Sandy Barton

TFG Client, Retiree, National Traveler

As far as we know, there’s no rulebook stating that once you retire, all your dreams retire with you.  In fact we believe that, with savvy financial planning during your work years, retirement can be the time to make many of your dreams come true!  One of the best examples of this is our client, Ms. Sandra “Sandy” Barton.

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Sandy hits the road

A few years ago, Sandy came to us for some advice in financially planning a cross-country trip. But this was not just any trip...this was the fulfillment of a life-long dream...a reward for working hard, saving smart, and investing wisely.  Sandy was planning a two month vacation driving the Historic Route 66.  Yes, the Route 66...the one beginning in Chicago, IL, and ending in Los Angeles, CA.  The one made famous by humorist Will Rogers, immortalized in song by Bobby Troup, and featured in numerous movies, the most recent being Disney-Pixar’s animated feature Cars.  Dubbed “The Mother Road,” it was once proposed to be the highway of America—the gateway to the west—and in fact, at one point, it was suggested that it begin in Virginia Beach, VA.  But those plans were eventually scrapped with the design of the current interstate highway system.  Now Route 66 is more like nostalgia lane—in many places not more than a dirt path—where one can see the remnants of true Americana.  However, this trip is not for the faint of heart.  The old Route 66 is no longer indicated on modern maps, and any serious adventurer would need detailed maps and guides before hitting the road.  And that’s exactly what Sandy did.

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Route 66 Riders

But before hitting the elusive road that is still traveled by horse-bound riders, Sandy needed a reliable “pony” of her own.  Her trusty steed came in the form of a new, “grabber orange” Mustang convertible. After packing up the essentials—which included a digital camera and a computer for her journal entries—Sandy finally heeded the call to “go west.”

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The Blue Whale

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Wigwam Village

Picking up the trail in Springfield, MO, Sandy kicked off her Route 66 adventure by staying at the classic Rest Haven Court Hotel.  From there she trotted through a corner of Kansas into Oklahoma, stopping for a visit with ol’ Will himself at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, and giving a passing wave to The Blue Whale.  Making her way through Texas she caught site of the eccentric Cadillac Ranch and its little spin-off, Bug Ranch.  Once hitting New Mexico, Sandy was treated to a time capsule of classic automobiles at the Route 66 Museum, as well as a few snowflakes.  Moving into Arizona, she explored the Petrified Forest before stopping to rest in a...teepee.  Though it had no refrigerator, internet, or even a (gasp!) telephone—she could not resist staying at the Wigwam Village.  After an inspiring Easter service at The Church of the Red Rocks, Sandy was joined by her good friend Diane for the remainder of her Route 66 adventure—and as with most adventures, there’s always at least one “white knuckle” moment.  Sandy found hers on a winding stretch of The Mother Road, which lasted many miles going over mountains riddled with sheer drop-offs.  Thankfully, her trusty steed stayed steady and her guardian angel had the wheel, steering them safely through the mountains and into California where they were greeted by happy palm trees.  Galloping past the Bottle Tree Forest and into Los Angeles, they finally and quite literally reached the finish line—where Route 66 ends near the Santa Monica pier and the Pacific Ocean.

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Route 66 Museum

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Bug Ranch

Whew—what an incredible feat!  Obviously we only touched on a few highlights of her journey...her journal was chock-full of sightings of artful oddities, celebrity hangouts, nostalgic museums, historic monuments, and even a coyote encounter. And she did take a few detours along the way to visit family, and used a more northern route on her way back east. All in all, the Route 66 trip took 66 days total, and was made during her 66th year.  Amazingly enough, the whole “66” theme wasn’t even planned!  So what did Sandy have to say about living out one of her dreams? “I have been blessed to be able to make this trip...my ‘pony’ performed well, I never had a traffic jam nor dangerous weather conditions, and everything went smoothly.  I was able to appreciate much of God’s creation, and many impressive (and sometimes quirky) things made by man using God-given talents.” And what, we wondered, was the best part of her trip?  She had an easy answer for that one: “The best part of any vacation is always—COMING HOME!”