One of the conversational topics explored as we’ve traveled to different places over the past few years is the question: Could we retire here?
It’s usually a pretty fun topic. What sort of house could we buy? What would the weather be like? Is there good medical care nearby? Is it too crowded, or too isolated? Are there good libraries that we would have easy access to? Importantly, are there dog-centric benefits?
Of course, we’re still young and know how to have fun, so retirement is some far off pipe dream.
Well, maybe not. The Beloved and I have entered that 10-15 year “countdown” to a pretty reasonable retirement age — though honestly, if it ended up being less than 10 years, that’d be just fine — and that’s soon enough to begin to commit some more serious thought and financial planning now. I’ve begun to think of this period as our “pretirement”.
So, one of the places that has percolated pretty high in our minds is the town of Cambria CA. We’d first gone there in 2009 during a road trip along Big Sur and most recently this past summer when I said I wanted to go back for my birthday. This time, in the wake of the Beloved’s big annual symposium, we decided to head there in winter.
We rented the same house that we did back in the summer. Penny must have had a good time then, because when we turned down the little street to get to the house she started dancing in the backseat and ran right up to the door when we released her from the car. She pretty quickly got right back up into her favorite window seat, so she could watch the people and dogs that walked by — and, of course, the squirrels in the trees.
As for us, we took it pretty easy. We spent a lot of time reading and again headed out with Penny to the wonderful Fiscalini Ranch for several walks among the trees and out into the sweeping meadows. Here in California, this is the time of year when things green up, and the grass was growing and mushrooms were sprouting in many shady spots. The whole place was still just as magical and I don’t think Penny minded at all.
On another crisp, clear day, we drove down to Morro Bay State Beach again. This time, though, we could see Morro Rock (back in the summer it was occluded in fog). Penny didn’t seem all that impressed and was all about chasing the sea birds.
That was until she met her new friend Nigel (a pointer/lab mix). They did a LOT of running and chasing. So much so, that we got the very rare “I’m done” signal from a certain pointer.
All of the days weren’t sunny, though — we were brushed by a winter storm on a day we chose to hike the whole length of the town and back — getting a feel for some of the other neighborhoods and enjoying the views from Moonstone Beach. The blustery day was beautiful in its own way.
We also took a trip up and over the pass to the east and Paso Robles and San Miquel, but I’ll save that for another post.
All in all, our week was a great and relaxing and did nothing to dislodge Cambria from the top of the Pretirement standings!