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Published: December 14th 2011
When our family moved from Brussels, Belgium to Falls Church, Virginia in November 1995, the plan was to retire in ten years after having built up enough equity in our home to be able to pay cash for a home in a lower cost area. From 1995 to 2005 we visited all 50 states to find the perfect place to retire. We didn't consider anywhere that was hot and humid; i.e., anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains. We finally decided on Woodland Park, Colorado, as it met most of our criteria: good climate, beautiful scenery, friendly people, centrally located, plenty of activities and places to visit nearby.
I retired on August 3, 2005. As we were packing our household goods to move, our cat Prissy, who we got in 1984 just after moving to Brussels, and who was now 21 years old, decided she didn't want to move anymore. She had a stroke and died. We were heartbroken.
On August 11, 2005 we signed the final paperwork selling our house in Falls Church. A couple day later we drove our two cars to South Carolina, to drop our daughter Rosanna off at Coastal Carolina University to start her freshman
year. We stayed the night and the next morning to make sure she had everything she needed for the school year. Then we drove as far as Asheville NC for the night. The next day we made it to Fairfield Heights IL. Coincidentally, the Architect/Engineering firm who I was now working for half time had an office there, so the next morning I stopped in to say hi and pick up a company laptop which I would need to do my work for them. We continued west and made it all the way to Colorado Springs.
On August 18, 2005, we closed on our new home, and later that morning met the the delivery truck where all our household goods were unloaded by 9 pm that night.
As mentioned earlier, one reason we picked Woodland Park and Colorado is its central location allowing us easy access to the West. A five hour drove south we are in Sante Fe or Taos, New Mexico. Ten hours would take us to northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Six hours west we are in Utah, and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and ten hours we would be in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Six hours north we can be in the Black Hills of South Dakota, or ten hours northwest we can reach the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. We are within two to three hours flight of either coast; with Denver being a major hub for flights to Asia, Europe, and South America, and Colorado Springs having direct flights to both coasts.
And then of course there are the sights in Colorado. Pikes Peak at 14,110 feet looms right over us. Each morning it presents us with a different view with the sun and clouds. Our nearest national park is Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument, about 15 minutes away. We have national forests all around us.
And we have 300 days of sunshine. In the summer the temperatures rarely go above 80 degrees with low humidity, and in the winter the temperature rarely dips below 20 dgrees. When we have snow, it usually melts within a few days. And as a retiree, I don't have to drive until the roads are cleared.
The town has about 7500 residents, a 15 bed hospital built since we arrived, a Walmart, and anything else we need is 30 minutes away in
Colorado Springs or 75 mintues away in Denver.
We have made many friends...the best thing about the area is the friendly people; many of whom have retired here from all over the States. We enjoy the fellowship at our church, and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Engineering Ministries International and Choices, etc.
And we still travel, although not as much as I wanted as having three kids in college while being retired results in a somewhat restricted budget.
The pictures in this blog show our local area and places we have traveled with family and friends in Colorado. The following blogs are of our travels beyond Colorado.
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