Riding the Backcountry—Bonding
as a Couple in Retirement
By Lynn Blamires Content Writer for My Local Utah
In 29 years of riding ATVs, I have introduced a lot of people to the sport. In 2008, I helped form an ATV club. It is called the Northern Utah ATV Riders – their website is https://www.nuatv.com.The club attracted a lot of retired empty-nesters who were discovering something that they liked to do together and with other couples.
Connie bought a new Yamaha Rhino side-by-side and joined the club as a single lady. She was looking for a social activity that would be fun and get her out of the house.
Joining the club and coming on her first ride without knowing anyone, was a pretty brave thing to do, but she met her sweetheart there and they were married. They have made other friends in the club and they love riding the backcountry together.
Aldon and Connie’s Story
Aldon is a friend who was retired. We invited him and his wife to take a ride with our group. After a few rides, he told me he had found something that he and his wife liked doing together. They bought their own machines and the rest is history.
Fred and Beck’s Story
I met my friend, Fred, on a business call and talked him into bringing his wife on one of the Tri-State Jamborees in Hurricane. They had the time of their lives, but he told me that it was an expensive decision because now he had to buy one of his own. They have become fast friends and favorite riding buddies.
Ray and Linda’s Story
Ray and Linda are in their eighties. He inherited an ATV from his dad. One day, Linda put a couch cushion on the back of the machine and rode up into the mountains with him. She liked it so much that she bought one of her own.
She learned about the ATV club from reading my articles in the Standard Examiner and they joined it together. She prefers to ride her own ATV so she follows Ray in his RZR side-by-side. She won’t ride or drive with Ray because they are critical of each other’s driving. It has been fun to get to know them and they don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Observations at the Beaver Jamboree
At the opening social for the Beaver County Trails Jamboree, I had a chance to observe the couples who were attending. As I watched them interact, I noticed that they liked each other. They were excited to be there together.
In the course of the jamboree, I got to interact with these couples. It was obvious that they had found something that they really liked doing together and it was a reason to stay together as empty nesters.
The Challenge of spousal relations in retirement
Working, raising children, and maintaining spousal relations are full time jobs. When the kids are gone and we face the transition to retirement, the change is sometimes more than we are prepared to handle, especially with both parents having full time jobs. They have invested so much time in jobs and children that they haven’t made time to maintain their own relationship. When the job door closes and retirement begins, two semi-strangers stare at each other wondering, “What now?”
Two of the full time jobs, working and raising children are gone, while they still face the work of maintaining a house, the change is so abrupt that a large percentage of long time marriages are ending in what is known as “Gray Divorce.” According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s for American adults ages 50 and older.
The best gift to children is a happy marriage
I am not a marriage counselor, but I do know that the best gift you can give your children is a happy marriage. By working together to share household chores, there is more time for recreational activities.
When my wife and I faced that transition, we looked at this time as an opportunity to renew our courtship. We had time together that we hadn’t had since our college days. We found things that we like to do together that strengthen our marriage. We also learned that finding things to do that makes other people’s lives better is very fulfilling.
Riding RZRs may not be for everyone, but I think it is important to be creative in finding things you like to do mutually. It could be cliff diving, hang gliding, bungie jumping, wheelchair racing, base jumping, or not. If you choose riding RZRs together, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and when you become a retired empty nester, find things you like to do together.