What we're up to

That's us 40 years ago - and we've hardly changed. Well, actually that's not quite right.

We're trying to cope with general disintegration in a cheerful and productive way and that's where Sounding Line come in.

We pretty much retired in 2000 from Boulder, Colorado to what had been a summer house we bought in 1997, in Deer Harbor at the southwest corner of Orcas Island, in the San Juans, northwest of Seattle.

With our kids out of the house or away at school, that is starting their independent lives, we saw an opportunity to start an altogether new life, an island life. It's often said that we all only get one life (while we're alive). We decided to try for two.

We quickly got acquainted and involved in Island life, finding ourselves at home in a way we hadn't been since our respective childhoods, Yvonne in Seattle and John in the Chicago western suburb of Lombard.

We loved Deer Harbor but our house wasn't on the water and by 2005 we were considering moving - somewhere. But in October Yvonne saw a northwest-style house listed for sale on Crane Island, a private island that lies between Shaw on the south and Orcas on the north. We made an offer Thursday, it was accepted Friday, and we sold our Deer Harbor house Saturday. Those were the heady days before the crash.We moved to Crane, by barge, in early January.

Boats were an integral part of our life in the San Juans: sail boats, power boats, kayaks, row boats. Because Crane wasn't served by a ferry we had a commuter powerboat and traveled between Crane and Orcas almost daily, in daylight and darkness, good weather and foul.

By 2013 we were looking to move again, from our beloved beautiful Crane Island, to somewhere more convenient and less expensive. That took us to Olympia, Washington State capital, and close to one son and his family.

While in Olympia we bought a used Itasca Navion motorhome and over the next four years spent a total of 12 months on the road, crisscrossing the western US, and into Canada and Mexico. It was a wonderful experience: beautiful country, satisfying hikes, and friends here and there. We thought of this as our third life.

But when we started to repeat our routes, we decided it was time for something else, a fourth life, this time in the city, specifically the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, and now in an apartment rather than our own home. Now someone else, the management, can take care of everything. We're on a stationary cruise of indeterminate duration. And we love it.

OK, all that's nice - but what's the point here?

We've been lucky enough or intentional enough or daring enough or foolish enough in our retirement to live where and how we've wanted. Along the way taken thousands of photos, collected scores of stories, and come up against unexpected reality.

If you're in or near retirement and find yourself attracted to island living, boats, RV travel, or city life you can sample it here. Not just the beauty, fun, and satisfaction but the problems, dangers, and costs as well.