The story below is from our September/October 2015 issue. For the DIGITALLY ENHANCED VERSION, download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
From Seattle to Tuscany, two couples enjoy spending their retirement exploring the far reaches of the world.
Mark Deardorff and his wife Marty embarked on a two-month, cross-country RV tour in mid-July. Their final destination: Seattle.
This is not an unusual vacation for the couple, who have lived at The Glebe for more than a year and a half and are both former employees of the City of Roanoke.
“We travel frequently in our RV,” says Mark Deardorff. “Once a year we take a longer trip. We will travel for about three days and then have a rest day.”
When I spoke to them, they were in Milton, West Virginia, en route to Washington. Their trip included stops in Louisville, Kentucky; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Salt Lake City, Utah, before meeting up with other RVers and Adventures Caravans for a three-week tour in the Pacific Northwest.
Upon arrival in Washington, the Deardorffs had successfully visited all 48 of the contiguous United States.
“It would be a little challenging to visit Hawaii by RV,” says Mark.
The “M&Ms” of The Glebe, as they say, have certainly made some memories over the 20 years of traveling via RV, visiting so many amazing places. But when asked what their favorite place is, their answer is surprising.
“Daleville, Virginia,” he says. “Every time we’ve gone some place and come home, we are so grateful to live here. There’s no place like this.”
Karen Vietmeier and her husband Randy have been busy travelers this year.
“In January we went to Florida for a week on a tour of Amelia Island and the surrounding area including the Okefenokee Swamp,” says Karen Vietmeier. “In April we went to the Tuscany region of Italy for two weeks. In June we went to New York City for a week. In September we will be going to upstate New York to the Finger Lakes area. In December we are going to Williamsburg for a week.”
Certainly one of the highlights of retired life, traveling is a way for the Vietmeiers to explore new places and learn about them historically and culturally.
“We are finding retirement the best years of our lives,” says Karen, a resident at Friendship who relocated to Roanoke from the West Coast five years ago. “Travel is our passion. We plan a lot more U.S. travel as there is much of the East Coast and South we have not explored.”
Vietmeier and her husband frequently travel with Road Scholar, a non-profit educational travel company that offers tours in all 50 states and 150 countries.
“There are many things we like about Road Scholar,” she says. “First, everything is included in the price. Tips, most meals, transportation, hotels, tour guides. Most of our trips with Road Scholar have been to Europe. We have been to England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Italy. We are planning to go to Spain next year.”
How could they choose a favorite destination? “We always say it is the place we are now or have just gone to,” she says.