On reflection of the story, it is amazing the influence that Ken Burns and his work had on our lives, first inspiring the first RV vacation in a Class C and then the decision to take on the full timing lifestyle in order to visit the National Parks. Our retirement became an extension of our working life of moving from place to place.
With the breakup of my first marriage, I spent a year traveling through Europe and Israel. Upon coming back to Winnipeg and after working for a while, I requested a transfer to head office in Toronto, which is where I met and started seeing Lynn. I ended up moving to Cambridge Ontario to be with her
Lynn was born in England and moved to Montreal Canada with her parents. After marrying, moved to southern Ontario to find better employment opportunities. After separating from her husband, Lynn had the opportunity to take a computer training class in Toronto where we crossed paths and the rest as they say, was magic.
After a couple of years of living in a small city far to the west of Toronto, we moved to a small city north of Toronto for me to find work (another one of those pesky economic downturns resulted in me being unemployed). Things were still a bit tenuous. The job that brought us here, the company went bankrupt, and after that, contract work at several different companies. One of those contracts gave me some training that after the contract was completed (the government cancelled the project), I found a permanent job in Toronto.
After a number of years of stability, the company I was working for went bankrupt and I had to start doing contract work again, this time in various cities in Canada and the US, so always being away from home. In 1996, a contract in Boston morphed into an offer of full time employment, and since it gave us a chance to live together again, we jumped at it, so in 1997, we started a new life in the United States. It seemed I was finally with a company that had some financial stability and would not be going belly up. How true, but then with sharks in the water, I worked at the same desk for 4 different companies as we kept on getting bought out by a larger fish.
So while people we grew up with never seemed to move, we seemed to be continuously moving.
We had moved from Canada to the South Shore of Massachusetts and I was working in Boston. As Lynn did not have a work visa, she and Natasha spent a lot of time walking the beaches and having a leisurely life. Lynn was eventually able to work and after Nat died, we said we would not get another dog until one of us retired, as it was not fair to the dog to be left alone all day.
Robbie and Abby
Fast forward to Lynn retiring and thoughts of getting another dog (note singular pronoun) started to be discussed. Rescuing a shelter dog seemed the natural choice. Walking around the Marshfield Fall Fair one afternoon, we came across the Greyhound Pets of America (Massachusetts) tent and stopped to talk to the humans and dogs. Needless to say we were smitten by the tenderness of the dogs and their need for a home. After a few visits to other events, we adopted Abby, a dark Brindle female who was in need of a home. She had just been transferred to the GPA from the track in Raynham.Thin, nervous and very shy, we started the process of teaching her how to live in a house, stairs, mirrors, dog beds, all things that she had never been exposed to. It wasn’t long, with lots of TLC, that she was ‘at home in retirement’ and a bit plumper.
It was during a Christmas greyhound party, that we were talking to an older woman who had 2 greyhounds. She said that once they she adopted the second, many of the behavior problems went away as they were now a ‘pack’ again. Greyhounds are very social animals and really need the company of other greyhounds. So after talking to the GPA people, we adopted Robbie, a Red Fawn male, who was really a big clown. Robbie had developed a cataract in one eye and could no longer race so he was put up for adoption at a young age. He had already been adopted before we got him, but was returned for a reason that we couldn’t understand, as he is the gentlest soul we have ever met.
Pre RV History
The tale really starts back in 1999, but I will get back to that later. In 2009 or so, the company that I worked for divested itself of the division for which I provided IT support. Unless I was hired by the new company, I would be laid off. Did I really want to start looking for a new job at my age, especially in a down economy? Lynn was already retired, so what to do?
There were two events that sort of made us decide that I should retire now.
1) Lynn’s father had worked all his life and was planning a long retirement of traveling and fishing. They had moved out to the west coast of Canada to enjoy the weather and bought a Class C to start traveling about. Shortly after, Ralph became sick and bed ridden and eventually died, not having enjoyed the retirement he wanted.
2) A friend and colleague of mine, Neil Hill, was a member of the Olde North Brigade of the Bedford Minuteman Company. In 2010 during the Patriots’s Day annual march, Neil collapsed during the walk and died. We were close to the same age, but Neil was much fitter than I.
So we decided that maybe what we should do was take the opportunity that had presented itself while we were both healthy enough to enjoy it. It was funny that while we had a sailboat, we thought that retirement might be living full time on a trawler of sorts and traveling up and down the coastal waterways.
Back to our RV Story
Now back to 1999.
Shortly after having moved to the South Shore of Massachusetts, we had decided to take a 3 week vacation and do some traveling in this new country we were inhabiting. So I came up with an idea to rent a Class C Motorhome and we would travel through New York, Pennsylvania, etc. The Ken Burns special on the Civil War had made an impression, and the initial idea morphed into a trip visiting Civil War sites and then down to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens in Virginia and then come home via the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the time, I was not really into websites and blogs, but our dog was. Youcan read more about this trip in Natasha’s blog of her adventure.
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