better known to us as, “Jumping in the ocean NAKED to push the boat off the sandbar in December;” or “How to avoid shipping lanes, while fishing in the Pacific” known to us as “I told him not to fall asleep while on watch for large ships!”; or even ‘Whose Dingy Is It, Anyway?” known affectionately as “How not to lose the only dingy while on an island;” or “How I almost personally eliminated a son-in-law, a daughter and a fifth wheel on one day while attempting to park!” I digress! (But stay tuned for further adventures in upcoming blog entries!)
The two other couples (ourselves and Sister and husband) made a pact that we would have E.B. go into all “campsites” first, get parked and then WE would come in! Also, if E.B. said “I’ll fix it,” “trust me!” or “leave it to me!” we would all RUN!! Well, we had a great time on that trip, but we made E.B. sit down and watch the movie “RV” with us at our first opportunity! Needless to say we all laughed over it..and I am still not sure E.B. sees the “connection.” Our Canadian journey was wonderful and we all survived quite well! Do you have similar stories?
Sounds like the question that was popular many years ago, “It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your child is?” Perhaps this is a sore subject, but do you know what your spouse has planned for their (and thus your) retirement? Okay, he wants to fish and whittle toys for grandsons. Great!! Eventually that will wear off! You can only fish or go bowling so many times before coming to the conclusion that this isn’t what you thought it would be! Have you had the discussion about what your vision of retirement looks like? Or maybe you have calculated what you believe to be your spouse’s plans, not even considering it may be quite different!
One of our “couple” friends found themselves in exactly that position. He had been a faithful employee, had earned kudos for his expertise in his field. He had been living in a particular area for some time, just waiting to “break free” and see the country! Dreams of owning an RV of some kind danced in his head!
It just so happened that the wife in this story, began to be acknowledged for her expertise and wanted to expand her career and broaden it into a partnership with others in her field. Retirement was about three years ahead for her husband at this time, but she was “amping up” when his mind was “winding down” career wise. In the first couple years of her business, there wasn’t an issue. But needless to say, as the last year began before his actual retirement, issues arose that caused great concern. So much so that heated “discussions” became ultimatums. While this was eventually rectified and has a happy ending, it isn’t what we want to look forward to, and could be avoided if discussed before we get that far!
Or perhaps, you are retired already…I can hear that female contingency say, “He’s always under my feet!” I remember when Bob first was at home 24/7, I was running a business out of my home at the time. He walked into my office and said, “What’s for lunch?” I recall saying something like, “I don’t do lunch…unless I’m out shopping.” And then there was the time I returned home from an event to find that Bob had been “helping me out”. I opened the pantry to get something out to fix for dinner, and couldn’t find it on the appropriate shelf! Then I realized that none of my “pantry items” were in the same location as before I left. Oh, and my spices were all alphabetized! (I always kept the ones I use all the time close together) When I inquired as to what happened, I was informed that he made everything fit into a practical and more efficient area. I never knew how inefficient my system had been for 30 years!
Any of these issues sound familiar? You are not alone, as they say. But, what do you do about it all? We would suggest you sit down and with all the finesse of an expert tennis champ, broach the subject. Ask lots of questions in a very non-threatening way. Now I know you may want to jump up and down over some of the answers, or say ridiculous things like, “You’ve got to be kidding!”, but restrain yourself…perhaps it will save you major disappointments up ahead!
Here are some really good ideas for you:
• Understand there’s a difference between a wish and a goal. Often before we retire, we have wish lists that are not realistic. Even realistic goals remain wishes without a plan!
• You know what they say about “assume-in” things right? It makes an “a… out of u and me!” Sit down with your mate and discuss future plans, not assumptions. Decisions shouldn’t be made upon assumptions by either party.
• Get a clear vision of what “your retirement” will look like. Create a financial plan that will carry you through. If you don’t know how to do that, consult a professional.
• Are you ready to call it quits? Are you sure? Many of us can’t wait to say aloha to a long career, but often finances can call us back; or some just can’t quit altogether, they still need “something” to do to give purpose to their lives. Know what skills and strengths can translate into just such a new position. Perhaps you could keep your hand in things part-time, or tele-commute from home and still earn a pretty penny doing so.
It’s better to talk about retirement with your mate BEFORE plans are made and feelings are HURT! Do you relate to any of this? Let us hear from you!
By Pamela Stephens, baby boomer
As Baby Boomers, we have collectively set quite a few trends and even a few fads. Because our ranks are many, Boomers have lined the pockets of many a toy maker with the likes of hula hoops, Davey Crockett coonskin caps, Tiny Tears dolls, and Tinker Toys; and many a gal my age had a poodle skirt or two and watched the phenomenon of American Bandstand, oohing and aawing over the latest teen idols and their hits.
It seems as Boomers, our generation is doing it again: We are taking the “tired” out of Retired! We are all just too young to “Retire.” Yes, we want to “downsize” into condos or town homes and get a motorhome or fifth-wheel, but Pah-leeze, don’t call it retirement! That equates with “old and tired” or “sick and tired” and after all, we are just looking forward to traveling, and spending our kids’ inheritance! As for retirement centers, phooey! We are much happier if you call it “active-adult living” with a country club atmosphere! There are about 24 million of us active adults here in the good old U.S. of A, which means about 9 percent of our population! And guess what, as all of us Baby Boomers age, that will expand to roughly 40 million by the year 2024! And honey, we are mobile! We are well-educated, affluent and concerned about maintaining our health (in between Krispy Kremes and our Mocha Lattes).
Now we are lining different pockets; those of the “active-adult” building industry! Developers have catered to our whims of wanting communities which offer lots of activities, a simple, stress-free lifestyle, while owning our own individual homes, often without having to maintain and garden the yards! No two-stories for us! Give us plenty of living area, a great-room rather than a formal living room, with a split bedroom plan that allows our guests to be on the opposite side of the house for privacy! And we want beautiful surrounds…set in the woodlands, or waterfront areas, or at least with a golf course view or a lake or waterscape to look out at! Be sure to give us a “lodge” to gather in, a card room to play canasta, oh…and how about some craft lessons, tap lessons, two-step or line dancing? The boomer guys want a woodshop, perfectly maintained and well-oiled for making those grandson’s wooden airplanes and trains! Boomer gals want to create, so give us ceramics classes, oil painting or watercolor lessons, or quilting classes, thank you, kindly! Of course it must have a state-of- the-art gym where we can sweat to the oldies with Jane and learn that new thing called “pilates.” And to keep us safe, we’d like a gated, guarded environment to keep the owners and boomers away from those who would just like to “browse”. Oh and by the way, can we have a spot to store our motorhome, 5th-wheel or “toy” hauler? Because several times a year we want to heed the call of the open road…I can almost hear ol’ Willie singing to me now…”on the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road, again!”
Yes, we may be of the age to retire, but to us that just means it’s my bedtime! Stay tuned for future posts!