Saturday, August 21, 2010

Retirement Planning

I'm fortunate to have a career that allows me to retire at the age of 50. That's a little more than 6 years away for me. I can guarantee you that on the day I turn 50, somebody will find my state issued equipment piled on the floor in my office and I will be nowhere in sight.

My dream has always been to travel after retirement. Initially I thought that me and my wife would roll our bikes out the front door of our house and head out west for an extended tour of America ala Russ and Laura. I now realize that I hadn't properly communicated this dream with my better half. Apparently constantly hunting for a place to sleep, eat, and poop, does not appeal to my wife as much as it does to me. Together we came up with a plan B. We will buy a small travel trailer and drive to our scenic destinations where we will whip out the bikes and explore our surroundings.

First we'll need a travel trailer. We can handle close quarters pretty well so something in the 16 to 19 foot range will work. Whatever trailer we get it has to have a flushable toilet, shower, and above all an air conditioner. What we'd love to have is an Airstream International. What we can afford is a Casita. I've read good things about the Casitas and they are manufactured here in Texas.

Interior of an Airstream International. Obviously this particular photo is of a much larger travel trailer. I like all of the windows and exposed aluminum.

16' International

Custom interior

Casita. This is a 16 or 17 foot model. Very ugly interior but it has a toilet, shower, a/c, and it costs $17,000 new.

They're light and easy to tow.

What about the tow vehicle? I'm a weird guy, I've always loved stationwagons. The holy grail of stationwagons, for me at least, is the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser or it's alter ego the Buick Sports Wagon. There's just something about a family hauler with absurd horsepower that appeals to me. An old Cruiser should haul a Casita with no problem.

1972 model

1969 model

1967 model

Same car as above just with cool vintage travel trailer.


Buick Sport Wagon

Buick wagon dressed as a GS


  1. Looks like fun! We have a vintage airstream, which I live, but it's one of the longest ones. I think a Bambi or slightly larger model would be perfect for two people. I always thought the casitas were cute but I've never seen the interior. Great taste in hauling vehicles too!

  2. There's no denying it, Myles. You have got a delightful sense of style.

  3. Nothing wrong with an Airstream, they can be affordable if you go vintage and don't mind the sweat equity. I have 2 longer ones. One is undergoing 120 step rehab. The other is being used for storage for the parts from the first one. The storage one will eventually become a guest cottage. Well that is the plan anyway. FWIW the rehab one is a 1975 the storage one is a 1981. Check out AirForums (I moderate over there) There is nothing wrong with a Casita either, but I think you might get a tad more room in an Airstream.


  4. on Cherry Ln. @ IH-30 sale used Airstreams, ever now and again. They have one up on their site now, but it's been sold. You have several years yet, so it's nice to dream and it doesn't cost you any money to do so.

  5. That sounds like an extremely workable compromise--she sees a comfortable, mobile sleeping/eating/pooping facility, you see a mobile base for conducting bicycle operations and repair. And I have to say, it's the outboard rearview mirrors on a station wagon pulling an airstream that really puts the icing on the style cake.

  6. Ashley-You should post some photos of your Airstream. I'd like to see it. I'm sure Aaron would also.

    Pondero-Thank you sir. You are an observant and highly intelligent individual.

    2whls3spds-I like vintage Airstreams but the work that would be required to restore one is beyond my capabilities.

    What is your screen name on Airforums?

    twister-Thanks for the link. We do have a few years to go but I'd like to actually have the travel trailer before I retire so we can work out all the details about living the trailer life.

    Oldfool-You're scaring me. Stop it.

    John Romeo Alpha-You understand completely.

    I'm sure those mirrors can be folded in for high speed family hauling.

    I'm giving you notice, we'll be dropping by Phoenix six years from now. You can treat us to dinner at a restaraunt of your choice.

  7. On Airforms (and a few others) I go as wahoonc, that handle goes back a long ways...


  8. We have been thinking along the same lines lately. We are far from being able to retire but we are getting itchy feet and want to do some traveling. Those new airstreams are super cool but we are looking at a bus so we can put a bag making studio inside. We are thinking that we will drive for a while, park it when we want to, explore the area on our bikes, work, and move on when we are ready for a change.

    When I was a kid my dad had one of the buick sport wagons that he bought brand new. He had a vista cruiser a little later and I still remember road trips in that thing.

  9. Brian and Monica-That's a great idea. I suppose you wouldn't need too much room for your sewing machine.

  10. I retired last October. It's nice getting two checks while I have two kids in college.

  11. thought you might like to know that the Buick SportWagon you have pictured there is more than just made up to look like a GS455, it had the full drivetrain as well, 9.5:1 455 with cam intake and headers, TH400 trans, 3.42 posi rear, weighed in at about 4800lbs and ran 13.30s on street tires and pump was also the tow rig for my race car. It was a fantastic tow rig with a class IV hitch with weight distro hitch and brake controller....I never should have sold it...biggest regret of my life, even more than my first marraige