When we said fond "Goodbyes" to our Winter Texan friends, and headed north on June 18, we thought we were on track, preparing to switch to Retirement Plan B. Retirement Plan A, of course, was to spend time as full-time RVers. We've had ten delightful years in that role. We've seen many beautiful and interesting things in our decade of travel. Best of all, very early in our wanderings we happened into a marvelous RV resort filled with hospitable and helpful people.
So, as we left the familiar behind, we were prepared to move into Retirement Plan B, living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Columbus, Ohio. Three years ago, we had taken two weeks to research the CCRC facilities in that area. (Columbus is not home to either of us but we chose it because it is only a little over an hour's drive from our son who lives in Athens, Ohio.)
We toured five or six such retirement living communities and narrowed our choices down to two. We applied to both and were accerpted to be on their waiting list until a time of our choosing.
This spring, a series of medical and dental issues made us think that now was the time to come off the road, hang up the keys, and settle down. So, we drove north assuming that we would take up residence in one of those CCRCs.
Several phone conversations with our financial counselor, however, raised some red flags about this choice. Meeting with him personally, we discovered that the only way we could afford such a residence was to spend the rest of our natural lives in a state of self-imposed poverty! We decided that we've lived through enough lean years in our early married life that we didn't want any more "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches three times a day" kind of living. So, a Retirement Plan C had to be developed.
Even before we arrived in the Columbus, Ohio area on July 6, Bruce had been on-line researching walking/biking trails in that locality.
As you can see from the above map of the northeast section of the city,
all the green lines are hike/bike trails. This is certainly one of the most hiking/biking-friendly cities we've ever visited. In the process of his on-line research, Bruce came upon an article related to finding housing near hike/bike trails. It was very informative and the author was a realtor! Retirement Plan C was hatching!
We contacted her and she met with us the morning after we arrived in the city. She had prepared a notebook about her agency's services, the above map, and pictures and descriptions of at least a dozen houses or condos that met our financial criteria. We made an appointment to go "house touring" in two days. The following day, we drove around the city checking out at least ten of the homes she had included in the notebook. We chose four to tour with her.
The realtor had also given us access to on-line up-dates in the listing of available properties. That evening, as Bruce was reviewing this, he saw a new posting in our price range: a ground-level condo in the area of Westerville, in the northeast part of Columbus, just outside the outer belt.
Westerville is a lovely area with a small-town feeling on the edge of the big city. It was rather late in the evening, but we grabbed the keys to the truck and took off to take a look!
The condo is small (1200 plus sq. ft.), is ground level and single floor like a ranch home. It has several features that were attractive to us: a two-car garage, and a very modest monthly condo fee.
There is a walking path and a small green area in the condo community, and it is less than a block away from a walking/biking trail! (On the above bike trail map, the location of the condo is indicated by the red marker.)
We toured it with the realtor the following day and discovered some internal pluses: a laundry room with washer, drier and utility sink; built-in shelving in the huge garage, new carpet throughout; large pantry cupboard, and granite counter tops in the kitchen. Retirement Plan C was fully hatched. We made an immediate offer which was accepted! Thursday, July 16 is building inspection and closing is scheduled for August 19.
Since it is very near the I-270 outer belt around Columbus, we expect many of you to stop in to visit and stay awhile. However, please wait until we have some furniture to make the inside more livable -- unless, of course, you'd like to sleep on the floor!