The Dusty Trail – No Looking Back

This morning I spent some time updating my profile page (About Retired Vagabond). Most of it was written and published three years ago and I needed to update some of the information. For those who haven’t seen it, this is the abbreviated version of my journey to retirement.


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The Short Version

I’ve been enjoying the single life for about 30 years now. I have the privilege of being the father of four grown children and Grandfather of five grandchildren. I was born, raised and lived in Southern California until I retired in 2013. I went to Downey High School, loved the beach and spent many days on the sandy beaches of California during my early years.

I retired from the Information Technologies field a few years ago after much consideration of what my retirement life would look like.

I was employed most recently at The Orange County Register. A major newspaper in Southern California where I grew in the company  working in different departments for twenty-six years. The day I retired, I reluctantly said goodbye to many friends and tucked away some great memories. You could describe me during periods of my working career as a workaholic. Although the ones closest to me would question it only being “periods of my career”. I enjoyed my career, going to work each day for most of my life was actually fun and something I looked forward to.


The Longer Version

My parents second restaurant in 1954

My decision to retire was a difficult one.  I started my working career at my family’s restaurant at thirteen years old. I continued working in the Restaurant business until I was thirty-two, and married with four children.  

There were several careers after that with the last as stated above, at the Orange County Register. In all, I worked fifty-three years, with only  being “unemployed” for a brief four month period in 1987.

My original plan was to retire early, but I had several “false” starts.  One was just before the market went to pot in 2007-08.  Since it was a major hit to my nest egg, I postponed a few more years. I was pretty determined to retire in March of 2013, but yet again postponed until October 1, 2013.  This time I finally made the plunge.

During the last year or more before retiring I spent many hours wondering what I would do during my retirement. Work? I mean, that’s all I have ever done.. work and raise my kids. But now my kids are grown, starting their own families, and I won’t have my addiction of work to look forward to every day. What am I going to do with myself?!


Retiring to New Life in Sticks and Bricks?

Desert of Arizona

My first consideration was to move from Orange County, CA to Arizona, buying a home near family. Even though I lived my entire life in California, I knew with my modest retirement, I couldn’t afford to continue to reside there. Our state had morphed into something I don’t recognize anymore. I was ready for a fresh start, a lifestyle “reboot”.

Changing the Course

After much consideration, knowing my nest egg wouldn’t allow me to travel as much as I wanted to, a friend mentioned traveling full time in an RV. What a great idea! I love the outdoors, camping, photography and there are so many things I want to see all over our country.  It also allowed me to have extended visits in areas where my family live; Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana and Oregon. With this in mind, my dream changed radically.  I started following a few Full Time RVing blogs, then more. My addiction quickly shifted to the idea.

Workhorse and Coach Parked Home Base

Montana Home-base

As a result of my research and decision, I setup Montana as my “domicile” of record in December of 2013 and it became my home-base. My Brother in Law and Sister had moved there fifteen years ago, escaping the California lifestyle and taxes.

One of my sons offered his expertise in “bargaining” with dealerships to find a great deal on a new Ram 2500 4×4 with a Cummings Diesel engine, which I took delivery of in Oregon on January 31, 2014.  I also purchased a 2014 Reflection 32′ by Grand Design.  I took delivery of it on February 1o, 2014 in Arizona. That same day after spending months downsizing all of my belongings, I moved from my last home of ten years into the Reflection. By downsizing I mean I contacted all of my kids and told them to come pick up all of their keepsakes and whoever got there first would have first pick of anything they wanted. I should’ve done this more often! I was surprised with many visits of smiling faces. My kids and their friends know that I valued my belongings and took care of everything so they looked forward to some “new” necessities. 

Jagger and I enjoy your company by way of our blog as we adventure around our beautiful country. Not only is this my new addiction, but it is one of my favorite ways to connect with people. I’ve met many new friends along the way and look forward to meeting up with in future escapades.

So please feel free to comment on our posts, we look forward to hearing from you!

Safe Travels… Gary

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2 Comments

  1. Sydney Prince February 28, 2017 Reply
    • Gary Wood February 28, 2017 Reply

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