So Long 2017 Summer Break!

So Long 2017 Summer Break!The 2017 summer break is almost over. The Portland public school starts next week and we need to get ready for it. Mrs. RB40 has been picking up school supplies, but we still need to get a new lunch box and a few new long pants. I also need to meet with RB40Jr’s teacher to go over his hearing loss. It’s going to be a busy few days for us. RB40Jr isn’t looking forward to school at all. He loves summer and really enjoys the freedom from school. Summer is the best season here in Portland. The weather has been just about perfect this year. Yes, we had some sizzling days, but we just go enjoy the pool when it gets too hot.

Summer was a ton of fun, but there was a price to be paid too. It’s been quite difficult to blog about personal finance. We’ve had too much fun and switching mode to PF has been problematic. I also don’t have much time to focus on blogging. RB40Jr went to half day summer camp every other week. That’s just 3 hours on the days he went to camp and it’s not nearly enough time to blog on serious topics. You might have noticed that Retire by 40 had been on the lighter side this summer. (This post for instance…) It will be easier to concentrate when the rain starts.

Another issue is exercise. I tried to keep up with my exercise program during the summer break, but it just didn’t work out. I spent more time outdoor, but haven’t been able to get to the gym much. Next year, I’ll just take the summer off from exercise and concentrate on eating less instead. Once school starts, I’ll get back to regularly working out again. I did it last September so I’m sure I can do it again.

Anyway, it’s been a one of the best summers ever. We’ve had a ton of fun and here is some of what we did.

Totality Awesome

I hope you saw the eclipse on Monday. The totality was a spectacular sight and we were one of the first people to see it in the US. We usually go camping at the beach once every summer and I made sure it coincides with the eclipse this year. I booked a tent camping site in December and it was one of the last sites available in the path of the eclipse. Whew, that was lucky.

We packed a ton of food this time because I heard that small towns will be overwhelmed with tourists. The coast was a bit busier than usual, but it really wasn’t that bad. I think Central Oregon was much more crowded because that’s the prime eclipse viewing area. The coast can be a bit iffy with morning fog.

Totality Awesome

The morning of the anticipated day arrived with some trepidation. It was a foggy morning and we went with a hastily drawn plan B – drive east until the sky clears up. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go very far. I drove north from our tent site for only 10 minutes and the sun came out. We stopped at Newport Beach and joined the crowd there.

The eclipse was fantastic. The totality was so much better in person than any picture. I’m really glad we took the time off to go see it. If we stayed home, we’d see 99% eclipses and missed the totality. 99% is cool, but 100% is so much better. It’s not comparable at all. Taking the eclipse glasses off during totality made a huge impact on everyone there. It was an amazing sight we’ll remember it fondly for the rest of our lives.

Lava tube hiking

Ape CaveWe hike/climbed the Ape Cave, a 1.5 miles lava tube on Mt. St. Helens. I went with RB40Jr when he was 4, but Mrs. RB40 missed that last one. This time she came with us and we all had a good time. My ankles were really sore after this hike, though. This might be the last trip to the Ape Cave for me.

California trip

Cabazon dinosaursWe visited Mrs. RB40’s family in southern California. It was really hot down there, but we were able to visit Huntington Beach one day. It was such a big contrast to Oregon beaches. It was much warmer in California and the crowd was huge. Oregon beaches are cold and you have a lot more personal space. Personally, I don’t like crowd so I enjoy the beaches in our home state more even if we have to wear a jacket in the middle of August.

Concerts and other free events

We only went to a few free concerts this summer. There are so many construction projects going on and it made access much more difficult. Pioneer Square, our main venue for free concerts is under renovation so we saw less live music than normal.

Luckily, the park next to our condo has stepped up their events. We saw free concerts and an outdoor movie – The Eagle Huntress. RB40Jr loved watching the movie outside and we let him stay up late until the film was done at 10 pm. Our Parks & Recreation is so awesome.

Summer is almost over

Sadly, all good things come to an end and this summer is no exception. There are only a few more of these long sweet summer days left. We’ll enjoy this weekend and try out a SUP at the river. Then, RB40Jr will have to get ready for school. Hopefully, first grade will be better than kindergarten. I’m also looking forward to having more time to myself and getting back to serious blogging and exercise.

How about you? Did you have a great summer? What were some of the fun things you did this year?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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46 thoughts on “So Long 2017 Summer Break!”

  1. That’s so cool you and your family got to see Totality. I got to see the partial eclipse up north of you and it was a cool experience anyway, the shape of the leave shadows were all shaped like crescent moons, and the cool weather from the lack of sun gave it almost a post-apocalyptic feel. I’m sad that summer is almost over too 🙁

  2. So lucky to see the full eclipse! We stayed home thinking 99.2+% would be good enough. It wasn’t…but did see the solar snakes! Might have to visit family in 2024 as some are in the next path.

    • I was surprised too. Totality is so much better. After seeing totality, I think 99.2% is about the same as 50%. It’s such a different experience. Good luck next time. 🙂

  3. So awesome you were able to get to the path of totality. We watched from Seattle and it was really cool but I’m bummed we didn’t drive down to Oregon. The traffic didn’t seem to quite be as bad as everyone was expecting.

  4. Summer has been great in the PNW this year! We had a week or two of pretty warm temperatures, but overall it’s been great.

    I only wish it was longer. In about 1 month the clouds and the rain are going to be back!

    • We’re looking forward to the rains by the end of summer. We always cram too much activities in and we’re ready to slow down a bit. 🙂

  5. It’s been a great summer here in the Northeast, mostly in the 70’s and 80’s. We usually go on a camping trip in the summer and this year we went to Vermont for the first time. It was nice because there was a lot of hiking to do without the crowds of more popular places. People are always surprised when we tell them we’re going camping. Do you get the same reaction?

    • Camping? I’ve never seen that kind of reaction. I think most people here go camping so it’s not unusual. Most people here likes the outdoor.

  6. Looks like an awesome summer! We don’t like really crowded beaches either so we rented out a house in early spring with a BUNCH of family members. It was beachfront and pretty secluded. We had to wear light jackets too but only in the evening; the weather was very accommodating 🙂

  7. Wow – you’ll did a lot! We had a good summer, did a bunch of fun stuff but all local. Had a few friends/family who came over to visit us in SoCal so it was great to hang out with them. Can’t wait for school to start :), although the kids aren’t too gung-ho about it!

  8. Definitely looks like you guys had a great summer and did a lot of cool activities!

    This might have been our biggest summer of vacations/trips. We went to Kelleys Island (and we’ll be back there again in October), we had our big trip to Panama, and we went to Tennessee.

    It was a little unusual for us – we usually do long weekends of camping and small trips over the summer, but I will say that we definitely had some great times.

    Good luck with RB40Jr in first grade – hope he enjoys it! Our daughter just started back to school (second grade) today and seemed pretty excited for once.

    — Jim

  9. Last summer was a little better. I can’t say why but this summer just seemed to take longer to get off the ground and then seemed like something small like weather or the like got in the way. We did a lot of great things but I know that last summer just sticks out as one of the best we’ve ever had, where this summer was just a step or two below.

    • My memory is strange. It always feel like this summer is the best. I guess I live in the present more than in the past.

  10. Joe,
    I write this while on vacation … at home! We spent 2 days at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA and another at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Everything we do is for our kids, including what we do on our birthdays! My younger daughter is stubborn and can be a hand-full. Looking forward to going back to work next week to take a vacation from her! Hopefully, Rb40Jr doesn’t make your vacations miserable.
    We were inside the water park during the eclipse. I won’t mention to them that they missed it…They had a blast anyway!

  11. Oh man Joe you were like 20 minutes away from my place! Wish we could’ve met! I live really close to Huntington Beach. Sounds like you guys are having tons of fun. Both going to the gym consistently and eating well are not easy. Hope you can find a balance.

  12. Happy end of the summer, everyone! My summer wasn’t crazy-memorable; we mostly have been working and paying off debt, so not too many notable adventures were had. In a few weeks we’re making a trip to the beach to get away, so that’ll be much-needed. 🙂

    • Keep at it! I’m sure you can find some fun things to do locally too. Don’t neglect to have fun with the family. Have a great trip to the beach!

  13. So cool you guys saw totality. All I saw was fog that morning and San Francisco, but I only walked outside my house for about seven minutes 🙂

    What happened to the little ones hearing? I hope he gets better.

    Was kindergarten a rough time? I’ll have to read the post again. I’m most concerned about bad influences and bullying. I fear that I’m going to fiercely protect my son, when I need to have him self advocate and be fierce about himself.

    • We’re not sure what happened. The hearing loss is permanent according to the ENT. We’ll just have to get a hearing aid and hope it doesn’t get any worse. Could be genetic. They sent the blood for testing.
      Kindergarten was tough for him because he does not like authority. The teachers are asking him to do stuff he doesn’t like and he rebels. He hates arts and crafts, dancing, and those kind of things. Could have something to do with hearing as well. We’ll work closely with the teacher again this year.

      • My husband has spent most of his life with hearing aids. He was 6 when they figured out his hearing was non-existent, and they just thought he was an awful child! Kept to himself, what they perceived as disinterest to his surroundings, and they just thought he was just ignoring the teachers.

        The fact that your son has access to the hearing aids now compared to decades ago is a total game changer! My husband has less than 10% hearing in both ears, so the fact that hearing aids work for him is amazing! He’s a business exec, that deals with phone calls, sales, conference meetings-and he does it all with these (unfortunately expensive) Bluetooth enabled hearing aids. Gotta love technology!

        • Thanks for your comment.
          Junior’s left ear isn’t good, but his right ear is fine. So we’ll see. Hopefully, the hearing aid helps.

  14. I can’t believe summer is almost over either! Can someone make the summer a bit longer pleaseee? *tears*

    I’m glad you and your family had lots of fun over the summer. We also went to summer events and hung out with friends. We’ve had a great time for most part. We plan to go to the beach for the Labor Day weekend, and I’m super stoked!

    • Have a great time at the beach. We love going to the beach too. It’s so much fun. Someday, we’ll live closer to the ocean…

    • The short daylight is tough for me too. I used to leave when it was dark and get home after the sun set when I was working full time. Much better now that I can get some sun during the day.

  15. Sounds like you crammed a lot into summer, you guys! Eclipse was a total wash as the cloud cover was thick. Same w/meteor showers last week-either cloud cover or the moon was too bright.
    I love the SoCal beaches. Each has a different “personality”, but all are great for people watching, especially the surfers. I like Huntington Beach the best-something for everyone!
    Enjoy your “me” time after back to school. All parents, enjoy. You’ve earned it!

    • Sorry about the cloud! We fell asleep at 9 pm at the camp and missed the meteor showers too.
      SoCal beaches are so crowded now. You have to go very early to get a little peace and quiet. There are just too many people living and visiting there.

  16. Here in the DC area we saw the Eclipse at 82% coverage. It was amazing and I am trying to convince my wife for 2024 that we should go to an eclipse party. Its suppose to be longer, 3 minutes and the coverage wider. So hopefully I can convince her. On TV it looked amazing!!!

    • You really need to see the totality in real life to appreciate it. You can’t really capture it on TV or in pictures. It’s like running a race. 82% or 99% is pretty much the same. You have to be 100% to win.

  17. Our Daughter turns 5 months on Friday the 25th. So, Summer has been nonexistent for us. a BLUR of feedings, changing and napping. Things are finally getting on a schedule (most days just fly bye). No one warned us of having NO LIFE! LOL.

    But, we’re so grateful and in love. We’re hoping next summer we spend it traveling around.

    • I’m surprised no one warned you. 🙂 Babies take up so much time, but they are so fun. It will get better every year.

  18. Wow that sounds like a good summer!
    We’ve had a great one too! We’ve went to Nashville, had lots of slip-n-slide fun, celebrated birthdays (our littlest turned 2 ?)… I agree, it has been a great summer.
    We homeschool, so there’s no sending the kids back to school for more work time. But getting back into our school rhythm has made things alot easier for sure! I just call believe it’s almost Fall!
    Have fun heading back to school RB40jr!!

    • Summer is the best, right? I can’t imagine home schooling. It sounds so difficult. Public school is working so well for us.

  19. We have a similar seasonality here in Rhode Island. The summer tourist season makes the population swell 10x like many resort areas. That’s when all the fun stuff is. The rest of the year it’s time to hunker down and get some work done.

    I don’t know how you do half days at camp. I’d feel like as soon as I drop the kids off, I’d be getting them again. Even the 3PM school day feels like I barely have time to get work done as it’s effectively a 5.5 hour day.

    We only got 61% of an eclipse here and I spent two weeks failing to find glasses. There’s another one that’s coming much closer in 2024 though. My kids will be 10 and 11, so it should be a perfect age for a family trip. It’s going through the upstate NY area, so maybe we’ll hit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls to make a short road trip out of it.

    • 3 hours goes by so quickly. I tried working out when he was at camp, but it just took too much time. I can’t wait for regular school. I’ll get about about 6 hours then. It will be great!
      Don’t miss the totality. If you have to drive a while, do it. Put “get a camping site/hotel” on your calendar about 9 months before the eclipse. The price will get jacked up.

  20. Awesome summer! I wish I could say ours was, but it wasn’t, though for other reasons. But we managed to hike the mountains this summer – definitely a highlight.

  21. Yes, I had a great summer. I guess the highlight for me was my making a keynote presentation about “The Joy of Not Working” to 1,200 career professionals (2/3 of whom have either a Masters or PhD degree) at the National Career Development Association Conference in Orlando on June 29. I hadn’t made a keynote presentation to such a large audience since 2008 when I spoke about “The Joy of Not Working” to 2,000 members of the National congress Congress on Quality in Istanbul.

    Incidentally, my presentation to the National Career Development Association went very well. They asked me to provide the PDF of my PowerPoint slides to their members. The PDF can be found at this link:

    The bonus of my being able to fly Business Class to Orlando and back was being able to stop in Montreal for three nights and take in the Montreal Jazz and Blues Festival. I got to see blues legends Charlie Musselwhite and Buddie Guy (who I thought I would never get to see) at la Place de Arts and enjoy the pleasures of Montreal. In fact, I enjoyed Montreal and the Jazz and Blues Festival so much that I already booked a Business Class flight on my Aeroplan Miles to Montreal for next year’s Jazz and Blues Festival. I will again be staying at the fabulous le Saint Sulpice suite hotel in old Montreal.

    • Ernie – those are really good slides. Did you write all these books by preserving yourself or took some advise from professionals? I have seen one from Brian Tracy (author of ‘Goals’) but haven’t gone through it. I am sure it’s do-able over time, just wondered what approach you took.

      Joe – this summer has been incredibly good in Portland, loving the weather. My favorite part is enjoying the morning coffee outside at the local barista & just watch people doing their things. Hopefully, few more weeks until the rains arrive…


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